Region 2 is the alpine region of the park with accessible tundra trails at high elevations—an area known for its spectacular vistas. Within the region are Mount Ida, with tundra slopes and a wide-open view of the Continental Divide, and Specimen Mountain, which has a steep trail and the opportunity to view bighorn sheep and marmots. Forest Canyon Pass is near the top of the Old Ute Trail that once linked villages across the Continental Divide.
The Stanley Hotel is much more than just a luxury hotel. In addition to its historic rooms, legendary grounds overlooking Rocky Mountain National Park and destination dining services, its storied and haunted past which reaches back more than 100 years has made it one of the most famous hotels in the country. Activities inside include a spooky Night Spirit Tour which explores the phenomena and folklore surrounding the hotel.
I have to say that Rocky Mountain National Park is probably the most beautiful and scenic place I have ever been. I kept thinking that I had seen the most amazing part, only to take the next turn and be wowed again. If you are in the area and are a hiking/nature fan, this is one place you shouldn't miss. If nothing else, just a drive through the park is well worth the time.
Alta Lakes is a pristine and secluded wilderness setting situated 30 minutes outside the charming mountain town of Telluride, Colorado. The Observatory is nestled underneath the 13,000-foot peaks of the San Juan Mountains – it is one of only a few homes in the United States at 11,000+ feet! The backcountry cabin with charming rugged details serves as the perfect romantic mountain getaway for couples.
Overlooking the scenic Beaver Creek Mountain, Park Hyatt Beaver Creek is a luxury Colorado resort and spa where guests can experience the vacation of their dreams. From breathtaking mountain views to championship golf courses to exquisite cuisine, Hyatt’s Beaver Creek ski resort offers the perfect year-round Vail Valley mountain escape with premium amenities, such as ski in and ski out access, a year-round heated outdoor pool, and an outdoor fire pit for roasting s’mores.
The history of Rocky Mountain National Park began when Paleo-Indians traveled along what is now Trail Ridge Road to hunt and forage for food. Ute and Arapaho people subsequently hunted and camped in the area. In 1820, the Long Expedition, led by Stephen H. Long for whom Longs Peak was named, approached the Rockies via the Platte River. Settlers began arriving in the mid-1800s, displacing the Native Americans who mostly left the area voluntarily by 1860, while others were removed to reservations by 1878.
The montane ecosystem is at the lowest elevations in the park, between 5,600 to 9,500 feet (1,700 to 2,900 m), where the slopes and large meadow valleys support the widest range of plant and animal life, including montane forests, grasslands, and shrublands. The area has meandering rivers and during the summer, wildflowers grow in the open meadows. Ponderosa pine trees, grass, shrubs and herbs live on dry, south-facing slopes. North-facing slopes retain moisture better than those that face south. The soil better supports dense populations of trees, like Douglas fir, lodgepole pine, and ponderosa pine. There are also occasional Engelmann spruce and blue spruce trees. Quaking aspens thrive in high-moisture montane soils. Other water-loving small trees like willows, grey alder, and water birch may be found along streams or lakeshores. Water-logged soil in flat montane valleys may be unable to support growth of evergreen forests. The following areas are part of the montane ecosystem: Moraine Park, Horseshoe Park, Kawuneeche Valley, and Upper Beaver Meadows.
Once a mountain mining town, Breckenridge now is all about outdoor adventure. It’s one of Colorado's top year round alpine getaways, with all-season activities galore. When the snow falls, skiers, boarders and snow bunnies from all over flock to Breckenridge for its four peaks. In the summer months, visitors trek the pristine hiking trails and paddle the rivers, while anytime of year, they enjoy the good local beers, original mountain music, and wonderful homes and cottages.
Trail Ridge Road will not open until at least Memorial Weekend but there are many amazing areas open year round in the park. Heavenly Valley is the one place in the park where sledding is allowed but you must bring your own tube or sled. Cross-country skiing is incredible with so many trails to choose from and snow shoeing is a great way to explore new areas. Stop at one of the visitor centers as you enter the park to find out what areas are open and it is always best to call ahead for weather and road conditions. Check forecasts before you go at weather.gov and insert "Trail Ridge, CO" for the location. For information about Rocky Mountain National Park call 970-586-1206 daily 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (Mountain Time).
Marissa is a writer for 303 Magazine’s Travel, Lifestyle + Culture Desk. She grew up in Canada, but spent her adult life navigating South Carolina as a Canadian transplant. She secretly enjoys the cold weather in Colorado, but complains about it anyway. In her free time, you can find her bothering her friends to go out, watching comedy shows or driving long distances to see something cool she read about online. All wit and charm is 85% her parents and 15% something she learned in middle school from the 8th graders on her bus. Follow her on Twitter @marissajkozma
Estes Park is the gateway into the national park, but it’s also a destination unto itself. Stop by The Barrel, a seasonal alfresco beer garden, and window-shop along Elkhorn Ave., Estes' bustling main thoroughfare. Filled with one-of-a-kind stores, several fine restaurants and plenty of places for an afternoon snack, the area is just steps from the park’s eastern entrance. Stop for coffee and sit outside on the Riverwalk.
Rocky Mountain National Park is open to visitors 365 days a year, 24-hours a day. Whether you’re a quiet observer or a full-on expeditionist, there’s something for everyone, all year long. In the winter and spring months, sled, ski, ice climb, hike, or just play in the snow. In the summer and fall months, fish, rock climb, bike, run, or go horseback riding. It’s year-round adventure at the place where adventure is always waiting.
Glacial Basin was the site of a resort run by Abner and Alberta Sprague, after whom Sprague Lake is named. The lake is a shallow body of water that was created when the Spragues dammed Boulder Brook to create a fish pond. Sprague Lake is a popular place for birdwatching, hiking and viewing the mountain peaks, along with camping at the Glacier Basin campground.
Tucked in the folds of the Rocky Mountains and anchored by the stunning Grand Lake, this town is lined with locally owned shops, restaurants, bed and breakfasts and hotels. You won’t find major grocery stores here, although you can drive 25 minutes to Granby and shop at the enormous City Market. What you will find is an old-fashioned charm combined with recreational opportunities like relaxing at the beach, paddle boarding, paddle boating and kayaking on Grand Lake and visiting the park.
Biking – Always a popular activity in Estes Park, biking can be a great way to stay active during your honeymoon or our excuse to have an extra piece of cake during the reception! If you’re not up for a challenging trail, we recommend the Lake Estes Loop that winds 3.75 miles around the lake or head further out to Devil’s Gulch Loop that offers wonderful views during your ride.
At Brynwood on the River we are notorious for our cozy and relaxing cabins nestled on the charming Big Thompson River. But did you know we also offer delightful motel rooms and spacious vacation homes? Whether you are enjoying a weekend getaway or a family vacation, Brynwood on the River will make it special. Book online today! Brynwood on the River Details
The park may be accessed through Estes Park or via the western entrance at Grand Lake. Trail Ridge Road, also known as U.S. Route 34, connects the eastern and western sides of the park. The park has a total of five visitor centers. The Alpine Visitor Center is located in the tundra environment along Trail Ridge Road, while Beaver Meadows and Fall River are both near Estes Park, with Kawuneeche in the Grand Lake area, and the Moraine Park Discovery Center near the Beaver Meadows entrance and visitor center.
I would definitely recommend driving Trail Ridge Rd. between Grand Lake and Estes Park. This is a great drive through the entire park with lots of great pull outs and stops along the way. Be aware that this is the highest paved road on the continent at over 12,000ft. elevation and altitude sickness affects 50% of the visitors. Trail Ridge Rd. is very scary to drive if you're not used to curvy roads with no guards rails. Without stops, it will take 1.5hrs to drive from town to town. Because we stopped so much, it took us 4 hrs to get from Estes Park to Grand Lake, we ate dinner in Grand Lake and then it took us 1.5 hrs to drive straight back.
Of course, being close to the Rocky Mountains and stunning views are perks of this private cabin. However, what seals the deal for many is its proximity to Zone 62, which attracts visitors from around the country for hunting, mountain biking trails and much more. Be sure to visit Ouray during your stay for hot springs and hiking trails in what’s known as the “Switzerland of Colorado.”
Reserved through Airbnb, Little Red Treehouse is exactly what it sounds like. Custom-built by owner and founder Leam Blackwood and sitting amongst the trees in Lyons, Colorado, this charming home offers huge views, a deck-top private shower, a balcony breakfast nook, an efficiency kitchen with both heat and electricity, stunning lodge design, and a unique treehouse experience you’ll never forget.
Settled at the end of a winding, tree-lined country road, the Inn is located on 26 private and secluded acres in Estes Park, Colorado. Our beautiful property includes hiking trails, private access to the National Forest, hidden patios, riverside meadows, calming ponds, and a quarter mile of private riverbank. Guests often see more wildlife on our property than in the National Park!
You have never seen a Y like this! We offer over 200 family cabins ranging from 2-4 bdrms, which can hold up to 10 people. Be close to the main campus & activities or far from it all, in secluded woods. Our cabins are fully furnished and include eating & cooking utensils, plus linens & towels. Many free activities are available - we offer more activities onsite than any other area property! YMCA of the Rockies - Estes Park Center Details
Ski Colorado Vacation Rentals is a professional property management company based in Breckenridge, Colorado and serving Summit County, Colorado. We offer full-scale vacation home management from renting and marketing your property to cleaning and maintaining it. We understand the importance of keeping your beautiful properties well-kept and consistently rented to maximize your rental income.
A gourmet breakfast is included in the price of suites and cabins. A great room and sunny family room offer games, piano, movie library, trail guides and maps. The warmth of knotty pine walls, wood floors, a big sandstone fireplace and family heirlooms transport you back to a simpler era. Let us pamper you for your romantic getaway, elopement or any occasion when you chose Estes Park.
We have a wide variety of vacation rental homes to suit your taste and budget. From mountain town, lakefront, golf course, luxury cabins to lodo Denver lofts. We offer short term and seasonal Colorado rentals. So many differnt types of homes are available to you from Condos, cabins, carriage houses to Mountain lookout villas. From Downtown lofts to suburban homes. Also some amazing benefits like ski-in, ski-out, home theaters, heated pools and hot tubs, saunas, fireplaces, games rooms, workout rooms and more.
Or enjoy a family wildflower hike to Gem Lake or Bridal Veil Falls. For a little more challenge, try the 2.8-mile Mills Lake trek. You’ll be rewarded with grand views of 14,259-foot-tall Longs Peak and the Keyboard of the Winds, a whimsical rock formation named for its shape. Pull over at Moraine Park for prime wildlife watching. More than 3,000 elk and 800 bighorn sheep live in the park, and this U-shaped valley is a regular gathering spot for bugling elk.
Features: This hike is a good drive away from the resort. You’ll spend about an hour and a half on highway 34 heading towards Grand Lake before you reenter the Park to check out Adams Falls. That said, the drive is gorgeous, and you’ll sweep over the Continental Divide. Once you’re at Adams Falls, you’ll have a short hike to view falls along the East Inlet of Grand Lake. The aptly named Adams Falls Trail features a 55-foot waterfall. You can continue along the East Inlet Trail to view more of the river, as well as Lone Pine Lake, Lake Verna, Spirit Lake, and other gorgeous sites.