Trail Ridge Road is 48 miles (77 km) long and connects the entrances in Grand Lake and Estes Park. Running generally east–west through many hairpin turns, the road crosses Milner Pass through the Continental Divide at an elevation of 10,758 ft (3,279 m). The highest point of the road is 12,183 feet (3,713 m), with eleven miles of the road being above tree line which is approximately 11,500 feet (3,505 m). The road is the highest continuously paved highway in the country, and includes many large turnouts at key points to stop and observe the scenery.
Nestled in Mountain Awe, is our rustic, 1900 historic cozy cabin in the middle of Pine Grove (population is like 150!). We boast as much authentic character as we can. So much recreation!: such as World Class mountain biking/fishing the Gold Metal Platte Rvr/Buffalo Creek/Elk Creek-tubing anyone? hiking/biking, climbing, exploring, even taking a dip in the nearby amazing "natural mountain jacuzzi" (cold!). Go back in time passing many historic mountain cabins. DOGS ALLOWED with fee. see rules
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.
While lodging with us, enjoy the many area attractions in Cascade, Colorado Springs, Manitou Springs, and Woodland Park, such as Pikes Peak and the Cog Railroad, Garden of the Gods, Manitou Cliff Dwellings, Cave of the Winds, Focus on the Family, the US Air Force Academy, Fort Carson, Colorado College, Pikes Peak Community College, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs (UCCS), Colorado Christian University, and much more!
Features: If you’re looking for beautiful falls and a relatively easy hike, you’ve got to trek to Copeland Falls. Copeland Falls is about a 30 minute drive South from our resort. The trail is well shaded by pine trees, and it brings you to several cascading waterfalls, all along the North St. Vrain Creek. You can see both Upper Copeland Falls and Lower Copeland Falls on sections of this trail.
Now, folks are often overwhelmed when they make their first visit to The Park. After all, there are hundreds of miles of trails (in fact there are over 350 miles of trails within RMNP), and dozens of trailheads to explore. So where do you begin? Well, we’re here to help you find the right trail to fit your fitness level, as well as your aptitude at altitude—after all, Longs Peak (the tallest peak in The Park) tops out at a whopping 14,255 feet! Today, we’re going to point out 10 of the easiest hikes you can find in the park. Here’s our list of casual Rocky Mountain National Park Hikes:
The Lowdown: If you want a little peace and quiet outside of town, this one-bedroom and one-bathroom cabin hideaway is your best bet. This rustic log cabin is nestled in the San Juan Mountains and features a wood-beamed ceiling, bay windows with views of the treetops, wood-burning stove, deck with patio furniture, an old record player, southwestern decor and even a yoga studio for some morning meditation and vinyasa time. Starting at $64 a night, you better start packing your bags.
Rocky Mountain National Park was selected to participate in a climate change study, along with two other National Park Service areas in the Rocky Mountain region and three in the Appalachian Mountain region. The study began in 2011, orchestrated by members of the academic scientific community in cooperation with the National Park Service and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The stated objective: "develop and apply decision support tools that use NASA and other data and models to assess vulnerability of ecosystems and species to climate and land use change and evaluate management options."
Glacial geology in Rocky Mountain National Park can be seen from the mountain peaks to the valley floors. Ice is a powerful sculptor of this natural environment and large masses of moving ice are the most powerful tools. Telltale marks of giant glaciers can be seen all throughout the park. Streams and glaciations during the Quaternary period cut through the older sediment, creating mesa tops and alluvial plains, and revealing the present Rocky Mountains. The glaciation removed as much as 5,000 feet (1,500 m) of sedimentary rocks from earlier inland sea deposits. This erosion exposed the basement rock of the Ancestral Rockies. Evidence of the uplifting and erosion can be found on the way to Rocky Mountain National Park in the hogbacks of the Front Range foothills. Many sedimentary rocks from the Paleozoic and Mesozoic eras exist in the basins surrounding the park.
Out in the high desert of Colorado’s southwest corner, you’ll find hot springs, snowy peaks, forests, and so much more. Stay in a Pagosa Springs or Steamboat Springs vacation rental and experience the soul-reviving relaxation of a natural hot spring. Skiing isn’t just for Summit County: you’ll find satisfying slopes and a great ski culture at Crested Butte, too. Durango, situated in the San Juan National Forest, offers historic railways, white water rafting, and more.
The park is home to some 2,000 to 3,000 elk in summer, and between 800 and 1,000 elk spend the winter within its boundaries. Because of lack of predation, the National Park Service culls around 50 elk each winter. Overgrazing by elk has become a major problem in the park's riparian areas, so much so that the NPS fences them out of many critical wetland habitats to let willows and aspens grow. The program seems to be working, as the deciduous wetland plants thrive within the fencing. Many people think the elk herd is too large, but are reluctant to reintroduce predators because of its proximity to large human populations and ranches.
Timber Creek: The only campground on the park's west side, Timber Creek is often the best bet for those seeking an open spot on a first-come basis. This campground offers 98 sites, accommodations for RVs up to 30 feet, a dump station and water hook-ups. Timber Creek is summer only and access from Estes Park is available only when Trail Ridge Road is open (usually Memorial Day through mid-October, depending on weather) approximate drive time from Estes Park is an hour and a half.
Region 5, known for waterfalls and backcountry, is south of Estes Park and contains Longs Peak—the park's iconic fourteener—and the Wild Basin area. Other peaks and passes include Lily Mountain, Estes Cone, Twin Sisters, Boulder-Grand Pass, and Granite Pass. Eugenia Mine operated about the late-19th to early-20th century, with some old equipment and a log cabin remaining. Sites and trails include Boulder Field, Wild Basin Trail, and Homer Rouse Memorial Trail.
Gem Lake is high among the rounded granite domes of Lumpy Ridge. Untouched by glaciation, this outcrop of 1.8 billion-year-old granite has been sculpted by wind and chemical erosion into a backbone-like ridge. Pillars, potholes, and balanced rocks are found around the midpoint of the trail, along with views of the Estes Valley and Continental Divide. Potts Puddle trail is accessible from the Black Canyon trail.
The Landing at Estes Park opened very recently in 2015, but before it was a lodge, it was the home of 83-year-old Joyce and her husband for 45 years. Many of the existing structures were built by hand by the couple when they were young. Today, owners Jay and Jen pay homage to the history and the love built into The Landing and renovated it to be one of the town’s best mountain retreats. Offering suites, villas, cabins and the River Ranch Vacation Home, there is something for everyone at this old-world inn.
Spanning the Continental Divide, Rocky Mountain National Park stretches across 265,770 acres filled with alpine lakes, the headwaters of the Colorado River and dozens of peaks that reach 12,000 feet and higher. To access the park, there are four entrances, three on the park’s east side and one on the west. To make the most of your time in Rocky Mountain National Park, choose the entrance that will give you the best access to the sights you want to see and experience.
One block off Elkhorn, the beautifully landscaped path follows the Big Thompson River as it flows through town and hosts street performers in the summer. Take the path east for a tranquil walk around Lake Estes, or stop at the marina to rent bikes, pontoon boats or kayaks. Then, enjoy a glass of wine inside Snowy Peak Winery’s newly expanded tasting room, the new Elkins Distilling Company, Rock Cut Brewing or Lumpy Ridge Brewing Co., a former gas station with a scenic beer garden and new brews on tap regularly. Or stop into Via Bicycle Cafe, part cycling shop and hangout, part coffee-nerd hot spot.
Smith Fork Ranch is a traditional homestead within the Rocky Mountains and rolling meadows of Colorado featuring old-fashioned Western hospitality and sophisticated wine and cuisine. The cozy mountain lodges envelop guests in homely comfort with plush furnishings, wood burning fireplaces, original artwork, slate tiled bathrooms, handmade soaps and organic lotions, feather beds with fine linens, and hot tubs. The undulating landscape is teeming with wildlife and offers superb hiking, while activities on the ranch will keep honeymooners busy the entire stay.
The EstesPark.US Website and its companion Website, RMNP.Com is supported by Lodge, Restaurant and Shop owners of Estes Park. Their contributions and sponsorship, allow us to list all lodging, restaurants, shops that server the Estes Park Valley. Also their sponsorship of our Rocky Website allow you an independent view of Rocky Mountain National Park. This 300 page Rocky Website is designed for you, our guests.
Through the years that I hiked by the Colorado River (also Lake Mead near Las Vegas), spent nights in Laughlin and the Grand Canyon beside it, and read about it; I had been curious about what it looks like near its headwaters in the snow melt mountains of Rocky Mountain National Park. It was inevitable that I one day I would see it. That day came last summer when we visited the third most visited National Park of 2015: Rocky Mountain National Park. During my years of hiking by the Colorado River and hours of hiking in the mountainous climate of the Spring Mountains I was also curious about the high mountain climate of this very park.
Mountain sports enthusiasts can’t deny the draw of Summit County’s ski towns. Breckenridge and Copper Mountain are popular places to hit the slopes, complete with family-friendly activities for any season. Dillon, within easy driving distance of plenty of ski runs, offers world-class sailing and other activities on Dillon Lake. We also offer vacation rentals in the lovely towns of Frisco, Silverthorne, Keystone, and Blue River. You can’t go wrong in Summit County!
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
Cabins are standalone autonomous accommodation options that offer a stay in nature. You'll find cabins in all sorts of wild places, from lakesides to beaches to mountain ranges. Most are small and cozy, and traditional, letting you channel your inner explorer as you gaze out across babbling riverways or pine-studded valleys. Romantic cabins are wonderful for couples as they come with warm beds and sharing space with cracking fires and maybe even a hot tub.
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.
The park has a total of five visitor centers with park headquarters located at the Beaver Meadows Visitor Center—a National Historic Landmark designed by the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture at Taliesin West. National Forest lands surround the park including Roosevelt National Forest to the north and east, Routt National Forest to the north and west, and Arapaho National Forest to the west and south, with the Indian Peaks Wilderness area located directly south of the park.
We saw the park on a tour that traveled the totality of the park along Trail Ridge Road from Grand Lake entrance at the west to Estes Park at the east. It was 40 miles of nature at its best. We entered and exited in the Montane zone where ponderosa pine dominate below 9,000 feet. We reached the alpine zone above 11,400 where it is too extreme for trees to grow. Here are my favorite first-hand experiences:
Nature created a perfectly beautiful vacation spot right on Fall River, where you will find our lovely village of 20 cabin suites. They are sprinkled over 17 acres amid the Pine & Aspen with kitchens, fireplaces, decks, grills, Free Wi-Fi, & some private hot tubs overlooking the stocked fishing river. Streamside is perfect for your relaxing river-front getaway. Streamside on Fall River Details
Lawn Lake Trail climbs to Lawn Lake and Crystal Lake, one of the parks deepest lakes, in the alpine ecosystem and along the course of the Roaring River. The river shows the massive damage caused by a dam failure in 1982 that claimed the lives of three campers. The trail is a strenuous snowshoe hike in the winter. Ypsilon Lake Trail leads to its namesake as well as Chipmunk Lake, with views of Longs Peak, while traversing pine forests with grouseberry and bearberry bushes. The trail also offers views of the canyon gouged out by rampaging water that broke loose from Lawn Lake Dam in 1982. Visible is the south face of Ypsilon Mountain, with its Y shaped gash rising sharply from the shoreline.
Your wedding night should be as special as the ceremony. Ensure yours is perfect by choosing the right place to stay. Whether you want to retire to a hotel room next to family and friends or escape to a secluded, private cabin, Estes Park lodging properties fulfill your needs. Sink into suites outfitted with personal hot tubs. Lay before a roaring fire, just you and the love of your life. Walk hand-in-hand along wooded paths beside a gurgling river. Estes Park accommodations make it possible to enjoy these experiences and more. Plus, they extend the same hospitality to your wedding guests, turning your ceremony into a true destination wedding. Book suites, hotel rooms, cabins—even private vacation homes for your wedding. From rustic to historic, Estes Park offers a range of accommodations.
Hiking is the main attraction at Rocky Mountain National Park, so make sure to come prepared with sturdy and comfortable shoes or boots to make the most of popular trails, such as Bear Lake and Emerald Lake Trail. To experience the park from the comfort and safety of your car, take the hour-long drive on Trail Ridge Road. But before you do anything, you should stop at one of the park's visitor centers, such as Beaver Meadows, to stock up on maps and information. For a refreshing beer or ice cream at the end of a day in the wilderness, head to Estes Park and be sure to check out the establishments along the main drag, Elkhorn Avenue.
Cow Creek Trail follows Cow Creek, with its many beaver ponds, extending past the Bridal Falls turnoff as the Dark Mountain trail, then joining the Black Canyon trail to intersect the Lawn Lake trail shortly below the lake. North Boundary Trail connects to the Lost Lake trail system. North Fork Trail begins outside of the park in the Comanche Peak Wilderness before reaching the park boundary and ending at Lost Lake. Stormy Peaks Trail connects Colorado State University's Pingree Park campus in the Comanche Peak Wilderness and the North Fork Trail inside the park.