Surrounded by over 100,000 acres of the Pike National Forest, the Ranch at Emerald Valley is an unmatched, all-inclusive retreat that combines the rustic charm of a wilderness enclave with The Broadmoor’s incomparable luxury and service. Honeymooners can indulge in one of 10 beautifully appointed cabins, featuring gas fireplaces, rich furnishings, and modern amenities. Couples can spend their days fly fishing in pristine mountain lakes, hiking and biking along scenic trails or exploring the mountains on horseback. Afterward, unwind by soaking in an outdoor hot tub and sipping fine wine on a panoramic terrace while enjoying the beauty of a Rocky Mountain sunset. All meals and ranch activities are included as part of the stay, making it an ideal setting for intimate getaways where every detail is thoughtfully handled.
The park is home to many predatory animals, including Canadian lynx, foxes, bobcat, cougar, black bear, and coyotes. Wolves and grizzly bears were extirpated in the early 1900s. Most of these predators kill smaller animals, but mountain lions and coyotes kill deer and occasionally elk. Bears also eat larger prey. Moose have no predators in the park. Black bears are relatively uncommon in the park, numbering only 24-35 animals. They also have fewer cubs and the bears seem skinnier than they do in most areas. Canadian lynx are quite rare within the park, and they have probably spread north from the San Juan Mountains, where they were reintroduced in 1999. Cougars feed mainly on mule deer in the park, and live 10–13 years. Cougar territories can be as large as 500 square miles. Coyotes hunt both alone and in pairs, but occasionally hunt in packs. They mainly feed on rodents but occasionally bring down larger animals, including deer, and especially fawns and elk calves. Scat studies in Moraine Park showed that their primary foods were deer and rodents. They form strong family bonds and are very vocal.
Looking for a great trail in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado? AllTrails has 191 great hiking trails, trail running trails, views trails and more, with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers, and nature lovers like you. Ready for some activity? There are 101 moderate trails in Rocky Mountain National Park ranging from 0.6 to 39 miles and from 7,795 to 13,047 feet above sea level. Start checking them out and you'll be out on the trail in no time!
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.
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
At the Open Air Adventure Park, rope bridges, aerial tightropes and swinging logs challenge folks 5 years old and up. Kent Mountain Adventure Center, the first outfitter in the US to offer breathtaking (literally) cliff-camping excursions, has activities like a kids mountaineering camp, a New Year's Eve Longs Peak trek, backcountry ski classes/guiding, and a year-round “snow-climbing school.” Or, get above it all in a different way at Estes Park’s own Jurassic Park. This climbing area just south of town features rock outcroppings, slabs and routes that make for a perfect outing.
If you were any closer to the national park, you'd be in it! No street lights, power lines or major roads. Just peace, wilderness & wildlife, and sounds of the river! Each of our 12 cabins is unique & comfy. Walk to Park trails, or fish the Big Thompson River. Just 2.5 miles west of downtown Estes Park, dining & shopping options are never far away. Aspen Brook Details.
Step back in time to an old family homestead which sits on 55 acres backing onto Volcan Mountain with vineyard, hiking trails, pool table, hot tub, bocce ball and croquet. Just 2 miles from downtown Julian and many other attractions. You can walk to well known Volcan Mountain hiking preserve and 2 wineries that offer music, wine tasting, special events and Julian lifestyle every weekend.
Features: Take a quick hike around Lake Irene. Lake Irene is one of the highest lakes in the park; it’s just below the continental divide. This secluded little lake is surrounded by pine trees, and the trail is fairly flat along its entire length. However, once again, since this lake is at elevation, it can be a bit winding—you’ll notice that the trees don’t grow quite so high around the lake since you’ll be near tree line. Take note, the parking lot is the highest point on this hike, so be prepared for the uphill jaunt back to your car! Halfway through the trail, you can also visit an overlook on the trail that displays a vista of Lake Irene and a nearby meadow (this portion of the trail is not part of the length calculation above). It’s about an hour drive from the resort to the Lake Irene Picnic Area.
My boyfriend and I completed this hike on Sat Feb 9. We wore snowshoes the whole way, though they weren't necessary up to Dream Lake. Beyond Dream, however, they're absolutely necessary. We passed a couple people who didn't have them and they were postholing all over the place and making a mess of the trail. Beware that the sign marking the Dream-Haiyaha trail split is almost completely buried and we didn't see any other trail signs so they must be buried too. The trail is very soft and fluffy, with narrow sections cutting across steep drop offs. Even with snowshoes we were sinking in and sliding in a few places.
What can I say!!!! Five stars! How can you even rate nature?! It's perfection! I'm a lover of nature and parks and can find no fault in what I love! Colorado's Rocky Mountain National Park is beautiful and so pristine! I highly, highly, highly recommend you visit if you're in the area! My pictures do not do it justice! There are cabins, hiking paths, beautiful lakes and rivers and lots of deer! Unfortunately I didn't see any other living creatures besides birds and deer on this trip! Lol :) I'm happy not to run into bears though!
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.
If you’re coming in from Estes Park, as we were, a great place to start is the Beaver Meadows Visitor Center, which is just outside the park. Here the friendly and knowledgeable park rangers can give you plenty of advice on weather conditions, hiking trails – and even the best spots to photograph sunrise and sunset! From here, it’s a short drive to the park entrance where you’ll pay your visitor fee.
Colorado is overflowing with things to do: world-class skiing, mountain biking, paddling, hiking, ATVing, hot-air ballooning and rock climbing… and that’s just the start of it. If you visit Colorado wanting an adventure, you won’t be disappointed. Of course, Colorado also offers great mountain music, sensational local breweries, gourmet cuisine, and outstanding art and culture. Be sure to book a Colorado vacation rental or Colorado cabin rental, for much-needed relaxation after your jam-packed itinerary.
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.
The Fern Lake trail passes Arch Rock formations, The Pool, and the cascading water of Fern Falls. Two backcountry campsites are located near the lake, and two more are closer to the trailhead. Odessa Lake has two approaches: one is along the Flattop trail from Bear Lake while the other is from the Fern Lake trailhead, along which are Fern Creek, The Pool, Fern Falls, and Fern Lake itself. One backcountry campsite is available. Other lakes are Jewel Lake, Mills Lake, Black Lake, Blue Lake, Lake of Glass, and Spruce Lake.
Precambrian metamorphic rock formed the core of the North American continent during the Precambrian eon 4.5–1 billion years ago. During the Paleozoic era, western North America was submerged beneath a shallow sea, with a seabed composed of limestone and dolomite deposits many kilometers thick. Pikes Peak granite formed during the late Precambrian eon, continuing well into the Paleozoic era, when mass quantities of molten rock flowed, amalgamated, and formed the continents about 1 billion–300 million years ago. Concurrently, in the period from 500–300 million years ago, the region began to sink while lime and mud sediments were deposited in the vacated space. Eroded granite produced sand particles that formed strata—layers of sediment—in the sinking basin.
There's nothing better than experiencing a new destination with your sweetheart, so consider taking time to discover all there is to see and do in Estes Park. If you and your love want to take in the area's natural beauty, you'll enjoy Estes Park for its mountain views, parks, and wildlife. A visit to Horseshoe Park, Upper Beaver Meadows Trailhead, or Fall River Entrance Station might be just the ticket when you're checking out the sights.
The rain started to head in, but we shifted plans a bit (the park is huge - one side can have rain while the other is sunny) and got to Alluvial Fan, Bear Lake, Nymph Lake and Dream Lake among some other spots. We also drove through most of the park and went to the Alpine Visitor Center - 11,796 feet up! It's the highest elevation Visitor Center in the park. Great views. Such a different feel - it was cold and there was snow on the ground. In July!
However the split for the trail for Andrew's Glacier was non-existent.... there was no trail. I broke trail through the snow headed to the glacier... very slow going, often sinking up to thighs with my snow shoes on. Due to the wind pattern east sides of the hills and knolls are very powdery and you sink. Stopped about .75 miles from the base of the glacier. Would have taken at least an hour to go that far. Lots of snow.
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.