The park was designated a World Biosphere Reserve by the United Nations in 1976 to protect its natural resources. The park's biodiversity includes afforestation and reforestation, ecology, inland bodies of water, and mammals, while its ecosystems are managed for nature conservation, environmental education and public recreation purposes. The areas of research and monitoring include ungulate ecology and management, high-altitude revegetation, global change, acid precipitation effects, and aquatic ecology and management.
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.
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:
Rocky Mountain National Park is one of the highest national parks in the nation, with elevations from 7,860 to 14,259 feet (2,396 to 4,346 m), the highest point of which is Longs Peak. Trail Ridge Road is the highest paved through-road in the country, with a peak elevation of 12,183 feet (3,713 m). Sixty mountain peaks over 12,000 feet (3,658 m) high provide scenic vistas. On the north side of the park, the Mummy Range contains a number of thirteener peaks, including Hagues Peak, Mummy Mountain, Fairchild Mountain, Ypsilon Mountain, and Mount Chiquita. Several small glaciers and permanent snowfields are found in the high mountain cirques.
The Swiftcurrent Lodge is small in size but huge in personal attention. We have 12 units in the summer, 6 in the winter. The advantage of being small, bordering Rocky Mountain National Park and being on the river gives one the sense of seclusion and offers a quiet, peaceful atmosphere. With these attributes plus your own custom package, the Swiftcurrent Lodge is the ideal location for your Romantic Getaway.
Spa – This list would not be complete without a mention of our fantastic spas, many of which offer couples packages! On the River Massage has a romantic couples massage at either 60 or 90 minutes or a fun DIY package where you can enjoy a massage and learn the art of massage and techniques the therapists use so you can use them at home! Riverpointe Spa also has spa packages whether you want a hot stone massage or a massage and a facial.
A cozy Hansel and Gretel style cabin with a separate bunkhouse. A dream come true for those who discover its peaceful and healing quality year round. Central to boundless amenities. Roomy 1,000 square foot cabin, with stone fireplace and a woodburning stove in the master bedroom with private half bath. The second bedroom adjoins a full bath. 1-10 people. Third virtual bedroom plus bunkhouse. Free Wireless WiFi.
Riverwood on Fall River: Nestled among 300 year old pines along the scenic Fall River, Riverwood provides the perfect setting for your vacation or getaway to Estes Park. Our contemporary floor plans are among the largest in Estes Park with 1,2 & 3 bedroom condos that range in size from 1,100 to 1,400 square feet. Decorated in contemporary, tasteful decors, each condominium features high vaulted ceilings, full kitchens, washer & dryer, king beds, private 2 person Jacuzzi tubs and dramatic panoramic windows with views of Castle Mountain and Old Man Mountain. From your deck you can enjoy the sights and sounds of Fall River while watching a variety of wildlife including elk, deer and big horn sheep! You can also fish for trout from our 600 feet of private river frontage. Riverwood is located just minutes from Rocky Mountain National Park…yet also convenient to Estes Park shopping, dining and its variety of year-round activities, festivals and cultural events. You can take the Fall River hike/bike trail and walk to all downtown attractions. Come and enjoy a wonderful stay at Riverwood on Fall River.
Great winter hike! We brought snow shoes and used them because we had them, but would have been fine with just microspikes and poles. Summit was beautiful, but with wind gusts up to 40 or 50 mph that made it extremely cold and a bit difficult to stand up. Elevation gain is slow and steady, making it a pretty easy 2500ft climb. Would love to do this hike again!
The farm-to-table movement isn't just about food anymore. Colorado is home to many microbreweries and small wineries. Known as the Napa Valley of beer, northern Colorado has an abundance of craft beer manufacturers. Just like the region’s fine dining establishments, these small operations use the freshest locally sourced ingredients to provide one-of-a-kind results. Best of all, most offer tours and tastings daily.
Need an escape from the hectic life? Want to surprise that special someone? How about a gift certificate for that memorable occasion. Enjoy the seclusion of Solitude Cabins. Experience the privacy and mountain charm of one of our stand alone luxury cabins nestled among more than 300 trees on 9 acres. Private use of the hot tub allows for tranquil relaxation while listening to the elk bugle or taking in the spectacular display of shooting stars above. Each privately owned cabin is fully furnished with premium quality linens. Let us provide a dinner package to prepare in your upscale, full-sized kitchen. Celebrate your special occasion in the warmth of the cozy fireplace or stand in awe of the majestic sunset on your private deck. Enjoy the luxury of time standing still just long enough to have those special moments that create unforgettable, lasting memories. Let us help you customize your individual Romance Package.
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.
Features: Bear Lake Loop is one of the most popular hiking loops in The Park, and it’s one of the flattest hikes. Bear Lake provides phenomenal views of aspen, making it one of the best hikes to try during the fall months. Take a stroll around the lake, and gaze upon the beauty of Glacier Gorge. View Longs Peak, Half Mountain, and Hallet Peak looming over the undulating terrain. The trail hugs the lake, occasionally weaving through packs of pine trees. Since Bear Lake is one of the most popular natural monuments here at RMNP, you may want to take the shuttle, instead of your car, especially during summer when the park is most popular. It’s about a 30 minute drive from Rams Horn Village to the Bear Lake Ranger Station trailhead. Bear Lake
Year-round lodgings include a historic, romantic 2 bedroom cabin with jetted tub and gas fireplace, a one bedroom cabin with sleeping loft, wood fireplace and jetted tub, plus other cabins and lodge rooms. All non-smoking units have free wireless internet and local phone, fridge, microwave, coffeemaker, cable TV and are air-conditioned. Many units accept pets. Enjoy a hike on the mountain or walk around the pond and take those special photographs. Ask about our romance packages with flowers, chocolates and champagne!
A number of Wedding Packages are available, which include table and chair setup, bartender, cake cutting, dance floor, ivory or black linens, champagne/cider toast, complimentary use of centerpieces, and a pre-wedding tasting for two. Additional accessories are also available. Other wedding services like florists, musicians, DJs, photographers and more can be found locally right here in Estes Park, making coordination and set-up a breeze. If you need assistance finding a florist, baker, photographer, etc, we would be more than happy to introduce you to some of the excellent wedding vendors here in town.