While it is possible to travel through Rocky Mountain National Park and not catch sight of any wildlife, we venture to say that is an unlikely experience. From everyday sightings of chipmunks and mule deer to the moving experience of viewing elk in rut (the mating season), the animals in the park let you know that you are part of something truly wild. Some of these critters are harder to spot than others - they might camouflage themselves in the trees or hide in the underbrush - but look closely and you may have an encounter unlike any other. 

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
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.[76]
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.
We invite you to Wildwood Inn where you can experience the beauty of the majestic surrounding mountains, the abundant wildlife away from the congested areas of Estes Park. Nestled within 7 acres of private land and the National Park, you will enjoy spectacular views, and star studded nights that can let your spirits soar. Indulge yourself in beautifully appointed suites all with luxurious 310 thread count linens and some with Deluxe Temper-Pedic mattresses. Most offer private outdoor hot tubs with spectacular views of the mountain ranges or fireside hot tubs with shimmering candles aglow, and even ones with both.
The Lowdown: Sure, log cabins are cozy, but this spectacularly swanky retreat has all the modern amenities you need with a more refined design aesthetic. Stargaze from the hot tub on the upper deck, play pool with friends or curl up next to the fireplace. It’s hard to complain about anything here. Granite countertops, neatly upholstered furniture and stainless steel appliances scream sophistication. You’ll be itching to come back.
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.
There is nothing like camping in Rocky Mountain National Park to experience true wilderness. Luckily, there are many ways to overnight in its pristine lands, from backcountry campsites to tent villages to a few RV sites - ensuring you feel one with nature no matter how you prefer to camp. For complete details and information visit the official Rocky Mountain National Park Camping Webpage. 
 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:
River Spruce is a small cabin resort with cabins right alongside the Big Thompson River. You can walk into the National Park meadows in about 15 minutes and the park is literally across the street. We only have 8 cabins on the property so we are able to provide excellent service. We start your day by bringing fresh baked goodies to your door every morning except Sunday and you may end your day in the cool mountain air sitting in your own private hot tub or around your fire pit roasting marshmallows.

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
Fall River Village: Located along the banks of Fall River and the popular Riverwalk, Fall River Village is Estes Park’s newest and best located resort. Situated on six and a half acres of beautiful mountain landscape, the resort features 60 new two bedroom, two bath vacation condos. The resort has an in-ground, outdoor pool and year-round, outdoor hot tub, a community room, fire pit and grill areas, and an outdoor recreation area with yard games and a hammock. Perfect for friends and family to gather together for memories that will last a lifetime.
Rustic River Cabins are tucked away in the Big Thompson Canyon, just four miles from the center of Estes Park. We offer seven all-seasons, pet-friendly cabins on 16 acres that sleep between 2 and 8 people. Built in the mid-1940s, our cabins have a rustic feel that makes you feel part of the Rockies. We wow you with charming decor, sparkling clean showers and bathrooms, and well-stocked kitchens. You'll love how our cabins bring the outside in while still maintaining a modern feel, including 26” flat screen TVs with satellite, free Wi-Fi, and microwave ovens. From your cabin, head down the trail to the Big Thompson River to spot brown and speckled trout. Grab your fishing poles for some fly fishing - we have one of the greatest spots for fishing!

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.[42] 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.[42]
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