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.
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 Rocky Mountain National Park Act was signed by President Woodrow Wilson on January 26, 1915, establishing the park boundaries and protecting the area for future generations. The Civilian Conservation Corps built the main automobile route, Trail Ridge Road, in the 1930s. In 1976, UNESCO designated the park as one of the first World Biosphere Reserves. In 2017, more than 4.4 million recreational visitors entered the park. The park is one of the most visited in the National Park System, ranking as the third most visited national park in 2015.
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.
Dream Lake is one of the most-photographed lakes and is also noted for its winter snowshoeing. Emerald Lake is located directly below the saddle between Hallett Peak and Flattop Mountain, only a short hike beyond Dream Lake. The shore of Lake Haiyaha (a Native American word for "big rocks") is surrounded by boulders along with ancient, twisted and picturesque pine trees growing out of rock crevices. Nymph Lake is named for the yellow lily, Nymphaea polysepala, on its surface. Lake Helene is at the head of Odessa Gorge, east of Notchtop Mountain. Two Rivers Lake is found along the hike to Odessa Lake from Bear Lake, and has one backcountry campsite. The Cub Lake trail passes Big Thompson River, flowery meadows, and stands of pine and aspen trees. Ice and deep snow are present during the winter, requiring the use of skis or snowshoes.
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.
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.
Bear Paw Suites & River Stone Resorts offer a beautiful setting for your riverfront mountain experience! All one, two and three bedroom units are fully equipped and tastefully decorated to include everything you need! These selected properties offer king beds in the master suites with a 2-person Jacuzzi tub (3 bedrooms have a private outdoor hot tub), a full kitchen, fireplaces, and private patios/decks to relax. For more information, please visit our website at www.riverstoneresorts.com or call us at 888-234-4747.
Colorado brims with historic monuments and nature trails that families with kids will love. Visit Bent's Old Fort National Historic Site to learn about the old traders, trappers, and Native Americans who once traded at this post. For pristine wilderness and solitude, the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail is a good choice. There's also San Isabel National Forest, which is home to Mount Elbert, Colorado's highest peak.
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.
Originally built in 1936 (and with various renovations over the years), the Alpine Visitor Centre (open seasonably) is well worth a visit as part of your Rocky Mountain National Park experience. There’s an informative museum, large gift shop, café, and wonderfully panoramic views. There are also restrooms and staff on hand to answer any questions you might have.
Slightly strenuous hike. The first portion (after the trail splits from Bear Lake) is primarily uphill. Snowshoes are a great asset to have here. After some breaks to catch our breath, we made it to Nymph Lake, which offered a gorgeous view and prime photo opportunity. Then, across the lake continued the trail. More uphill climbing, followed by a beautiful vista and Dream Lake, which was very windy but gorgeous. Then came a 20-25 minute steep hike up to Emerald Lake, snowshoes REQUIRED for this portion. The steep hike is worth it as you emerge from forest to a view unlike any other. There are plenty of spots to enjoy lunch with an incredible view of tall peaks and the frozen lake.
As much fun as the wedding will be, there are numerous recreational opportunities available in and around the hotel to entertain your friends and family. Your guests will enjoy the short walk along the rushing Big Thompson River to the charming shops in downtown Estes Park, or a relaxing stroll along the shore of nearby Lake Estes. You will also find a wide variety of amenities right at the hotel to entertain young and old alike, including our heated indoor swimming pool and hot tub, complimentary game room featuring pool table, air hockey, foosball and more, our outdoor fire pits where you can roast S’mores, and complimentary bike rentals. Tours of Rocky Mountain National Park also leave right from the hotel in our 15-passenger convertible bus (yes, you read that correctly!) designed to give you the ultimate panoramic mountain viewing experience. Private tours are accepted if you would like to reserve the bus for your wedding party.