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.
Denver, the state capital, is the destination of choice for art lovers who delight in the artworks of Georgia O'Keeffe, Frederic Remington, Man Ray, Andy Warhol, David Hockney, and Charles M. Russell - whose works are on exhibit at the Denver Art Museum and the Museum of Contemporary Art. For another take on museums, head to Colorado Springs, which is home to the Museum of the American Cowboy and the ProRodeo Hall of Fame.
Estes Park has long billed itself as "The Gateway to the Rockies." This little town has a lot of charm of its own. For the many people who feel that the best part of the Rockies is the view, Estes Park is the best of both worlds. It is the perfect romantic getaway for those who would rather avoid the mountain roads and bone-chilling temperatures of Vail and Aspen during the winter.
With 60+ spruce trees in the yard, water features, decks, hot tubs, gas grills, picnic tables, swings, and Adirondack chairs, its just a lovely place to hang out! We have wireless internet available, plus an internet station in the office for your use. Each unit has cable TV with HBO and direct-dial phones. Most have full kitchens, many come with fireplaces. Groups welcome.
Windcliff is a distinctive mountainside view neighborhood featuring fully furnished vacation homes and condominiums. Located on 240 secluded acres on the sunny side of Ram’s Horn Mountain, and just minutes from Estes Park, each home has spectacular views of Rocky Mountain National Park and the Continental Divide. Your home is fully furnished and equipped, including fireplaces, full kitchens, decks, washer and dryer, microwave, cable TV, linens and towels, and of course a breathtaking view! Bordering Rocky Mountain National Park, and Roosevelt National Forest, you can hike right into the National Park from several Windcliff homes!
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:
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.
Region 4 is the heart of the park with easy road and trail access, great views, and lake hikes including the most popular trails. Flattop Mountain is a tundra hike and the easiest hike to the Continental Divide in the park. Crossing over Flattop Mountain, the hike to Hallett Peak passes through three climate zones, traversing the ridge that supports Tyndall Glacier and finally ascending to the summit of Hallett Peak.
There is also plenty for you to explore in the surrounding areas. If you head south, you’ll reach Red Rocks Park, which is known for its red rock formations. Head east, and you’ll find yourself in Denver, where you can experience a taste of the city, complete with shopping and dining options. Head west, and you’ll be in the Rocky Mountains, with options to ski.
The Lowdown: Whoa. We can’t promise you the quintessential rustic cabin vibe, but it’s better. The decor in this spectacular log home near Rocky Mountain National Park is a whopping 2,500 square feet and has a hot tub with 33 massage jets, three TVs, a massage chair, covered patio and so, so much more. Our favorite part is the bright sunny yellow bedroom on the second floor. Well done, Airbnb.
First – Rocky Mountain National Park is open year round, 24 hours a day. So no worries there. However, if you want to drive Trail Ridge Road, you need to visit from around the end of May to early October. July through September are the busiest time of year, so my recommendation to avoid the crowds and still get good weather, plus plenty of light for activities, would be June.
If you’re looking to hit the trails and experience the grandeur of Rocky Mountain National Park, stay with us here at Rams Horn–we’re just about as close as you can get to RMNP. Plus, we’re just a minute away from downtown Estes Park. Book a stay in one of our luxury cabins, and enjoy all of the magical views of the Rockies, the quaint mountain-town feel of Estes, and all of the luxuries of home (and more!). Schedule your stay at our resort today!