On the east side of the park lies the Beaver Meadows Entrance, the most direct entrance from Estes Park, which lies right outside Rocky Mountain National Park. An hour’s drive from Boulder and two hours from Denver, the lively Estes Park is the closest town to the park on the east side of the park. Because the entrance is so accessible from Estes Park and open year round, it is the most popular.
Estes Park is the gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park, and it is home base for many visitors. It contains a host of accommodations, ranging from inns and motels to hotels like the Stanley, which range in price. And the town is also filled with restaurants, bars and shops that line the main street, Elkhorn Avenue. Try Brownfield's for affordable souvenirs, such as T-shirts, blankets, key chains, and koozies. For bars, head to the traveler-approved Rock Cut Brewing Company or The Barrel beer garden. What's more, the town contains 75 restaurants that span cuisines, from the diner The Egg & I to the pizza place Antonio's Real New York Pizza & Deli, so visitors are sure to find some food to suit their fancy.
The Pierre Shale formation was deposited during the Paleogene and Cretaceous periods about 70 million years ago. The region was covered by a deep sea—the Cretaceous Western Interior Seaway—which deposited massive amounts of shale on the seabed. Both the thick stratum of shale and embedded marine life fossils—including ammonites and skeletons of fish and such marine reptiles as mosasaurs, plesiosaurs, and extinct species of sea turtles, along with rare dinosaur and bird remains—were created during this time period. The area now known as Colorado was eventually transformed from being at the bottom of an ocean to dry land again, giving yield to another fossiliferous rock layer known as the Denver Formation.
The nearest airport is Denver International Airport and the closest train station is the Denver Union Station. Estes Park may be reached by rental car, shuttle or RTD bus. During peak tourist season, there is free shuttle service within the park and the town of Estes Park provides shuttle service to Estes Park Visitor Center, surrounding campgrounds, and the Rocky Mountain National Park's shuttles.
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!
Rock climbing and mountaineering opportunities include Lumpy Ridge, Hallett Peak, and Longs Peak, the highest peak in the park, with the easiest route being the Keyhole Route. This 8 mi (13 km) one-way climb has an elevation gain of 4,850 ft (1,480 m). The vast east face, including the area known as The Diamond, is home to many classic big wall rock climbing routes. Many of the highest peaks have technical ice and rock routes on them, ranging from short scrambles to long multi-pitch climbs.
I live in Colorado and visit Rocky Mtn National Park often. I was collecting several good articles for friends who will be visiting so they can preview the area. Why do what others have already done so well? You did an excellent job! I hope you get a chance to come back and see the park from the other entrance. It is somewhat different, also beautiful and not to be missed.
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.