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.
The Lowdown: The words “private” and “hot tub” are enough to click on the reservation link for this snuggly cabin in Silverthorne. Large enough to accommodate six, this modern rental features a master bedroom, two flat screen TVs, a patio, walk-in shower, electric fireplace and of course — your very own hidden jacuzzi. Sure, nature is nice too, but this winter stay-cation might leave you lounging indoors.
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.
A complimentary European-style buffet breakfast is served each morning and includes freshly brewed coffee and tea, fruit juices, fresh seasonal fruit, egg dishes, and Italian meats and cheeses. Other delectable daily selections include newly baked sweet treats such as homemade quiche, croissants, or blueberry muffins, hot home-baked cinnamon rolls, homemade granola and Greek yogurt, and an assortment of fresh bread, jams, and preserves.
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The rain started to head in, but we shifted plans a bit (the park is huge - one side can have rain while the other is sunny) and got to Alluvial Fan, Bear Lake, Nymph Lake and Dream Lake among some other spots. We also drove through most of the park and went to the Alpine Visitor Center - 11,796 feet up! It's the highest elevation Visitor Center in the park. Great views. Such a different feel - it was cold and there was snow on the ground. In July!
Bear Lake is a high-elevation lake in a spruce and fir forest at the base of Hallett Peak and Flattop Mountain. Bierstadt Lake sits atop a lateral moraine named Bierstadt Moraine, and drains into Mill Creek. There are several trails that lead to Bierstadt Lake through groves of aspens and lodgepole pines. North of Bierstadt Moraine is Hollowell Park, a large and marshy meadow along Mill Creek. The Hollowell Park trail runs along Steep Mountain's south side. Ranches, lumber and sawmill enterprises operated in Hollowell Park into the early 1900s.
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:
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!