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.
Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP) in north-central Colorado contains some of the most popular hiking trails in North America. Situated between the towns of Estes Park and Grand Lake, the park hosts 76 mountains over 10 thousand feet high within its 412 square miles. The national park service runs five visitor centers with the headquarters at Beaver Meadows Visitor Center— just off highway 36 in Estes Park. In addition to amazing hikes, the park has some great scenic drives, including Trail Ridge Road, which takes visitors along the continental divide on the highest paved road in the country, and Old Fall River Road, a challenging dirt road that takes you to the Alpine Visitor Center at Fall River Pass - the highest national park visitor center in the United States at almost 11,800 ft. The park has four distinct ecosystems: montane, subalpine, alpine tundra, and riparian where lucky visitors can see wildlife such as mule deer, bighorn sheep and cougars. The high country of the park features many crystal clear alpine lakes, fantastic summits, and stunning views. The Estes Park Shuttle provides service from Denver International Airport to downtown Estes Park, and many shuttles run between the various trailheads, the Moraine Park Visitor Center and even the Glacier Basin Campgrounds. Many visitors use Bear Lake or Glacier Gorge as their starting point into the park.
Estes Park is the gateway into the national park, but it’s also a destination unto itself. Stop by The Barrel, a seasonal alfresco beer garden, and window-shop along Elkhorn Ave., Estes' bustling main thoroughfare. Filled with one-of-a-kind stores, several fine restaurants and plenty of places for an afternoon snack, the area is just steps from the park’s eastern entrance. Stop for coffee and sit outside on the Riverwalk.
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!
Rocky Mountain National Park is an American national park located approximately 76 mi (122 km) northwest of Denver International Airport in north-central Colorado, within the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains. The park is situated between the towns of Estes Park to the east and Grand Lake to the west. The eastern and westerns slopes of the Continental Divide run directly through the center of the park with the headwaters of the Colorado River located in the park's northwestern region. The main features of the park include mountains, alpine lakes and a wide variety of wildlife within various climates and environments, from wooded forests to mountain tundra.