Now, folks are often overwhelmed when they make their first visit to The Park. After all, there are hundreds of miles of trails (in fact there are over 350 miles of trails within RMNP), and dozens of trailheads to explore. So where do you begin? Well, we’re here to help you find the right trail to fit your fitness level, as well as your aptitude at altitude—after all, Longs Peak (the tallest peak in The Park) tops out at a whopping 14,255 feet! Today, we’re going to point out 10 of the easiest hikes you can find in the park. Here’s our list of casual Rocky Mountain National Park Hikes:
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:
Boulder Brook on Fall River is an intimate, adult-only riverfront resort. Our Spa Suites are perfect for the romantic getaway, featuring riverfront decks, vaulted ceilings, private two-person jetted tubs and warm fireplaces. One Bedroom Suites become your home away from home, with a cozy living room featuring a private riverfront deck and a separate bedroom. Riverview, Mountain and Country Suites are one-of-a-kind units with full kitchens. The Aspen Suite is our only 2-bedroom suite accommodating up to 6 adults.
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.
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.
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.
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.
From this page you can access the main photos on this website. These are the ones I've selected as making great prints. If you want to see additional photos visit the search page or visit my Facebook artist page where I post new images nearly every day. I also have a large collection of images from other locations such as the Desert Southwest, Pacific Northwest, United Kingdom, Iceland, etc. These others can all be found at my Morning Light website.
Lawn Lake Trail climbs to Lawn Lake and Crystal Lake, one of the parks deepest lakes, in the alpine ecosystem and along the course of the Roaring River. The river shows the massive damage caused by a dam failure in 1982 that claimed the lives of three campers. The trail is a strenuous snowshoe hike in the winter. Ypsilon Lake Trail leads to its namesake as well as Chipmunk Lake, with views of Longs Peak, while traversing pine forests with grouseberry and bearberry bushes. The trail also offers views of the canyon gouged out by rampaging water that broke loose from Lawn Lake Dam in 1982. Visible is the south face of Ypsilon Mountain, with its Y shaped gash rising sharply from the shoreline.
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.
The Baldpate Inn features 12 well-appointed guest rooms in the main lodge, four secluded cabins, and a historic homestead, all of which are decorated with distinct country mountain flair and have spectacular panoramic views. All guest rooms have king or queen-size pillow-top beds dressed in high-quality linens, down or hypoallergenic comforters, and pillows. Some rooms have sinks, and some have private bathrooms with shower/bath combinations, separate showers, and soaking tubs, single or double vanities, lighted make-up mirrors, plush towels and bathrobes, and organic bath products. Sitting areas have plush sofas and overstuffed armchairs, writing desks and chairs, and large windows with stunning mountain views. Modern amenities in all suites include individual climate control with heating and cooling functions, mini-fridges, flat-screen televisions with cable channels, clock radios, irons and ironing boards, and complimentary high-speed wireless Internet.
Individual Cabins are set away from the main lodge and offer space and privacy, with multiple bedrooms, private bathrooms, spacious living areas, fireplaces, and plush down comforters on the beds. The 1913 Baldpate Homestead has been lovingly restored to provide exceptional bed and breakfast accommodations with three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a fully equipped kitchen and dining room, a comfortably furnished great room with a fireplace, a solarium and a fully stocked library.
Timber Creek: The only campground on the park's west side, Timber Creek is often the best bet for those seeking an open spot on a first-come basis. This campground offers 98 sites, accommodations for RVs up to 30 feet, a dump station and water hook-ups. Timber Creek is summer only and access from Estes Park is available only when Trail Ridge Road is open (usually Memorial Day through mid-October, depending on weather) approximate drive time from Estes Park is an hour and a half.
Many hikers want to experience the thrill of camping in the wild, which is what backcountry camping in Rocky Mountain National Park is like. Backcountry permits are necessary and may be obtained at the Backcountry Offices. Near Estes Park, the Backcountry Office is located at the Beaver Meadows Visitor Center. Many backcountry campsites dot the park, including special sites for groups of more than seven people. Campers are asked to take responsibility for their sites, such as practicing proper Leave No Trace techniques and taking appropriate wildlife protection measures. More information on these tips plus suggestions for how to plan a backcountry camping trip may be found at the official Rocky Mountain National Park Backcountry Webpage.
Jess and I recently visited Colorado, which was my first visit to this wonderfully mountainous part of the US. We were primarily there to attend a travel influencers conference, but we tacked on a few days to do a bit of sight-seeing, starting off in the capital of Denver, where I watched my first ever baseball game, after which we headed out to explore some of those incredible mountains.
A gourmet breakfast is included in the price of suites and cabins. A great room and sunny family room offer games, piano, movie library, trail guides and maps. The warmth of knotty pine walls, wood floors, a big sandstone fireplace and family heirlooms transport you back to a simpler era. Let us pamper you for your romantic getaway, elopement or any occasion when you chose Estes Park.
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.
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