July 22, 2024

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Rocky Mountain National Park | Travel Guide Colorado

Rocky Mountain National Park | Travel Guide Colorado

Few destinations are as appealing during this period of budget-friendly and socially distant travel as a national park.

Rocky Mountain National Park is a national treasure. It may be the epitome of what a national park can be. It is surrounded by snowcapped peaks and clear, crisp air that makes the lungs feel like peppermint candy. It is home to the majestic evergreen fir and spruce, as well as pine and spruce trees.

Rocky Mountain National Park receives over 4 million visitors annually. It covers 415 acres and is home to 147 lakes and dozens of mammals, including bear, moose, and bighorn sheep. There are also 355 miles worth of hiking trails, and the Continental Divide. The park is very popular from June to September. However, this summer you will need to make a reservation in advance to gain access to the park. This helps to control crowding.

How to get to Rocky Mountain National Park

Rocky Mountain National Park can be reached by car. The national park can be reached in about 90 minutes from Denver, if you have good driving conditions. Renting a car is usually the best way to travel to Rocky Mountain National Park or around Colorado. The Estes Park Shuttle operates from Denver and costs $95 round trip or $55 for one-way. You can book your own private car service from Denver to Estes Park from DIA.

Rocky Mountain National Park: Top Things to Do and See

Rocky Mountain National Park is suitable for all seasons. You can easily access many of the park’s rewards from Denver to Estes Park car transportation.

Estes Park

You’ll likely go to or through Estes Park before you enter Rocky Mountain National Park.

Estes Park is a great place to stroll around downtown and stop by the many shops and restaurants. You can also book an active adventure like horseback riding and whitewater rafting. Saltwater taffy shops can be found in Estes Park, which dates back to the 1930s. Although it may seem odd to offer this in a mountain town setting, it was a very popular option and still a worthy calorie-splurge.

If you are not interested in camping, or just visiting Estes Park for a day, you might be staying the night. In this case, you will have plenty of time to visit Antonios Real New York Pizza or Rock Inn Mountain Tavern, or Scratch Deli and Bakery, all of which get high marks from visitors.

Trail Ridge Road

Since 1931, Trail Ridge Road has inspired awe among those who drive it. It is open only seasonally, usually from Memorial Day to mid-October. However, it is weather dependent. It can open earlier or later depending on snow conditions.

You’ll be rewarded if you timing it correctly. Trail Ridge Road rises approximately 4,000 feet and reaches the top of the trees to reach a maximum elevation of 12,183 feet on a section of the 48-mile drive from Estes Park, Colorado to Grand Lake. Trail Ridge Road’s top is often 20-30 degrees colder than Grand Lake or Estes Park.

Fall River Road

Fall River Road is a great place for nostalgic travelers.

It was the first road to the heart of the park and is still considered the “motor nature trail”. The gravel road has a lot of switchbacks, one-way uphill and keeps you so close that you can touch the glass.

Just below the Alpine Visitors Center, it intersects with Trail Ridge Road. If you are traveling through limo service Denver, then you can ask your chauffeur to guide you.

Bear Lake

Bear Lake is surrounded by a flat and easy trail that runs just under 1 mile. It can be accessed at Bear Lake Road’s end, 9 miles from Highway 36. Be aware that this is a very popular area so it’s best to get up early in the morning.

You will also find other hikes with varying difficulty and lengths nearby. Many hikes to Emerald, Nymph, and Dream Lakes are included in a Bear Lake-area visit. You can also take a walk along the valley floor in Moraine Park. It will feel like you are part of the park.

Emerald Lake

You can combine this hike with the one around Bear Lake. However, it is a little longer at 3 miles. Although it isn’t strenuous, the trail can get slick with snow late in June. It is also very popular so it’s best to start earlier than the rest of the day.

The best time to visit Rocky Mountain National Park

The seasons change in the Rocky Mountain National Park. The park is most popular in the summer and early fall, but a winter visit can be just as magical.

Mid-September is a great time to visit. It’s a pleasant day, but there is a chill in the air that can make a park cozy and inviting. The sky is spectacular, the aspens are lit up, the animals are busy, and the park is usually still open and accessible.