Rocky Mountain National Park is mostly known for its hiking trails, so bring some sturdy footwear to make the most of the renowned paths like Bear Lake and Emerald Lake Trail. Take the hour-long trip on Trail Ridge Road or the slightly more adventurous Old Fall River Road to explore the park from the comfort and security of your vehicle.
To get maps and information, however, you should first stop at one of the park’s visitor centers, such as Beaver Meadows. Go to Estes Park and make sure to check out the establishments along Elkhorn Avenue for a cool beer or ice cream after a day spent in the woods.
Best Places to Visit in Rocky Mountain National Park
Discover the top activities in Rocky Mountain National Park in this article, along with advice on how to enjoy yourself to the fullest.
1. Trail Ridge Road, Drive
In addition to being the highest paved road in Colorado, Trail Ridge Road is also the highest road in the entire US national park system.
This route travels 48 miles from Grand Lake in the west to Estes Park in the east. The first 11 kilometers of this route are above treeline on the alpine tundra. At 12,183 feet, it reaches its highest peak. Milner Pass is where Trail Ridge Road crosses the Continental Divide.
2. Overlook of the Forest Canyon
One of the nicest viewpoints may be found on Trail Ridge Road at this location. From this vantage point, which is 11,716 feet above sea level, you can see Longs Peak, Stones Peak, Hayden Gorge, and Gorge Lakes all at once.
3. Go hideous
From a hiking route, there is no better way to experience Rocky Mountain National Park. And there are lots of options. You could spend weeks here and never get bored because to the 355 miles of hiking paths.
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There is definitely something here for everyone, from quick, easy walks around lakes to ridgeline pathways with panoramic views to difficult but spectacular climbs to the greatest mountain peaks.
4. Bull Lake
The shortest and most popular hike in Rocky Mountain National Park is this one. Literally, it’s a flat, lovely, simple stroll through the park.
Since the entire trip is only 0.6 miles long, it is suitable for hikers of all ages and skill levels. Although the majority of this gravel trail is unpaved, it is nonetheless regarded as handicap accessible.
This walk around the lake is not only beautiful, but it can also be educational. The informative guide, which informs you about the Bear Lake region at 30 indicated locations along the trail and costs roughly $1, is available at the trailhead.
5. Montana Falls
One of the most visited waterfalls in Rocky Mountain National Park is Alberta Falls. It is a short hike to get here, just like Bear Lake.
It is not a particularly taxing walk to get to Alberta Falls from the parking area at Glacier Gorge. When you arrive at the waterfall, you can stroll down Glacier Creek’s short pathways to select your preferred vantage point for the falls.
6. Northern Park
One of the best areas in Rocky Mountain National Park to watch wildlife is Moraine Park. Elk can be seen feeding in herds in this valley.
Numerous hiking paths, including those leading to Bear Lake, Fern Lake, and Mills Lake, begin here as well.
7. Site Historic of Holzwarth
German immigrant John Holzwarth and his family constructed a tiny cabin here in 1917. They constructed a number of additional guest cabins throughout the ensuing years.
The Nature Conservancy bought the land in 1974, after which it was added to the national park. To learn more about the way of life of Colorado homesteaders, park visitors can take a tour of the site. Volunteers lead regular tours of the Holzwarth site during the summer.
8. Road to Old Fall River and Chasm Falls
Old Fall River Road, which initially opened in 1920, was the entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park.
It takes nearly an hour to travel the 11 miles of this gravel, one-way road. The Alpine Visitor Center is where it terminates after beginning in Horseshoe Park. There are no guardrails, and this route has many switchbacks. There are many pull-offs, though, so that cars can pass. Standard automobiles will work quite well on this route; you don’t need a 44.
9. Run for the Mountains
Rocky Mountain National Park has long been a favorite destination for rock climbers and mountaineers. This park draws climbers from all over the world due to its many peaks that rise beyond 12,000 feet, 20 of which do so above 13,000 feet.
Activities include bouldering, simple climbs, and multi-day ascents on sheer cliff faces. Ice climbing is a possibility during the colder months.
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Check the National Park Service website for information on bivouac permits and closures for raptor nesting before you travel.
Rocky Mountain National Park is a fantastic summer and fall vacation destination thanks to its network of hiking paths. But the winter is a fantastic time to visit as well.
10. Try Cross-country Skiing or Snowshoeing
When the park is mostly snow-covered from December through May, you can cross-country ski or go snowshoeing to explore it. Snowshoes make it possible to reach many of the park’s paths.
Cross-country skiing is an excellent way to explore the subalpine areas and the alpine tundra. If you’ve never tried snowshoeing, you might want to sign up for a ranger-led session that is free.
Rocky Mountain National Park is a delight to explore with towering mountain peaks, hiking paths that lead to alpine lakes and waterfalls, animals, and a magnificent drive along one of the highest roads in the USA.
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