Anyone who loves alpine lakes, snow capped peaks and abundant wildlife, will love Rocky Mountain National Park. With more than 305 miles of hiking trails that lead to the parks treasured meadows blanketed with wildflowers, dense forests of lodgepole pines and Engelmann spruce, grazing elk, cool, clear lakes and streaming waterfalls, Rocky Mountain National Park is sure to delight any nature and mountain lover.
WHAT TO DO
Most people visit Rocky Mountain National Park for its gorgeous scenery. With dozens of lakes, majestic mountain peeks and great hiking trails, there is no lack of active and adventurous activities in the great outdoors. Rocky Mountain National Park is also home to many great campgrounds and opportunities for wildlife viewing (elk and bighorn sheep mostly).
The Continental Divide straddles this scenically spectacular park and in the summer, visitors can take a drive over the spectacular and dizzyingly high Trail Ridge Pass, which winds its way up from Estes Park at 7,800 feet to a summit at almost 13,000 feet.
At the base of Rocky Mountain National Park is the quaint town of Estes Park, which many visitors to the park use a jumping off point to explore the nearby park. The town has a handful of restaurants, shops, bars and has plenty of places to buy postcards and or/cheesy touristy paraphernalia.
The best way to get to Rocky Mountain National is by flying into nearby Denver International Airport (airport code DEN). While the airport is about a 2 hour drive from the entrance to the park, it serves as a major hub of both United and Frontier Airlines, so getting a cheap flight to Denver shouldn’t be too difficult.
Because Denver isn’t too far away from the base of Rocky Mountain National Park, getting a Denver airport shuttle is an option. For those driving to the airport, you can also arrange your Denver airport parking in advance.
WHERE TO STAY
Of course one popular option for those visiting Rocky Mountain National Park is to camp. There are a large number of both drive-in campgrounds and places where you can backpack in to camp in the park. If you would rather stay somewhere with indoor plumbing, there are a variety of hotels in Estes Park at the base of the park. There are also a few hostels in Estes Park for those on a tighter budget who would rather not camp.