"Rocky Mountain National Park" Top 5 Page for this destination Rocky Mountain National Park by goingsolo
Rocky Mountain National Park Travel Guide: 269 reviews and 630 photos
This is my favorite national park to date. The combination of high mountain peaks, pristine lakes and clear blue sky make it unbeatable in my estimation. 415 square miles of nirvana with enough hiking, climbing and wildlife watching to keep Rocky's 3 million annnual visitors in awe.
There are more than 110 peaks which soar above 10,000 feet. Some of these snowcapped towering magesties such as Long's Peak, are well known and their summits are coveted by amateur climbers and peak baggers. Others remain nameless features of Rocky's vast wilderness.
There are about 150 known lakes within the park boundaries, some accessible along Rocky's nearly 100 square miles of trail and other hidden in distant wilderness archives, perched high above the tundra in areas that remain frozen year round. Streams also cascade from high wilderness regions, forming waterfalls at lower elevation.
In the summer, while snow is still possible at the higher elevations, wildflowers bloom in lower altitiude meadows teeming with deer and elk. In the fall, elk mating season begins, and the bugling can be heard in nearby Estes Park.
And there's the High Road. Trail Ridge Road, the highest contiguous road in North America. Trail Ridge runs 48 miles from the tourist town of Estes Park to Grand Lake on the western boundary. Huge snowbanks flank the road during the few summer months it is open for travel. Like most of the park, the road is above treeline and offers stunning views along every hairpin turn.
I first visited the park in late spring. With summer just around the corner, elk roamed the wide open fields and tourists sped along Trail Ridge Road and hiked an masse along trails. Visit number 2 in January was a marked contrast to the nearly summer visit. Although the temperatures were unseasonably warm, the fields were snow covered and the elk nowhere to be found. Few people visited, and those who did brought snowshoes, now a necessity on any trail.
I think this quote by John Fayhee, backpacker and author of several books about Colorado's high country, pretty much sums it up:
"There's always a yin-yang cosmic mountain formula at play in the Rockies. When a storm clears, the alpine wilderness is at its most gorgeous, and it only achieves that degree and kind of gorgeousness after a storm. There is no other way you can interface with the sensory best that the High Country has to offer without dealing head on with Mother Nature at her most intense. Thing is, Mother Nature at her most intense is worth the visit in and of itself.
In a place like the Colorado high country, you can do more than just watch and appreciate the beauty and power of a passing storm from a distance: you can also sit inside a storm as it moves by. You can reach out and touch the inner workings of the machine that produces lightning, thunder rain and snow. "
Along Colorado's Continental Divide Trail.
- Pros:Incredible scenery and wildlife
- Cons:Can't think of any
- In a nutshell:You have to experience it
I've heard this many times, but never experienced it, and certainly not at a relatively low elevation. Flurries came... more travel advice
The mountains are the big scenic draw in this park, but equally popular are the sprawling alpine meadows, teeming with... more travel advice
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Latest: Sep 24, 2012