"Rocky Mountain National Park" Top 5 Page for this destination Rocky Mountain National Park by goingsolo

Rocky Mountain National Park Travel Guide: 272 reviews and 642 photos

High Altitude Highs

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. "


John Fayee,
Along Colorado's Continental Divide Trail.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Incredible scenery and wildlife
  • Cons:Can't think of any
  • In a nutshell:You have to experience it
  • Last visit to Rocky Mountain National Park: Jan 2005
  • Intro Updated Jan 24, 2005
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Reviews (46)

Comments (15)

  • ferdnbean's Profile Photo
    Nov 9, 2008 at 3:18 PM

    U R the best, my friend!

  • blue_sky04's Profile Photo
    Oct 15, 2007 at 6:27 PM

    Nice page! your photos on the intro page are great.

  • dongix's Profile Photo
    Aug 3, 2006 at 1:21 AM

    Very nice pictures. You must be a pro. And helpful tips too. Thanks!:) We will be in RMNP this September. I;m excited

  • GuthrieColin's Profile Photo
    Jul 23, 2006 at 11:08 AM

    This place looks pretty awesome. I'll have to put it on my list of places to go if I ever find myself in Colorado

  • lou31's Profile Photo
    May 21, 2006 at 5:55 PM

    Great tips and the pics were excellent! Enjoyed my little trip around your pages. Thanks.....

  • scottishvisitor's Profile Photo
    Mar 22, 2006 at 12:29 PM

    You describe a lot of places as crowded = with this amazing scenery all around I'm not surprised. Good page I enjoyed my virtual tour - thanks

  • btex's Profile Photo
    Jan 28, 2006 at 9:04 AM

    nice pics. looks like a hiking paradise. makes me want to head up there.

  • wcph's Profile Photo
    Aug 27, 2005 at 4:24 PM

    Great page and photos.

  • mrclay2000's Profile Photo
    Jun 15, 2005 at 7:17 AM

    Trail Ridge Road is not one I'd like to drive in winter. . .on the other hand I couldn't imagine this park without the September aspen in bloom.

  • keida84's Profile Photo
    Jan 23, 2005 at 4:38 PM

    Your photography is excellent. I am just beginning to build pages. I like how you put the NPS link in. Kathleen

goingsolo

“"Our battered suitcases were piled on the sidewalk again; we had longer ways to go. But no matter, the road is life."”

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