The park's rich scenery typifies the massive grandeur of the Rocky Mountains. Trail Ridge Road crosses the Continental Divide and looks out over peaks that tower more than 14,000 feet high. Wildlife and wildflowers call these 415.2 square miles (265,727 acres) of Colorado's front range, home. The road is closed over the winter. During the winter months snowshoeing is popular as is cross country skiing.
Basic Information on Rocky Mountain National Park
Operating Hours and Operating Hours for Rocky Mountain
Open 24 hours a day, 12 months of the year. Pets are allowed in campgrounds, picnic areas and along road sides, but not on ANY park trails. Pets cannot be left in cars unattended.
How to Get to Rocky Mountain National Park
Nearest Airport to Rocky Mountain National Park - Denver International Airport
How to Drive to Rocky Mountain National Park - Via
U.S. routes 34, 36 from the east; and U.S. Rt. from the west.
Weather & Climate
Four distinct seasons. November through March cold and windy Highs - 20's Lows -10's.. April and May variable with possible snow storms. June through August typical mountain summer conditions. September through October quite variable with possible snow storms.
The Visitor Centers are accessible to wheelchairs.
Camping At Rocky Mountain National Park
Aspenglen Campground at Rocky Mountain National Park
54 sites situated along Fall River just inside the Fall River Entrance on US Rt. 34, 5 miles west of the town of Estes Park.
Glacier Basin Campground at Rocky Mountain
Located 7 miles west of the Beaver Meadows Visitor Center off of the Bear Lake Rd. Most sites are in a lodgepole pine forest. Glacier Creek runs by the campgroung. Good hiking trails are easily accessed from the campground
Longs Peak Campground at Rocky Mountain
Open All Year
Nestled near the trailhead to Longs Peak, the campground's 26 sites are for tents only on a first come/first served basis. During July and August, most campers rise early to hike the Longs Peak Trail. Water is turned off from mid-September to late May.
Moraine Park Campground at Rocky Mountain
Open All Year
Located off of the Bear Lake Rd., 2 1/2 miles from the Beaver Meadows Visitor Center. Sites are mostly in a ponderosa pine forest and look out over Moraine Park, a large meadow area with the Big Thompson River flowing through. First come, first served Labor Day to mid-May. Water is off for the winter months.
Timber Creek Campground at Rocky Mountain
Open All Year
The 100 sites are set on high ground looking out over the Kawuneeche Valley and the Colorado River. Fishing and hiking are readily accessible. Moose regularly visit the valley, along with elk and mule deer. Water shut from late September to late May.
Activities and More Information
on Rocky Mountain National Park
There are many different ways to experience the great outdoors of Rocky Mountain National Park. Listed below are some examples.
Biking in Rocky Mountain National Park is for the serious tourer. Riding is on paved road; bouncing downhill over bouldered trail is strictly prohibited. But don't think the challenge is any the less for that. Trail Ridge Road is a 4 to 6 hour ride. If you can climb the 3700 feet up from Estes Park, you will find a delightful Alpine ride at 12,000 feet. And of course it's all downhill from there3400 feet to Grand Lake!
Bear Lake Road
This route starts off U.S. Highway 36 and climbs 1,500 feet (457 m) in 8 miles (13 km). It ends at scenic Bear Lake, elevation 9,475 ft (2,889 m). Narrow and mostly uphill, the ride takes you through Moraine Park flanked by mountains and moraines. The road follows cascading Glacier Creek through aspen, fir, and lodgepole pine trees.
Trail Ridge Road
This is a demanding intermediate-to-advanced ride. The road climbs 3,758 ft (1,145 m) in 15 miles (24km) from Estes Park and about 3,429 ft (1,045 m) in 20.2 miles (32.5 km) from Grand Lake. The reward is 10 miles (16 km) of rolling, alpine highway at about 1 2,000 ft (3,658 m) above sea level. Expect air temperatures to be 150 to 200F cooler above treeline. To avoid hypothermia, change to a dry shirt BEFORE you get above treeline and in the wind.
An early start at sunrise will assure light traffic and decrease the chances of being caught above treeline in a late morning or afternoon thunderstorm. The only protection from lightning is at Fall River Pass. You can find temporary shelter at Alpine Visitor Center and Fall River Store. In emergencies, comfort stations at Rainbow Curve and Rock Cut provide shelter
Horseshoe Park/Estes Park Loop
This 16-mile (27 km) loop is best done by going west on U.S. Highway 34 through the Fall River Entrance. At Deer Ridge Junction ride east on Highway 36 through the Beaver Meadows Entrance
The route exits the NationalPark and winds up in theTown of Estes Park. Theviews of the Front Range andMummy Range arespectacular. Watch for sharpturns when descending fromDeer Ridge Junction.
Trail Ridge Road
Covering the 48 miles between Estes Park on the park's east side and Grand Lake on the west, Trail Ridge Road more than lives up to its advanced billing. Eleven miles of this high highway travel above treeline, the elevation near 11,000 feet where the park's evergreen forests come to a halt. As it winds across the tundra's vastness to its high point at 12,183 feet elevation, Trail Ridge Road (U.S. 34) offers visitors thrilling views, wildlife sightings and spectacular alpine wildflower exhibitions, all from the comfort of their car.
Up on that windswept alpine world, conditions resemble those found in the Canadian or Alaskan Arctic. It's normally windy and 20 to 30 degrees colder than Estes Park or Grand Lake. The sun beats down with high-ultraviolet intensity. The vistas, best enjoyed from one of several marked road pullovers, are extravagant, sweeping north to Wyoming, east across the Front Range cities and Great Plains, south and west into the heart of the Rockies.
But for all its harshness, the Trail Ridge tundra is a place of vibrant life and vivid colors. Pikas, marmots, ptarmigans and bighorn sheep are commonly seen. About 200 species of tiny alpine plants hug the ground. Despite a growing season that may last just 40 days, many bloom exuberantly, adorning the green summer tundra with swatches of yellow, red, pink, blue, purple and white. All are seen from the Tundra World Nature Trail, a half-hour walk beginning near the parking area at Rock Cut.
Most Trail Ridge Road travelers drive to treeline with a certain amount of urgency. They are advised not to ignore all that awaits in the verdant country below the alpine tundra. Forested moraines, great heaps of earth and rock debris left behind by melting Ice Age glaciers, rise above lush mountain meadows. The Continental Divide, where streamflows are separated east from west, is crossed at Milner Pass, located at a surprisingly low 10,120 feet elevation. Moose munch greenery in the upper reaches of the Colorado River, which flows through the scenic Kawuneeche Valley. Grazing elk greet sunrise and sunset in many of the forest-rimmed meadows found around the park.
Fall River Road
Primarily gravel, one-way uphill and punctuated by switchbacks, slower-paced, 11-mile-long. The old road quietly leads travelers from Horseshoe Park (a short distance west of the Fall River Entrance) through the park's wilderness to Fall River Pass, 11,796 feet above sea level. The journey to the alpine world at the top of Old Fall River Road is relaxing. The experience is one to be savored.
The posted speed limit is 15 miles per hour, a clear indication that a journey up Old Fall River Road is not for the impatient. The road itself is safe, but narrow and curved. In places, the trees of the montane and subalpine forests are so close that motorists can touch them. Old Fall River Road is ideal for visitors seeking to become intimate with nature.
The road follows a route traveled long ago by Indian hunters, who came to the park area in search of its abundant game. Early in the trip, travelers pass the alluvial fan scoured out by the 1982 Lawn Lake Flood and the site of a labor camp that housed state convicts who worked on the road project. For these men, crime did not pay. The laborers were forced to build the three-mile stretch of road to the scenic respite of Chasm Falls with no more than hand tools at their disposal.
After passing Willow Park, where elk often are seen feeding on the foliage, the road enters the alpine tundra. Awaiting there is the Fall River Cirque, birthplace of glaciers that once worked their way up and down the mountain valleys. The road traverses the headwall of this amphitheater-like formation before joining Trail Ridge Road near the Alpine Visitor Center at Fall River Pass.
Ahead lie the wonders of Trail Ridge Road, which leads travelers east to Estes Park or southwest to Grand Lake. Behind is Old Fall River Road, that winding old route that offers travelers a taste of auto travel in days gone by and a look at Rocky Mountain's nature close-up.
There are many miles of trails found within Rocky Mountain National Park,. and listed below is just a small sample of whats available. It is best to check at the Ranger Station or visitor center to check on current conditions of all trails.
Bear Lake 0.6 mile-loop Easy -An excellent interpretive nature trail circles this popular subalpine lake at the end of Bear Lake Road.
Lone Pine Lake 5.5 miles Strenuous -Streamside hiking past Adams Falls and wonderful scenery highlight this west side lake hike.
ADAMS FALLS 0.3 Easy -A beautiful stream and pleasant scenery accompany hikers on this popular west side walk.
ALBERTA FALLS 0.6 Easy -Glacier Creek thunders down this spectacular waterfall that ranks as one of the park's more popular hiking destinations.
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