Rocky Mountain National Park
Estes Park CO 80517
A visit to Rocky Mountain National Park brings you into the middle of the majestic peaks that are such a prominent part of the landscape for miles in any direction. A drive through the park provides breathtaking views, and opportunities for outdoor recreation of any level are plentiful.
Must see and do at Rocky Mountain National Park
Enter from the Estes Park side of the park and (in season) drive Trail Ridge Road all the way through to the Grand Lake entrance. Reaching a peak at over 12,000 feet, the road traverses the mountains and brings you up into an alpine tundra, with incredible vistas all around you. Once you get down to the west side, spend the night at Timber Creek campground and take advantage of its location along the Colorado River to take a refreshing dip.
Best and worst times to go to Rocky Mountain National Park
Though the park is open all year, many of the roads are closed mid-October–May due to extreme weather conditions. September is an ideal time to visit for temperatures and views, though if you are planning to camp, know that temperatures can still drop drastically at night. Traffic can be extremely heavy on summer weekends, so plan accordingly and consider visiting some of the more remote areas of the park.
Admission to Rocky Mountain National Park
All entrance fees provide access to the park for a 7-day period. A carload will cost $20–30, while per-person fees (by foot or by bike) will be $10-20. The National Park Service does offer several fee-free days and weekends throughout the year, when your entrance fee will be waived but you still have to pay for camping.
Wildlife at Rocky Mountain National Park
Rocky Mountain National Park is bursting with wildlife activity, from mountain peaks to the rivers and valleys. Elk and bighorn sheep are abundant; in fact the elk are so comfortable with tourists that they wander the campsites freely. Less common, though still present, are black bears and mountain lions.
Insider tip for visitors to Rocky Mountain National Park
The Cub Lake trail on the east side is a great place to start exploring the park. It is a moderate 5 mile round-trip hike and goes through prime areas for spotting wildlife.
Julia O. is a full-time editor and part-time freelance writer transplanted from Boston to Denver. She is thriving on the transition and has enjoyed the exploration of both cities and everything in between.