Rocky Mountain National Park is the first national park that I have visited. Let me tell ya, it is GORGEOUS! It made it into our Top 5 National Parks and for good reason. Colorado has so much to offer as is, but RMNP is the pinnacle.
- 1. Why Should I Visit RMNP?
- 2. I Hear Hiking Is Huge In RMNP. What Are The Best Trails?
- 3. Hiking Isn’t My Thing. What Else Is There To See in RMNP?
- 4. Besides RMNP, What’s There To Do?
- 5. I’m Going To Be Tired After All Of This. Where Do I Stay at RMNP?
1. Why Should I Visit RMNP?
RMNP is filled to the brim with beauty and wildlife. A trip here is a memory that will never be forgotten.
Where to start? The views at this park are breathtaking. Before even entering the park guests are greeted with massive mountains surrounding them from all sides. Inside the park is untouched, with natural allure. Even by car, seeing the skyscraping landscape is sure to make for a great experience.
Wildlife in RMNP is abundant and all over. It would be hard to not run into wildlife in this park. Elk are the most common sight, not being afraid of humans, these beasts will take a stroll right through town. Big horn sheep, moose as well as black bears also roam these hills.
2. I Hear Hiking Is Huge In RMNP. What Are The Best Trails?
You heard right. Some of the best hiking can be done here in RMNP. There is so much to see the possibility of running out of trails is near impossible. The best hikes, however, lay directly off of the Bear Lake Trailhead.
Amazingly enough, the lookout here at Lake Haiyaha is surrounded by rising peaks and boulder fields you won’t believe. The lake itself is a great size, bigger than most alpine lakes. It is the perfect place to come and enjoy lunch and at only 3.6 miles round trip, this is a perfect hike to start the day with.
This is a truly spectacular alpine lake worth seeing, coming in at 3.2 miles. The lake features a mountain peak backdrop and a waterfall that runs during the early summertime. Crystal clear waters give you the opportunity to see trout swimming through the lake too. The best time to see this lake is in early July when the wildflowers are in full bloom.
Words can not describe how truly stunning Sky Pond is. The hike is strenuous coming in at a 13-mile round trip. Let me tell ya though, it is so worth it. On the way up there is so much to see. There are rivers, outlooks, streams, meadows, cliffs, lakes, and waterfalls. Speaking of waterfalls, to get to Sky Pond requires a quick climb up a waterfall. If that’s not neat I don’t know what is. After the waterfall climb, your in a valley in the sky containing 3 lakes and a glacier which feeds the whole water system you just hiked next to. This hike truly is a hike every capable person should partake in.
3. Hiking Isn’t My Thing. What Else Is There To See in RMNP?
The nice thing about RMNP is that it is very accessible to people that don’t want to do any real hiking. The scenic byways make for a great experience that will be remembered for a lifetime.
Moderately sized and situated directly next to the parking lot at the end of the road is Bear Lake. The walk is short, less than .1 mile. The area around Bear Lake is surrounded by trees and has a very nice view of the mountains behind it.
Trail Ridge Road
This switchback road, also known as Mount Evans Scenic Byway, is a great way to spend time while in the park. Being the highest road in the United States the views from here are spectacular. The best part about it is there is a parking lot right at the top of Mount Evans allowing you to walk up to the peak via a staircase. The visitor center here offers sweeping views of the valley underneath. This is a must-see if visiting RMNP.
Old Fall River Road
Old Fall River Road was the first road built through this area and was used as a byway. Today the road is one way featuring plenty of views and a stop at Chasm Falls. Ending at the Alpine Visitor Center, a ride down Trail Ridge Road makes this a perfect loop to explore the park.
4. Besides RMNP, What’s There To Do?
Colorado is the land of adventure. If you want to do it, Colorado most likely has it. There is so much to see and do that you will never have enough time to do it all. But, here is some things that you could do instead of going to RMNP.
Estes Park is considered the Basecamp of RMNP. Located directly outside, this town is surrounded by mountains and has a beautiful lake. Shopping is abundant here with the town having its very own strip of shops. This is also the home of the hotel in The Shining.
Denver is full of ways to spend your time. From comedy clubs to the zoo to parks. Not to mention the massive amounts of restaurants and local breweries to try. You will never run out of things to do in the mile-high city.
I-70 is considered one of the most beautiful highways in the United States. It carves through the mountains letting you see truly what Colorado is all about. This interstate leads through 2 tunnels and eventually into Utah. I-70 is highly recommended to anybody that wants to see the mountains in all their glory from the comfort of their car.
5. I’m Going To Be Tired After All Of This. Where Do I Stay at RMNP?
A base of operations is a must-have when on any vacation. The place you will come back to at the end of the day to rest up, and where you begin your day. Everyone knows about an Airbnb or a hotel room. Camping in Colorado though, that’s where it’s at. When it comes to camping when visiting RMNP you have a few choices.
Colorado has so many camping opportunities to offer it’s easy to find a place to stay. There is one place in particular though that I recommend. That is LaVern M. Johnson Park in Lyons Colorado. This park has very affordable tent camping, both next to a river or car side along with RV spots. The showers here are clean and bathrooms are easily accessible. This park also comes with a little beach area and a beautiful view of the cliff walls surrounding it.
Backcountry Camping RMNP
Waking up to the most majestic views a park has to offer is amazing but comes with a few drawbacks. Permits, showers, and restrooms just to name a few. However, being able to see a sunset and a sunrise in the alpine tundra makes it well worth the trouble.