Rocky Mountain National Park is one of the most popular National Parks in the entire system. It’s pretty easy to see why. Straddling the Continental Divide and located a few hours north of Denver, Colorado by car, the pristine and unique beauty it offers is something to behold.
At over 250,000 acres to explore, you’d have to keep coming back year after year to be able to take it all in. Since the acreage runs over the Continental Divide, the line that separates the watersheds of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, it features a very different landscape from one side of the park to the next.
On the East side, the park is drier with more glaciers, and on the west side it is heavily forested and lush. It’s almost like having the ability to see two parks at once!
There are a number of attractions at Rocky Mountain National Park that keeps almost 3.5 million visitors a year entertained. Let’s take a look at what the park has to offer.
Of course, the big attraction to Rocky Mountain National Park has to be the hiking trails. With well over 300 miles of trail for any experience level, you won’t be disappointed. Some of the most popular trails for beginners involve the lake hikes. There are a number of lakes dotted around the park, like Emerald Lake, Bear Lake and Lilly Lake, that have short half-mile to 3-mile trails with easy elevation.
Now, if you want to feel like you’re standing on top of the world. Then you have to try some of the summit hikes, where many of the peaks in the park will have you standing at 10,000 feet (and above!). These hikes, which include the Mount Ida, Twin Sisters, Deer Mountain trails, will be more strenuous, but well worth the effort!
Since Rocky Mountain National Park is so large, there are actually three different roads that lead into the park. The most scenic (and popular) of these is the Trail Ridge Road, also known as Highway 34. If you want to see the very best the park has to offer without scaling to new heights yourself, this is your best bet.
The Trail Ridge Road is almost 50 miles long and crosses a height just shy of 12,000 feet and the drive leads you through incredibly windy ups and downs. It’s an adventure in and of itself, but it’s also a great way to see the park if you’re short on time or unable to explore on foot.
Among other popular activities that can be found in the park like fishing and biking, horseback riding is a very popular thing to do for visitors. There are two stables located within the park itself, Moraine Park Stables and Glacier Creek Stables, in addition to many commercial stables located outside the park.
You can enjoy tours while on horseback with one of the many experienced tour guides along the 200 miles of horse trails inside Rock Mountain National Park. The scenic views, and glimpses of stunning wildlife really enhance the experience.
During Your Stay
While there are no overnight lodges inside the park, there are five different camping grounds you can choose from that allow both tent and vehicle camping, as well as back country options. Inside the park during the summer and fall there is a small cafe that also sells food.
Enjoy your stay at Rocky Mountain National Park and let us know what your favorite part was!