Home / Destination Guides / A Guide to the Rocky Mountain National Park

A Guide to the Rocky Mountain National Park

Rocky Mountain National Park is located in North Central Colorado near Estes Park, Colorado. Estes Park sits at the park entrance and boasts an elevation of 7,522 feet. This national park boasts beauty through the rough and rugged peaks that flow through the park. The fee for entering the park by automobile is $20.00 for seven consecutive days. National park entrance fees help maintain the roads, structures, vault toilets, and campgrounds that are occupied by many.

If you and your family like to camp, this is the national park for you. There are several campgrounds throughout the park and reservations can be made at several of them. Aspenglen Campground is one that does not accept reservations and is on a first come, first serve basis. The Longs Peak Campground is popular as a base camp for those that want to tackle climbing up Longs Peak, which towers up to 14,259 feet. There are only 26 tent sites at this campground which does not accept reservations. Moraine Park Campground which is located off of Bear Lake Road and has 245 campsites. Reservations are recommended, as the campground is quite often full. The majestic views that the Moraine Park Basin provides are some of the best in the park. This campground is just a hop, skip, and jump from this basin and provides excellent wildlife viewing opportunities. Elk, an occasional bear, Abert’s squirrels, moose, and the noisy pika are commonly seen in this area.

Bear Lake Road is a beautiful drive and leads to numerous trail heads throughout the park. For the avid hiker, Bear Lake Road provides a gateway of opportunity. The parking lot at Bear Lake does fill up early in the day, therefore; the shuttle parking lot is a great place to park your car. There are numerous buses that transfer park guests to this area up to Bear Lake. Two shuttle stops occupy this area. One group of buses takes guests up to Bear Lake and the other bus stop is to the town of Estes Park, along with a campground route. If you have opted to head to Bear Lake and hike for the day, do get an early start. Afternoon thundershowers are usually a daily occurrence, so an eye on the sky is a must! Endless hiking opportunities await you and your party at Bear Lake, enjoy!

Trail Ridge Road is one of the most beautiful drives you can ever go on. On this scenic highway there are more than eight miles above 11,000 feet. This is the highest continuous highway in the United States of America. Lakes, wildlife, snow covered peaks, and numerous rock formations provide awesome views along the route. At the top of Trail Ridge Road is a visitor center which is surrounded by alpine tundra. The air is thin here and this is a great place for elk viewing, along with the occasional big horn sheep.

Horseback riding, fly fishing, bicycling, scenic drives, picnicking, and climbing rock formations are highlights for many that visit Rocky Mountain National Park. A popular spot to watch for bighorn sheep is about a mile from the Aspenglen Campground. There is a large parking lot and with a pair of binoculars you may be fortunate to be the first to view a big horn sheep coming down the mountain and cross the road. The meadows here provide another opportunity for wildlife viewing, as it is not uncommon to see a coyote out in the meadow.

The wildflowers are in full bloom in July. Throughout August the flowers continue to bloom and during the middle of August the Aspen trees start to turn to their beautiful fall colors in the higher terrain. The thrill of hiking through snow in 80 degree temperatures can be experienced in July. From heat, snow, sun, hail, to ice pellets Rocky Mountain National Park is a park to experience all of Mother Nature in one day! This park provides opportunity to appreciate the grandeur that our National Park system in the United States has to offer.
This park will not disappoint you as you visit. Be sure to utilize the numerous volunteers and National Park Rangers that you will encounter. These people have pocketbooks of knowledge and information for you, do not be afraid to ask for information.

Enjoy your visit to Rocky Mountain National Park, you will not regret your visit. Once you visit, you will want to go back! Remember to drink a lot of water to avoid altitude sickness. At the higher altitudes our bodies use a lot more water than altitudes closer to sea level. With a sense of adventure and a desire to experience the great outdoors, Rocky Mountain National Park will not disappoint you!