Rocky Mountain National Park

Forest Canyon Overlook at Sunset, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado #vezzaniphotographyForest Canyon Overlook, Rocky Mountain National Park

If I could describe Rocky Mountain National Park in three words, they would be big, bold, and beautiful!  As the highest elevation National Park in the US, I fell in love with Rocky Mountain National Park the moment I saw the towering mountain cliffs off in the distance.  With cascading waterfalls, meandering wildlife, and mountain lake hikes, this park is a must see!

Elk at Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado #vezzaniphotographyElk in Hidden Valley off of Fall River Road, Rocky Mountain National Park

One feature I loved about Rocky Mountain National Park was how private it felt.  Even though this National Park had 4,590,493 visitor’s last year alone, I felt like I had the park to myself during several key moments.  There are plenty of hikes, scenic drives, and lots of places you can go to get away from the crowds.  Going in the late evening and early morning also helped.  During the daytime hours, the bus system allowed us to park once and then travel from destination to destination.  Our visit in June 2019 was perfectly pleasant.

Dream Lake, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado #vezzaniphotographyDream Lake, Rocky Mountain National Park

Another thing I loved about Rocky Mountain National Park was the wildlife.  I, personally, am afraid of bears.  That said, we saw a ton of wildlife on our trip (no bears, thankfully).  Two elk greeted us on our hike back down from Chasm Falls, a baby moose grazed in front of us at Sprague lake, marmots chased each other at Emerald Lake, and a field of grazing Elk led the way to our sunset location.  Even a little chipmunk approached cautiously, looking for a free handout (which we didn’t give).  In all cases, we kept a safe distance and simply enjoyed watching these animals in their native habitats.

Chasm Falls, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado #vezzaniphotographyChasm Falls, Rocky Mountain National Park

As with all the National Parks, you could spend a lifetime in Rocky Mountain National Park and still not see it all.  That said, there is plenty that can be done!  No matter how much time you have, Rocky Mountain National Park is sure to capture your heart.  Here are some tips to help make your visit to Rocky Mountain National Park a good one!

Rocky Mountain National Park Details & Location

Location: Colorado | Area: 415.32 mi²| Established: January 26, 1915 | Visitors: 4,590,493 (in 2018)

Directions: Rocky Mountain National Park is located in northern Colorado. It can be accessed from the West and East via US-34 and the south via US-7.  We stayed in Estes Park and had quick access into the park.  The main attractions are accessed via US-34, however, we also enjoyed some time exploring Wild Basin in the souther part of the park.  For more information about Rocky Mountain National Park, visit the National Park Service Website.

I only have a few hours to visit Rocky Mountain National Park:

If you only have a few hours to visit Rocky Mountain National Park, here are my top recommendations for must-see attractions:

  • Hike to the Alluvial Fan
  • Drive the one way Old Fall River Road
  • Hike to (or drive to) Chasm Falls (located off of Old Fall River Road)
  • Drive back down the Trail Ridge Road
  • Stop at the Forest Canyon Overlook, Gore Range Overlook, and Many Parks Curve Viewpoint along Trail Ridge Road

I have a day to visit Rocky Mountain National Park:

If you have a full day to visit Rocky Mountain National Park, then I recommend the following:

  • Do all of the above PLUS
  • Drive to Bear Lake
  • Hike to Lymph Pond and Dream Lake
  • Hike to Alberta Falls
  • Have a picnic lunch at Sprague Lake

I want to live at Rocky Mountain National Park:

If you have more than a day at Rocky Mountain National Park, the opportunities are countless! Here are some options for things you can do:

  • Do all of the above PLUS
  • Hike to Emerald Lake
  • Look for wild life in Hidden Valley and at Sheep Lakes
  • Stop at the Rainbow Curve Overlook, Lava Cliffs Overlook, Fairview Curve Overlook, and Medicine Bow Overlook
  • Hike the Ute Trail
  • Explore Wild Basin
  • Visit Adams Falls
  • Hike the Colorado River Trail
  • Go on the Bowen Gulch-Continental Divide Trail
  • Hike to Estes Cone
  • Visit the Holzwarth historic site
  • Hike the Coyote Valley Nature Trail
  • Go to and around Bierstadt Lake
  • Hike around Bear Lake
  • Visit the Moraine Park Discovery Center
  • Hike the Glacier Gorge Trail
  • Stop in at the park Visitor’s Centers

Best Sunrise Locations at Rocky Mountain National Park

If you can wake up early enough, catching the sunrise at Rocky Mountain National Park is worth it! The early morning light illuminates the mountain faces and is just lovely.  Honestly, anywhere in the park is gorgeous!  That said, here are just a few of many sunrise locations at Rocky Mountain National Park:

Best Sunset Locations at Rocky Mountain National Park

In addition to amazing sunrises, sunsets are spectacular, especially when you drive up the Trail Ridge Road to high altitudes! Some amazing sunset locations at Rocky Mountain National Park include the following:

  • Forest Canyon Overlook
  • Many pullouts along the Trail Ridge Road 
  • Pullout just west of the Alpine Visitor’s Center

Top 8 Hikes at Rocky Mountain National Park

The hiking in the Rocky Mountains is spectacular! That said, some hikes are more difficult than others. Here is a list of 8 amazing hikes:

  • Chasm Falls
  • Nymph, Dream, and Emerald Lake
  • Alberta Falls
  • Ouzel and Bluebird Lakes
  • Fern Lake Trail
  • Mt. Ida
  • Chasm Lake
  • Ute Trail

Current Weather Conditions at Rocky Mountain National Park:

Rocky Mountain Natl Park, UT
62°
clear sky
humidity: 33%
wind: 3mph NNE
H 60 • L 48
68°
Sat
71°
Sun
66°
Mon
66°
Tue
Weather from OpenWeatherMap

I hope you get the opportunity to visit Rocky Mountain National Park for yourself. If not, at least you can see it through my photos! Thanks for reading and sharing my adventures with me!

Happy travels!

Juventa Vezzani

One of my bucket list items is to visit all 61 National Parks! For detailed posts about my adventures, click here!

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