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Rocky Mountain National Park: A travel guide

Dream Lake is in the foreground with Hallett Peak in the background. Framed by lush evergreen trees and a brilliant blue sky.

Lake and Hallett Peak in Rocky Mountain National Park

If you’re looking for magnificent mountain views, unique wildlife, and unforgettable outdoor adventures, there’s no better place to go than the Rocky Mountain National Park. Since its establishment in 1915, this popular Northern Colorado attraction has been drawing over 4.5 million visitors every year.

Come explore the park’s 147 lakes, 60 mountain peaks, 355 miles of hiking trails, and more. The Rocky Mountain National Park is also one of the biggest national parks in the United States, covering over 266,714 acres of land.

Rocky Mountain weather

The weather patterns and conditions in the park vary depending on the season, the time, and the particular location. In the summer, temperatures can go as high as 80°F during the day and as low as 40°F at night. Some high areas of the park such as Trail Ridge Road and Bear Lake even receive snow mid-summer.

Despite the ever-changing weather, you can still visit the park during any of the four seasons. The Rocky Mountain National Park is open all year ‘round, with each season bringing you a unique experience. In the summer and fall, enjoy sunny weather and gorgeous fall foliage. In winter, take in snowy views and indulge in snow-related activities.

Getting to the Rocky Mountain National Park

The drive to the Rocky Mountain National Park will treat you to picturesque views of the lush forests, pristine alpine lakes, and snow-capped mountains. Whether you’re coming from the east or west, you’ll either be taking U.S. Highway 34 or U.S. Highway 36 to get to the park.

Highway 34 passes right through the towns of Grand Lake and Estes Park while Highway 36 intersects with U.S. Highway 34 at Estes Park. The park is just around an hour’s drive from Loveland and Boulder, and an hour and a half away from Denver.

Attractions and activities in the Rocky Mountain National Park

The Rocky Mountain National Park boasts many scenic lakes and trails, giving visitors endless opportunities to enjoy all kinds of activities, from bird watching and hiking to fishing and horseback riding.

  • Trail Ridge Road–One of the most popular and scenic spots in the park, it will lead you to a summit that’s 12,183 feet high. While driving on this continuous paved road, look out for the different wildlife, alpine wildflowers, and ponderosa pine trees.
  • Longs Peak-The tallest summit in the park, at 14, 259 feet.
  • Bear Lake – If you want to visit an alpine lake, take a drive down to the picturesque Bear Lake. You can also hike around the Bear Lake Loop, a flat trail that will take you half a mile around the area.
  • Glacier Gorge–Another scenic trail to visit is the 2.8-mile Glacier Gorge Junction. The trail will take you through different spots such as the Loch Trail, the Alberta Falls, and the Timberline Falls.
  • Wildlife spotting – The Rocky Mountain National Park is home to wildlife such as elk, bighorn sheep, and moose.

Rocky Mountain National Park entrance fees

Visitors who will be driving to the park are required to pay a $20 entrance fee, which is valid for seven days. If you’re entering the park by other means such as by bicycle, motorcycle, or by foot, you’ll need to pay $10. You can also buy the Rocky Mountain National Park Annual Pass for $40. This pass entitles you to unlimited entry to the park for one whole year.

For more information about the areas and activities in the Rocky Mountain National Park, you can check out their five visitor centers located throughout the park:

  • Alpine Visitor Center
  • Beaver Meadows Visitor Center
  • Fall River Visitor Center
  • Kawuneeche Visitor Center
  • Moraine Park Visitor Center

Northern Colorado has so much to offer you. If you’re looking to find a new home in this stunning region, give me a call at (970) 889-0307 or email matt(at)welcometonoco(dotted)com.