The park was founded by Enos Mills , Colorado’smost famous naturalists .
Born in Kansas, he moved to Estes Park early in his life , fell in love with with the mountains and called it home . With the opening of famous Stanley hotel , Estes Park started to draw more and more visitors and attract commercial developments , destroying the tranquility and untouched nature . Enos Mills began to promote the idea of making the area around Estes Park into a National Park . For year he was lobbying Congress to designate the area. Finally, in 1915, Rocky Mountain National Park was officially designated.
Today , Rocky Mountain is way smaller than other famous parks like Yellowstone (nearly 12,000 square miles) and Yosemite (3,400 square miles). But it managed to preserve the nature online its siblings . There are no hotels or lodging within the park , only campsites .
The scenic drive
The scenic Trail Ridge Road will take you right through the spine of Rocky Mountain National Park. This is the place where your service drops and your spirit rises.
Trail Ridge Road completed in the 30s, ascends beyond the tree line into tundra, it rises to 12,183 feet, which gives it the status of the highest continuously paved road in the world.
This highest continuous highway is also the only way for a car to pass through Rocky Mountain National Park . You will understand why Trail Ridge Road is on every list of America’s most gorgeous drives when you are passing by 12,000-foot peaks and crossing the continental divide and probably glimpsing a mule deer , bighorn sheep an elk – especially in fall .
Follow the road through Horseshoe Park up the Slope to Deer Ridge Junction , quickly ascending into the forest of Engelmann spruce , subalpine fir , and limber pine . At the peak of Many Parks Curve , a broad walk offers offers expansive views of the long glacier basins of Moraine Park and Horseshoe Park .
Trail Ridge Road begins at the eastern entrance of the park, near the gateway town of Estes Park, then climbs over the Continental Divide at Milner Pass and emerges from the park’s southwestern corner at the village of Grand Lake.
The drive takes approximately 1.5 to 2 hours and be ready to make it without cell service , just like Kalamagus Highway .
Trail Ridge Road is open late May to mid – October (weather permitting)
Rocky Mountain National Park is a hiker’s shrine. There are hundreds of miles of hiking trails that range from very accessible to arduous and rewarding treks up to any number of incredible peaks within the park. Obviously , hiking is the number-one activity here , they even call it “the hiker’s park”. Through the pine forest, along the rock ledges, beside the rushing stream – there are trails for hikers of all levels, suitable for all ages and abilities , and they all come with stunning views.
The scenery in incredible every step of the way : the alpine tundra, lava cliffs and rock laid bare by 70 million years of geological activity, and the lush, verdant green of the forest below.
Estes Park in Colorado has been described as “a Rocky Mountain retreat where memories begin.”
How to get there
Rocky Mountain National Park is in north-central Colorado and can be reached from the east by car on U.S. 34, U.S. 36 and Colorado 7. Highways 36 and 7 both reach Boulder, but the narrow, winding Colorado 7 offers beautiful views of southeastern portions of the park.
The park also can be reached from the west by U.S. 40, which connects with 34. Estes Park is about 65 miles north of Denver, 91 miles south of Cheyenne, Wyo.
What to do in rocky mountain National Park
For horseback riding lovers , go for a two-hour ride through the Ponderosa pines and Douglas firs ($63).
When to go to Rocky Mountain National park
In July, August and September, the park’s peak visitation months,
Where to stay
Campgrounds in and around the park are abundant. Estes Park is a quaint village catering to visitors who do not like to camp. It offers many accommodations and restaurants.
Perhaps the area’s most famous hotel is the Stanley Hotel (333 Wonderview Ave., Estes Park), which was the inspiration behind Stephen King’s novel, “The Shining.”
Useful Tips :
pick up the$80 American the Beautiful annual pass if you plan to make more than three national park visits during the year.
Don’t forget the sunscreen
The air is thin and you might want to pick up a pack of altitude pills
Don’t forget to out sunscreen on your ears
Also, it’s wise to make lodging reservations well ahead of time, unless you intend to camp. Even then, advance work wouldn’t hurt.
If you’re headed toward Bear Lake, consider using one of the park’s free shuttle buses. They carry 160,000 visitors a year along the five-mile route between the Glacier Basin campground, eight miles inside the park from the Estes Park side, and Bear Lake.