A must see when visiting Colorado is spending a minimum of a couple days in the Rocky Mountain National Park. The views are amazing whether driving through on Trail Ridge Road, which is 48 miles long, with approximately 11 miles above the treeline, or hiking one of the numerous trails. One of the interesting facts is you are crossing the Continental Divide, or specifically the mountain range that divides the flow of water between the Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean. The Rocky Mountain Range is that dividing point that causes the water to flow either East or West. And the views from the top is astonishing. It is one of the few places on the planet that may leave you feeling smaller than ever before, since everything around you will be magnificently overpowering. You will feel like you are on the top of the world with the view you have across the mountain ranges below.
The entrance to the Rocky Mountain National Park is just outside Estes Park, a beautiful mountain town home to the Stanley Hotel. The Stanley was the setting used for Stephen King’s movie and mini-series, ‘The Shining.’ The road through the Park will drop you off in another beautiful, but smaller mountain town, Grand Lake. The town has a big beautiful lake and a small downtown with shops and restaurants.
Trail Ridge Road is not open year round due to the extreme winter conditions. Typically, it is clear and open from May through October. However, with high winds, snow and little shelter, the Park Service doesn’t keep it open throughout the winter. This doesn’t mean the Park is closed, as it is still accessible throughout the year for hiking, snowshoeing, cross country skiing, sledding, etc… The wildlife is evident no matter which part of the Park or season visitors arrive. Visitors can expect to see elk, bison, lots of small animals, mountain goats, occasionally bears or moose.
The numerous trail heads allow visitors to choose the type of trails they wish to hike as well as the scenery they wish to see. There are longer hikes ranging from a couple miles to 11 miles, including one of the State’s 14ers (or mountain peaks above 14000 feet above sea level). No matter the time of year, though, it is important for visitors to be well prepared for any weather condition as it can be snowing in the morning, with hot, sunny temperatures during the day to thunder and lightning in the afternoon and back to cool evenings. Of course, those conditions can change in a heartbeat, so be prepared.
Visitors can also choose to take a simple day hike, longer hikes to see some of the many waterfalls, family trips, loop hikes, or even overnight hikes. Doing your homework before venturing out is critical, especially if hiking with young kids or people not used to the strenuous activity. Please keep in mind if you are traveling from lower elevations that you should take time to acclimate to the elevation. It isn’t uncommon to get altitude sickness, so staying hydrated is essential, as well as recognizing the signs of altitude sickness. You may start to feel light headed, or slightly nauseous, so if you need to take a break make sure to stop and relax a few minutes. In additional, make sure to bring enough snacks for nutrition and fuel, as there are no snack bars on the trails!
Because of all there is to see and do, make sure to visit the Park’s website at rockymountainnationalpark.com to plan out your trip and maximize your time in the beautiful Rocky Mountain National Park!
Written by the staff at Quality RV, one of the leading RV Dealers Missouri has to offer. Quality RV serves the entire state of Missouri, from St. Louis to Kansas City, and enjoys sharing their travel experiences they take in their RV’s.