Rocky Mountain National Park

Rocky Mountain National Park

National Park · Colorado, United States


The Rocky Mountain National Park in the state of Colorado is a sublime sweep of ravishing granite cliffs, pine forests and retreating icefields fringed by starbursts of wildflowers in spring. Spanning 265,761 acres (107,550 hectares), the park is geologically diverse, with towering mountains descending into dense forests, punctuated by glimmering lakes. The region has been inhabited for over 11,000 years, with the Ute and the Arapaho Tribes being the first to settle around the area. They were followed by Spanish explorers, French fur trappers, and gold miners, until 1803 when the United States wrested control of the land from the French through the Louisiana Purchase. It wasn't until the 20th Century, however, when a national conservation movement was proposed by Theodore Roosevelt, that the land was appreciated for its rich history and natural bounty. Today, the park features a number of hiking, biking and winter sport trails, picnic spots, and campsites.



Unleash your inner adventurer in Rocky Mountain National Park, a playground of natural wonders cradled by the Rocky Mountains. Trek through enchanting trails, revealing hidden waterfalls and meadows adorned with vibrant wildflowers. Feel the rush as you scale towering peaks or cast a line into clear alpine lakes, tempting fishing enthusiasts. Capture awe-inspiring views along the legendary Trail Ridge Road, and watch for moose, elk, mule deer, and even bighorn sheep.
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Winter activities abound at Rocky Mountain National Park, but Hidden Valley is the one place where park visitors can sled to their hearts’ content. The opportunity to sled is available throughout the winter, as long as snow conditions are right, and the area features a nearby restroom and a warming room, open most weekends. Just bring your own sledding vehicle of choice!
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You’ll hear those sleigh bells jingling as you set off on a scenic horse-drawn sleigh ride through the snowy terrain surrounding Rocky Mountain National Park. Snuggle up under a blanket and enjoy a bit of romance as you check out the local wildlife, and a breathtaking sunset, on an evening ride that includes dinner in a beautiful mountain cabin, complete with poetry and musical entertainment.
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As a tribute to the grandeur of the Rocky Mountains between Estes Park and Grand Lake, this park encompasses the pure and natural beauty of the region. With high-mountain lakes and streams, peaks more than 14,000 feet, thick evergreen forests and thousands of acres of wildlife, this park conjures up what most people imagine when they think of the Rockies and finds its way onto most visitors’ travel itineraries.
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Colorado’s mountains are famous the world over. While much of the state is defined by the Rockies, there’s one area so impressive that it’s deemed worthy of a national park. It has a miles-high section of the Continental Divide, the headwaters of the Colorado River, a 14-thousand-foot peak, and countless other summits––all with trails to explore them.
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Visit Rocky Mountain National Park to experience mountain climbing, hiking, camping, fishing, and breathtaking views of jagged peaks, glaciers, and high-mountain lakes. A great family vacation destination, this park has everything from easy nature hikes to daring rock scrambles up waterfalls and mountains. Wildflower lovers should plan a trip in June and July when meadows and hillsides are in full bloom.
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Colorado's Rocky Mountain National Park and its surrounding communities are working hard to protect the night sky. As facilities are constructed or remodeled in the park, exterior light fixtures are installed that protect the night sky from light pollution. Ahead of your visit, check the park’s website to see how weather conditions may affect your stargazing possibilities, as well as if the park is offering any ranger-led stargazing programs.
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Rocky Mountain National Park encompasses 415 square miles of breathtaking, protected mountain wilderness. With more than 300 miles of trails, panoramic vistas of snowcapped peaks, picturesque meadows, valleys, and meandering rivers, and the Trail Ridge Road (the highest continuous paved road in the United States, hitting 12,183 feet in elevation), the choose-your-own-adventure options are endless. Hike it, bike it, fish it, climb it, drive it, camp it, photograph it ... or all of the above.
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Stars become a glittering canvas framed by this park’s world-famous topography. Throughout the summer, a dedicated team of rangers (accompanied by volunteer astronomers) leads a variety of special after-dark programs, including Astronomy in the Park and Stories Behind the Moon and Stars. The gateway towns of Grand Lake and Estes Park are welcoming pre- or post-gazing places to hang.
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Traveling in Colorado as an ecotourist is hardly a challenge. Residents are understandably keen to preserve the state’s natural beauty. Many Colorado attractions and lodgings are dedicated to the LEED Certification Program, with the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver being the first gold-certified museum in the nation. Local tourism companies offer eco-friendly adventure activities – whether that means rafting through river canyons or exploring Rocky Mountain National Park.
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Colorado’s Rocky Mountains is a tale of two parks: the east side and the west side. In winter, the east side may have less snow at lower points, but at higher elevations, it’s an arctic scene often with blizzard conditions. The west side receives more snow, but it’s generally calm and clear. Snowshoeing and cross-country skiing are possible on either side, or you can try sledding in the one spot allowed inside the park: Hidden Valley, a former ski area on the east side near Estes Park.
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Good to Know

Accessibility Features
Wheelchair Accessible
Good for Kids
Pets Welcome
Accepts Credit Cards

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