Finally, as promised, a more in depth look at the national parks of Colorado!
Easily the most well known park in Colorado and the 3rd most visited of all 59 (now 61) national parks! Soooo, if all these people are visiting the park, I think it’s time you do too! If you’re into mountains, wildlife, and awesome views, Rocky is the place for you.
If you’re going to visit Rocky Mountain NP, be sure to stop in Estes Park on your way up! Estes is the probably the most well known town near Rocky Mountain NP. If you’re really looking to go all out on your trip or you have some extra time to really be a true tourist, Estes Park has what you need!
The adventure type? Go whitewater rafting, take a jeep or 4×4 guided tour, or even rent your own ATV! Not into that? Take a guided horse tour or ride the trolley! Visit museums, hit up some shops and restaurants, learn how to rock climb! Are you a fan of classic horror films?? Visit the famous and supposedly haunted Stanley Hotel from Stephen King’s “The Shining”, if you’re a die hard fan, you may even be interested in staying the night! Estes Park is filled with adventures for any type of traveler.
Not a hiker?
You ever just want to stand at the top of a mountain but are no where near mentally or physically prepared? I feel ya, and Rocky Mt. has got your covered. Be sure to check out the Trail Ridge Road! It is the highest continuous paved road in the US, with the highest point being a little over 12,000 ft elevation! However, if you, like my mom, are afraid of heights, maybe let someone else get behind the wheel. The drive up is safe, but you definitely get right up and personal with the edge! But the view is so worth it!!
ALSO, not only will the views take your breath away, but so will the altitude!! If you’re from CO, you get it, but if not, be prepared!! (for most people, if you’re not hiking, you’re probably fine, for any asthmatics like me, bring that inhaler!) And be ready for some high winds, bring a pony tail, bring a sweatshirt, it WILL be colder at the top than at the bottom.
Even before you head up to the mountain tops, take a second to hang around the lakes when you first enter the park! There’s a nice one right at the base, or a few a little further up on some shorter, easier trails!
Now, there are TONS of trails at RMNP, 300+ miles, all ranging from beginner to experienced backpacker. However, if I had to pick one trail throughout the whole park, it would be the beautiful hike up to Sky Pond. I wont lie to you, this hike is not easy – in fact, it’s really more in the difficult to strenuous range -, but hear my out, it is SO worth it. Truly, this hike isn’t for everyone, BUT if my mom – who is by no means a hiker – can do it, then so can you.
This hike requires more time as it is about 9+ miles round trip. You probably want to give yourself around 5 hours or so, definitely bring along food and water, and be prepared for weather changes – mountain weather can be a bit unpredictable. This trail is not only long, but it boasts a nearly 2000 ft gain in elevation. A portion of the trail includes switchbacks as well as a short climb up a small water fall!
Just a small hike after the waterfall, you’ve made it! If you haven’t been scared off yet (or even if you have), the trail leads to some incredible views – some of the best I’ve seen at any park.
Since Rocky is so popular and so diverse, it’s deserving of its own post. Be on the lookout for part 2 if you’re interested in more CO National Parks! For now, if you’re interested in other Colorado trip ideas, check out my earlier post (also linked above)!