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Rocky Mountain National Park [1] is a United States National Park that is located in the Front Range region of the state of Colorado. Evidence of Native American peoples visiting the park date back almost 10,000 years, mainly from the Ute and Arapaho communities. Rocky Mountain National Park sits on the Continental Divide, separating the park into two distinct regions.
For wildlife seekers, Rocky Mountain National Park offers some fantastic opportunities to view the variety of animals that live inside its borders. Wildflowers seem to be everywhere throughout the park, including the popular Indian Paintbrush and Columbine, Colorado's state flower. Considering the park's high altitude, the weather trends closer toward moderate four-season climate than edging on the extremes. Highway 34 connects Grand Lake and Estes Park across the Continental Divide, giving you awesome views of the western and eastern sides of the park. From the west: The Kawuneeche Visitor Center is one mile north of the town of Grand Lake on US-34. From the east: The Beaver Meadows Visitor Center is three miles from downtown Estes Park near the terminus of US-36 and can be reached via several roads. NOTE: While the park is open year-round, the Trail Ridge Road closes in the winter and may not open until the late spring or early summer, depending on the snowpack. Expect steady traffic on Trail Ridge Road, the highest continuous paved road in the United States.
Although there is no public transport into the park itself (other than the Park Shuttle mentioned above), Amtrak's California Zephyr service, which runs daily in both directions between Chicago and the San Francisco Bay Area, has stops at Denver, Fraser-Winter Park and Granby, from where you can hire a car to get the rest of the way to the park.
The nearest major airport is Denver International Airport (IATA: DEN) [3] located about 1 hour and 45 minutes away from the park, with connecting service to most major US cities. Entrance fees are $20 per private vehicle or $10 for individuals on foot or on bicycle, valid for one day. If you drive in early in the morning or late at night the fee booth will probably be unmanned. Most of the major trailheads in the park are accessible by car and have parking lots depending on the popularity of the route. Starting around Memorial Day Weekend and going through the end of September, Rocky Mountain National Park operates a free shuttle bus service which enables you to access many destination and loop hikes along Bear Lake Road, including Sprague Lake and Glacier Gorge to cut down on traffic congestion and limited parking. To experience the true beauty of Rocky Mountain National Park means getting out onto some of the 355 miles of trail that wind in, around and over the Continental Divide, Wild Basin, Mummy Range, and more. Cycling through the park offers riders a chance to take in some of the scenery and striking vistas at a casual pace; however, some may be daunted by the high altitudes and steep climbs on the main roads. Winter cyclists will have access to Upper Beaver Meadows Road, Moraine Park Campground, Endovalley Road, Aspenglen Campground and High Drive. Alpine Visitor Center, (at Fall River Pass at the junction of Trail Ridge and Old Fall River roads).
Bierstadt Lake (Trailhead is shuttle bus accessible) A beautiful morning hike, this Lake is situated on top of Bierstadt Moraine giving brilliant views of Longs and the Front Range.
Lily Mountain This short hike leads to the top of a foothill near the edge of the park that gives a great view of the front range.
Emerald Lake (Trailhead is shuttle bus accessible) A beautiful tarn in the shadow of Hallets and Flattop, the hike up with take you past three other lakes (Bear, Nymph, and Dream) on route from the Bear Lake Trailhead.
The falls at the Alluvial Fan, an area still recovering from a massive landslide that occurred in 1982. Sky Pond (Trailhead is shuttle bus accessible) Definitely the most crowded hike given its difficulty in the entire park with good reason.
Fern Odessa Loop (Trailhead is shuttle bus accessible) This 7 mile trail consists of hiking from the Bear Lake Trailhead down to the Fern Lake Trailhead and taking the shuttle buses back. Flattop and Hallett (Trailhead is shuttle bus accessible) The easiest peak in the park is Flattop Mountain, a 9 miler round trip up from the Bear Lake Trailhead. Bluebird Lake One of those destinations which is absolutely assured to make you gasp in amazement the first time you see it. The CCY Also known as 'Chapin, Chaquita, Ypsilon' takes in three peaks in less than 9 miles, rising to 13,514 ft. Shelf and Solitude Lakes (Trailhead is shuttle bus accessible) Considered by many the best alpine lake hike in the book, and for good reason. Longs Peak via the Keyhole Route A classic 16 mile route allowing you to conquer this 14,259 footer, the roof of Rocky Mountain National Park. Continental Traverse This hike begins at the Milner Pass Trailhead and continues from there along the continental divide before descending via the Flattop Mountain Trailhead to Bear Lake Trailhead 20 MILES LATER.
McHenrys Peak (Trailhead is shuttle bus accessible) Climb up past Black Lake in Glacier Gorge and past where the trail ends. Most of the visitor centers offer books and other items for purchase, and there is a gift shop located next door to the Fall River Visitor Center.

Snacks are available for purchase at the Alpine Visitor Center, and there is a snack shop located next door to the Fall River Visitor Center. Technically, there is no lodging within the park, but the nearby towns of Estes Park and Grand Lake have numerous options.
There are five drive-in campgrounds and two group camping areas in the park (one group campground is winter only, one is summer only). Glacier Basin Campground, (located on Bear Lake Road approximately six miles south of the Beaver Meadows Entrance Station). Longs Peak Campground, (located approximately nine miles south of the town of Estes Park on Route 7). Moraine Park Campground, (located in a ponderosa pine forest above the meadows of Moraine Park on Bear Lake Road approximately two and a half miles south of the Beaver Meadows Entrance Station).
Timber Creek Campground, (located along the Colorado River in the Kawuneeche Valley on U.S.
List an itinerary with dates corresponding to campsites or crosscountry area where you plan to stay. Due to climate change, pine bark beetles have killed large swathes of pines throughout the park. Other park dangers include wildlife - never feed wild animals, and always give them their space.
Park streams may contain Giardia and other water borne diseases, so always purify water before drinking. Estes Park - This mountain town borders the park to the east of the park, offering lodging, food and shopping options. Grand Lake - Bordering the park to the west, this town also offers amenities for travelers. Text is available under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0, images are available under various licenses, see each image for details. As a growing company and due to internal promotion, we have identified an opening for a Field Sales Executive. The park's borders lie within three counties, Larimer, Boulder, and Grand and it is surrounded by Roosevelt, Arapaho, and Routt National Forests. Several expeditions visited the area in the early to mid 19th century, including one by Joel Estes in 1859 after which he and his family established a homestead that would soon become Estes Park, the resort town that currently sits on the east side of the park.
The eastern and more developed side of the park is dominated by striking valleys and cirques that were formed through heavy glaciation and is a good starting point for first-time visitors. Elk, deer, chipmunks, ground squirrels, beavers, porcupines, foxes, and coyotes are all commonly seen in meadows and in and around lakes and streams. One of the most spectacular sights in the mid to late fall is to walk through a grove of Aspen trees as their leaves change from green to gold. Winters bring heavy snowfall, and although there is rarely a deep-freeze the park gets significantly less visitors. A great stopping point along the road is the Alpine Visitor Center at the Fall River Pass, which sits at almost 11,800 feet. Grand Lake can be reached from I-70 via US-40 which runs through Empire and over the Berthoud Pass.
SR-7 runs from Boulder via Lyons and Allenspark along the east side of the park, passing the Longs Peak Ranger Station and intersects US-36 in Estes Park. If you aren't driving, the Estes Park Shuttle [2] offers reasonable one-way and round-trip rates from DEN to downtown Estes Park.
While parking is relatively ample in the early mornings, many lots are full by mid-morning during the peak summer months. Shuttle buses run between many trailheads, Moraine Park Visitor Center, and Moraine Park and Glacier Basin Campgrounds. Both routes are based at the Park & Ride shuttle bus parking area across from the Glacier Basin Campground.
For a unique cycling experience, check with the park information office for specifics on the Old Fall River Road (gravel surface) and Trail Ridge Road (paved), which are open to bicycles early in the summer season, before they open to vehicles. Route 34, five miles west of the town of Estes Park, near the Fall River Entrance to the park). The vast number of features along this hike make it a favorite of many with two waterfalls and three lakes surounded by increasingly shear and spectacular mountains. 34, Grand Lake, Colorado (Located East of Trail Ridge Road near Grand Lake, Colorado), ? 970-627-3967?, [5]. Three campgrounds, Moraine Park, Glacier Basin, and Aspenglen, take reservations, as does the group-camping area at Glacier Basin.
You can pick one up at the Headquarters Backcountry Office or at the Kawuneeche Visitor Center. If you plan to stay in a crosscountry area, indicate the area(s) and elevation where you wish to camp.
Fees are not to be sent when requesting reservations, but are payable (by cash or check only) when the permit is issued.

If you know you will not be using your permit, please cancel your reservation as soon as possible. The Continental Divide cuts almost directly through the center of the park, creating two areas with very different landscapes - a drier and heavily glaciated eastern side, and a wetter, more forested western side. After a small mining rush on the western side of the park in the early 1880s, a 14 year old boy by the name of Enos Mills moved to the area and began to extensively document the region's geography and ecology through essays and books.
The western side of the park is wetter, is heavily forested and is less developed, but still contains excellent trekking and backcountry opportunities. Marmots seem to be ubiquitous above the tree line, especially on well-hiked trails around Longs Peak. Ponderosa and Lodgepole pines are the dominate conifer trees in the area, although they have been recently dying in large numbers due to an outbreak of pine beetle infestation. Summer are the high season with warm temperatures ranging in from mid 70s-80°F during the day, but dropping into the low 40s°F to near freezing.
Colorado Route 7 runs from Estes Park to the south, passing by several trailheads, including those for Lily Mountain, the Twin Sisters, the Longs Peak Ranger Station and the Wild Basin.
This visitor center offers ranger-led walks in the Land Above the Trees and exhibits on the alpine tundra. Reservations accepted and recommended from May 26 to October 4, 2010, and it is first-come, first-served the remainder of the year. The small sites fit 10 - 15 people, medium sites 16 - 25 people, and large sites 26 - 40 people. Both areas offer excellent spots for high altitude alpine hiking, backpacking and rock climbing as well as ample opportunity for spotting wildlife. He began to lobby Congress to establish a national park in the area surrounding Longs Peak, a mountain he had climbed over 40 times by himself. Most areas of the park sit well above 9,000 feet with mountains along the Continental Divide topping off at above 12,000 feet.
Hawks and eagles are often seen soaring above the glacier gorges in search of critters that hide among the rocks and colorful tree birds such as blue jays and cardinals fly in the lower altitudes. Thunderstorms are constantly looming in the early to mid afternoon during the summer, but clear off quickly by evening, bringing crisp and cool weather. Many visitors use Bear Lake or Glacier Gorge as their starting point into the park, both of which can be accessed via the Bear Lake Road. US-34 also intersects US-36 in Estes Park via Loveland and continues on into the park toward the Fall River Visitor Center. Most of the roads in the park have little to no shoulder, with the added challenge of dealing with heavy summer traffic.
Offers a 20-minute film on the park (show times on the hour and half-hour throughout the day). Offers exhibits about park wildlife, children's exhibits, and rangers can provide tips about what to do in the park.
Its cabins are scheduled to reopen summer 2011, with the lodge taking reservations for the 2011 season beginning September 2010. On January 26, 1915, President Woodrow Wilson signed a bill that established the creation of Rocky Mountain National Park. The Beaver Meadows and Moraine Park visitor centers are popular destinations for getting oriented with the park's layout, the former having been designed by students of American architect Frank Lloyd Wright. The water is turned off in the winter at all year-round campgrounds but drinking water is available at entrance stations and open visitor centers.
The 1930s brought a building boom to the park during the Great Depression, during which time the Trail Ridge Road was constructed through the park, which remains today the highest continuous stretch of highway in the United States.
The Never Summer Mountains sit on the western side of the park and consist of 10 distinct peaks, all rising well over 12,000 feet, and contain the headwaters for the Colorado River. Less common animal sightings include black bears and the rare mountain lions, although the former will manage to hang out if human food is accessible.
Be vigilant for thunderstorms in the early to late afternoons, where lightning can create a serious hazard.
Displays include a topographical relief map of the park and exhibits about the Colorado River and its people. One of the most dominating features in the southeast area of the park is Longs Peak at 14,259 feet, which is surrounded on all sides by several peaks well about 13,000 feet, including Mt. Moose mainly stay on the western side of the park and Bighorn Sheep - a rare but exciting find - stay above the tree line and can sometimes be seen off the Trail Ridge Road.

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