Rocky Mountain National Park

Rocky Mountain National Park is likely the most accessible, yet awe-inspiring, units in the National Park Service. Under 2 hours away from Denver International Airport, visitors are immersed in a pristine collection of lush valleys and mountain peaks. During September and October, the Park’s high visitation begins to subside and overwhelming populations of elk descend upon Rocky Mountain’s lower valleys, filling the air with eerie bugles that signal the beginning of the fall rut. Bighorn sheep traverse the highest and most inhospitable slopes that provide sanctuary for rare flowers and shrubs, often dwarfs of their lower elevation relatives. Visitors are welcomed to the Park’s East entrance by the quaint tourist town of Estes Park, which offers a full complement of services needed on a vacation. Thus, Rocky Mountain affords visitors the unique opportunity to venture among wild alpine tundra in the afternoon and spend the evening enjoying a cozy dinner and taking a stroll past local shops along the Big Thompson River.

Location: Northern Colorado

Best Time to Visit: June-Early October

Recreation Opportunities: Hiking, Biking, Camping, Wildlife Viewing, Skiing, Horseback Riding

Highlights:

  • Roughly one third of the Park is alpine tundra, a seldom seen ecosystem that exists exclusively in high elevations and hosts a variety of rare plants and animals
  • Thousands of elk are the centerpiece the Park’s abundant and charismatic wildlife that roam among rich valleys carved by ancient glaciers
  • The nearby town of Estes Park is a source of vibrant outdoor culture, excellent dining and historic sites