WUDN

March-2024

Exploring the Great Outdoors: 5 Must-Visit Features of Every National Park in the United States

WUDN Outdoor Adventure (National Park Series)

svg_rocky mountains.svg__PID:d29e35f2-5807-4fc0-9a3a-a6ae0e8efa7e

Part 32 of Our National Park Series

Rocky Mountain National Park: Where Majesty Meets Adventure

National Park Series > Rocky Mountains > Rocky Mountain National Park

Back to the Table of Contents

Nestled in the heart of the Colorado Rockies, Rocky Mountain National Park is a pristine wilderness of towering peaks, alpine meadows, and crystal-clear lakes. With its breathtaking scenery and diverse ecosystems, the park offers visitors a wealth of outdoor activities to enjoy. Here are the top five activities to experience during your visit:

32.01 Rocky Mountain National Park.jpg__PID:a9b4a0c7-fe86-47a0-bb1e-b77295f5bc53
Rocky Mountain National Park - Photo by Lauren Lopes on Unsplash

Top 5 Outdoor Adventures in: Rocky Mountain National Park

1. Hiking:

Lace up your boots and hit the trails to explore Rocky Mountain National Park's stunning landscapes and diverse wildlife. With over 350 miles of hiking trails ranging from easy strolls to challenging summit hikes, there's a trail for every skill level and interest. Don't miss the iconic trails to destinations such as Dream Lake, Emerald Lake, and the summit of Longs Peak, where you'll be rewarded with panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.

2. Scenic Drives:

Take a leisurely drive along the park's scenic byways to experience the awe-inspiring beauty of the Rocky Mountains from the comfort of your car. Trail Ridge Road, known as "the Highway to the Sky," offers breathtaking views of alpine tundra, glacial valleys, and towering peaks as it winds its way through the heart of the park. Be sure to stop at overlooks such as Many Parks Curve and Forest Canyon Overlook to capture the beauty of the park's diverse landscapes.

3. Wildlife Viewing:

Keep your eyes peeled for the park's abundant wildlife as you explore its pristine wilderness. Rocky Mountain National Park is home to a variety of species, including elk, mule deer, bighorn sheep, and black bears. Bring binoculars and a camera to capture sightings of these majestic creatures against the backdrop of the park's stunning scenery. Join a ranger-led wildlife viewing program or venture out on your own to spot wildlife in their natural habitat.

4. Photography:

Capture the beauty and grandeur of Rocky Mountain National Park through the lens of your camera as you explore its iconic landscapes and scenic vistas. From sunrise over the Continental Divide to sunset over alpine lakes, the park offers endless opportunities for photographers to capture stunning images. Be sure to visit during the golden hours of sunrise and sunset to capture the park's natural beauty in the best light.

5. Backpacking and Camping:

Immerse yourself in the remote wilderness of Rocky Mountain National Park with a multi-day backpacking trip or camping adventure. With numerous backcountry campsites and miles of rugged trails to explore, backpackers can experience solitude, serenity, and unparalleled beauty amidst the park's pristine landscapes. Choose from a variety of backpacking routes, ranging from easy overnight trips to challenging multi-day treks, and be prepared for a truly unforgettable wilderness adventure.

From epic hikes to scenic drives, wildlife viewing to photography, Rocky Mountain National Park offers endless opportunities for outdoor adventure and exploration in one of the Rocky Mountains' most iconic landscapes. Whether you're summiting rugged peaks, traversing alpine meadows, or simply soaking in the serenity of the natural world, the park invites you to embark on an unforgettable journey through the heart of the Rockies.

In Rocky Mountain National Park, some of the top attractions that draw visitors from around the world include:

Rocky Mountain National Park, with its dramatic landscapes and diverse ecosystems, offers a wealth of attractions for visitors to explore. Here are the top four must-see attractions in Rocky Mountain National Park:

1. Trail Ridge Road:

As one of the highest paved roads in North America, Trail Ridge Road is a scenic marvel that traverses the park from east to west, offering breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains, valleys, and alpine tundra. Along the way, visitors can stop at numerous overlooks to admire panoramic vistas, spot wildlife, and marvel at the park's rugged beauty. Be sure to drive or take a shuttle along this iconic route for an unforgettable journey through Rocky Mountain National Park.

2. Longs Peak:

Towering at 14,259 feet, Longs Peak is the highest peak in Rocky Mountain National Park and a symbol of the park's majestic beauty. While climbing to the summit requires technical skill and experience, many visitors enjoy hiking to the base of the peak or embarking on less challenging trails that offer stunning views of Longs Peak and the surrounding landscape. The Longs Peak Trailhead is a popular starting point for hiking adventures, offering access to a variety of trails that showcase the park's alpine scenery and rugged terrain.

3. Bear Lake:

Known for its crystal-clear waters and picturesque surroundings, Bear Lake is a popular destination for hikers, photographers, and nature enthusiasts. The Bear Lake Trailhead provides access to a network of scenic trails that meander through lush forests, past tranquil streams, and around the shores of Bear Lake itself. Visitors can enjoy leisurely strolls along the easy Bear Lake Loop Trail or embark on longer hikes to nearby destinations such as Emerald Lake and Alberta Falls, all while soaking in the beauty of Rocky Mountain National Park.

4. Moraine Park:

Nestled in the heart of the park, Moraine Park is a scenic valley surrounded by towering peaks, verdant meadows, and meandering streams. This picturesque setting is home to abundant wildlife, including elk, mule deer, and various bird species, making it a prime spot for wildlife viewing and photography. Visitors can explore the area on foot via a network of hiking trails or simply relax and enjoy a picnic amidst the stunning natural scenery. Don't forget to bring your camera to capture the breathtaking vistas and diverse wildlife that call Moraine Park home.

These are just a few of the must-see attractions that await visitors to Rocky Mountain National Park. Whether you're exploring its scenic drives, summiting its iconic peaks, or immersing yourself in its tranquil valleys, Rocky Mountain National Park offers a wealth of experiences that showcase the splendor of the Colorado Rockies.

Some Real Wooden Style for Your Trip

We are working on more branded merch to accompany your trip. In the meantime, here is a pair of real wooden shades for some excellent style while you hike the back-country of Rocky Mountain National Park.

6 oz. Wooden Hip Flask (US National Park Collection in Mahogany)
6 oz. Wooden Hip Flask (US National Park Collection in Mahogany)
6 oz. Wooden Hip Flask (US National Park Collection in Mahogany)
6 oz. Wooden Hip Flask (US National Park Collection in Mahogany)
6 oz. Wooden Hip Flask (US National Park Collection in Mahogany)
6 oz. Wooden Hip Flask (US National Park Collection in Mahogany)
6 oz. Wooden Hip Flask (US National Park Collection in Mahogany)
6 oz. Wooden Hip Flask (US National Park Collection in Mahogany)
6 oz. Wooden Hip Flask (US National Park Collection in Mahogany)
6 oz. Wooden Hip Flask (US National Park Collection in Mahogany)
6 oz. Wooden Hip Flask (US National Park Collection in Mahogany)
6 oz. Wooden Hip Flask (US National Park Collection in Mahogany)
6 oz. Wooden Hip Flask (US National Park Collection in Mahogany)
6 oz. Wooden Hip Flask (US National Park Collection in Mahogany)
6 oz. Wooden Hip Flask (US National Park Collection in Mahogany)
6 oz. Wooden Hip Flask (US National Park Collection in Mahogany)
6 oz. Wooden Hip Flask (US National Park Collection in Mahogany)
6 oz. Wooden Hip Flask (US National Park Collection in Mahogany)
6 oz. Wooden Hip Flask (US National Park Collection in Mahogany)
6 oz. Wooden Hip Flask (US National Park Collection in Mahogany)
6 oz. Wooden Hip Flask (US National Park Collection in Mahogany)
6 oz. Wooden Hip Flask (US National Park Collection in Mahogany)
6 oz. Wooden Hip Flask (US National Park Collection in Mahogany)
6 oz. Wooden Hip Flask (US National Park Collection in Mahogany)

6 oz. Wooden Hip Flask (US National Park Collection in Mahogany)

$35.00
View Details

How to Get To Rocky Mountain National Park

Getting to Rocky Mountain National Park, located in north-central Colorado, involves several transportation options depending on your starting point:

1. By Car: Driving is the most common and convenient way to reach Rocky Mountain National Park. The park has multiple entrances, but the main entrances are located near the towns of Estes Park and Grand Lake. From Denver, take Interstate 25 north to Interstate 70 west, then take US Highway 40 west to US Highway 34 or US Highway 36, which will take you to the park's east entrance near Estes Park. From the west, take Interstate 70 to US Highway 40 west, then take State Highway 34 to the park's west entrance near Grand Lake.

2. By Air: The nearest major airport to Rocky Mountain National Park is Denver International Airport (DEN), located approximately 70 miles southeast of the park. From the airport, you can rent a car and drive to the park, which takes about 1.5 to 2 hours depending on traffic and weather conditions. Alternatively, you can fly into smaller regional airports such as Fort Collins-Loveland Municipal Airport (FNL) or Colorado Springs Airport (COS) and then drive to the park.

3. By Public Transportation: While there is no direct public transportation to Rocky Mountain National Park, you can take an Amtrak train or Greyhound bus to nearby cities such as Denver or Fort Collins. From there, you can arrange for a shuttle service or taxi to transport you to the park. Be sure to check the train and bus schedules and availability of transportation options before planning your trip.

4. Guided Tours: If you prefer not to drive yourself, you can join a guided tour to Rocky Mountain National Park from nearby cities or towns. Many tour companies offer day trips and multi-day excursions to the park, providing transportation, guided activities, and accommodations for visitors. Guided tours typically include visits to popular attractions such as Trail Ridge Road, Bear Lake, and the Alpine Visitor Center.

Regardless of how you choose to travel to Rocky Mountain National Park, be sure to plan ahead and check road conditions, weather forecasts, and park regulations before you go. Depending on the time of year, certain park facilities and roads may be closed, so it's important to be prepared for any potential challenges during your visit.

Google Maps is loading

History and Creation of Rocky Mountain National Park

Rocky Mountain National Park, nestled in the heart of the Colorado Rockies, boasts rugged mountain peaks, alpine meadows, and abundant wildlife, making it one of the most beloved national parks in the United States. The history and creation of Rocky Mountain National Park are intertwined with efforts to preserve its stunning landscapes and provide recreational opportunities for visitors to enjoy.

In the late 19th century, as the American West underwent rapid development and settlement, concerns arose about the conservation of its natural landscapes. Influential conservationists such as Enos Mills and Stephen Mather advocated for the preservation of the Rocky Mountains, recognizing their ecological significance and scenic beauty. Their efforts, along with support from local communities and government officials, culminated in the establishment of Rocky Mountain National Park on January 26, 1915.

The park's creation was a landmark achievement in the conservation movement, preserving over 415 square miles of pristine wilderness for future generations to enjoy. Over the years, the park's boundaries have expanded to encompass a diverse range of ecosystems, from montane forests and subalpine meadows to alpine tundra and glacial valleys.

Rocky Mountain National Park is also rich in cultural history, with evidence of human habitation dating back thousands of years. The area has long been home to indigenous peoples such as the Arapaho and Ute tribes, who revered the mountains as sacred and relied on them for sustenance and spiritual renewal.

Today, Rocky Mountain National Park welcomes millions of visitors each year who come to hike its scenic trails, marvel at its breathtaking vistas, and immerse themselves in its natural beauty. Whether exploring the park's iconic peaks, spotting wildlife in its pristine habitats, or simply soaking in the serenity of its alpine landscapes, visitors to Rocky Mountain National Park are treated to an unforgettable experience that celebrates the majesty of the American West.

Snow-capped peaks, scenic grandeur: What to expect at Rocky Mountain National Park

Rocky Mountain National Park is no hidden gem.

Over 4.1 million people visited the park last year, making it the fifth most visited national park in America, according to National Park Service statistics.

It’s so busy in the summer that timed entry reservations are required for a good chunk of each day.

Here’s what draws so many people to Rocky Mountain and what travelers should know about the latest national park in USA TODAY’s yearlong series.

READ MORE
32.03 Rocky Mountain National Park.JPG__PID:405f47b9-9059-4886-8d49-dcca14ac15c3

Visitors watch the sunset near Rocky Mountain National Park's Alpine Visitor Center - Courtesy USA Today & National Park Service / Jacob W. Frank.

/Fin. Rocky Mountain National Park

In conclusion, Rocky Mountain National Park stands as a majestic testament to the awe-inspiring beauty of the Colorado Rockies. From its towering peaks to its verdant valleys, the park offers visitors a breathtaking array of natural wonders to explore. Whether hiking along alpine trails, marveling at cascading waterfalls, or spotting wildlife in their natural habitat, every moment in Rocky Mountain National Park is filled with wonder and adventure. As one of America's most cherished wilderness areas, the park invites visitors to connect with the splendor of the natural world and forge unforgettable memories amidst its rugged landscapes. Rocky Mountain National Park truly embodies the spirit of the Rockies, beckoning adventurers and nature lovers alike to discover the boundless wonders of this iconic wilderness destination.

32.02 Rocky Mountain National Park.jpg__PID:3abf1bfe-e542-40e6-903e-4fab1bbe1f58
Rocky Mountain National Park - Photo by Sheri Slaughter on Unsplash

Outdoor Adventure Giveaway 

Get Some Real Wooden Style for Your Next Outdoor Adventure

The April Edition of the Outdoor Adventure Giveaway is Closed.

Winner Selected on 5/1/2024

CONGRUTALATIONS: Ted P from Wisconsin

How to Prepare for a Visit to a US National Park

Our top-10 list to get you prepared and a bonus section on Bears!

Read More

20 Must Have Gadgets for Your Next Outdoor Adventure

Our curated list to keep you safe and productive on your next outdoor adventure.

Read More
clay-banks-Ppz6b-YUDHw-unsplash-SQ (1024).jpg__PID:0111e909-a34f-46cd-a9b9-661438269b74
Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash

About the Author

Jaimeleigh Christian

Jaimeleigh Christian

Jaime is passionate about the outdoors and traveling throughout these gorgeous United States. Especially National Parks in the Pacific Northwest. 

Tags

Travel

Outdoor Adventure Series

National Parks

Tour Guide

Want To Receive More Outdoor Adventures?

Follow us to receive the latest adventures

You have successfully subscribed!
This email has been registered