Rocky Mountain National Park , located in the north-central region Colorado in the Rockies , features majestic mountain views, a variety of wildlife, varied climates and environments and easy access to back-country trails and campsites.
Throughout its 416 square miles of rock-ribbed wildness, Rocky Mountain National Park truly is a land of superlatives. Here at least 60 mountains exceed 12,000 feet .The park is dominated by Longs Peak, which is visible from many vantage points, and has an elevation of 14,259 feet. Each year thousands of people attempt to scale it . Names such as Cirrus, Chiefs Head, Isolation, Mummy, and Storm evoke the grandeur of this high landscape.
The park has five visitor centers with the headquarters at Beaver Meadows Visitor Center witch is a National Historic Landmark.
July and August are the warmest months in the park, where temperatures can reach the 80s although it is not uncommon to drop to below freezing at night. Heavy winter snows begin around mid-October, and last into May. While the snow can melt away from the lowest elevations of the park, deep snow is found above 9,000 feet (2,700 m) in the winter, causing the closure of Trail Ridge and Fall River roads during the winter and spring. Most of the trails are under snow this time of the year, and snowshoeing and skiing become popular. Springs tend to be wet, alternating between rain and possibly heavy snows. These snows can occur as late as July. The west side of the park typically receives more precipitation than the drier east side.
Visitor attraction & activities
The National Park is open throughout the year. The Trail Ridge Road is open from the end of May to October. The park is particularly beautiful in spring (June). Most visitors come in July and August. The country is at its most colorful in early autumn (September). There are excellent winter sports facilities.
Most visitors to the park drive over the famous Trail Ridge Road, but other scenic roads include Fall River Road and Bear Lake Road . Rocky Mountain National Park visitors have a passion for viewing wild animals, especially the big ones. With an elk herd numbering more than 3,000, about 800 bighorn sheep, numerous mule deer and a small population of moose calling the park home, it’s no surprise that wildlife watching is rated the number-one activity by a vast majority of Rocky’s three million annual visitors.
Many visitors hike and backpack. The park contains a network of 349 miles (562 km) of trail and dozens of designated backcountry camp sites. Trails range from easy to strenuous. Many routes are off-trail and the hiker must be careful to leave no trace of their passage.
Horseback riding is permitted on most trails. Some trails which are closed to horse traffic allow llamas as pack animals, because their smaller size and softer feet have a lower impact on trail erosion.
Rock climbing and mountaineering have increased in recent years. Longs Peak, Hallett Peak and Lumpy Ridge, among others, are famous rock climbing areas. Many of the highest peaks have technical ice and rock routes on them, ranging from short scrambles to long multi-pitch climbs.
Fishing is found in the many lakes and streams in the park. Sport fishing is permitted in Rocky Mountain National Park. Fishing activities are balanced with efforts to restore and perpetuate natural aquatic environments and life.
There are five drive-in campgrounds and one drive-in group camping area in the park. Three campgrounds, Moraine Park, Glacier Basin, and Aspenglen, take reservations, as does the group-camping area. Other park campgrounds are first-come, first-served, and fill on most summer days. There are no electric, water or sewer hookups at any campsites.
In the winter, when the trails are covered in snow, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing are popular. Backcountry-style Alpine, Alpine Touring and Telemark skiing can be found on the higher slopes.
The wide variety of elevations and habitats create many choices of activities for visitors. From scenic drives and short strolls along a gentle trail to more ambitious daylong hikes to vertical mountain climbs, Rocky Mountain National Park offers many ways to experience nature in all its splendor.