Discover Rocky Mountain National Park

Discover the wonders of Rocky Mountain National Park, an iconic sanctuary amidst the Colorado Rockies’ towering peaks. This expansive wilderness offers an array of experiences, from exhilarating hikes to tranquil drives through breathtaking landscapes.

With over 350 miles of trails, adventurers can explore rugged terrain, serene lakes, and alpine meadows, each corner revealing the park’s rich biodiversity and stunning vistas. Keep your eyes peeled for the park’s diverse wildlife, including elk, bighorn sheep, and majestic golden eagles, thriving in their natural habitat. For those seeking a more leisurely exploration, scenic drives wind through pristine valleys, showcasing the park’s grandeur at every turn.

Whether you’re a seasoned outdoor enthusiast or a nature lover searching for tranquility, Rocky Mountain National Park promises an unforgettable journey into the heart of the Rockies’ unparalleled beauty and wilderness.


Top 3 Facts About Rocky Mountain National Park


High Alpine Wonderland

Rocky Mountain National Park boasts over 60 peaks towering above 12,000 feet, including Longs Peak, the park’s highest point at 14,259 feet. These rugged mountains create a dramatic backdrop for visitors, offering unparalleled opportunities for hiking, climbing, and photography.


Trail Ridge Road

Known as one of America’s most scenic drives, Trail Ridge Road winds through Rocky Mountain National Park, reaching elevations of over 12,000 feet. This breathtaking route offers panoramic views of the surrounding peaks, alpine meadows, and wildlife habitats, making it a must-visit for travelers seeking awe-inspiring vistas.


Diverse Wildlife

The park is home to a diverse array of wildlife, including elk, mule deer, black bears, mountain lions, and bighorn sheep. Birdwatchers can spot over 300 species of birds, while lucky visitors might catch a glimpse of elusive species such as moose and bobcats.

Camping and transportation in Rocky Mountain National Park

info_iconBackcountry camping permits required for wilderness camping opportunities.

How to Get to Rocky Mountain National Park

Getting to Rocky Mountain National Park is relatively straightforward, but it depends on your starting point. Here are some common ways to access the park:

  • By Car: Most visitors arrive by car. The park is easily accessible from several major cities, including Denver, Colorado Springs, and Fort Collins. From Denver, take I-25 north to US-36 west, then follow signs for the park. From Colorado Springs or Fort Collins, take I-25 to US-34 or US-36 respectively, then head west toward the park entrance.
  • By Plane: If you’re coming from farther away, you can fly into Denver International Airport (DEN), the closest major airport to the park. From there, you can rent a car and drive to the park, or take a shuttle service.
  • By Public Transportation: While there’s no direct public transportation to the park, you can take a bus from Denver to Estes Park, the gateway town to Rocky Mountain National Park. From Estes Park, you can take a shuttle into the park during the summer months.

Places to Stay Near Rocky Mountain National Park

Several campgrounds near Rocky Mountain National Park offer a range of amenities and settings:

  • Estes Park Campgrounds:
    Spruce Lake RV Resort: This campground offers full hook-up RV sites, tent sites, and cabins. It’s just minutes from Estes Park and offers laundry facilities, showers, and a playground.
    Estes Park Campground at Mary’s Lake: Situated near Mary’s Lake, this campground offers RV and tent sites with electric hookups. It features amenities like a heated swimming pool, hot tub, and a camp store.
  • Grand Lake Campgrounds:
    Winding River Resort: Located near Grand Lake, this campground offers RV sites, tent sites, and cabins. It’s nestled among pine trees and features amenities such as a heated swimming pool, hot tub, and horseback riding.
    Green Ridge Campground: This campground is located within the Arapaho National Recreation Area, just outside Grand Lake. It offers tent and RV sites with access to fishing, boating, and hiking trails.
  • Dispersed Camping: There are also opportunities for dispersed camping in the surrounding national forests. Visitors can find dispersed camping sites along designated forest roads, typically without amenities. Make sure to follow Leave No Trace principles and obtain any required permits.
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Best Time to Go to Rocky Mountain National Park



Summer is the peak season for Rocky Mountain National Park, attracting visitors with warm temperatures and extended daylight hours. This is the ideal time for hiking, with trails accessible at higher elevations and alpine meadows ablaze with colorful wildflowers. Adventure seekers can tackle challenging summit hikes, such as Longs Peak, or enjoy strolls around pristine lakes. Wildlife sightings are plentiful, with opportunities to observe elk, mule deer, bighorn sheep, and even the occasional black bear. To avoid crowds, consider exploring lesser-known trails or visiting the park during weekdays.



Winter casts a serene and magical spell over Rocky Mountain National Park, offering adventurous visitors a quieter and more secluded experience. While some trails may be inaccessible due to snow and ice, opportunities for snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and winter photography abound. The park’s snow-covered landscapes create a stunning backdrop for wildlife viewing, with chances to spot elk, bighorn sheep, and other cold-hardy species. Trail Ridge Road typically closes in winter, but visitors can still enjoy scenic drives along lower elevation routes, such as Bear Lake Road.



Spring is a great time to visit Rocky Mountain National Park, as the snow begins to melt, and the landscape comes alive with blooming wildflowers. In April and May, lower-elevation trails start to thaw, offering excellent opportunities for hiking amidst stunning alpine scenery. Wildlife viewing is also exceptional during this time, as animals emerge from hibernation and graze in meadows. Visitors can witness elk calving season and spot newborn wildlife exploring their surroundings. Be prepared for variable weather conditions, including sudden snowstorms at higher elevations, and check trail conditions before heading out.

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Fall is a breathtaking time to experience Rocky Mountain National Park as the landscape transforms into a tapestry of vibrant autumn colors. September and October offer prime viewing for fall foliage, with aspen groves turning shades of gold and orange against the backdrop of snow-capped peaks. Hiking trails are less crowded than summer, making it an ideal time for peaceful exploration. Wildlife enthusiasts can witness elk rutting season, a spectacle of bugling calls and dramatic mating displays. Be prepared for cooler temperatures, especially at higher elevations, and check road conditions as some areas may close due to early snowfall.

Must-See Attractions

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Trail Ridge Road

This iconic scenic drive is one of the highest paved roads in North America, reaching elevations over 12,000 feet. Offering breathtaking views of the Rocky Mountains, alpine tundra, and wildlife habitats, Trail Ridge Road is a must-do experience for visitors to the park.

Bear Lake

Bear Lake is one of the most popular destinations in the park, a picturesque alpine lake surrounded by majestic peaks. Visitors can take a leisurely stroll around the lake on the Bear Lake Loop Trail or access several other hiking trails from this area.

Longs Peak

Standing at 14,259 feet, Longs Peak is the highest peak in Rocky Mountain National Park and a coveted summit for experienced hikers and climbers. The challenging hike to the summit offers stunning views and a true alpine adventure.

Helpful Tips: Making the Most of Your Adventure to Rocky Mountain National Park

Plan Ahead

Plan Ahead

Before your trip, research the park’s attractions, trails, and facilities to create an itinerary that suits your interests and abilities. Check the park’s website for current conditions, trail closures, and any alerts or advisories.

Pack Appropriately

Dress in Layers

Weather in the mountains can be unpredictable, with temperatures varying widely throughout the day. Dress in layers so you can adjust to changing conditions and be prepared for sudden weather changes.

Respect Wildlife

Be Bear Aware

Rocky Mountain National Park is home to black bears, so it’s important to properly store food and scented items in bear-proof containers or lockers. Familiarize yourself with bear safety tips and know what to do in the event of a bear encounter.

Stay Informed

Stay on Designated Trails

To protect fragile ecosystems and minimize your impact on the environment, always stay on designated trails and follow park regulations. Off-trail hiking can cause damage to vegetation and disrupt wildlife habitats.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Rocky Mountain National Park

The best time to visit depends on your interests. Summer offers ideal hiking weather and access to higher elevation trails, while fall showcases stunning foliage. Winter is perfect for snowshoeing and quieter experiences, and spring brings blooming wildflowers.

Yes, there is an entrance fee to enter the park. The fee varies depending on the type of entrance pass you choose, such as a day pass, annual pass, or interagency pass. Fees help support park maintenance and conservation efforts.

Yes, the park offers both reservable and first-come, first-served campgrounds. There are also backcountry camping options for those seeking a more remote experience. Reservations for campgrounds can be made online through the park’s website.

Some popular hiking trails include the trails to Bear Lake, Emerald Lake, Dream Lake, and Alberta Falls. For more challenging hikes, consider trails like Longs Peak, Sky Pond, or the hike up to Flattop Mountain.

No, Trail Ridge Road typically opens in late spring or early summer, once snow has been cleared from the road. The road usually closes in late fall or early winter due to snow accumulation. Check with the park for current road conditions and closures.

Yes, the park offers excellent fishing opportunities in its numerous lakes, streams, and rivers. Anglers can catch trout species such as brook, rainbow, cutthroat, and brown trout. A Colorado fishing license is required for those aged 16 and older.

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