On January 26th Rocky Mountain National Park will celebrate it’s Founder’s Day. For more than 100 years, visitors have come to Rocky Mountain for majestic peaks and spectacular wildlife. In honor of the park’s birthday, we’re sharing a collection of our Best of Rocky Mountain National Park posts. We hope it’s your one-stop spot for planning an upcoming trip to Colorado and one of our favorite parks.
So what’s on our list? Wildlife. Lots and lots of wildlife. Some of our closest encounters with elk were in this park. We’re also big fans of the hiking trails and the scenic drives.
Park Chaser’s Best of Rocky Mountain National Park
We spent hours and hours in the Moraine Park area with a pair of binoculars. Elk are everywhere here in the fall. In September, the gateway town of Estes Park hosts “Elkfest” when thousands of visitors come to see elk at the height of mating season.
Our 2016 visit to Rocky Mountain was just before the water shut off in the campground. The aspen trees were brilliant yellow and the mornings were crisp and cool. We love hiking in this park, but especially in fall.
A photograph of the Loch Vale Trail hangs in our upstairs hallway. It’s one of our favorite hikes of all time. Departing from the Bear Lake Trailhead with lots of other visitors, the crowd quickly thinned out. By the time we reached Loch Vale, we had a private lunch on the lake and enjoyed an afternoon at one of the more ‘hidden’ spots in Rocky.
On our last morning in the park we hiked The Fern Lake Trail. An easy, relatively flat hike that left from the campground, the trail connects to some of the best multi-day hiking trails in the park. We recommend it for everyone in your group, including kids. There are plenty of vistas along The Big Thompson River to
We stayed in the Moraine Park Campground during our visit to Rocky Mountain. It was the only campground that was reservable (and had running water) that late in the fall season. We loved how the elk wandered right past our tent and how close the trailheads were from our campsite.
One of the most popular roads in Rocky Mountain National Park is Trail Ridge Road. It cuts the park nearly in half west-to-east and serves as the only way to reach the Alpine Visitor’s Center. It sits at the highest elevation of all the visitor’s centers in the National Park Service.
More “Best Of” Park Lists
If you found this list helpful we’ve also put together “Best of” lists for these national parks:
- Best of Hawaii’s National Parks
- Best of Olympic National Park
- Best of Glacier National Park
- Best National Park Podcasts