Rocky Mountain National Park
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Rocky Mountain National Park

Rocky Mountain National Park is a well-preserved wilderness

Rocky Mountain National Park is a huge area that preserves the undeveloped wilderness of the Rocky Mountains. It contains about 265,000 acres (107,000 hectare) with only a few roads and no hotels, motels, shops, houses or commercial structures. There are hundreds of miles of hiking and horseback trails with many wilderness camping areas and a few improved campgrounds. This park is made for people who wish to appreciate the natural beauty of the mountains without all of the commercial tourist attractions.

Rocky Mountain National Park © Mike Leco / USATourist.com
Rocky Mountain National Park is a huge area that preserves the undeveloped wilderness of the Rocky Mountains. It contains about 265,000 acres.

Major attractions are hiking, camping and mountain climbing

The major attractions in Rocky Mountain Park are hiking, backpacking, fishing, horseback riding, mountain biking, cross-country skiing, mountain climbing and sightseeing. Many wilderness outfitters and horse rental stables are located just outside the park, so you can easily take guided tours into the wilderness via horseback or foot. The famous Rocky Mountain School for rock climbing and mountaineering is located in nearby Estes Park.

The village of Estes Park, Colorado is at the gateway to the park

Rocky Mountain National Park is situated about 75 miles northwest of Denver, Colorado. It is accessible by driving north from Denver on Interstate 25 to Loveland then west on route 34 to Estes Park. The village of Estes Park, Colorado lies just outside the entrance to the park on the edge of a lake in a mountain valley surrounded by snow capped peaks. The town is bit of a tourist haven due to its proximity to the park. There are plenty of hotel accommodations, restaurants and shops. There are also many outfitters, horse rentals and guides that can take you on short or longer trips into the park.

Rocky Mountain National Park © Mike Leco / USATourist.com
There are more than 350 miles (580 km) of hiking trails in Rocky Mountain National Park.

The park is open all year

The park is always open, but the high passes on Trail Ridge Road are usually closed from November through May due to snow accumulation. A seven-day admission costs about $20 per vehicle. Trail Ridge Road winds 45 miles (75 km) through some of the most spectacular scenery in Colorado to Granby Lake. Along the way, you may see herds of elk in the western valleys, mountain goats and mountain sheep near the high passes and moose in the lush meadows on the eastern slopes. From the lake, you can continue about 25 miles further south to the mining town of Idaho Springs and return to Denver via Interstate 70. Allow a full 8-hour day to complete this scenic drive.

It offers wilderness adventures for everyone

There are more than 350 miles (580 km) of hiking trails in the park. They range from easy short day hikes to strenuous climbs and long backpacking expeditions. The park is also very popular with rock and mountain climbers. It offers everything from easy beginner rock climbing and mountain trekking to extreme "big wall" technical climbing for expert mountaineers. There are no downhill ski resorts in the park, but it is open all winter for cross-country skiing and snowshoe hiking.

Written by: Mike Leco
Top Photo Credit: © Eric Wunrow / Colorado Tourism Office
Photo Description: High peaks within Rocky Mountain National Park are bathed in a pink glow.