Rocky Mountain National Park
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Rocky Mountain National Park is located in Colorado, about two hours northwest of Denver. It is home to Longs Peak, one of Colorado’s “fourteeners” (mountains that rise above 14,000 feet.) The park has over 300 miles of hiking trails, colorful wildflowers, and wildlife including moose and black bears.
Weather at Rocky Mountain National Park can change quickly. It has been known to snow in the middle of summer, and you’ll want several layers of clothing to accommodate changing temperatures. The high elevation of the park brings its own challenges, and you should always have sunscreen and plenty of water as you’re exploring. If you’re planning on hiking, use this checklist to make sure you have what you need. These safety guidelines are also helpful if you’re heading to the park for the first time.
There are quaint mountain towns just outside both entrances to the park. If you’re approaching the park from the west, you’ll drive past scenic Grand Lake and may want to set aside some time to explore the restaurants, shops, and lake recreation. If you’re arriving from the more populated east side, you’ll want to meander through Estes Park (look for the majestic Stanley Hotel on the hill, made famous by Stephen King’s “The Shining”).
There is plenty to do inside the park as well. More activities occur between late May and early October, but people visit during the snowy winter weather, and there are still planned events throughout the colder months. You can find a schedule of ranger-led programs here, and if you’re traveling with children, check out the suggested kids’ activities. Whether you visit the park when it’s blooming and green, sparkling as a winter wonderland, or bursting with fall colors, the sight of the Rocky Mountains and the lakes, streams, and landscape will stay with you well after your trip is over.
- Spring 18-51 F
- Summer 39-69 F
- Fall 20-59 F
- Winter 12-26 F
- Coming soon
- Rocky Mountain National Park Private Vehicle: 1 day pass: $25
- Rocky Mountain National Park Private Vehicle: 7 day pass: $35
- Rocky Mountain National Park Motorcycle: 7 day pass: $30
- Rocky Mountain National Park Per person: 7 day pass: $20
RV Rentals Near Rocky Mountain National Park
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Rocky Mountain National Park Hiking Trails
Whether you’re looking for a kid-friendly path to the start of the Colorado River, or a bucket-list trek to the top of Longs Peak, there’s a trail for you at the park! Bring plenty of water and sunscreen, a snack, and a camera and keep an eye out for moose, elk, and yellow-bellied marmots.
Here are a few popular trails in the park. For all of the trails available to you, click here.
Rocky Mountain National Park Lake Trails
Things to do Outside Rocky Mountain National Park
Although there is plenty to do inside the park, the surrounding mountain towns offer many more activities! Relax and dine next to a rushing river, explore the area by horseback, or unwind with one of the many craft beers Colorado is known for.
RV Resorts & Campsites in Rocky Mountain National Park
Many campgrounds at Rocky Mountain National Park can be booked ahead of time and reservations fill up quickly. Check here to find out how to reserve your campsite before you go. Also, if you are an America the Beautiful Senior or Access Pass holder, you get a 50% discount on camping fees within the park. Campgrounds in the park are not open year-round, most operate from May through October.
Campgrounds Near Rocky Mountain National Park
Find the Best Dumpstations Near Rocky Mountain National Park
Dumpstations Near Rocky Mountain National Park
How to get to Rocky Mountain National Park
There are many ways to travel to Rocky Mountain National Park. You can choose to head to the west entrance of the park near Grand Lake, or the east side at Estes Park. The nearest airport is Denver International Airport, about a two hour drive from the east entrances to the park. On very busy days, consider using the Fall River Road east entrance instead of the more popular Beaver Meadows entrance. The west side is less populated and tends not to be as busy.
Rocky Mountain National Park is very RV accessible as well. Renting an RV allows you to travel through the park with ease, stopping and spending more time wherever you wish. If you don’t own an RV, RV rentals are available around the country. Whether you want to start where you live and drive, or rent an RV near Denver and head to the park, there are options available.
There are several campgrounds in the park that accommodate RVs, but be sure to check their websites beforehand. Many require reservations and you’ll want to make those well in advance of your visit!
Frequently Asked Questions
Pets are allowed at Rocky Mountain National Park. Pets are not allowed on any park trails, tundra, or meadows. Pets are allowed to be along established roads, in parking areas, in established campgrounds, and in picnic areas.
Top things to do at Rocky Mountain National Park include driving Trail Ridge Road through the park, walking around Sprague Lake, and visiting the Holzwarth Historic Site. There are numerous hiking and biking trails throughout the park, as well as plenty of scenic overlooks.
Yes, there are designated camping spots in Rocky Mountain National Park. The park has four campgrounds that allow reservations, and one first-come, first-served tent-only campground.
It is highly recommended that you reserve a camping spot at Rocky Mountain National Park. The park has three developed campgrounds that accept reservations and those reservations go quickly.
The best time of year to visit Rocky Mountain National Park is between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Trail Ridge Road, the highest continuous paved road in North America, traditionally opens for the season on Memorial Day weekend so visitors have the most park access in summer. Autumn is also a beautiful time to visit the park, although the high elevation means there is a chance of snow.
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