Feel Like You’re On Top of the World!
“Rocky Mountain National Park’s 415 square miles encompass and protect spectacular mountain environments. Enjoy Trail Ridge Road – which crests at over 12,000 feet including many overlooks to experience the subalpine and alpine worlds – along with over 300 miles of hiking trails, wildflowers, wildlife, starry nights, and fun times. In a world of superlatives, Rocky is on top!”
Established in 1915, and just having celebrated their Centennial, Rocky Mountain National Park is the crown jewel of Colorado. Offering exciting outdoor activities to those of every level, Rocky Mountain National Park is a must see while visiting the Centennial State. Nestled in the Rocky Mountain range between the small town of Estes Park to the East and the picturesque town of Grand Lake to the West, Rocky Mountain National Park offers breathtaking views and adrenaline rushes around every corner.
Known as a high elevation park, Trail Ridge Road, the highest continuous highway, reaches its crest at nearly 12,000 feet above sea level, and is home to one of our most famous 14’ers (mountains with peaks above 14,00 feet), Longs Peak. With a mixture of all mountain landscapes contained within this one park, you are sure to find exactly what you’re looking for; from a leisurely stroll through one of the parks many easy trails, or ramping it up a bit with a summit of your first (or another on the list) 14’er to a quick mountain bike adventure. The views, they never seem to hurt either.
Have to See it!
These are a few of the best spots to snap a photo, the best drives to take and things that you just…have to see! And remember, we at Adventure Camper would love to hear about your trip and see your photos posted to our Facebook page!
Trail Ridge Road will take you to the “top of the world” topping out at 12,183 feet where you will climb over 4,000 feet in just a matter of minutes! No matter which side of the historic road you begin your travels on (you can access it from either Estes Park or Grand Lake) the scenery will change vastly from an unassuming mountain forest of Ponderosas to a thick subalpine forest before topping out at tree line where you see one of the most fascinating and intricate ecosystems of the entire park. Oh, and the views….unexplainable but definitely unbeatable!
Not All Who Wander Are Lost: The Best Campgrounds and Trails to See While in Rocky Mountain National Park
Rocky Mountain National Park has some of the absolute best Alpine Lakes, these trails are some of our tried and true favorites:
The crown jewel of a 3-lake hiking trail beginning at the Bear Lake trailhead you will pass by both Nymph Lake as well as Dream Lake.
3.5 Miles roundtrip, 650 foot elevation gain, rated as an easy hike
Beginning at the Bear Lake trailhead the trail to Lake Helene affords you views of Longs Peak, the Keyboard of the Winds, Pagoda Peak. Upon arrival at Lake Helene you are rewarded with amazing views of Flattop, Knobtop and Knotchtop Mountains.
6.5 Miles roundtrip, 412 foot elevation gain, rated as a moderate hike.
Starting at the Glacier Gorge Trailhead, Mills Lake is one of the quintessential Rocky Mountain National Park hikes. Named after the most vocal supporter of the establishment of the park, Enos Mills, your hike rewards you early on with a visit to Alberta Falls. This beautiful subalpine lake is tucked away just beneath Half Mountain. Treated with views of the Keyboard of the Winds, Pagoda Mountain, Chiefs Head Peak and Thatchtop Mountain this is one for the books!
Rocky Mountain National Park is very camper friendly and have a wide variety of campgrounds to suit your location. All Check out times are 12pm and all Check in times are 1pm. For more information, or to reserve your campsite, check out Rocky Mountain National Park’s website here
Reservations are highly recommended for this heavily wooded site located on Highway 34 just west of the Fall River Entrance station. Costing only $20/site/night, you will be on a 13ft x 15ft asphalt pad where water hookups are available. Located outside of the park, there are 53 sites that allow you to be within walking distance of the Fall River Visitor Center. Reservations are taken May 21st through September 27th
Reservations are highly recommended for this camping site located on Bear Lake Road approximately six miles south of the Beaver Meadows Entrance Station. Having 150 sites total A, B and D loops are reservable. Although there are trees, in most of the campground C and D loops have no shade so keep that in mind when booking. This is an unpaved pad, that offers no hookups, so you will want to make sure to reserve a generator (sites 76-104 are generator free) or solar panel. Costing only $20/site/night you will also have access to the free summer shuttle that runs from Bear Lake to Estes Park.
First come, first served, no reservations taken at this site. Located in a pine forest near the Longs Peak trailhead this campground has 26 sites, however they are tents only. $20/site/night and has access to water.
Reservations are highly recommended for the Park’s only year-round campground. Located in a ponderosa pine forest above the meadows of Moraine Park, it is approximately 2.5 miles south of Beaver Meadows Entrance Station. Packed with 144 reservable sites, you will also have walking access to Moraine Park Discovery Center, a free shuttle from Bear Lake and to Estes Park, Solar-heated shower bag stall facility and flush toilets. Costing only $20/site/night this campground allows you to camp with (almost) all the amenities of home.
First come, first served, no reservations taken at this site. Located along the Colorado River in the Kawuneeche Valley (the only west side campground) it is about 10 miles north of Grand Lake. Offering 98 sites, it is camper friendly with varying pad sizes. Costing only $20/site/night this particular campground fought hard against the onset of pine beetles, but lost all of its shady spots in order to win the battle. You are however treated to an amphitheater as well as nightly Ranger led programs.