Rocky Mountain National Park rests just northwest of Denver. The park was created in 1915 and is bound by Estes Park to the east and Grand Lake to the west. These two towns are connected by the highest paved highway in the country, Trail Ridge Road (US 34). This road runs for 48 miles, eleven of which are above tree line, and takes you through hairpin turns and offers amazing views of the mountain landscape in several key areas of the park.
On the drive up and down Trail Ridge Road, beautiful vistas await. Summer wildflowers, including columbine, paintbrush, and sunflowers, fill the meadows and high country in July and August. Moose can be seen anytime of year, and elk are famous for their bugling in Autumn. In the fall, aspen leaves begin their change from green to gold and orange, and the areas around Bear Lake, as well as across the park, show their finest fall colors for a few weeks in late September and early October.
An endless array of outdoor activities greets locals and visitors to RMNP. Miles of hiking trails to waterfalls, meadows, and mountain summits, including one of Colorado's most famous 14er, Longs Peak, reside in the park. Fly-fishing enthusiasts can wet their flies in search of wild trout in the high mountain streams or one of the many lakes that rest in the park.
One of my favorite places to explore is the Trail River Ranch. This area near Grand Lake on the west side of the park was once homesteaded by ranchers and farmers in the early 1900s. The Little Buckaroo Barn is one of the last remnants of this bygone era and is now on the National Register of History Places. The barn sits in the shade of the Never Summer Mountains in the Kawuneeche Valley.
The towns of Estes Park and Grand Lake offer entertainment, as well, from fine dining to shows for both adults and children. With so much outdoor beauty and local flavor, it is easy to see why more than 4 million visitors enter Rocky Mountain National Park each year.
I hope you enjoy this gallery of images from RMNP. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.