Northwest of Boulder and about an hour north of Denver, Colorado is the famous Rocky Mountain National Park. It is home to much of North America’s tallest mountains and offers stunning views of the Rocky Mountains.
Snow-capped mountains under a blue sky invite the visitor into a breathtaking landscape of Rocky Mountain National Park. The many mountain lakes, the Colorado River, biking and hiking trails in nature are particularly popular. There are many different animals and a diverse flora to be discovered. Animals native to Rocky Mountain National Park include elk, bighorn sheep, bald eagles, moose, bison, deer, arctic hares and black bears.
The area of the Rocky Mountain National Park extends over 1,075 km², a large part of which is pure wilderness with beautiful nature, interesting animals and a lot of solitude. Wildflowers dot the slopes of the Rocky Mountains in spring. Starry nights invite you to spend the night in the national park.
The park is home to Trail Ridge Road, the highest paved road in the United States, which offers excellent views of the subalpine and alpine world of the Rocky Mountains.
In winter, hot springs are found in the Rocky Mountains in the great snow expanse. The so-called “Greyers” are a hot experience for everyone. Untouched nature awaits visitors in the Rocky Mountains in winter.
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The North American Continental Divide and the Colorado River run through the Rocky Mountain Park area of Colorado. Most of the North American Continental Divide follows the ridge of the Rocky Mountains. It comes from Cape Prince of Wales in Alaska, runs east into the Canadian Territory of Yukon and then south into British Columbia. It then runs through Montana, Wyoming, Colorado and New Mexico in the United States to Mexico and Central America along the Sierra Madre Occidental mountain range.
Notable stops in Rocky Mountain National Park are the Trail Ridge Road, Alpine Visitor’s Center, Bear Lake, Chasm Lake, Mount Longs Peak (4345 m) and Grand Lake.
In the park there is a free shuttle bus service that takes visitors to many stations from where you can explore the beautiful landscape via hiking trails. However, the buses do not run in winter.
History of Rocky Mountain National Park
In early 1915, Rocky Mountain National Park was established under President Woodrow Wilson. The conservationist Enos Milles previously campaigned for the area to have national park status.
Lodging & Campgrounds in Rocky Mountain National Park
Overnight accommodation is available at many campgrounds in Rock Mountain National Park. Timber Creek Campground on the west side and Moraine Park Campground on the east side. Other campgrounds include Aspenglen Campground, Glacier Basin Campground, and Longs Peak Campground.
Weather & Climate of Rocky Mountain National Park
Due to the different altitudes in Rocky Mountain National Park, the weather and climate is extremely different. In the higher elevations there can be snow even in July.
Opening hours & admission to Rocky Mountain National Park
Rocky Mountain National Park is open 24 hours a day, year-round. It can be entered or left at any time. If you want to spend the night in the park, you must do so at one of the campsites. To stay overnight in the wilderness you need a permit.
Admission to Rocky Mountain National Park for an automobile is $20 for a period of 7 consecutive days. Motorbikes, bicycles and pedestrians pay $10 per person.
The Rocky Mountain National Park Annual Pass costs $40 and offers unlimited entry to this park for one year from the date of purchase. Also the America the Beautiful National Parks is valid here.
Visitor Centers & Museums in Colorado Rocky Mountain National Park
Almost all visitor centers and museums have disabled toilets, there is an opportunity to buy some food and souvenirs. ALL Park Visitor Centers are closed on December 25th Christmas Day.
Alpine Visitor Center
Open daily from 10.30am to 4.30pm until October 14th. The Alpine Visitor Center, featuring exhibits about the alpine tundra, is located at Fall River Pass at the junction of Trail Ridge and Old Fall River Road. The Alpine Visitor Center is only open when the Trail Ridge Road is open.
Beaver Meadows Visitor Center
Open 8am to 4:30pm year-round except Thanksgiving Day and Christmas. It is located on US Route 36, three miles west of the town of Estes Park. You can watch a 20-minute film about the park here. A topographic relief map of the park can be found here for orientation.
Fall River Visitor Center
The Fall River Visitor Center is open December 21, 2013 through January 5, 2014. Otherwise it is closed for this season. It is located off US Route 34 five miles west of the town of Estes Park. Learn more about the animals in Rocky Mountain National Park here.
Holzwarth Historic Site
Open all year round, but you cannot enter the building in winter. It is located on US Rt 34 approximately seven miles north of Grand Lake Entrance.
Kawuneeche Visitor Center
Open year-round except Thanksgiving Day and Christmas from 8 am to 4:30 pm Located one mile north of the town of Grand Lake on US Route 34 at the park entrance. At the Visitor Center, you can browse a topographical relief map of the park, learn more about the Colorado River, and watch a 20-minute film about the park.
Moraine Park Visitor Center
The Moraine Park Visitor Center is closed in 2013. It is on Bear Lake Road, 1.5 miles from Beaver Meadows Entrance. Exhibits on nature and a nature trail are available to visitors here.
Sheep Lakes Information Station
Closed for the 2013 season, Sheep Lakes Information Station is located approximately 1.8 miles west of Fall River Entrance on Highway 34 in Horeseshoe Park. A stop for viewing wildlife such as moose, bighorn sheep, badgers and coyotes.
Directions & Parking in Rocky Mountain National Park
The park adjoins the Grand County town of Grand Lake to the south and the town of Estes Park to the northeast. Both cities are connected by the Trail Ridge Road.
You can take the train to the town of Granby (GRA) in Colorado to get to Rocky Mountain National Park. However, there is no other public transport between the train and the park.
From Denver and the east, take US 34 from Loveland, CO or US 36 from Boulder through Estes Park, Colorado.
From the east, take Interstate 70 west of Denver. At exit 244, follow US Highway 6 for two miles to State Highway 119. Then take Highway 119 north to Nederland. Then follow State Highway 72 onto Highway 7. Follow Highway 7 north to Estes Park
From the west or south, take Interstate 70 to US 40 between Georgetown and Idaho Springs. Then take US 34 towards Granby, Colorado past Grand Lake, Colorado.
If you are planning a Colorado flyover vacation to Rocky Mountain National Park, then you will need to fly into Denver International Airport (DIA).
Address of the Rocky Mountain National Park attraction in Colorado
Rocky Mountain National Park
1000 US highway 36