Travels with Tucker

Travels with Tucker

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Rocky Mountain National Park

Rocky Mountain National Park celebrates its 100th anniversary this year.  This huge wilderness park just a few hours from half the population of Colorado is a popular and busy place in the summer. Much of the park is shut down for 8 months of the year due to its extreme elevation and brutal climate.  During the summer and early fall, it is worth it to brave the crowds in order to experience the incredible scenery and wildlife of this magnificent park.

We spent two weeks at RMNP, one week near Estes Park, the town near the main entrance, and one week down at the quieter northeast corner of the park. We were thrilled that Lucas could spend a few days with us between legs of his round-the-world tour and we got in some great hiking. Much of the park is inaccessible to cars, but amazing scenery that the few roads into the heart of the park reveals is magnificent. We did hikes up in the alpine elevations above the tree line, including a small (for Colorado) peak at 12,150 feet. We hiked into valleys with deep blue lakes set at the base of stunning mountains. We saw a bear, many elk (including some literally next to the trail we were on), mountain goats and bighorn sheep. We didn't get to many of the more popular places in the park and I know we will be back some day.  Some of our favorite hikes are well-documented on the Outdoor Project website, so check out these links to my articles there:

From Old Fall River Road
Alpine cirque near on of three passes on the old park road
Bighorn sheep taking a breather
Alpine Ridge Trail at 12,005 feet
The Loch, at the base of towering mountains
The Loch
Hiking up to Peak 12,150
Made it to the top of Peak 12,150!

The view goes on forever

View of the Continental Divide from Ute Trail
Cub Lake
Cub Lake
We were so close to this herd of elk!
Elk in Moraine Park
Crossing Ouzel Creek
First signs of fall color 
Three Sisters Peaks, view from near our campground
Lily Lake and impressive Longs Peak, the source of the Colorado River
Ouzel Falls was a beautiful hike with many tumbling cascades
Ouzel Falls, Rocky Mountain National Park

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