Rocky Mountain National Park

Plan your trip.









Activities

At any time of year, whether you come for a day or the week, you'll find more than enough to fill your hours. Below are just a few of the activities beckoning you to come explore.

Scenic Drives

Whether you set out to cross the Continental Divide via Trail Ridge Road, wind along the deer and elk laden, Bear Lake Road, or head one way up through the steep narrow canyon of Old Fall River Road, your views will be spectacular and momentous. You'll discover the photographer in yourself as you wind each bend, gaze in awe at each waterfall, steam and lake along the way.

Short Walks & Day Hikes

Rocky Mountain National Park offers over 350 miles of trails. Each promising tremendous views and classic mountain beauty.

The trails range from simple short walks to stroll along at your own pace alongside lakes and streams to tremendous steep elevated adventures through the Rocky Mountain backcountry. One of the more widely-known trailheads is the trek to the summit of Longs Peak. Long's is the highest peak (14,255 feet) in Rocky Mountain National Park and the 15th tallest in the state of Colorado. A 7.5 mile trip one-way. Open only during the summer months.

For more information about short walks and hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park stop at any of the visitor centers in the park for a list of trailheads. Or, visit the hiking section of the National Park Service Web site. 

Horseback Riding

During the summer and fall months, Rocky Mountain National Park offers more than 260 miles of trails open to commercial and private horse users. There are two locations inside the park on the east side that offer guided tours, or choose from a number of liveries outside of the park on both the east and the west side park boundaries. A park tradition since its designation as a national park in 1915, horseback riding is a perfect way to appreciate the Rocky Mountain scenery. For a list of horseback riding concessioneers click here.

Wildlife Viewing

Before you head out to enjoy the park's abundant wildlife be sure to pack your binoculars and camera. You won't want to miss capturing nature at its finest. Flora and fauna can be seen by visitors year-round. Rocky Mountain National Park is one of country's top wildlife watching destinations. With over 900 species of plants, 280 recorded bird species, and elk herd numbering more than 3,000, 800 bighorn sheep, 11 species of fish, countless mule deer and nearly 60 other species of mammals, you'll discover a new-found passion for the natural world.

Some of the best places to catch the park's larger wildlife in action is the meadows of Moraine Park, Horseshoe Park and Kawuneeche Valley. If you are looking for some of the rare species of the park, such as pikas and marmots, consider scanning the higher, rocky regions. Trail Ridge Road and Old Fall River Road offer a gateway to their alpine-dwellings.

Rock Climbing

If living on the edge is your mantra, then the snow-covered peaks and granite rock formations of the park are calling your name. Gain strength, endurance and mental control as you ascend the steep natural structures. Choose your climbing specialty from rock, big wall, snow and ice, bouldering and mountaineering. For more information about rock climbing and guided climbs in the park visit the National Park Service climbing and mountaineering Web page. 

Camping

Imagine. Yummy, lightly toasted marshmallows roasting over a campfire. A cool, crisp night sky so full of stars that you can actually view the constellations.  Your family singing at the top of their lungs their favorite version of Row, Row, Row Your Boat. A good night's rest, after a long hike, cozied up in your thick sleeping bag, breathing the fresh mountain air.

Whether your idea of camping is in a tent, in an RV or primitive backcountry, there are plenty of campsites in the park sure to become a favorite camping spot for years to come.  There are five campgrounds to choose from with plenty of spaces. The elevation for each campground varies, however all are over 8,000 feet. Camping fees vary.

  • Aspenglen
  • Longs Peak
  • Timber Creek
  • Moraine Park
  • Glacier Basin (group camping available)

No reservations are required for Aspenglen, Longs Peak and Timber Creek campgrounds; however they are first come, first serve. Longs Peak and Timber Creek are open all year. Aspenglen is only available during the summer months. Firewood and water are available.

Reservations are required for Moraine Park and Glacier Basin and can be made up to five months in advance. Call 800-365-2267. Glacier Basin is only open during the summer months, but offers group camping spaces. Moraine Park is open year-round.

Backcountry camping is allowed in designated areas. Permits can be obtained by visiting any of the visitor centers within the park.

For additional information regarding stay limits, checkout times, primitive camping tips and RV and tent limits, please visit the campground section of the National Park Service Web site.

Fishing

Eleven species of fish swim the lakes and streams of Rocky Mountain National Park. Brown, rainbow, and cutthroat trout are amoung some of the most common.

Fishing is permitted, but a few restrictions apply.  A valid Colorado fishing license is required for all persons 16 years of age or older. Only one hand-held rod or line can be used per person.  Only artificial flies and lures made entirely of, or a combination of materials such as wood, plastic, glass, hair, metal, feathers, or fiber, may be used to attract fish. A complete list of regulations is available at park visitor centers and ranger stations.

Children's Activites

Children of all ages can enjoy park. Besides many of the activities listed above the National Park Service offers "Rocky's Junior Ranger Program" and "Children's Adventure" as two great programs for children to learn about the flora and fauna, environmental education and the parks geology and wildlife.

Your children will treasure the Moraine Park Museum with exhibits and interative games to help them enjoy their park visit. Or, stop by the Beaver Meadows and Kawuneeche visitor centers for a short movie with spectacular aerial footage of the park.

An excellent way to teach your children about nature is by walking the short .6 loop around Bear Lake. An interpretive nature trail with stops along the way, give children a chance to catch a ground squirrel or two and skip a few rocks across the water.

Go in search of "Paul Bunyan's Boot" rock formation near Gem Lake or look for moose, songbirds and wildflowers along Coyote Valley Trail.

Don't forget to stop at the Trail Ridge Store on Trail Ridge Road to let your kids pick out a favorite souvenir to remind them of their adventures in the park.

Ranger Guided Programs

Ranger guided programs are available year-round. All throughout the day, you'll find plenty of programs to help you get to know the park. Programs are subject to change.

Consider hiking an ancient Ute trail with the Tundra to Trees program, or spend the afternoon examining the skins, skulls, antlers, teeth and bones of park mammals with the Skins and Things program. After traveling throughout the park, why not finish your trip with a leisurely stroll as darkness, night sounds  and wildlife fill the valley. This Walk Into Twilight program is great for couples and families alike. For schedules and a list of the current season's schedule visit the ranger-led programs section of the National Park Service Web site.



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