7 Things to Know Before Visiting Rocky Mountain National Park

Elk herd in Rocky Mountain National Park, Eastern Slopes, Trail Ridge Road (U.S. Route 34). Photo Credit: Vin Crosbie (Flickr).

A visit to Rocky Mountain National Park is a must-do for any Colorado adventurer. These insider tips will help you get the most out of your summer travels while experiencing the beautiful scenery of the Rocky Mountain National Park. Here are 7 things to know before your visit to Rocky Mountain National Park.

1. Be An Early Riser

7 Things to Know Before Visiting Rocky Mountain National Park

Photo Credit: emeldrum (iStock).

Don’t let the parking situation put a damper on your summer adventure plans. The park tends to get super crowded between 10 a.m. and 3:00 p.m., with the popular Bear Lake Trailhead filling up as early as 8:00 a.m. Get up early, make breakfast in the parking lot, and let the adventure begin.

2. Layer Up

When it comes to mountain weather, expect the unexpected. Warm layers are key for Colorado’s unpredictable weather pattern, especially at high altitude destinations like Rocky Mountain National Park. From chilly mornings to blistering afternoons to unexpected snowstorms in the middle of summer, it’s best to plan ahead and be prepared for sudden weather changes.

3. Enjoy Fewer Crowds Downtown

7 Things to Know Before Visiting Rocky Mountain National Park

Elk in Estes Park. Photo Credit: Dougal Brownlie; The Gazette.

Skip the crowds and stroll downtown for a beautiful afternoon of shopping, dining, and sipping. In downtown Estes Park, you’ll find over 200 unique shopping destinations to explore. From mountain saltwater taffy to memorable souvenirs to outdoor breweries, there’s plenty to do and see. Just don’t be surprised if you see elk wandering the streets of the town, especially during fall breeding seasons.

4. Keep Wildlife Wild

7 Things to Know Before Visiting Rocky Mountain National Park

Photo Credit: Sparty1711 (iStock).

The elk are everywhere in Rocky Mountain National Park. Herds of elk can be seen roaming in the park, hanging out on the sidewalks, and crossing the streets. When observing, taking photographs, and listening to elk bugle, remember to keep your distance for your safety and the safety of these magnificent creatures.

5. Explore Without Getting Lost

7 Things to Know Before Visiting Rocky Mountain National Park

Chasm Lake. Photo Credit: John Fielder.

The best way to see the natural beauty of Rocky Mountain National Park is to hike it. Do your research well in advance and pick the right hikes best suited for your abilities. AllTrails is a great resource for trail info, maps, detailed reviews, and photographs. Popular trails in Rocky Mountain National Park include Emerald Lake Trail, Alberta Falls, Loch Lake Trail, Chasm Lake, and Longs Peak for experienced hikers.

6. Explore Roosevelt National Forest

Skip the crowds of Rocky Mountain National Park and escape to the less traveled Roosevelt National Forest. Dazzle your senses with an adventure quite similar to Rocky Mountain National Park. Not only are dogs allowed in national forests, but you’ll also find a wide range of mountain biking and off-roading trails.

7. Extend Your Trip

7 Things to Know Before Visiting Rocky Mountain National Park

Photo Credit: Rawpixel (iStock).

When it comes to visiting Rocky Mountain National Park, you could spend a countless number of days exploring and still leave longing for more. Make it a weekend trip. Grab a room at the Stanley or set up camp somewhere in the park. For more info on campgrounds at Rocky Mountain National Park, click here.

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