Rocky Mountain National Park

Rocky Mountain National Park is located 55 miles northwest of Denver in north-central Colorado, within the front range of the Rocky Mountains. The eastern and western slopes of the Continental Divide run directly through the center of the park with the headwaters of the Colorado River located in the park's northwestern region. The main features of the park include mountains, alpine lakes, and a wide variety of wildlife within various climates and environments, from wooded forests to mountain tundra.

View from Bear Lake Road

We visited this park the first week in May before the heavy tourist season. Because of the time of year, microspikes were a necessity for hiking the lower elevations and snowshoes were necessary for the higher elevations. We camped in Estes Park and experienced all possible weather conditions, from snow and rain and nights in the 20's to sunshine and warmth in the 70s during the day (we all ended up getting sunburned our last day in the park). We saw A LOT of wildlife. Most of the animals here appear to be accustomed to humans and seem to expect you to feed them. We saw elk, deer, Steller's Jays, and a rather aggressive chipmunk.

Chipmunk that hung out at our campsite trying to get food

Elk by the road on our way into the park

The most exciting part of our trip was our hike to Lake of Glass where we encountered a thunder snow storm and had to race back down the mountain to safety. It was icy and slippery and the storm instantly dropped the temperature ten degrees as the clouds smacked directly into us. I'd say we all had a decent amount of adrenaline pumping through our bodies as we made our escape down 1600 feet of the mountain to the trailhead.