Description - The park's rich scenery typifies the massive grandeur of the Rocky Mountains. Snow-covered peaks rise above lush subalpine valleys and lakes. One-third of the park is above tree line, in the alpine tundra. Trail Ridge Road crosses the Continental Divide and looks out over peaks that tower more than 14,000 feet above sea level. Wildlife and wildflowers call these 415.2 square miles (265,727 acres) home. With more than three million annual visitors, Rocky Mountain is one of the most popular National Parks in the country.
Copyright: Rocky Mountain National Park
Upper Beaver Meadows & Longs Peak
Headquarters Visitor Center and Kawuneeche Visitor Center offer park orientation exhibits and movies. They are open daily throughout the year(closed December 25). The Moraine Park Museum, Alpine Visitor Center and Lily Lake Visitor Center explore different ecosystems in the park through interpretive exhibits, which are open to the public throughout the summer season. The Never Summer Ranch examines historical dude ranching, open mid-June through Labor day.
Recreation - Visitors to Rocky Mountain National Park during the non-winter months can enjoy hiking, horseback riding, fishing, scenic driving, rock climbing, camping, picnicking, road biking, and wildlife viewing. In autumn, visitors come to the park to see the elk gathering and hear them bugle during their fall "rut".
From about November through April, much of the park is covered in snow and visitors enjoy cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and mountaineering. Some areas on the east side of the park, however, remain relatively snow-free through the winter and offer trails for winter hiking without the need for skis or snowshoes. Several campgrounds in the park remain open year-round.
Climate - Rocky Mountain National Park has weather that should be taken seriously. The winter season is long and typically brings around 300 inches of annual snowfall. These frigid conditions become more severe with altitude and should be expected from mid October through April.
The summer months are far less severe but can be deceiving. While the days are generally warm, nighttime temperatures can dip below freezing, even during the middle of summer. Late afternoon thunder showers are the norm even on the clearest of mornings. Snowfall is possible any day of the year at the higher altitudes. Always be prepared for a variety of conditions.
Rocky Mountain National Park is located in north central Colorado. Estes Park lies on the northeastern boundary and Lake Granby lies on the southwestern park boundary. The Continental Divide divides the park diagonally. The Colorado River headwaters lie on the western side of the park.