S ituated just a short journey outside Denver, the Rocky Mountain National Park is one of Colorado’s finest examples of a beautiful mountainous area that is filled with things to do and see. For the wide eyed traveller and lover of nature, the Rocky Mountain National Park is a must see. Here are 5 reasons to convince you to pack to get up and hit one of America’s most magnificent natural gems.
Image Source: Travelskyline
Top 5 reasons to see Rocky Mountain National Park
- It is the most popular attraction in Colorado
Naturalist Enos Mills wrote about the area that is now Rocky Mountain National Park, “In years to come when I am asleep beneath the pines, thousands of families will find rest and hope in this park.” That was in the year 1909. More than a century later, his vision has far and away come true. The park attracts three million visitors each year to experience the 416 square miles of mountainous wonder. And if that wasn’t reason enough, in 2014 National Geographic named Rocky Mountain National Park as one of the best trips in the world. Let’s face it – if it makes the National Geographic list, then it is worth seeing and then some.
- See the Wildlife
In today’s commercial world – it’s rare to get out and see some of nature’s most majestic creatures in their natural habitat. The park is home to a more than 3000 elk, around 800 big horn sheep (they almost faced extinction last century – so this is a real treat) and the naturally shy moose which you are advised to admire at a distance. If you’re visiting Denver and making the approx 90 minute journey to the park, it’s a great change to escape the commercialism and get the grips with nature.
- Scenic drives
In terms of scenic drives, it’s hard to think of anything more beautiful than the scenic drives available at Rocky Mountain National Park. Trail Ridge Road is the highest continuous motorway in the US and reaches its peak elevation at 12, 183 feet – the views are something else. Old Fall River Road was completed in 1920 and was the first to cross the Rocky Mountains and offers an impressive view of Deer Mountain. It ends at Chaplin Creek Trailhead – 10,640 feet above sea level. Highway 36 is striking; you’ll find sandstone rock formations and the beauty of Roosevelt National Forest. All of these scenic drives are vast and striking – leaving even the most experienced traveller lost for words.
- Activities & hikes
For kids, the beer lake loop is perfect. Only half a mile long, it’s the perfect chance for families to see the deer and the beautiful views of Hallett Peak and Flattop Mountain. Coyote Valley is also a short trail – only one mile long. You’ll find beautiful wildflowers in bloom and if you’re lucky you may even spot a moose! You’ll also have the unique offering of going horseback riding the old fashioned way – atop a horse. There’s a wealth of things to do and see, but most of all – it’s the scenery, the sense of nature and the overwhelming feeling of vastness that makes it such an incredible experience.
- Go bird watching
The park is a haven for bird watching with nearly 300 species of bird said to fly here. Specialty species unique to mountain habitats include White-tailed Ptarmigan, Blue Grouse, Gray Jay, Clark’s Nutcracker, Williamson’s Sapsucker, Three-toed Woodpecker, and the Mountain Chickadee. Even if bird life isn’t top of your to do list, this is a unique opportunity that you should most definitely avail from.
Rocky Mountain National Park is a sight to behold with something for everyone – regardless of your age or interests. It’s a national treasure and a real experience for the whole family so next time you’re in Colorado, be sure to swing by.