Rocky Mountain National Park is gorgeous. It is also huge, so I was upset we only had one day to spend there. We made the most of our time there though. We entered the park through the Estes Park entrance. We swung by the Beaver Meadows visitor center to grab our maps and trail information, then headed to the park and ride. The park and ride is where you can park your car and ride the shuttle around instead. I’m all about shuttles. The less I have to drive, the better.
We hopped on the shuttle that went down to Bear Lake. The park ranger we spoke with at the visitor center recommended this trail because it is an easy hike with beautiful views. It is a half mile loop trail that goes along the edge of Bear Lake and has lovely views of the mountains in the distance. This is one of the most popular trails in the park because it is a trail anyone can do and everyone will enjoy.
From Bear Lake we took the shuttle to Glacier Gorge. This is where the trail to Alberta Falls starts. I love waterfalls, so definitely had to see at least one on my trip to the Rocky Mountains. There are a number of falls in the park, all of which are beautiful, I’m sure. Alberta Falls is one of the more popular ones because it is only a half mile hike to get to the falls and it is relatively flat terrain. Definitely check it out.
We hiked back to Glacier Gorge and decided instead of taking the bus to Sprague Lake, we would hike there. We asked the Ranger how long and how difficult the hike was and he said it was three miles but not very difficult. We decided we could handle it. The hike was really nice. It goes right alongside Glacier Creeks, providing beautiful views of the water along the way.
By the time we made it to Sprague Lake the sky was looking pretty gloomy. The lake is beautiful though. It is bigger than Bear Lake and is less crowded. If you want a hike that is more one with nature, Sprague Lake would be a good option.
We caught the shuttle at Sprague Lake and took it back to the park and ride so we could grab our lunches from the car. By this point it was down pouring, so we sat in the car and waited for the rain to pass.
One of the most popular things that people do when they Visit Rocky Mountain National Park is to drive up Trail Ridge Road to the Alpine Visitor Center. The Alpine Visitor Center is located at the highest point in the park and has amazing views.
The Trail Ridge Road is not for the faint of heart. It is incredibly curvy, with many of those curves being extremely sharp. Also, the road is very narrow and there are a few sections where you are driving really close to the edge.
There are a number of scenic stops and trail heads along the road. Many Parks Curve is the first major viewpoint you come to and is also one of the sharpest curves on the road. Driving on the road was making me a little nervous. I have a fear of heights and we very close to the edge so I had to force myself to just look at the road and not off to the side. Also the rain had caused it to become very foggy, making it difficult to see the road.
Even though I was feeling a little anxious, we continued up the mountain to the next view point at Rainbow Curve. We were so high up we were legit standing in the clouds. Or maybe it was just really think fog? Either way, we were really high up. The view was absolutely incredible, but also scared the crap out of me.
We stayed at Rainbow Curve for a little bit enjoying the view, then decided to head back down the mountain. My fear of heights was kicking in a little too much for me to keep going. I would love to go back someday and go all the way to the top of the mountain when someone else is the driver. That way I wouldn’t be so worried about driving over the edge of the mountain.
By the time we made it back down the mountain, the day was drawing to a close. It’s a shame that it had to rain during our visit, but it was still a beautiful park. We didn’t even get to see a quarter of the park though, so this one is definitely on my list of parks I want to visit again.
Have you been to Rocky Mountain National Park? What sites did you go see?