Filed under: Campgrounds & RV Parks, Nature & Wildlife, Outdoor Recreation & Hiking, State & National Parks, Uncategorized
A Visit to Rocky Mountain National Park
As many of you are aware, my family and I try to visit as many of our beautiful national parks as we are able on our summer road trips. For the first time this summer, we had the pleasure of touring Rocky Mountain National Park. Ranging in elevation from 8,000 feet in the grassy valleys to a high of 14,259 at the summit of treacherous Long’s Peak the park is quite a tribute to the grandeur of the Rocky Mountains! As we were on our summer road trip, of course we camped in the park. However, aside from camping there are a multitude of ways to spend your time at Rocky Mountain. The Park contains 359 miles of trails on which to hike, backpack and ride horseback. Fishing, bird watching and photography are also popular park pastimes. In addition, any of these activities is only enhanced by the spectacular views and vistas that abound in the park. In the winter, park visitors can enjoy cross country skiing and snowshoeing to tour even some of the most remote areas.
Wildlife watching is another common park activity. Elk, moose, mule deer, black bears, bighorn sheep, cougars, coyotes, eagles, hawks and, at the higher elevations, marmots and picas abound here. During our visit, an unplanned delay in our drive through the park due to summer road construction was made quite a pleasant respite due to a herd of elk we were able to watch grazing on the mountain-side as we awaited our turn to drive on. You just don’t get these opportunities in Wisconsin!
The Continental Divide runs northwest to southeast through the center of the park along the tops of the high peaks. While this creates beautiful views for the hiker and casual observer, it also creates two distinct climate patterns in the park. On the east side near Estes Park, CO the climate is arid while on the park’s west side in the Grand Lake area the climate is much more humid with nearly twice the annual precipitation as in the east. This contributes to the richness and diversity of the park, as well as its wide variety of vegetation and wildlife. If you’ve never seen it, you owe it to yourself to spend some time in Rocky Mountain National Park. It’s worth the trip! For more information about things to see and do in Colorado, check out Colorado campgrounds.