Positioned high atop the Front Range Rockies of central Colorado, Rocky Mountain National Park protects a vast area of mountains, tundra, and forest. The continental divide separating the Pacific and Atlantic watersheds jogs directly through the park following a string of peaks in excess of 13,000 feet. At 14,259 feet (4,346 m), Long’s Peak stands as the northernmost “fourteener” in the Rocky Mountain Range, and its summit is visible in all directions for many miles.
The park is famous for its scenic drives and remote backpacking opportunities, but beware, it’s also infamous for erratic weather with late Summer thunderstorms and light snowfall extending into July.
Must See: Trail Ridge Road is the highest continuously paved road in the United States. Heavy snowfall renders the the road impassable for six months out of the year, typically from October through May.
Off the Beaten Path: There are countless hiking and backpacking opportunities in the park. The remoteness of Ouzel Falls (5.4 miles roundtrip, moderate) and the 360 degree panorama view from Flattop Mountain (4.4 miles roundtrip, strenuous) stand out to me as exciting hikes.
Next Time: The Native American Ute people used to travel west over the Rockies to trade with their neighbors in present day Utah and Nevada. A section of their ancient route is open to visitors. I’d like to get a taste of what they were up against by hiking it.
Oddly enough, the park Headquarters at Beaver Meadows Visitor Center was designed by the celebrated architect Frank Lloyd Wright. I only found out about this recently, so I’d like to have a walk around there next time.
For more information on my visit check my post.