• Blaine Hoppenrath

Yose's Guide to Rocky Mountain

When I first moved to Denver, I loved the fact that I could always see the Rockies in the distance. The mountains were always there, yearning to be explored. It has been so long that I barely remember the details of my first time to the park, but one thing I will never forget is the driving out to the park from Denver, making a bend in the road, and then having my breath taken away with the view of the Rockies. Then over the years I have returned to the park for a few hours at a time. Its a place I wish that I would have spent more time in when I was actually living in Denver but a place that I know I will return to.


I have a few favorites, but since it has been so long since I have been to the park, I only remember the highlights.


Know Before You Go


I have only gone to RMNP as a day trip. But I would not be opposed to either a backpacking trip or home base in Estes Park. I also have never been to the west side of the park. So I have a pretty limited knowledge of the park as a whole (granted that would take decades to learn). One thing that I do know is RMNP is constantly updating their access and permitting to get into the park, especially during the high summer season. Check in with their NPS website to make sure that you have the proper reservation to enter or you might have to alter your plans.


Highlights

A great place to start in RMNP is Deer Mountain Trail. This 6.0mi round trip hike is a moderate hike with summit views of the rest of the park. It is a highly traffic trail, so start early! You are probably sick of me telling you to start early but it will save you every time.


A very popular spot is Bear Lake and its stunning and easy to get to. Winter is a great time to explore the lake, especially when the lake is frozen and you can walk out onto the lake. I love a good alpine lake and there is something special about the lakes when they are frozen.




Finally, of all the exploring that I have done so far in the park I love the Alluvial Fan. Hands down my favorite place to wander. The debris field was created in 1982 when and earthen dam gave way and water rushed into the valley below. Today there is a short trail, but the real fun is meandering upriver along the boulder field. You should be extremely careful however it is a choose you own adventure up the field.


📍Ute, Cheyenne, Arapaho




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