Rocky Mountain National Park Adventure
I grew up in the Northeast, a region
without many national parks; so one of the reasons I was excited to
move to Wyoming was for the opportunities I would have to visit the
various parks located in the states surrounding Wyoming. There are
fourteen national parks in the states bordering Wyoming, and so far
I have visited three: Yellowstone, Grand Teton and Rocky Mountain.
Rocky Mountain is one of the highest parks
in the national park system, with 60 peaks over 12,000 feet, and
many of those reaching over 13,000 feet and one reaching over 14,000
feet. The continental divide runs through the park, and about 1/3 of
the park is above 11,000 feet in an alpine tundra environment.
Bear Lake is a large lake at the base of a mountain trail, and also where the Bear Lake Trail is located. The trail is less than a mile, offers amazing views of the landscape and the water is so clear and calm that there are gorgeous reflections of the mountains as well. There are multiple places around the trail to stop and sit and enjoy the views. This may be a short and easy trail, but well worth your time, I’d say!
Near the Bear Lake trailhead, there are
also a few other trailheads. We also hiked the Nymph, Dream and
Emerald Lake trail, which is a little less than two miles one way,
and has three lakes along the way. Nymph Lake is the first and
smallest of the three lakes, but quite pretty with the trees and
reflections. Dream Lake is the second lake on the trail and is
crystal clear, allowing us to see dozens of fish swimming around.
Emerald Lake is at the end of the trail and in my opinion, was the
prettiest of the three lakes. The lake is at the base of the
mountains and is so clear you can see the mountains in the water.
This trail was by far my favorite of the day, it wasn’t too long or
hard and the views were worth the time.
Along the road, there is a pull off
for a short walk to Chasm Falls, a beautiful 25-foot water fall.
Along the rest of the road we drove under mountains, through
forests, over the valley below, saw some wildlife and even got to
hear an elk bugle. Right before we reached the top, we pulled off
again to hike to the peak of the mountain we had just driven up. The
hike put us on the peak of one of the 12,000-foot mountains and we
were able to look into the valleys and atop the surrounding
Our final adventure in the park was driving
Trail Ridge Road, the highest continuous paved road in the nation.
The road is 48 miles total from one side of the park to the other,
reaches its highest point at 12,183 feet of elevation, drives
through the tundra and above the park's tree line and is a great
place to see wildlife from cars. The road has many pull offs for
hikes, overlooks and scenery, including my favorite pull off to view
the lava cliffs.
Rocky Mountain National Park had absolutely amazing views and some really great hikes. I would recommend anyone to go, both avid hikes and beginners, because there are trails for everyone. This was my third national park, and I enjoyed every minute of it. I hope that if you go, you have just as good of a time as I did!