National Park Nerd

rocky mountain

Rocky Mountain National Park was established in 1915. This National Park has something magnificent to look upon at every turn.

Longs Peak is the tallest mountain in the park, towering 14,259 feet above sea level. The Longs Peak hike should not be attempted by beginner climbers, it can take an entire day to climb and you must start around 3 a.m. to avoid afternoon thunderstorms at the top of the mountain. If you are not used to the Colorado altitude then this is definitely not the hike for you, as you may be at a higher risk for developing altitude sickness. Also, to avoid dehydration, always make sure to bring plenty of water on hikes around the park. 

One of the shortest, yet most popular hikes in the park is Bear Lake. The trail is very flat along the entire lake and is wheelchair accessible. However, since this is the most popular hike in the park, it will be difficult to find a parking spot in the morning. I would recommend going before 8 am or after 3 pm, but the morning view is a bit more spectacular. The Bear Lake area also has plenty of other beautiful hikes to explore, such as Emerald and Green Lake. 

Another area that visitors always love is Trail Ridge Road. This is the highest paved continuous road in North America at 12,183 feet. The drive offers some of the most beautiful views in the park. Trail Ridge Road opens typically right after Memorial Day weekend and closes at the first major snowfall, which is typically mid October. On the road, you will occasionally encounter some bull elk taking an afternoon nap, or you might get lucky and see some bighorn sheep grazing on the alpine tundra. Another good place to spot wildlife is Moraine Valley where you can see elk, fox, coyote and mule deer. During the months of September and October this area is dominated by bull elk bugling to attract other females.

Rocky Mountain National Park should be on everyone's bucket list.

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