Posts Tagged With: rocky mountain national park

Rocky Mountain National Park – Day 2

Our second day at Rocky Mountain National Park was very different from the first day.  Day 2 was less crowded, but also very cold and instead of lakes we saw lots of snow.

We drove the scenic Trail Ridge Road and stopped at many of the viewpoints and some hiking trails along the way.


The higher up in elevation we got the colder it got.  They call this the tundra — I called it the frozen tundras. 🙂


We saw some elk and big horn sheep way off in the distance, but these cute marmots were the only wildlife we saw up close.  They were so cute and not even afraid of all the people around.



Playing in the snow in July!  It’s funny, our kids have seen more snow this summer in Colorado than they have seen in their entire lives!  As usual, we were not dressed appropriately for playing in the snow.  We always start out at a much warmer, lower elevation, and don’t realize just how cold it will be as we get higher. You’d think we would have learned by now.



We did the Alpine Ridge trail hike that was mostly walking up stairs.  It was a somewhat short hike, but it was really hard!  It’s amazing how out of breath we got up at 12,000 feet.  It made me feel really out of shape when I could hardly catch my breath, but then I read this sign which explains it.


The sign we’re standing next to is pretty faded, but it says we are at 12,000 feet.  That was at the top of the stairs.



It was 54 degrees up there with 40 mph winds.  It was so cold with the wind!  But how could we complain when pretty soon we had to head back to our campground where it was 100 degrees?




The views were so amazing up there, but it was time to head back home to the sweltering heat.  The boys also earned their Junior Ranger badges.  I think they now have 18 national park badges!


We stayed at St. Vrain State Park just north of Denver.  It was a nice park and we had a great site on the lake with a beautiful view.  You can even see the Rocky Mountains off in the distance.


Unfortunately it was close to 100 degrees most of the time we were there, so that wasn’t fun.  It’s not easy to keep an RV cool in that kind of heat.  At least the evenings and mornings were cool though.  We had some beautiful sunsets and as soon as the sun started to go down the temperature cooled down a lot!  Then we could go outside and play.





One evening a funny thing happened.  A family pulled up and parked at our campsite.  We were wondering why they were parking at our site.  They just wanted to fish at the lake in front of our site, but it’s still a little strange for someone to just park at our campsite.  Then later they wanted to use our grill to cook their dinner.  We didn’t mind because they were nice.  And Chris who is always so hospitable made them some of his “world famous” homemade french fries to go with their dinner.  They had some extra fishing poles and let the boys use them since the poles we used to have broke and we haven’t replaced them.  I’m not sure if I should mention this because of all the racial hatred going on right now, but just so you know, not everyone in this country is a racist.  This family was black or I guess I should say African-American if I’m being politically correct (which I’m usually not).  Regardless, we had a great time with them that night and really enjoyed their company.  I wish they would have come back again while we were staying there.  Their granddaughter was Jake’s age and she was so sweet!  She loved Chris’s french fries and would hardly let anyone else have any. 🙂  And she was very patient with me as she tried to teach me how to fish.  I wasn’t very good at it.


The best part about our week at St. Vrain was meeting up with another Fulltime Family there that we met a few weeks earlier at the rally in Montrose.  Jake and Jesse love playing with their son Dylan!  They played together for hours every day and they are really going to miss each other.  But I’m sure our paths will cross again at some point.


There is so much more to RMNP than we had time to see in just 2 days.  Just like most places we’ve been, we want to return again someday and explore some more.  There is just so much to see and do in this country and so little time!  Are you getting out and exploring the national parks?  This year is the National Park Service’s 100th birthday.  Perhaps that’s why the parks are so crowded this year?  I don’t know, but before we started traveling I had no idea what we were missing.  I hope that my posts will inspire some of you to get out there and explore these amazing places.

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Rocky Mountain National Park – Day 1

We spent 2 days at Rocky Mountain National Park, and since I took way too many pictures as usual I will split this up into 2 posts.

The first day we went to the most popular (and therefore the most crowded) section of the park — Bear Lake.  The parking lot at Bear Lake is typically full by 8:30am and since we were driving from our campground about an hour away, we didn’t make it that early.  The second option is to park in the Park and Ride lot and ride the shuttle.  We parked there and were lucky to get one of the last spots in that parking lot, and thankfully our truck fit in it!  Then we had to stand in a super long line to wait for the shuttle bus.  These bus lines make Disney bus lines look short!

Anyway, once we finally got to the Bear Lake trailhead, the crowds dispersed somewhat and we enjoyed some beautiful hikes.

We started off hiking to Nymph Lake and Dream Lake.


Nymph Lake


Dream Lake

One nice thing about a more crowded park is there are always people willing to take family pictures for you so the 4 of us could be in more pictures together.



Next we hiked the loop around Bear Lake which was stunning!


Bear Lake




Lastly we hiked to Alberta Falls.

These hikes were all amazing and it’s obvious why it seems to be the most popular and crowded section of the park.  If you come here and want to do these hikes, plan to arrive at the Park & Ride lot early (I think we got there about 9 or 9:30ish and the lot was just about full).  Another option is to go later in the afternoon if there is not a high chance of afternoon thunderstorms.  We returned to the parking lot after hiking at about 2:30 and there were plenty of parking spaces then and the bus line was not quite as long.

We spent the night at a hotel in Estes Park so we could visit that cute and charming town and be close to RMNP for another day of hiking the next day.

Estes Park is very crowded and touristy, but there is a really nice river walk behind all the shops and restaurants that is less crowded than walking down the main street.  We enjoyed walking along the river walk and having a yummy Mexican dinner at Ed’s Cantina.




Estes Park

Stay tuned for Day 2.


Categories: Colorado, National Parks | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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