Rocky Mountain National Park   6 comments

Rocky Mountain NP 00Where Is It: Take I-25 north from Denver (about 75 miles) or south from Cheyenne, WY (about 90 miles).

The Birth: From Wikipedia:

Enos Mills, then a 14-year-old boy, moved to Estes Park in 1884. He explored the mountains of the area and wrote many books and articles describing the region. He later supported the creation of Rocky Mountain National Park, and he split his time between the mountains he loved and the cities of the eastern United States, where he lobbied for the legislation to create the park. The legislation was drafted by James Grafton Rogers, a Denver lawyer and avid outdoorsman. Mills’ original proposal for park boundaries went from Wyoming all the way down to the Mount Evans area, including areas such as the Indian Peaks Wilderness. Much of the land was favored for mining, logging, and other operations, however, so the proposed park was reduced to an area approximating the current park borders. The bill passed Congress and was signed by President Woodrow Wilson on January 26, 1915. A formal dedication ceremony was held on September 4, 1915 in Horseshoe Park.

It Happened Here: From Wikipedia:

In September 2013, both the park and the town of Estes Park were heavily damaged by a significant 500-year rain event. The park was closed to visitors from September 12–19, 2013, and all roads leading to the park entrance from the east were closed for several days to several weeks. At one point, the only way to leave the town of Estes Park was via Trail Ridge Road, the park’s scenic byway leading to the town of Grand Lake on the western side of the Continental Divide. The most lasting impacts inside the park were in the Alluvial Fan area, where flooding waters, rocks, and debris washed away parking areas, and much of Fall River Road. Old Fall River Road is closed indefinitely due to the damage.

Size: 265,761 acres

# Visitors: 2,991,141 in 2013. Attendance peaked in July, but was very low October – April.

Animals: From the Park website:

Elk number about 1000 in the park, and are easily seen. Moose are more rare, found primarily in the Kawaneeche valley. Bighorn sheep are fond of coming to mineral licks in Horseshoe Park. Mountain lions are fairly common, but as is also true of bobcats, secretive and rarely seen. Black bears thrive in the park’s lower forests. Hardy ptarmigan remain active at higher elevations through the winter, as do pikas. Ptarmigan, snowshoe hares, and ermine blend with the season, whitening in winter. Marmots and ground squirrels sleep deeply then, but are easily seen during the summer. Greenback cutthroat trout have been restored to many lakes and streams, where they feed on a rich insect fauna.

Choices: See for a great hiking guide. They’ve divided the Park into regions, and also separated out waterfall hikes, loop hikes, wheelchair accessible hikes, etc.

Fees: An automobile pass is $20, and good for 7 days.

Staying There: There are 5 campgrounds in the Park. They fill most days in July and August. Weekends fill up in June and September.

Contact Info:

1000 Highway 36
Estes Park, CO 80517-8397

Current Issues: A 19-year old Canadian youth went on an early season hike to summit Longs Peak. He got lost on the descent, and eventually became stranded on a ledge at 13,000′. He was rescued by the Park service … at a cost later announced as $41,000.



National Park Service: Rocky Mountain National Park Rocky Mountain National Park

Jason’s Travels: Winter Waterfall Hikes Rocky Mountain National Park

RMNP Forums Rocky Mountain National Park





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