Colorado Travel Guide: Rocky Mountain National Park

Happy Independence Day!

Rocky Mountain National Park is a stunning part of Colorado, filled with rugged mountains, dense forests, powerful rivers, and freezing tundras where summer never comes. It is the home of Long’s Peak, the highest mountain in Colorado as well as the source of the Colorado River, which makes its way through the country, eventually winding its way through the Grand Canyon. It is one of my favorite places to hike and camp, or just take a day trip to drive around and see the beautiful views. An entrance to the park is located just outside of Estes Park, Colorado.

I recently camped in the park to explore and get some higher altitude hiking in before I hike my first fourteener (also known as mountians that are at least fourteen thousand feet in elevation).  Please note that Rocky Mountain National Park is a high elevation park. Make sure to stay hydrated and watch for signs of altitude sickness, which can be life threatening. If you are from a much lower elevation than most of Colorado I would reccommend taking a few days to acclimate to the elevation in a place with access to medical assistance before attempting a hike in the park.

The first hike I did was to Fern Lake, I got caught in the rain so I didn’t make it all the way to the lake, but the views were incredible and the foliage and wildflowers were beautiful. Make sure to bring bug spray and wear long pants/sleeves, the mosquitoes were fierce.

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The second hike I did was in the Wild Basin area the trail passes a series of waterfalls and ends at a lake. Again, I got caught in the rain so I didn’t make it all of the way to the lake but I made it five miles in and saw three of the waterfalls.

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Before you leave the park, make sure to drive over Trail Ridge Road. It is the highest paved road in the United States and takes you through all of the various eocsystems in the park. The first is Montane, the thick mountian forests with a large diversity of animal and plant life. Next is Subalpine, which is located just before and after treeline, where the elevation makes it too difficult for trees to grow. The last is Alpine Tundra, summer seems to never come here and there is always snow on the ground.

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the view of the park from Trail Ridge Road

While on Trail Ridge Road we stopped near the trail head for Mt. Ida, there was a short trail above this lake that was quite lovely.

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I never realized before this trip that there is a National Scenic Trail along the Continental Divide that goes all the way from New Mexico, through Colorado, Wyoming, and Idaho, to Montana. Backpacking along that trail is definitely something that I want to do in the next five years.

I hope you enjoyed this and got another idea for your next visit to Colorado!

~Maizy

Check out my Colorado Travel Guide posts about Estes Park pt. 1Estes Park pt. 2, The Celestial Seasonings Tea FactoryBishop’s Castle, and The Hanging Lake Trail.

Unless I let you know otherwise, my posts aren’t sponsored by any of the companies whose products I mention. I won’t accept sponsorships from companies whose products I don’t use all the time and think are really great. However, links marked with an * are affiliate links. Should you click on the links and make a purchase, at no extra cost to you, I’ll go add to my growing stash of tea, or pay the fines on that library book that I couldn’t put down for a month.

Colorado Travel Guide: Estes Park pt. 2

Hello everyone!

Today I have my second post about Estes Park. I will be telling you about the shops that did not involve food.

Macdonald Bookstore

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I can’t resist a good bookstore, and this is the best one I have ever visited. It smells like old books and it has comfy chairs that you can curl up in to read by their wood fire. I always find something different when I visit but they usually have the most beautifully illustrated children’s classics and the last time I went they had leather bound Austens, and beautiful collections of Shakespeare’s and Conan Doyle’s complete works.

Mountain Blown Glass

This shop has really beautiful glass pieces and the artists do free demonstrations throughout the day. The piece that is being made in the pictures is the same color and design as the finished bowls in the pictures.

Weaver’s Attic

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At the Weaver’s Attic is a weaving store, a loom/spinning museum, and a place for a community of weavers to work on projects together. We met one of the weavers while we were there who told us the history of their three looms and some of the projects that were in process.

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This was the first loom, they were just tying on a new project.

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This was the second loom, and the one with the capability for the most variety of patterns. They were weaving a rug out of old saris, or Indian dresses. Isn’t it beautiful?

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This was the last loom. They had several projects on the same weft the one pictured was almost done and they had enough weft for one more rug.

The Weaver’s Attic was in the Old Church Shops. An old church had been repurposed into a mall of sorts. There was a coffee shop that looked really cool but I didn’t have a chance as well as some other shops.

Tregent Park

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The last place I want to share with you is the riverside walk ending with Tregent Park. There is a river that runs behind the shops of one side of the town and then crosses over to Tregent Park on the other side. Its a really beautiful place to walk and because we visited right after Christmas all of the lights were still up and the park was enchanting at night.

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That’s all, I hope you visit Estes Park sometime.

Have a great day!

~Maizy