Rocky Mountain National Park: Preserving one of the most scenic stretches of the southern Rockies |

Rocky Mountain National Park: Preserving one of the most scenic stretches of the southern Rockies

In 1915, Rocky Mountain National Park became the tenth national park. It was created to preserve one of the most scenic stretches of the southern Rocky Mountains. One-third of the park is above treeline. This showcase of the splendor of the Rocky Mountains, with elevations ranging from 8,000 feet in the wet, grassy valleys to 14,259 feet at the weather-ravaged top of Longs Peak, provides visitors with opportunities for countless breathtaking experiences and adventures.

Although the great peaks comprise the essence of the park, the delicate alpine flowers, clear lakes, rushing mountain waters, and forests appeal to all the senses. From scenic drives and short strolls along a gentle trail to more ambitious daylong hikes or vertical mountain climbs, Rocky Mountain National Park offers many ways to experience nature.

With over 355 miles of trails, the park is a favorite destination for hikers, anglers, backpackers, and horseback riders. Backcountry adventure and general sightseeing are also very popular. The park is home to elk, deer, bighorn sheep, black bears, mountain lions, coyotes, moose and hundreds of species of birds, among others.

Each fall, when the aspen are in full color, tens of thousands of visitors come to the park to witness the elk in rut ” a spectacle that truly must be seen.

There are five campgrounds in Rocky Mountain National Park. Camping fees are $20 per night during peak season. There will be temporary closures in the park this year pertaining to hazard tree removal and mitigation work for pine beetle. Timber Creek Campground, located on the west side, will be temporarily closed until early July.

Pets are not allowed on park trails or in the backcountry. They are allowed only in areas accessed by vehicles, including roadsides, parking areas, picnic areas and campgrounds. They must be kept on a leash no longer than six feet and attended at all times. Pets should never be left unattended in vehicles.

Some adjacent US Forest Service lands do allow leashed pets on trails and in the backcountry. Contact them directly for details and specific locations.

It is illegal to approach or feed wildlife in the park. Camping is only allowed in designated campgrounds. All backcountry camping requires a permit. Vehicles, including bicycles, must stay on roads or in parking areas. Please leave wildflowers, other plants and pinecones for others to enjoy.

To learn more about Rocky Mountain National Park check out the park’s website at or call the Kawuneeche Visitor Center on the west side of the park at (970) 627-3471.

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