It's no surprise that songs have praised the beauty of this untarnished sanctuary, which celebrates its centennial anniversary in 2015. Covering 265,873 acres of Colorado, the Rocky Mountain National Park demonstrates some of the greatest ecological diversity contained within a single national park.
More than 60 peaks break the three-kilometre height mark, making them inhospitable to most plants and animals. Closer to sea level, fauna thrive in pine forests and lush meadows, where wildflowers in every hue also flourish. Elk, black bears and mule deer are the most abundant here, but watchful eyes could glimpse the more elusive moose and bighorn sheep too.
When it comes to activities within Rocky Mountain National Park, choose from hiking, fishing, river rafting, wildlife watching, backcountry skiing, or even horseback riding. Families will enjoy getting ‘offline’ for an unplugged holiday in nature, with endless places for hiking, picnics and camping. Imagine roasting marshmallows by a campfire and joining in a cowboy sing-along.
Experience the park as a classroom without walls and learn about nature by getting along to one of the park’s free ranger talks. There are a range of seminars available covering many topics including natural and cultural history, photography and ecology.
The park is dominated by Longs Peak, and each year thousands of hikers attempt to scale it's 4,500 metre peak. The most popular pathway is Keyhole Route – beware however, it’s only available to most hikers in the warmers months due to the difficulties ice and snow present in the winter.
Another popular destination is Bear Lake, considered the ‘heart of the park’, several hiking trails start at the lake and they range from easy strolls to strenuous hikes. Most visitors enter the park by driving in via the famous Trail Ridge Road, but other scenic route options are Fall River Road and Bear Lake Road.