Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

Rocky Mountain National Park is a delight for those who like the outdoors. The park has five different drive-in camp grounds and one campground for groups. Check with the park first before you choose one though. Only some of the campgrounds can be reserved; the rest are on a first come, first serve basis. If you want to be sure to get a spot without having to drive around to multiple locations (especially during the busy season), a reservation is a must.



Rocky Mountain National Park sign, photo by Steve WamplerRocky Mountain National Park has almost 360 miles of hiking trails as well. They are all in the mountains as you would expect, so be warned of the altitude. The park ranges from 7,500 feet above sea level all the way past 12,000 feet, so there are precautions that need to be made. Bring plenty of water and don't forget the sunscreen - there are a few thousand feet less of air for the ultraviolet rays to pass through. Pace yourself, and understand that it can take some people weeks to get used to the thinner atmosphere. Biking is permitted in the park, but there is a weekly fee for it.

The roads in the park are designed to give drivers great views, so if you're not up for the rigors of traveling on foot or you just need a day of rest, check out the scenic drives. Obviously you should watch the weather if you're on either end of snow season. The Colorado Department of Transportation has a helpful website that can display up to date road conditions if you're concerned. The park even has some free shuttle buses that travel these routes if you don't want drive the roads yourself.

Rocky Mountain National Park offers just about any kind of outdoors activities you can think of, including fishing, horseback riding, and educational hikes led by park rangers. You can also find all varieties of wildlife like elk, bighorn sheep, moose, otters, and a host of bird species. Just respect the land and bring your camera for your travel photos, and you should have a great time.

Photos by Eelke de Blouw and Steve Wampler on flickr

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