If you’re not from Colorado, you may not know too much about the Rocky Mountains, outside of them being a favorite hotspot for hikers, skiers, snowboarders and outdoor enthusiasts.
The Rockies, as they’re best known, start in Western Canada and run into the Southwestern US. They stretch more than 3,000 miles from start to finish.
The mountains, which separate rivers that drain into the Artic and Atlantic oceans, from those that drain into the Pacific, form the Continental Divide.
They’re generally divided into five sections, the Southern, Middle and Northern Rockers all lie within the United States, while the latter two regions are located in Canada and Alaska.
The Southern Rockies span through South Wyoming, New Mexico and Colorado and they encompass the system’s highest sections, several of which include peaks that are above 14,000 square feet.
A total of 58 fourteeners are within driving distance of Denver.
The Rocky Mountain National Park is described by outdoor lovers as being a playground of sorts. It’s home to breathtaking views, gorgeous mountain peaks and colorful foliage.
The park draws more than 4.5 million visitors annually, and for good reason. It boasts 355 miles of hiking trails—and that’s in addition to its 147 lakes and its more than six dozen mountains that are taller than 12,000 feet. The opportunities to view the region’s vast array of wildlife, including bighorn sheep, elk and moose, are practically endless.
In 2014, Rocky Mountain National Park was tanked by National Geographic as being among the best trips in the world.
The park, which is only a 90-minute drive from downtown Denver, makes it a wonderful day trip for locals and visitors alike.
If you’re planning on visiting Rocky Mountain National Park with your family, there are a number of activities you’ll be able to enjoy.
Horseback riding along the park’s 260 miles of trails are a wonderful way for your older children to see some of the countryside.
You also have the option of enjoying the easy, mile-long Coyote Valley hiking trail, which lies alongside the bank of the Upper Colorado River. Thousands of wildflowers bloom along the trail each summer, and hikers frequently report spotting during the early morning and early evening hours.
Fishing is also a popular option—but you’ll want to remember that Colorado requires all fishers over the age of 16 obtain a fishing permit, which can be obtained through the Colorado Division of Wildlife website.
Your kids’ education doesn’t need to be put on pause just because the school year has ended. When you visit Rocky Mountain National Park, you’ll have the opportunity to view elk, bighorn sheep and moose in their natural mountain habitat.
Bird watchers will rejoice in learning that more than 370 species of birds have been spotted in the park and its surrounding areas. Some of these species include the Three-toed Woodpecker, the While-Tailed Ptarmigan, Gray Jay, Blue Grouse and Clark’s Nutcracker, just to name a few.
Although many people equate Colorado as being a winter sports wonderland, the state has so much more to offer!
What’s your favorite?