Rocky Mountain National Park (Colorado)
The girls and I drove to Colorado to visit Rocky Mountain National Park from Cheyenne, WY. This was not on the original itinerary for this week but Sunday upon arriving in Cheyenne we had accepted an offer on our rental cabin we had on the market for the last month. To seal the deal the buyer wanted to close on the 19th of October and we agreed. The thing is- we have to fly home the week we are suppose to be in Denver to pack a few personal things we have there (we sold it turn key furnished) and for the closing. Since we are missing our entire week in Denver, we looked at the things we had scheduled to see there and decided that Rocky Mountain National Park was the one of the things we were going to be sad to miss. After looking that it was only an hour and a half away from Cheyenne, the girls and I decided to drive down there for a day trip. We were sad Chris couldn’t experience it with us. But he is not flying home to the closing so he could go one night after work while he is in Denver with the RV.
Upon driving into the park we drove through this section of mountain along the river.
So many people come to this park, in the fall, because of the Elk rut (the e=Elk mating season). I love Elk but I have to say that since I’ve gotten to see so many in the last six months I don’t pull over and get out of the car to take pictures anymore. Here is a shot I snapped as I was driving by.
Trail Ridge Road stretches for 50 miles from Estes Park (where we started) all the way to the Grand Lake in the west (we didn’t make it that far). It is the highest continuous paved highway in the United States. The highest point on the road was 12,183 ft but I couldn’t find the sign stating that elevation but I did see this one. We stopped at the Fall River VC to use the restroom, get maps and hiking suggestions. Then we headed up the mountain to the Alpine Visitor Center.
This is the first time we have seen fall colors this season.
A trip up the Trail Ridge Road is like traveling to the Arctic. By 11,000 ft, the average annual temperature is so cold that the trees here in the Rocky’s can’t survive. As we climbed to the top, we could see the treeline where the trees stop growing and the alpine tundra starts.
At the Alpine VC you can climb up a half a mile, up 209 ft more feet, to the summit on the Alpine Ridge trail for amazing 360 degree views. We got lucky and visited on a beautiful warmer than usual day and were able to hike up there. It was super windy!
As we hiked down we saw a storm approaching, mountains like this have their own weather systems. The rangers were at the base of the trail deciding whether they were going to close the trail, they do that when a storm approaches because of lightening.
Most of the trails along the Trail Ridge road are short .5-1 mile long.
We had packed Doritos for a snack so when Mackenzie got them out she noticed they looked like they were going to explode. She had fun watching them loose their pressure as we descending down the mountain.
Also, on the way down we stopped at this outlook. Mackenzie climbed the tree while Abby and I enjoyed the view from the rock. We continued back down and stopped at the Beaver Meadows VC.
The girls earned their junior ranger badges.
On the drive home to Wyoming, we stopped at the Devil’d Backbone.