The montane ecosystem is at the lowest elevations in the park, between 5,600 to 9,500 feet (1,700 to 2,900 m), where the slopes and large meadow valleys support the widest range of plant and animal life,[69][70] including montane forests, grasslands, and shrublands. The area has meandering rivers[70] and during the summer, wildflowers grow in the open meadows. Ponderosa pine trees, grass, shrubs and herbs live on dry, south-facing slopes. North-facing slopes retain moisture better than those that face south. The soil better supports dense populations of trees, like Douglas fir, lodgepole pine, and ponderosa pine. There are also occasional Engelmann spruce and blue spruce trees. Quaking aspens thrive in high-moisture montane soils. Other water-loving small trees like willows, grey alder, and water birch may be found along streams or lakeshores. Water-logged soil in flat montane valleys may be unable to support growth of evergreen forests.[70] The following areas are part of the montane ecosystem: Moraine Park, Horseshoe Park, Kawuneeche Valley, and Upper Beaver Meadows.[70] 

Located in the valley of the Yampa River, Steamboat Springs is world-famous for its fantastic skiing and healing hot springs. With 165 main trails spread across 2,965 acres on the Mount Werner Park Range, Steamboat Ski Resort is one of the largest in the country. Another great winter fun is dog sledding with Grizzle-T Dog Sledding and their Alaskan Huskies.
Pagosa Springs is a picturesque, off-the-beaten-path destination surrounded by the San Juan National Forest. It’s an ideal spot for a Colorado weekend trip, with beautiful hiking paths, numerous hot springs, and stunning spots like Chimney Rock National Monument and Treasure Falls. Or going off-roading for another fun way to make the most of this charming town’s personality and views.
Rocky Mountain National Park encompasses 265,461 acres (414.78 sq mi; 1,074.28 km2) of federal land,[1] with an additional 253,059 acres (395.40 sq mi; 1,024.09 km2) of U.S. Forest Service wilderness adjoining the park boundaries.[24] The Continental Divide runs generally north–south through the center of the park,[25] with rivers and streams on the western side of the divide flowing toward the Pacific Ocean while those on the eastern side flow toward the Atlantic.[26]

While it is possible to travel through Rocky Mountain National Park and not catch sight of any wildlife, we venture to say that is an unlikely experience. From everyday sightings of chipmunks and mule deer to the moving experience of viewing elk in rut (the mating season), the animals in the park let you know that you are part of something truly wild. Some of these critters are harder to spot than others - they might camouflage themselves in the trees or hide in the underbrush - but look closely and you may have an encounter unlike any other. 


Owners Wendye Sykes and Shelley Powers came to Estes Park from San Francisco looking for an escape from the grind of everyday city life — and that’s exactly what they’ve created at River Spruce. Offering nine different cabins, you’ll find lodgings suitable for couples and families all nestled amidst the scenic Rocky Mountain wilderness and along the Big Thompson River.
This southwestern mountain town is ideal for multi-sport adventurers who want to have access to activities on land and in the water. The Animas River snakes right through Durango and is famous for providing some of the best kayaking and rafting in the state. Head just uphill, and you can be surrounded by the soaring peaks of the Rockies, hiking in out-of-this-world alpine terrain, while the lowlands offer outstanding mountain biking on over 1,000 miles of trails in the Durango area alone. One of the must-dos, no matter when you’re here, is to hop aboard the historic Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, a narrow gauge steam train built specifically built to handle the narrow mountain routes, chugging along at 18 miles per hour as it climbs the steep and magnificent mountain passes between Durango and Silverton. Much of its downtown area is a designated National Historic District and offers a number of interesting places to visit, like the San Juan County Historical Society, housed in the old county jail, as well as the Mayflower Gold Mill National Historic Site and the Old Hundred Gold Mine.

Popular during both the winter and the summer, Crested Butte offers year-round activities that appeal to outdoor enthusiasts. Soak in the crisp mountain air after taking the Silver Queen lift up to 11,875 feet up to see Crested Butte from above, visit the pedestrian-friendly city center with its myriad of locally owned shops, or choose your pick between summer and fall mountain biking and the area’s numerous trails. Those with little ones can head to the Trailhead Children’s Museum, Crested Butte Mountain Heritage Museum or find swimming and hiking at Meridian Lake in the summer. 

Looking for a great Hot Tub Cabin in Estes Park, Colorado? Stonebrook Resort on Fall River in Estes Park Colorado has the most tranquil hot tub cabins in Estes Park! We're located at the base of Deer Mountain, we are along the Fall River. Our hiking trails meet up with Rocky Mountain National Park. We are conveniently located two miles from downtown Estes Park, Colorado and two miles from Rocky Mountain National Park.
Estes Park is always a wonderful escape for anyone looking to get out of Denver for a day or two. There is a lot to do and see here, with plenty of wonderful restaurants, entertainment and shopping. Plus, off-season the rates are very affordable, and you’ll find the town less crowded and easier to explore. Stay at the Fall River Cabins, just two miles east of Rocky Mountain National Park. You’ll find the cozy, country-style wood cabins to be very romantic, with spa hot tubs and fireplaces in each unit. Everything has that rustic, woodsy feel, which adds to the mountain escape that you will enjoy all weekend long.
“This isn’t a furlough for us,” Oropeza said. “There are definitely folks who, if this continues into next week, they’ll have to forfeit their commitment. Some are exploring applying for other jobs. They have student loans, they have car payments and other bills. …There are ripple effects this is having down the road. Our seasonal contracts, we have to have our contracts for summer seasonal work signed soon. All these things are getting backlogged.”

Located on Main Street of the charming historic mining town of Frisco, Colorado, the Frisco Lodge Bed and Breakfast has been greeting guests with comfort, luxury, and old-world hospitality since 1885. A range of opulent rooms with refined furnishings will make you feel pampered and relaxed, and the beautiful cozy living room with a piano and fireplace will allow you to meet some interesting people and have a chat or a glass of wine in the afternoon.


Head to Denver, Colorado where you can see shows, visit museums and sample new flavors at gourmet restaurants. The Curtis – a DoubleTree by Hilton is a boutique hotel with 336 innovative accommodations, a retro dining experience and a state-of-the-art fitness center. The Bigger Better Deal Rooms offer 350 square feet of living space and views of downtown Denver. There are three types of suites to choose from: a KISS Suite, a Rolling Stones Suite and a suite dedicated to the Spice Girls. Guests can also stay in a “Hyper Themed” room on each of the 13 themed floors, such as the Jimmy Buffett Suite and the Ghostbusters Suite.

Enter to WIN two premium class tickets to London Plus a 3-Night Stay!Deadly ‘zombie’ deer disease in Colorado, other states could eventually spread to humansSnow, significantly cooler temperatures arrive SundayWWII veteran celebrates 100th birthday with friends, family and fellow service membersDenver first responders are incorporating yoga into training


Glacial geology in Rocky Mountain National Park can be seen from the mountain peaks to the valley floors. Ice is a powerful sculptor of this natural environment and large masses of moving ice are the most powerful tools. Telltale marks of giant glaciers can be seen all throughout the park. Streams and glaciations during the Quaternary period cut through the older sediment, creating mesa tops and alluvial plains, and revealing the present Rocky Mountains.[61] The glaciation removed as much as 5,000 feet (1,500 m) of sedimentary rocks from earlier inland sea deposits. This erosion exposed the basement rock of the Ancestral Rockies. Evidence of the uplifting and erosion can be found on the way to Rocky Mountain National Park in the hogbacks of the Front Range foothills.[60] Many sedimentary rocks from the Paleozoic and Mesozoic eras exist in the basins surrounding the park.[62]
Dream Lake is one of the most-photographed lakes and is also noted for its winter snowshoeing. Emerald Lake is located directly below the saddle between Hallett Peak and Flattop Mountain, only a short hike beyond Dream Lake.[44] The shore of Lake Haiyaha (a Native American word for "big rocks") is surrounded by boulders along with ancient, twisted and picturesque pine trees growing out of rock crevices. Nymph Lake is named for the yellow lily, Nymphaea polysepala, on its surface. Lake Helene is at the head of Odessa Gorge, east of Notchtop Mountain. Two Rivers Lake is found along the hike to Odessa Lake from Bear Lake, and has one backcountry campsite. The Cub Lake trail passes Big Thompson River, flowery meadows, and stands of pine and aspen trees. Ice and deep snow are present during the winter, requiring the use of skis or snowshoes.[44]
It may be summertime but Snowmass has returned to the Ice Age with the Snowmass Ice Age Discovery Center that features the most significant Ice Age ecosystem find in Colorado history (and it’s free). Touch a mastodon tooth, marvel at a half-sized 6-foot Wooden Mammoth Skeleton, do a dig of your own or a daily Ice Age Discovery Hike by  Environment Studies.  Visit the Snowmass Rodeo on Wednesday nights (June 12- August 28) and sign up your kids for the Calf Scramble and Mutton Busting. Ride the Elk Camp Gondola up Snowmass Mountain where the Elk Camp Restaurant will open for activities including downhill biking, dinner, campfires, live music, movies, Stryder Park and Kid’s Playground on Friday evenings. Try your hand at some slopeside bowling at the new bowling alley below Venga Venga Cantina featuring eight full-sized lanes, a lounge area with full bar, wood-fired oven pizzas, upscale bar food and more. Then, get inspired at the Anderson Ranch Arts Center, a stellar place for kids of all ages to take workshops that include sculpture, photography, painting, beading, and mask-making.
Region 2 is the alpine region of the park with accessible tundra trails at high elevations—an area known for its spectacular vistas.[35] Within the region are Mount Ida, with tundra slopes and a wide-open view of the Continental Divide, and Specimen Mountain, which has a steep trail and the opportunity to view bighorn sheep and marmots. Forest Canyon Pass is near the top of the Old Ute Trail that once linked villages across the Continental Divide.[40]
Pagosa Springs is a picturesque, off-the-beaten-path destination surrounded by the San Juan National Forest. It’s an ideal spot for a Colorado weekend trip, with beautiful hiking paths, numerous hot springs, and stunning spots like Chimney Rock National Monument and Treasure Falls. Or going off-roading for another fun way to make the most of this charming town’s personality and views.
Crested Butte is an amazing ski destination and the wildflower capital of Colorado, attracting outdoor enthusiasts all year round. Before you hit the slopes or the hiking trails, you can learn about the mining history of the town on a Crested Butte Historic District Walking Tour and meet some of the town’s talented artists on a tour of the Crested Butte Creative District.
You’ll feel really spoiled (especially in Vail!) with complimentary WiFi,  complimentary underground valet parking, free breakfast buffet included a surprisingly hefty selection of pastries, breads, fruits, meats, cheeses, cold cereals, and eggs, as well as juice, tea, and coffee. And the outdoor heated swimming pool is worth taking the plunge just for the view.
The Centennial State is dotted with cool little towns, in the heart of the Rockies, as little as 1 hour and up to 3 hours from Denver. This is where I discovered the historic and romantic Palace Hotel in Salida, a boutique hotel that stole my heart — and it will do the same to you. Located steps from the banks of the Arkansas River, the newly renovated Palace Hotel is in a red-brick building located across from the Riverside Park. Think edgy Victorian and recycled furniture, an eclectic mix of old and new. Photovoltaic panels line the roof of the historic building, providing renewable electricity.
It’s always “do not disturb” mode at this quaint adults-only hideaway in Crested Butte that’s strictly 16-plus. Just a few blocks from historic Elk Avenue, Purple Mountain Bed & Breakfast has six plush rooms, an onsite day spa and an outdoor hot tub. In the winter, a free shuttle whisks you to Mt. Crested Butte for some of Colorado’s best skiing; when you’re ready for après, retire back to the house for complimentary craft beer on tap and a Ghirardelli hot chocolate bar you won’t have to share with the kids. Happy hour, indeed. Find more B&Bs in Colorado >> 
Nestled below Colorado's radiant mountaintops is beautiful Lazy R Cottages in Estes Park. Just one mile from Rocky Mountain National Park, we offer one-, two- and three-bedroom cabins perfect for romantic escapes and family vacations. Our cabins have kitchens or kitchenettes, fireplaces, decks with mountain views, and some with personal hot tubs … perfect for relaxing after a day enjoying Estes Park and the National Park. Dog-friendly units available ($15 per dog/per night). Free Wi-Fi. View more about our Estes Park cabins.
A perfect destination for travelers who crave nature, Colorado Springs appeals to visitors who are also looking for cultural attractions to fill their itinerary. Surrounded by the majestic mountains of the Colorado Rockies, Colorado Spring’s beautiful scenery is only highlighting by the city’s quirky art galleries in Manitou Springs, airplanes at the Air Force Academy, world-class Olympic Training Center and the rugged Old West feeling found in Old Colorado City. There are plenty of outdoor activities for visitors indulge in, of course, including nearby Pikes Peak, Garden of the Gods and Red Rock Canyon.

Cushion plants have long taproots that extend deep into the rocky soil. Their diminutive size, like clumps of moss, limits the effect of harsh winds. Many flowering plants of the tundra have dense hairs on stems and leaves to provide wind protection or red-colored pigments capable of converting the sun's light rays into heat. Some plants take two or more years to form flower buds, which survive the winter below the surface and then open and produce fruit with seeds in the few weeks of summer. Grasses and sedges are common where tundra soil is well-developed.[73]

Pagosa Springs is a picturesque, off-the-beaten-path destination surrounded by the San Juan National Forest. It’s an ideal spot for a Colorado weekend trip, with beautiful hiking paths, numerous hot springs, and stunning spots like Chimney Rock National Monument and Treasure Falls. Or going off-roading for another fun way to make the most of this charming town’s personality and views.
While kids of all ages are wel­come at this Ouray resort, you’ll will find multiple kid-free corners available around the clock. The adults-only indoor sanctuary is open 24 hours and filled with spa-like stonework, including a spring-fed tub built from river rocks. Outside, a 102-degree soaking tub implements adult time from 10pm to 8am, enough to make any couple starry-eyed under the night sky.
After your fireside meal, retreat to one of the private, wooden hot tubs tucked in the middle of the woods. A hand-held stroll along the forest path to a bubbling tub overlooking the city's lights will set the perfect mood. Take it to the next level and request a night's stay in the old firehouse on the tip-top of the mountain. There's no better view — maybe anywhere in the state.  

Soak in the hotel’s hot tubs after a day of skiing or warm up in front of the crackling fire in the lounge before heading out to enjoy one of the many activities the area has to offer. Enjoy hiking, fishing, mountain biking, skiing, or snowboarding. Wildlife lovers will delight in all the birds and wildlife to be found in the region, and romantics can stargaze on clear nights.

At about 68 million years ago, the Front Range began to rise again due to the Laramide orogeny in the west.[58][59] During the Cenozoic era, block uplift formed the present Rocky Mountains. The geologic composition of Rocky Mountain National Park was also affected by deformation and erosion during that era. The uplift disrupted the older drainage patterns and created the present drainage patterns.[60]
Nicknamed the “Mile-High City” because it sits exactly a mile high in altitude above sea level, Denver is Colorado’s capital and largest city. Located just east of the Rocky Mountains, Denver is a popular winter sport destination that celebrates its mining and cowboy history. The city also boasts a lively arts and culture scene with many distinguished museums, such as the Denver Art Museum, and the Denver Performing Arts Complex, one of the nation’s largest performing art centers.
Chapin Pass trail traverses a dense forest to beautiful views of the Chapin Creek valley, proceeding onward above timberline to the western flank of Mount Chapin. Tundra Communities Trail, accessible from Trail Ridge Road, is a hike offering tundra views and alpine wildflowers. Other trails are Tombstone Ridge and Ute Trail, which starts at the tundra and is mostly downhill from Ute Crossing to Upper Beaver Meadows, with one backcountry camping site. Cache La Poudre River trail begins north of Poudre Lake on the west side of the valley near Milner Pass and heads downward toward the Mummy Pass trail junction. Lake Irene is a recreation and picnic area.[40]
With majestic mountains, tundra wildflowers, abundant wildlife, Trail Ridge Road (the highest paved road in the US), and over 350 miles of trails, Rocky Mountain National Park is spectacular!  From flat easy hikes around a mountain lake to challenging multiday backpack trips and climbs, Rocky Mountain National Park offers trails for hikers of every level - let us help you plan your adventure!  Find the best ways to take in the majesty and serenity of the park.  It's YOUR Rocky - explore it!
At one time, Niwot was an important hunting and fishing area for American Indians. A railroad extension followed the arrival of Gold Rush miners, and many of the original buildings are part of Old Town in the National Historic District. Located 9 miles from Niwot, the Boulder Reservoir is a popular spot for swimming, boating, and fishing, and there are extensive trails to hike or bike throughout the area. Book your stay at the tranquil Niwot Inn and Spa, or choose a rural escape, like a fully restored 1890s farmhouse where a creekside bike path connects you to the cottonwood-shaded Pearl Street in Boulder. Enjoy a romantic evening at Colterra Food & Wine or the popular Sugarbeet in nearby Longmont.
While it is possible to travel through Rocky Mountain National Park and not catch sight of any wildlife, we venture to say that is an unlikely experience. From everyday sightings of chipmunks and mule deer to the moving experience of viewing elk in rut (the mating season), the animals in the park let you know that you are part of something truly wild. Some of these critters are harder to spot than others - they might camouflage themselves in the trees or hide in the underbrush - but look closely and you may have an encounter unlike any other. 
Dial (970) 586-1222 for a recorded message on the status of Trail Ridge Road. You may not know that our mountain makes its own weather, so it is not uncommon to have snow in July or August at the top of Trail Ridge Road. Such weather will only last for a few hours to a day, but if you are planning to cross over Trail Ridge Road, weather may hamper your travel. You also may find the road closed due to weather in early June and September/October.
Disclaimer: We have attempted to ensure this website is as accurate as possible. However, Excellent Romantic Vacations accepts no responsibility for any loss, injury or inconvenience sustained by anyone resulting from this information. You should verify important information regarding all travel documents, health and safety, customs, and transportation with the appropriate authorities and agents before you travel.
Located just a few miles to the northwest of Denver, Boulder is a college town nestled against the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. Boulder’s inhabitants are best known for their healthy lifestyles, and outdoor activities are plentiful in and around the city. Boulder Creek cuts straight through the town and is lined with walking and biking trails. The four-block pedestrian-friendly Pearl Street Mall features outdoor performers in all but the most inclement weather. A drive up Baseline Road on Flagstaff Mountains rewards visitors with spectacular views, and there are picnic areas and hiking trails to enjoy at the summit as well.

The Royal Gorge Bridge & Park – Just a few minutes away from Echo Canyon River Expeditions office, you’ll find Colorado’s Natural Wonder – the Royal Gorge. In 1929, the Royal Gorge Bridge was built across the gorge and still stands as one of the world’s greatest engineering feats. Buy tickets online or as a rafting package to save a few dollars. The newly rebuilt attractions and visitor’s center enhance your experience of this amazing chasm and expansive view of the Wet Mountain range. There are also trails, located just before the gates of the park at the rest area, that allow visitors to walk or bike a few miles along the rim of the Gorge. 


The Western Slope has plenty of charms, including being a dinosaur mecca with plenty of hands-on science, and is the heart of Colorado’s agricultural region. At the Museum of Western Colorado’s Dinosaur Journey, visitors can get up close and personal with dinosaur skeletons, a working paleontology lab and realistic robotic dinosaurs. Dedicated to “putting science in the hands of kids,” the Western Colorado Math and Science Center features interactive exhibits in biology, physics, earth and space science, and electronics. From June through October, orchards are laden with some of the sweetest harvests around: cherries, grapes, apples, plums, pears, apricots and peaches. Take an orchard tour or check out the myriad of roadside stands selling fresh produce, jams and ciders. For great biking or strolling, the Colorado Riverfront Trail winds for more than 18 miles through the city of Grand Junction’s picnic grounds, botanical garden, protected wetlands and fishing pier. Buy one/get one free passes are available for six major attractions from the Grand Junction Visitors Center. This “Map to Adventure” includes Dinosaur Journey, Museum of the West, Cross Orchards, the John McConnell Math & Science Center, The Art Center and the Western Colorado Botanical Gardens.
Colorado’s only Relais & Chateaux dude ranch offers a seemingly endless list of things to do, but creature comforts abound, too — from the elegant Western accommodations nestled in aspen groves to the haute mountain cuisine that has been hailed by Bon Appétit and Gourmet. In addition to adult weeks offered August through October, Home Ranch in Clark also hosts yoga and horse­back-riding retreats, perfect for girlfriend getaways.
Nestled below Colorado's radiant mountaintops is beautiful Lazy R Cottages in Estes Park. Just one mile from Rocky Mountain National Park, we offer one-, two- and three-bedroom cabins perfect for romantic escapes and family vacations. Our cabins have kitchens or kitchenettes, fireplaces, decks with mountain views, and some with personal hot tubs … perfect for relaxing after a day enjoying Estes Park and the National Park. Dog-friendly units available ($15 per dog/per night). Free Wi-Fi. View more about our Estes Park cabins.
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