Rocky Mountain National Park is one of the highest national parks in the nation, with elevations from 7,860 to 14,259 feet (2,396 to 4,346 m), the highest point of which is Longs Peak. Trail Ridge Road is the highest paved through-road in the country, with a peak elevation of 12,183 feet (3,713 m). Sixty mountain peaks over 12,000 feet (3,658 m) high provide scenic vistas. On the north side of the park, the Mummy Range contains a number of thirteener peaks, including Hagues Peak, Mummy Mountain, Fairchild Mountain, Ypsilon Mountain, and Mount Chiquita. Several small glaciers and permanent snowfields are found in the high mountain cirques.
A city that conjures up images of a magical winter wonderland, Aspen boasts beautiful surroundings, where visitors can soak up panoramic views of the Colorado Rockies against the area’s abundance of mountain chalets and popular ski areas. A mecca for winter sports enthusiasts, visitors can also find a wealth of high-end boutiques, interesting museums and excellent hiking trails. Whether you choose to climb to the summit, spot diverse wildlife or simply soak in your surroundings, the Maroon Bell peaks is a must on any itinerary. After a day of adventure at Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands or Buttermilk, relax at the world-famous and therapeutic Glenwood Springs.
Just a few miles from the town of Estes Park, Rocky Mountain National Park is one of the most popular national parks in the United States. The soaring mountain peaks, alpine lakes and meadows, forests, and abundant wildlife showcase nature at its best. The park has more than 100 peaks over 10,000 feet, including Longs Peak, the highest in the park, at 14,259 feet.
Hands down, Crested Butte is my favorite summer destination in Colorado. In addition to world-famous mountain biking and hiking (the views from Snodgrass Mountain are second-to-none), don’t miss the four-week long Crested Butte Music Festival (with the free Divine Family Young People’s Concert July 13, 20 and Aug. 3) and the Wildflower Festival (July 8-14, 2013) where you’ll swear you climbed onto a Monet canvas of mad, extravagant colors. Last winter, CBMR purchased the Coke Zero Gravity BagJump; a 50 feet by 50 feet bag of air for guests to tube and ski and ride into. Come summer, the resort will be setting up two levels of scaffolding at 10 feet and 20 feet for kids and adults alike to jump into the cloud-like bag of air. The resort will also be building a dirt jump for biking enthusiasts to practice their jumping skills with their bicycles for an added adrenaline rush, as if the 25 miles of trails in the Evolution Bike Park isn’t enough. For younger kids, check-out the Trailhead Children’s Museum and big kids (must weigh at least 70 pounds) can try the Crested Butte Zipline Tour, which includes five zip lines ranging in length from 120 – 400 feet connected by features or “events” such as suspended wood bridges and towering platforms. P.S. A few years ago, my kids did Kids Nature Camp at world-renown Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory in nearby Gothic, Colo. and still rave about it.
There are more activities, events, vacation opportunities, and fun things to do in Colorado than you can imagine. Vacations in Colorado can mean hot air balloon rides, jeep, ATV, motorcycle or bicycle rental or tours, snowmobile, sleigh rides, dog sledding, fly fishing for rainbow, brown and brook trout, sailing, jet-skiing, water skiing, boating, kayaking or canoeing (rentals, equipment, instruction, guided tours and floats), or get wet and wild whitewater rafting, tubing, skiing, snow shoeing, and cross country skiing (check out our ski areas, rentals and tours), horseback riding, hiking, bicycling, rock climbing, upland bird hunting, big game hunting for deer, elk, moose, antelope, bear, mountain lion, mountain goat, big horn and dall sheep. Come experience the beauty of our mountains and our western hospitality on your Colorado vacations.
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, including montane forests, grasslands, and shrublands. The area has meandering rivers 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. The following areas are part of the montane ecosystem: Moraine Park, Horseshoe Park, Kawuneeche Valley, and Upper Beaver Meadows.
Update on Jan. 14, 2019: A Rocky Mountain National Park spokesman said Monday the park began using recreation fees to temporarily pay about 10 percent of furloughed workers to clean up the park. They’ve been plowing roads, cleaning restrooms and collecting trash since Saturday. Other staff, such as law enforcement rangers, continue to work without pay during the shutdown. The park is expected to reopen to vehicle traffic on Tuesday, said Kyle Patterson, a Park spokesman who is on furlough.