One of the country’s most beautiful natural area’s to explore in the United States, the Rocky Mountain National Park is an ideal vacation destination for those who crave outdoor adventures and awe-inspiring vistas of mountains, lakes and valleys. With 355 miles of hiking trails, ranging from flat lakeside strolls to steep mountain climbs, there are corners of this park that appeal to everyone. Take a scenic drive and spot diverse wildlife, such as Elk, Mule Deer and Bighorn Sheep, or go hunting for one of the 30 postcard-worthy waterfalls views. While there is no lodge inside the park, visitors can find campgrounds to pitch a tent and spend a night under the stars.
The Rocky Mountain National Park Act was signed by President Woodrow Wilson on January 26, 1915, establishing the park boundaries and protecting the area for future generations. The Civilian Conservation Corps built the main automobile route, Trail Ridge Road, in the 1930s. In 1976, UNESCO designated the park as one of the first World Biosphere Reserves. In 2017, more than 4.4 million recreational visitors entered the park. The park is one of the most visited in the National Park System, ranking as the third most visited national park in 2015.
Apart from elk, many other ungulates reside in the park, including bighorn sheep, moose, and mule deer. Bison were eliminated from the park in the 1800s, as were pronghorn and moose, the latter of which was restored to the area in 1978. Moose are now frequently seen in the park, especially on the park's west side. The park's bighorn sheep population has recovered and is estimated at 350 animals.
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.