North America has a few famous Rockies, and this one should definitely make the itinerary

The great outdoors doesn’t get much greater than at Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP), as this untouched haven takes the word wilderness one step further. Here, the human world takes a backseat for the landscape to come alive, no matter the season. We'll have you hiking the wildflower-filled meadows in the summer and snowshoeing to spectacular frozen waterfalls in the winter. If you'd like to see even a small taste of the magic, stop by the favourite Bear Lake on an explorer's tour of the highest and most colourful state - Colorado.

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Highlights of Rocky Mountain National Park tours

A hiker on a mountain trail in Rocky Mountain National Park

Hike the day away

If someone was looking for the best way to hike Rocky Mountain National Park, then I think we’ve found it. From a comfy inn-style base, an experienced leader will guide you through the jewels and gems of this great wilderness, taking on a new trailhead each day. You’ll be met with picture-perfect views of glaciers, waterfalls, alpine lakes and if you’re lucky, a four-legged friend or two.

Snowshoeing through the alpine region of Rocky Mountain National Park

Snow days done right

A sprinkling of snow doesn’t mean the fun stops in Rocky Mountains National Park. With fewer people around, the park's animal inhabitants come out to play. While spending your days out with a certified Colorado snowshoeing guide, be on the lookout for furry natives such as bears and moose, as well as a completely transformed wilderness. Frozen cascades, snowed-over valleys and iced-over waterfalls will fill up your camera roll.

The sight across Bear Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park

A sight worth stopping for

We think if anyone wanted to paint a picture of a lake set before snow-capped mountains and a sea of pine trees, then Bear Lake fits the bill. The 1-kilometre loop trail at the Bear Lake area is not only a favourite among park visitors, but it’s arguably one of the best ways to experience RMNP if you’ve only got an afternoon. After your hike, sit back and relax with a picnic. You’ll probably be hard-pressed to get a better spot for a picnic.

The Stanley Hotel among the mountains, Colorado

Haunted and historical

Learn about the origins of RMNP with a stop at Longs Peak House, the cabin built by Enos Mills. He is known as the father of the park as he fought alongside others for the preservation of the area from loggers and developers. There’s also some pop culture history from the Estes Park area. Maybe you’d like to stop by the hotel which inspired The Shining? But be on the lookout, there may also be ghosts afoot.

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FAQs

Trips from 1 January 2023 onwards

From 1 January 2023, Intrepid will no longer require travellers to provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19 (excluding all Polar trips and select adventure cruises).

However, we continue to strongly recommend that all Intrepid travellers and leaders get vaccinated to protect themselves and others.

Specific proof of testing or vaccination may still be required by your destination or airline. Please ensure you check travel and entry requirements carefully.

Learn more about Intrepid’s COVID-19 policy

Rocky Mountain National Park is located in the north-central region of Colorado, United States and is just a small part of the impressive mountain range known as the Rocky Mountains.

Nicknamed 'the Rockies', the Rocky Mountains begin in northwest Canada and stretch through six of the US states before ending in New Mexico. It is considered the largest mountain system in North America.

To get to Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP), you'll need to either drive or take a seasonal shuttle bus from a neighbouring town, as there is limited public transportation into the park. 

The closest airport to the park is Denver International Airport (DIA) which is approximately 97 kilometres (60 miles) from the park.

The closest towns to RMNP are Estes Park to the east and Grand Lake to the west. There are highways that connect both towns to the park, however, winter weather may affect the roads, so it's always wise to check before you drive.  

Most people get around Rocky Mountain National Park with private or group vehicles as entrances to certain hiking trails are most accessible by car.

There are shuttle services within the park that operate from May to October within the Bear Lake corridor area. There are also seasonal buses that operate in and out of Estes Park. 

Cycling is also allowed within the park, but check to see where your bike can go before heading out.

Rocky Mountain National Park is approximately 1,075 square kilometres (415 square miles) and includes over 560km (350 miles) of hiking trails.

The best time to visit Rocky Mountain National Park is usually from mid-April to mid-August during the park's spring and summer months. However, the weather may not always be predictable because of the high altitude and mountain climate.

The busiest months at the park are typically from late July to early August and from mid-September to mid-October.

The best times for winter activities are from December to March, when snowfall is more likely and you may get a better chance at seeing wildlife.

Learn more about the best time to visit Rocky Mountain National Park

Yes, you can get altitude sickness in Rocky Mountain National Park. The lowest point in the park has an elevation of 2,316 metres, while its highest peak reaches 4,326 metres. The town of Estes Park also sits at a higher elevation of 2,290 metres. 

It is often recommended that you spend some time acclimatising to a higher elevation before you begin hiking or trekking. This is especially recommended if you live closer to sea level. 

Learn more about altitude sickness

Yes, there are black bears in Rocky Mountian National Park but seeing or encountering one is rare. There's only a small number of bears in the park and they are known to be shy and likely to run away when they hear humans. 

The black bear found in this part of Colorado isn't always black in colour. This species can have black fur but they may also have a might lighter brown coat.

Intrepid is committed to making travel widely accessible, regardless of ability or disability. That’s why we do our best to help as many people see the world as possible, regardless of any physical or mental limitations they might have. We’re always happy to talk to travellers with disabilities and see if we can help guide them towards the most suitable itinerary for their needs and where possible, make reasonable adjustments to our itineraries.

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