Our First Visit to Colorado Rocky Mountain National Park

Ever since the song came out in the 70’s about The Rocky Mountains, come on now you know what song I mean . . . . come sing along with me . . .

 

But the Colorado rocky mountain high

                                  I’ve seen it rainin’ fire in the sky

                                 The shadow from the starlight is softer than a lullabye

                                 Rocky mountain high (Colorado)

                                 Rocky mountain high (Colorado)

Yes, that’s the song. I’ve been wanted to come here, and after a few, o.k. many years I’m here ! !

My apologizes if you don’t like the song.

We took an Asprie tour and met our guide Nick, at The Estes Park Visitor Center. Before we got to Estes Park Visitor Center, where the entrance to the Rocky Mountains is located, we went through parts of Roosevelt National Forest.

Which was an incredible introduction before we even got to Rocky Mountain National Park.

Our tour guide Nick found us and off we went . . . . .

We took Route 34 and continued on to Old Falls River Road, which is closed in the Winter, and stopped at Chasm Falls, Alpine Visitor Center, and then headed back on Route 36/Trail Ridge Road to Gore Range, Forest Canyon, Sprague lake and back where we started at Estes Visitor Center.

Our first stop . . .

Chasm is a beautiful waterfall surrounded by rock.

Pictures along the way . . .

Our next stop The Alpine Visitor Center. . .

Located at the top of Old Fall River Road Alpine Visitor Center is truly the Visitor Center in the sky. At an altitude of 11,796 feet it is the highest visitor center in the National Park System. It is only open late May through mid-October each year, weather permitting.

At such a high elevation many people may experience mild to moderate Acute Mountain Sickness or Altitude sickness. Symptoms tend to occur within hours after arrival at high altitude and include headache, nausea, shortness of breath, and inability to exercise. Since we are definitely in high altitudes, when we were in Florida where at times we were 3ft. below sea level, we have felt a bit of a headache at times as well as shortness of breath. We have to take it slow and try and drink lots of water 👍

We learned how the park was formed by glaciers. A glacier is a constant mass of snow or ice that is large enough and heavy enough to flow, like a very thick fluid. Glaciation is one of the strongest erosional forces on the planet and is responsible for shaping the park as it is today. Ice is a powerful sculptor of this natural environment and large masses of moving ice are the most powerful tools for sure.

All of the glaciers at Rocky Mountain National Park are now cirque glaciers. A cirque glacier is a small glacier that occupies a bowl-shaped basin at the head of a mountain valley. Cirque glaciers are the remains of much larger valley glaciers.

Since glaciers only form in high altitudes, It was really neat for Dave & me to see glaciers up close and personal. And thinking this is the highest we’ve been, except on an airplane.

Along the way we stopped to see the highest elevation in the park you can drive to 12,183 feet above sea level!

A stop at . . .

Gore Range Overlook offers views of the Never Summer Mountains, and the Gore Range, with  the flat top of Long’s Peak is in sight – the highest peak at 14,259 feet in the park. You can hike up to the highest peak in the park, but you can’t drive to it.

The varied elevation of the terrain in Rocky Mountain National Park brings with it a wide of variety of wildflowers. The flowers in Gorge Range have started growing again after a long period of not being there. Our guide told us after many years of being walked on they wouldn’t grow back. Botanist studied the area and learned that to get the flowers back they had to block off the area so know one would walk on them, so they did for about 100 years, and now their back!

On our way to another stop . . .

A short walk took us to Forest Canyon Overlook 

Our final stop on the tour . . .

Sprague lake was a beautiful spot we couldn’t stay long as out tour was running a bit behind, we’ll have to come back.

Some facts we learned about the park. Trail Ridge Road is America’s highest continuous-paved road. It’s also the highest road in any national park. The CCC worked at the park and built trails, buildings and roads, including Trail Ridge Road and Fall River Road, which are still in use today.

We had a great first visit to the park and are looking forward to going back on Wednesday!

Come on everybody sing, Rocky Mountain High Colorado !

3 thoughts on “Our First Visit to Colorado Rocky Mountain National Park

  1. Sandy

    Looks like a great introduction. Will be interested in what trails you pick and how many miles you hike. That park is Rocky Mountain high in my list to see. 🏔🏔

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