Friday, August 12, 2016

Vacation 2016, Rocky Mountain National Park, Estes Park, CO

In the heart of the Rockies The Rocky Mountain National Park creates a feeling like you are on top of the world. Barbara and I stayed in the park at the picturesque Moraine Park Campground with views of Long's Peak towering over the high mountain valley which was carved out by glaciers many years ago. 

Longs Peak as seen from our campsite in Moraine Park campground

Longs Peak at over 14,000 feet towers over the valley

Our campsite at Moraine Park 

The Rocky Mountains as seen from Moraine Park

Full set up at Moraine Park campground. Our home base during our visit.
On our first full day in Rocky Mountain National Park we toured the high country around us by driving the The Fall River Road up to The Alpine Visitors Center high atop a towering mountain ridge of 11,796 feet along the Trail Ridge Road. The Fall River Road is a narrow dirt road that twists and turns up into the mountains with steep drops making for a challenging but scenic drive to the top. Since we have an all wheel drive Honda Pilot I felt confident that we could easily make our way up to the summit along with the many vehicles who decided to traverse this mountain road as well.  We marveled at the mountain scenery that changed as we turned every corner. The morning blessed us with clear skies and gentle breezes as we ascended into the tundra like environment of the high mountain ridges. 

Alluvial Fan Trail at the very beginning of The Fall River Road

View of the foothills from The Alluvial Fan Trail

Jeep tour up The Fall River mountain road.

View of the tree line from The Fall River Road

Up above the tree line on the Fall River Road

Drive to The Alpine Visitors Center at 11,796 feet

The Alpine Visitors Center, Trail Ridge Road, Rocky Mountain National Park

Snow lined mountain ridge at the Alpine Visitors Center
After our arrival at the Alpine Visitors Center we drove down to the Continental Divide on the west side of mountains. We were treated to some great views before we drove back over the mountains on the The Trail Ridge Road to our Moraine Park and our campsite. 

Poudre Lake near Milner Pass

Milner Pass on the west side of the mountains via the Trail Ridge Road

Lake Irene

Picnic Stop near Lake Irene

Fairview Curve turnout just before the Trail Ridge Road descends into The Colorado River Valley. The Colorado River's headwaters are located here.  

The drive along this paved high mountain road traverses some of the most beautiful high tundra country anywhere in the United States. We drove for many miles above the tree line with scenic vistas all around us. 

Trail Ridge Road

Way above the tree line on The Trail Ridge Road

Children playing in a snow field high up on The Trail Ridge Road

Lava Cliffs 

The beautiful Rocky Mountains as seen from up high on The Trail Ridge Road

Rock Cut on the Trail Ridge Road

Forest Canyon overlook on The Trail Ridge Road

Barbara at Forest Canyon Overlook

Doug & Barbara at Forest Canyon Overlook
Elk grazing near Forest Canyon Overlook

During our second day at The Rocky Mountain National Park we decided to tour Estes Park, CO which is located on the eastern portal to the park. This high mountain valley town is a lovely place to visit with it's many shops and parks making it a destination for folks who visit this area. We enjoyed touring the shops and taking in the various vistas that make this place so special. 

The Park Theater, Estes Park, CO

Character player outside The Park Theater. 

Estes City Park near downtown

The Big Thompson River as it flows through town 

Wine tasting festival

Downtown Estes Park, CO
After our visit to Estes Park Barbara and I drove out to Bear Lake. Bear Lake is located in the Rocky Mountain National Park a short distance from our campsite at Moraine Park. This scenic mountain lake is a popular spot for day hikes into the back country. We hiked the half mile path around Bear Lake taking in the majestic mountain scenery that makes this place so popular. We were very pleased and satisfied with our stay at one of this countries most popular National Parks. We made plans in the future to come back again to explore this beautiful place in the rugged Rocky Mountains. 

Bear Lake, Rocky Mountain National Park

Barbara at Bear Lake

Doug at Bear Lake

Hiking Trail around Bear Lake

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