by Alex Gugel , all rights reserved
Visitor Guide to Rocky Mountain National Park (NP) in Colorado. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).
Timed-Entry Permits This visitor guide, combined with your park map, has the info you need for a fun, safe, and successful visit to Rocky Mountain National Park. Don’t have a timed-entry permit? It’s likely that entry Page 2: Things to Do Page 3: Pocket Ranger Page 5: Hiking Guide Page 8: Fall Guide Page 11: Driving Guide Back: Shuttles & Safety permits are sold out for the day. Visit recreation.gov to view availablity. Or, you can wait until after 3 pm to enter the park (excluding Bear Lake road). A limited amount of permits will be released daily at 5 pm for the following day. These are expected to sell out quickly and we encourage you to plan ahead when possible. Food, Water, and Restrooms Food services in the park are limited. Food is available at Trail Ridge Store and in the park’s gateway communities. Picnic areas are marked on your map. destination. Water from lakes and streams isn’t safe to drink unless you treat or filter it first. Trailhead and facility restrooms that meet public health guidance Safe-to-drink water is will be open. If you have available at some to go but aren’t near a facilities and trailheads. restroom, you must follow Don’t assume water Leave No Trace principles. will be available at your Can I leave at any time? There is no length-of-stay requirement, you may leave the park at any time. The only restriction is when you can enter the park. You must enter within your reserved 2-hour window. Once I’m in the park, can I exit and re-enter? Yes. Once you’ve entered the park during your 2-hour entry window, you can exit and re-enter the park as often as needed for the rest of the day. With a permit, am I guaranteed a parking place? No. Your reservation guarantees you access to the park during your reserved time window. It does not guarantee access to all locations within the park. If you have a Bear Lake Road Corridor permit, be flexible and/or use the shuttle to access trailheads. It’s the Year of the Tundra! This summer we are celebrating all things alpine tundra! Did you know that one-third of the park is made up of this unique ecosystem? Looking for activities to do while up on the tundra? Check page 3. For tundra closures, see page 11. You can help this area thrive by watching your step and sticking to the trails. DON’T TRAMPLE THE TUNDRA Weather and Altitude Keep a safe distance from wildlife—it’s the law. Lightning regularly strikes in Rocky. No outdoor place is safe when lightning strikes. Check the forecast before heading out. Plan activities so you can quickly return to your car if a storm begins. If hiking, plan to return to the trailhead before noon. Return to the trailhead immediately if you hear thunder. Altitude sickness affects many visitors every year. Symptoms include headache, nausea, fatigue, dizziness, vomiting, and even unconsciousness. Altitude can also aggravate pre-existing conditions like heart and lung disease. Take your time, drink water, eat, and rest. The only cure for altitude sickness is to go down to a lower altitude. 7 pm to 7 am Sunday nights through Friday mornings. Detailed info is available on our website. Moraine Park, be alert for: 25 yards 100 yards Never feed wildlife, including birds and chipmunks. It’s illegal and makes the animals unhealthy. You could be bitten, scratched, kicked, thrown, or trampled. If you see a bear or mountain lion, stop and calmly back away. Never turn your back or run away. Stand tall and raise your arms to look large. Pick up small children. Need to Know Visitor services are limited. Some facilities and events are closed or canceled. A reduced number of visitors will be allowed in facilities at a given time. All visitors must wear a face mask when riding the shuttle. For those who are not fully vaccinated, face masks are required indoors and in crowded outdoor spaces. This includes narrow or busy trails, parking lots, and overlooks. During the summer, road construction will occur between Bear Lake Road junction and Deer Ridge junction. This 3-mile section of road will be closed from Maintain social distancing of six feet whenever possible. Pets are prohibited on ALL park trails, tundra, and meadow areas. When in burned areas like Forest Canyon, Spruce Canyon, trails in the Fern Lake and Cub Lake area, the North Inlet Trail, and • falling trees and limbs, especially during periods of wind • unstable slopes and rolling material such as logs and rocks • burned out stump holes • bridges or structures that may be damaged Off-trail travel is not recommended in burned areas. Contact Us Trail Ridge Rd Status (970) 586-1222 Park Information (970) 586-1206 Emergencies Call or text 911 Website nps.gov/romo Social Media @RockyNPS Summer / Fall 2021 Never Approach Wildlife Rocky Mountain National Park WELCOME Things to Do Visitor Centers Park rangers may be available outside the following visitor centers: • Beaver Meadows • Alpine • Kawuneeche Rocky Mountain Conservancy nature stores are open at the following visitor centers: Beaver Meadows 9 am - 6 pm Fall River 9 am - 5 pm Moraine Park 9 am - 5 pm Alpine 9:30 am - 5 pm Kawuneeche 9 am - 5 pm Rangers will not be staffing visitor center interiors. Check locally and Shop online at: at go.nps.gov/RockyVCs RMConservancy.org. for the most up-to-date information. Rosy paintbrush Rocky Pocket Ranger Become a Junior Ranger No ranger-led programs are being offered this summer. Junior Rangers at Rocky have fun discovering the natural world and learning why we need to protect our national parks. Visit Junior Ranger Headquarters at Hidden Valley from 9 am to 4:30 pm daily (May 23 - August 21). As an alternative, we’ve created Rocky Pocket Ranger, a number of fun activities for all ages to help you learn about and explore the park. Go to the next page to begin your adventure. Activity books for kids ages 5 and under, 6–8, and 9+, are available at any contact station. Mills Lake Trail Watch Wildlife Elk All animals at Rocky are wild and unpredictable. They are not pets. Never feed or approach wildlife: you could be hurt or issued a fine (learn more on front page). If stopping a vehicle to view wildlife, pull completely off the road, with all four wheels past the white line. Black Bear Bighorn Sheep Coyote Mule Deer Yellow-bellied Marmot Pika Visit go.nps.gov/RockyWildlife for more info. Learn why fall is a special time for some species on page 8. And More... Bicycling Camping Fishing Bicycles are allowed on all roads open to Campground operations will be different this A Colorado state fishing license is required. motor vehicles unless otherwise posted. You summer and fall to help prevent the spread Trout in the park include brown, brook, must ride single file. They aren’t allowed on of infectious diseases. You cannot stay over- rainbow, and cutthroat. Not all park lakes trails except the East Shore Trail near Grand night in vehicles along roads or at trailheads. have reproducing populations. Learn more: Lake. Learn more: go.nps.gov/RockyBicycling. Learn more: go.nps.gov/RockyCamping. go.nps.gov/RockyFishing. Holzwarth Historic Site Horseback Riding Wilderness Camping Once a lodge, this historic site on the Horses have been part of Rocky’s tradition Overnight wilderness stays require a permit. park’s west side is now preserved for your since its designation in 1915. Horses, mules, To learn more or make a reservation, visit the enjoyment. Explore the grounds and read ponies, llamas, and burros are allowed on Beaver Meadows Wilderness Office or visit educational signage on a short walk. Learn park trails. No goats are allowed on park go.nps.gov/RockyWildernessCamping. more: go.nps.gov/Holzwarth. trails. Learn more: go.nps.gov/RockyHorses. 2 Tread Lightly In many places, you’re allowed to walk on the tundra with special care. 9 Make sure you’re not in a tundra closure (see page 11). 9 Walk on rocks or bare spots. Try not to step on the plants—even though they’re small, they may be decades to centuries old! 9 When traveling off trail in a group, spread out so you’re each taking your own path. Social distancing is good for the tundra, too! 9 Don’t grind your feet as you walk. These plants have enough challenges with the wind, intense solar radiation, and short growing season up here! Pretend tundra is lava! How many steps can you take only on rocks without touching the tundra? Changing Times Did You Hear That? What’s the Lowdown? Why are so many of the beautiful flowers in the alpine so small? To find out, you gotta get down! Yellow-bellied Marmot Pika Two of the park’s most beloved animals live in the alpine and are found best by listening first! A loud whistle or chirp is the alarm call of the yellow-bellied marmot. Pikas will “meep” their alarm if something threatens their territory. Stay quiet while exploring alpine areas. When you hear the alarm, scan the rocks around you. You might see a marmot on the lookout or a pika dashing for cover! Find a rocky area along Trail Ridge Road. Sit quietly and see how many of these furry favorites you can spot! Alpine phlox Alpine forget-me-nots Moss campion Find a grassy or rocky area where you can lay down without damaging fragile plants. How’s the temperature? What about the wind? On a blustery day, would you prefer to be standing or lying down? Rocky Pocket Ranger Alpine Tundra Adventures! Life in the alpine is adapted to certain conditions. Have you been here before? What changes have you seen? Write your own prediction about how life in the alpine may change in the next 20–50 years as the climate warms. Sagittarius The Sky Tells a Story Find the North Star The moon and stars have inspired humans for thousands of years. People told stories about the shapes they saw in the stars—stories about things that were important to them and lessons about how to behave and treat others. The North Star, also known as Polaris, is very near the celestial pole (if you were standing at the North Pole, it would appear directly overhead). Though you might expect it to be one of the brighter stars in the sky, it’s actually dim enough to be tricky to find. Luckily, if you can spot the Big Dipper, you can use it to navigate to the north star using the “pointer stars” at the bottom of the dipper. What do you wonder when you see a sky filled with stars? Scorpius If you could draw your own constellation, what story would you write in the night sky? The Big Dipper 3 Fun activities for all! Half the Park is After Dark Rocky Pocket Ranger The Edges of the Day Find a quiet place to sit—beside your car, at a picnic table—during dawn or dusk. Take notice of your senses to get a whole new picture of the world around you. Experience the Dawn Chorus The first birds begin to sing about an hour before sunrise. In the dim light of morning, food is scarce, and predators have a harder time hunting. So, birds sing during this time to attract a mate and declare their territory. Their singing may carry up to 20 times as far in the still air, reaching females that will choose the song that sounds like it comes from the most fit and able singer. • How many birds do you hear? Bring your warm layers. Then find a spot where you can stay still and comfortable. Now, sit and listen. • What is it doing? Eating seeds? Catching insects? • How would you describe what the song sounds like in words? • Are other birds responding? • Can you see the bird? Where did you see it? • What size and shape is it? • Describe its feathers. Are there patterns of dark and light or bright patches of color? Broad-tailed hummingbird Practice Intentional Curiosity Record your thoughts at right: “I notice...” Look closely. Is a dewdrop hanging on the edge of a flower? Is steam coming off the nearby stream? What are the clouds doing? What patterns do you see in the trees? “It reminds me of...” What comes to mind? An event? An object? A memory? Tying what you know with what you experience may help you retain this moment… and help you share it with others. “I wonder...” Ask questions about what you’ve noticed. Say them out loud to yourself or a friend. What do you want to know more about? Sensory Overload Vision Your eyes have two kinds of light receptors: rods and cones. Cones work best in strong light and pick up colors. Rods work better in dim light but don’t pick up colors. As the light changes at dawn or dusk, look at your clothing or the clothing of your friends. Can you tell what color it is? If you had to pick, would you want only rods or only cones for your eyes? What kind of sight would you want? Smell Smells are really just a combination of chemicals. When the chemicals join up in different ways, we smell different things. Moisture created by dogs’ noses helps them capture different chemicals in the air and smell better. 4 Close your eyes and take a deep breath through your nose. What do you smell? Water? Dirt? Sweet or sour? Where is the smell coming from? Is it cool or warm? Now wet the tip of your nose with a little saliva. Can you smell anything more? Hearing Think about the ears of an elk or a mountain lion. How are they shaped? Do they swivel? Why might good hearing help these animals? Black bear Sit quietly and listen. Count five things you can hear. Now cup your hands around the back of your ears with palms facing forward. Listen again. Can you hear anything more? Would you be able to rely on your hearing for survival at night? Elk and black-billed magpie When you begin a hike, you leave behind established food, water, and restroom facilities; shelter from sun, wind, and weather; and easy access to emergency services. Before hitting the trail: 9 Review the front-page info on food, water, wildlife, weather, and altitude. 9 Don’t rely on cell phones. Many areas have no service. 9 Carry a map and compass (or GPS) and know how to use them. 9 Dress for success. See diagram below. When hiking, treat the park with respect by leaving no trace: East Side Burn Area TRAILHEAD DESTINATION Bear Lake DISTANCE O N E WAY GAIN Bierstadt Lake 1.6 mi 9 Don’t bring your pet. Pets are prohibited on all park trails, tundra, and meadow areas. Emerald Lake 1.8 mi 605 ft Fern Lake Trailhead (CLOSED) 8.5 mi 1,215 ft Flattop Mountain 4.4 mi 1,215 ft Lake Haiyaha 2.1 mi 2,849 ft 9 To go to the bathroom, you must move at least 70 steps off the trail, bury waste at least six inches deep, and pack out toilet paper. Odessa Lake (CLOSED) 4.4 mi 10 ft Bierstadt Lake Bierstadt Lake 1.4 mi 566 ft Chapin Creek Ypsilon Mountain 3.5 mi 2,874 ft Cub Lake Cub Lake 2.3 mi 540 ft Deer Ridge Jct. Deer Mountain 3.0 mi 1,083 ft Fern Lake Fern Falls (CLOSED) 2.7 mi 645 ft Fern Lake (CLOSED) 3.8 mi 1,375 ft Odessa Lake (CLOSED) 4.4 mi 1,865 ft The Pool (CLOSED) 1.7 mi 205 ft Finch Lake 4.5 mi 1,442 ft Pear Lake 6.5 mi 2,112 ft Gem Lake Gem Lake 2.0 mi 1,090 ft Glacier Gorge Jct. Alberta Falls 0.6 mi 160 ft Andrews Glacier 5.0 mi 2,460 ft Black Lake 4.7 mi 1,390 ft Lake Haiyaha 3.5 mi 980 ft The Loch 2.7 mi 940 ft Mills Lake 2.5 mi 700 ft Timberline Falls 4.0 mi 1,210 ft Sky Pond 4.6 mi 1,660 ft Chasm Lake 4.2 mi 2,390 ft Eugenia Mine 1.4 mi 508 ft 6.2 mi 2,249 ft 4.5 mi 2,180 ft Sandbeach Sandbeach Lake Lake 4.2 mi 1,971 ft Twin Sisters 3.7 mi 2,338 ft Wild Basin Copeland Falls R. Station 0.3 mi 15 ft Wild Basin Bluebird Lake Entrance Calpyso Cascade 6.0 mi 2,478 ft 1.8 mi 700 ft Lion Lake No. 1 7.0 mi 2,565 ft Ouzel Falls 2.7 mi 950 ft Thunder Lake 6.8 mi 2,074 ft 9 Don’t make a campfire. Fires scar the landscape and can grow into deadly wildfires. Finch Lake A wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen. Bring a warm jacket or sweater and pants. Big temperature swings are normal in the mountains. Carry a windand waterproof jacket and pants, a warm hat, and gloves. Sturdy shoes are a safer choice. Longs Pk R. Station Lawn Lake Lawn Lake Ypsilon Lake Strolls East Side (Updated May 2021) Strollers allowed Wheelchair-accessible trail TRAIL DISTANCE ROUND TRIP GAIN Bear Lake Circle beautiful Bear Lake. Often has snow well into June. 0.5 mi 20 ft Hidden Valley Walk through the sub-alpine forests of Hidden Valley. 0.5 mi Lily Lake See wildflowers, waterfowl, and mountain views on a walk around the lake. 0.8 mi 20 ft Moraine Park Discovery Center Nature Trail Explore a hillside with a view of Moraine Park. 0.5 mi 20 ft Sprague Lake Packed gravel, level trail around a lovely lake. 0.5 mi 20 ft 10 ft West Side TRAILHEAD DESTINATION DISTANCE Colorado River Lulu City Site 3.7 mi 350 ft East Inlet Lake Verna 6.9 mi 1,809 ft Lone Pine Lake 5.5 mi 1,494 ft Spirit Lake 7.8 mi 1,899 ft Green Mtn Big Meadows (CLOSED) 1.8 mi 606 ft North Inlet Cascade Falls (CLOSED) 3.5 mi 300 ft Lake Nanita (CLOSED) 11.0 mi 2,240 ft Lake Nokoni (CLOSED) 9.9 mi 2,240 ft Timber Lake 4.8 mi 2,060 ft Trail Ridge Road Alpine Ridge Amazing views in all directions. Watch the sky; if storms approach, stay off! 0.5 mi Tundra Communities Trail Enjoy sweeping views and the alpine tundra. Watch the sky; if storms approach, stay off! 0.6 mi 209 ft 260 ft Twin Sisters Peak 566 ft Timber Lk O N E WAY GAIN West Side Adams Falls Walk to a beautiful waterfall near Grand Lake. 0.6 mi 80 ft Coyote Valley Trail Walk the banks of the Colorado River and enjoy mountain views. Packed gravel. 1.0 mi 10 ft Holzwarth Historic Site Explore a historic homestead and 1920s dude ranch. 1.0 mi 10 ft The Keyhole Route to the summit of Longs Peak is NOT a hike. It’s a climb that crosses huge vertical rock faces and requires scrambling where an unroped fall would be fatal. Do not take this climb lightly. Visitors have been injured and even died. Detailed info is available at go.nps.gov/LongsPeak or at the Longs Peak Ranger Station. 5 Hiking Guide Hikes HIKING TIPS 0 Falls 2,849 745 1,215 750 225 1,650 20 990 245 7.1 3.4 4.7 4.5 0.8 7.9 0.8 5.0 2.7 4.4 2.1 2.9 2.8 0.5 4.9 0.5 3.1 1.7 6 302 75 229 69 503 868 227 370 49 6 173 421 165 130 184 419 160 20 566 1,380 540 425 605 1,375 1.3 0.8 2.6 8.0 3.7 1.8 2.9 6.1 0.8 0.5 1.6 5.0 2.3 1.1 1.8 3.8 0.7mi 1.1km Burn Area (Access Closed) Restrooms Parking Campground Picnic area Information Shuttle stop Trailhead Trail distances Trail (hiker only) Trail (horse/hiker) Unpaved road 1.9mi 3.1km To Sprague Lake To Moraine Park and Trail Ridge Rd Bear Lake Area Trails Glacier Gorge Trailhead 0.5mi \ 0.8km 0.3mi 0.5km To Alberta ELEVATION GAIN ft m 0.3 Miles DISTANCE mi km 0.2 0.3 Kilometers 0.4mi 0.6km Bear Lake Trailhead All Glacier Gorge trails can be accessed from Bear Lake. Add 0.1 miles to trail distance. 0.1 0.2 0.5mi 0.8km 9475ft 2888m Bear Lake 0.3mi 0.5km Lake 2.0mi \ 3.2km To Bierstadt To 12331ft 3758m Knobtop Mountain 12129ft 3697m Notchtop Mountain 11939ft 3639m Gabletop Mountain 12713ft 3875m 13153ft 4009m Taylor Peak os Ca 1.3mi 2.1km n 0.7mi 1.1km 1.1mi 3.4km 0.6mi 1.0km Lake Haiyaha 1.3km 2.0mi 3.2km 10761ft 3280m Sky Pond Lake of Glass 0.7mi 1.1km Solitude Lake Thatchtop 12668ft 3861m 0.6mi 1.0km 0.5mi 0.8km 0.9mi 1.4km Shelf Lake Jewel Lake Mills Lake 0.5mi 0.8km 0.9mi 1.4km 2.1mi 3.4km 0.6mi 1.0km 0.5mi 0.8km 2.0mi 3.2km 0.4mi 0.6km 2.2mi 3.5km GOR GE il To Black Lake 11482ft 3500m 3.0mi 4.8km Half Mtn Alberta Falls 0.5mi 0.8km 1.5mi 2.4km Hollowell Park To Longs Peak Ranger Station 2.3mi 3.7km Sprague Lake 1.5mi 2.4km Bierstadt Lake Bierstadt Lake 1.7mi 2.7km ar To Estes Park 66 North 0 0 0.5 0.5 1 Mile 1 Kilometer Park crews are working to assess burn areas. As a result, closures may change throughout the season. For up-to-date information, visit nps.gov/romo Area Closures To Longs Peak Ranger Station 1.9mi 3.1km East Portal Tuxedo Park Moraine Park Discovery Center 0.4mi 0.6km Glacier Basin Campground 36 Beaver Meadows Visitor Center Beaver Meadows Entrance Station Trail Ridge Road to Alpine VC and Grand Lake, CO 0.4mi 0.6km e Road Lak 1.4mi 2.3km Be 2.0mi 3.2km MORAINE PARK Park & Ride 0.3mi 0.5km Cub Lake Mor Moraine Park Ca Campground Upper Beaver Meadows Hiking Guide Steep Mountain 9538ft 2907m Fern Lake 0.8mi 1.3km 1.9mi 3.1km 1.3mi 2.1km 1.1mi 1.8km 1.5mi 2.4km Cub Lake See detail upper left The Loch Timberline Falls 0.2mi 0.3km 1.7mi 2.7km Fern Lake BEAR LAKE AREA Mount Wuh 1.0mi 1.6km The Pool Dream Lake Fern Falls Andrews Tarn 0.8mi 12486ft 3806m Otis Peak a Ch n yo Emerald Lake 3.5mi 5.6km d al l G o r ge Hallett Peak Ty n Andrews Glacier 12324ft 3756m Two Rivers Lake 1.1mi 1.8km 2.2mi 3.5km 0.7mi 1.1km Fern Lake 0.9mi 1.4km Flattop Mtn Lake Helene Odessa Lake Loomis Lake Spruce Lake (Updated May 2021) C IER The Pool (CLOSED) Sky Pond Sprague Lake Loop The Loch Lake Helene Mills Lake Nymph Lake 0.5mi 0.8km Bear Lake Loop 0.5mi 0.8km 0.1 Alberta Falls Bear Lake Loop Bierstadt Lake Black Lake Cub Lake Dream Lake Emerald Lake Fern Lake (CLOSED) Flattop Mountain Lake Haiyaha DESTINATION North 0 Nymph Lake Mtn To Dream Lake 0.6mi \ 1.0km 3.5mi 5.6km To Flattop 2.0mi \ 3.2km Helene Inlet Trail Nor th To Lake Bear Lake Corridor Trails CH LO LE VA 6 Tra hutu na GLA (Updated May 2021) Michigan Lakes Lake Agnes Mummy Pass and Corral Creek Trailhead Lulu Mountain 12228ft 3727m Ditc h Lake of the Clouds ow Ri ve r e e ch Ca 2.7mi 4.3km Colorado River Trailhead To Estes Park Milner Pass Poudre Lake Lake Irene 0.5mi 0.8km NEVER 3.3mi 5.3km Red Mtn 11605ft 3537m 4.3mi 6.9km Farview Curve 3.1mi 5.0km er Cre e Gul ch k 0.6mi 1.0km 34 Bowen Baker Trailhead Me 11488ft 3502m Timber Lake ng e Mineral Point 1.5mi 2.4km Lo neech Bak Tim be r Kawu Parika Lake 11704ft 3567m 3.3mi 5.3km Holzwarth Historic Site to Jackstraw Mountain Timber Lake Trailhead Timber Creek Campground ad COLORADO en DISTANCE mi km Coyote Valley Trailhead 0.3 3.4 0.5 0.5 5.5 0.8 79 300 0 24 91 0 Moderate Big Meadows via GMTH (CLOSED) Big Meadows via KVC (CLOSED) Granite Falls Little Yellowstone Lulu City Red Mountain to Grand Ditch 1.8 4.2 5.2 4.5 3.7 3.3 2.9 6.8 8.4 7.2 6.0 5.3 606 680 1046 990 350 1160 185 207 319 302 107 354 Difficult Haynach Lakes (CLOSED) Lone Pine Lake Lake Verna Shadow Mountain Lookout Tower Timber Lake 8.2 13.2 4.8 7.7 6.9 11.1 4.8 7.7 4.8 7.7 2286 1494 1809 1533 2060 697 455 551 467 628 Haynach Lakes Nakai Peak Creek 1.5mi 2.4km 12216ft 3723m 1.5mi 2.4km 2.4mi 3.9km u O nah Gulc h Onahu Trailhead North Va l l e 0.6mi 1.0km 1.2mi 1.9km 1.8mi 2.9km 0.8mi 1.3km Area Closures Park crews are working assess burn Gabletopto Mtn 11939ft areas. As a result, closures may change 3639m throughout the season. For up-to-date 4.3mi information, visitKnobtop nps.gov/romo 6.9km Mtn 1.5mi 2.4km 12331ft 3758m Creek Big Meadows Murphy Lake Granite Falls y 12274ft 3741m Mount Patterson 10313ft 3143m Trail (horse/hiker) Harbison Meadows 491 0.8mi 1.3km Gr an e Campground 12324ft 3756m Hallett Peak 12713ft 3875m Bench Lake 4.6mi 7.4km La k wM oun t 12324ft 3756m 4.5mi 7.2km Ea Shadow Mountain Lookout Tower Shadow Mountain Mount Cairns Lake Nanita st 11034ft 3363m ek Mount Bryant 1.4mi 2.3km Inle t Mount Wescott Cr e Lone Pine Lake 10421ft 3176m Creek 1.2mi 1.0mi 1.6km Ptarmigan Mountain 12565ft 3830m Adams Falls 10155ft 3095m Shadow 1.9km Mountain Dam 10781ft 3286m Lake Nokoni East Inlet Trailhead 0.3mi 0.5km 3.3mi 5.3km Mount Enentah 2.3mi 3.7km Andrews Peak dL ak e East Shore Trailhead 1.5mi 2.4km Cascade Falls rth No Paradise Shad o Su n erla mm ark dP ho Ec Interpretive trail 34 ain Wheelchair accessible 3.4mi 5.5km 0.8mi 1.3km LA KE Restrooms Wardance Falls Pettingell Lake Tonahutu/ North Inlet Trailheads 49 GRAN D Food service 4.1mi 6.6km 10788ft 3288m Kawuneeche Visitor Center Information Picnic area Mtn Inle t Grand Lake Etrance Station Continental Divide Trail Trail distances Nisa Mountain 492 Trail (hiker only) 0.7mi 1.1km 3.4mi 5.5km Tonahutu Green Mtn Unpaved road 12363ft 3768m Crk Snowdrift Lake 11424ft 3482m 2 Miles 491 Ptarmigan Point Flattop Ptarmigan Lake Snowdrift Peak Green Mountain Trailhead 2 Kilometers 0 ELEVATION GAIN ft m Easy Adams Falls Cascade Falls (CLOSED) Coyote Valley 2.6mi 4.2km 0 To Estes Park s Bowen Lake Blue Lake Bow 12454ft 3796m All distances are one way from nearest trailhead. ow to 11796ft 3595m DESTINATION 12706ft 3873m 1.9mi 3.1km Mount Chapin 34 12725ft 3879m Baker Mtn 13069ft 3983m ge Roa d l Rid Trai 11317ft 3449m RIVER Grand Shipler Mountain Red Mtn Trail Junction 12397ft 3779m Mount Chiquita la Site of Lulu City 1.7mi 2.7km 12810ft 3904m Mount Stratus Medicine Bow Curve igan Ptarm SUMMER 12489ft 3807m Alpine Visitor Center Howard Mtn Mount Nimbus Creek Crk r ud Po Specimen Mountain 0.9mi 1.4km 1.3mi 2.1km Mount Cumulus il l n W 1.2mi 1.9km 2.5mi 4.0km 12797ft 3901m c im e n 1.1mi 1.8km e Sp e Ye L llo itt w s 0.5mi 0.8km Skeleton Gulch 1.1mi le ton 1.9mi 3.1km Desolation Peaks Cre ek 1.6mi 2.6km i ap Ch MTNS La Poudre Pass 1.7mi 2.7km 1.8km Mount Cirrus 12335ft 3760m to 12940ft 3944m Hazeline Lake Flatiron Mountain Thunder Pass Mount Richthofen Hiking Guide Kawuneeche Valley Trails Mount Craig 12007ft 3660m Ten Lake Lake Verna 1.0mi 1.6km Spirit Lake 0.6mi 1.0km Fourth Lake Park Fifth Lake Burn Area To Granby and 40 (Access Closed) 7 Fall Watch the Rut! In fall, elk gather in meadows • Only bulls have antlers, which grow in the spring and drop each for the annual breeding season: winter. Antlers can grow up to the rut. Males compete for the an inch a day! While growing, right to breed with a herd of they’re covered with a protective females. Respect this process, the layer of velvety skin. When the wildlife involved in it, and the antlers are fully grown, the bulls experience of yourself and others by scrape this layer off. following park regulations. • Elk are one of the largest members of the deer family. Males (bulls) can weigh 700–1000 pounds and stand 5 feet at the shoulder. Females (cows), usually weigh 500–600 pounds. • While competition is high among bulls, it includes little fighting as it causes injury and depletes energy. Instead, mature bulls compete for cows by displaying their antlers, necks, and bodies. They emit strong, musky odors and bugle. • Bulls signal the mating season with a call that rises to a highpitched squeal before dropping to a series of grunts. The eerie call echoes through the autumn nights and serves to intimidate rival males. Cows and younger bulls may also bugle, but they can’t match the strength or range of the older bulls’ calls. • Learn more: go.nps.gov/RockyElk. Never Approach Wildlife Respect Meadow Closures Elk are big animals that can injure or even kill you. 25 yards is the legal minimum, but any distance that changes an animal’s behavior is too close. Approaching a wild animal can cause it serious stress, hurt its health, disrupt natural processes, and provoke defensive behavior. • Park only in designated pulloffs. Park staff will move your vehicle if it impedes traffic. • Do not park on vegetation or in “no parking” areas. • Turn off your car engine and lights. View elk from the roadside. Stay next to your car for safety—elk can suddenly charge or cross roads. These elk work hard throughout the year to survive in a challenging • Use of artificial calls and environment. This is not a wildlife spotlighting is prohibited. park or zoo. Never approach wildlife. To protect elk and enhance elk-viewing opportunities for visitors, these meadows are closed 5 pm - 10 am daily from September 1 to October 31: • Moraine Park • Horseshoe Park • Upper Beaver Meadows • Harbison Meadow • Holzwarth Meadow Use a Zoom Lens What About Those Fences? Smartphone cameras, while popular, have limited zoom. There’s simply no way to get close-up photos without getting much too close to wildlife. Research from the mid-1990s to early 2000s found that Rocky’s elk population was larger, less migratory, and more concentrated than it would be under natural conditions. The result? Heavy use of winter range in the park and a decline in vegetation habitats that many species rely on. The solution? Bring a camera with a telephoto lens! Wildlife will be less disturbed, netting you more safety and better photos. Binoculars are also great for getting a closer look from a distance. To address these and other issues, park staff and researchers created a 20-year plan: the Elk and Vegetation Management Plan. A key part of the plan are fenced areas, called exclosures, that protect critical habitat from elk browsing. The fences are designed to keep out elk but let in other species. Marked gates provide access. Step inside and compare what you see to areas outside. You’ll find that fenced areas throughout the park are in various stages of remarkable transformation! Take photos of what you find and share them on social media, tagged #RMNP. Enjoy Fall Colors Expect Fall Weather Most of the fall color you’ll see in Rocky is the product of a single species: quaking aspen. These are one of the few deciduous trees hearty enough to survive harsh mountain environments. September and October bring clear, crisp air, blue skies, colder nights, and generally dry weather. Bring an extra warm layer or two to stay comfortable no matter what the season brings. green color fades, yellow, orange, and red pigments appear. This magical color change usually starts in early September and can last into October. The exact dates and strength of Changes in temperature, the color change vary by moisture, and light during location and year, so part fall trigger the breakdown of catching peak color is of green chlorophyll in sheer luck! the aspen leaves. As the 8 Early snowstorms are always a possibility, especially on Trail Ridge Road. Plan accordingly! As the weather changes, so do services and facility hours. Visit our website to plan ahead. Visitor centers may have reduced hours. Shuttle buses stop running by the end of October. Campgrounds begin closing in early September, with only Moraine Park campground open by midOctober. Park roads may close due to weather. Everyone wants to know Rocky’s vital statistics. Each blank needs a number. Find the answers in your park map and this information guide, or ask park staff. What’s more, we’ve given you the answers: the numbers at bottom. • Rocky Mountain National Park was established in ________. • Fragile alpine tundra makes up _________ of Rocky Mountain National Park, one of the largest areas of alpine tundra ecosystems protected in the contiguous United States. • The dramatic elevation range within the park, which spans from 7,600 feet to ______ feet and straddles the Continental Divide, allows for terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, plant and animal communities, and a variety of ecological processes. • In 2019, the park welcomed _________ visitors, which was the park’s highest annual visitation. • On March 30, 2009, ___________ of the park was designated as Wildernes. This means it’s managed with the highest level of Federal protection given to public lands. • Rocky Mountain National Park has ____ peaks higher than 10,000 feet. • The mighty Colorado River starts its _____-mile length in Rocky. It drains seven U.S. and two Mexican states on its way to the Gulf of California, and passes through six more National Park Service areas: Arches National Park (UT), Canyonlands National Park (UT), Glen Canyon National Recreation Area (AZ/UT), Rainbow Bridge Nati