Due to its high elevation and severe weather conditions, Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP) has to carefully manage snowfall on the park roads. In this process, they do massive amounts of snow removal, and lately, they are assisted by Mother Nature and the sad fact of climate change, which produces less critical snowpack each year. This year, the crown jewel of RMNP roads, Trail Ridge Road, opened all the way across the park on the Thursday before Memorial Day. But the original road, known as Old Fall River Road, didn’t open to vehicle traffic until June 23rd to accommodate grooming of the gravel.
Since the summer season is in full swing in Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park, we have been trying other options for hiking to avoid some of the crowds. We have had several recommendations for Kruger Rock, another nearby mountain summit with spectacular views, so last Tuesday, we headed east on US 36 to the Hermit Park Open Space, home of Kruger Rock.
We continue to enjoy our stay in the Rocky Mountains, even more than we could have imagined! We certainly keep busy, between working our camp host or camp store shifts, socializing with co-workers at the campground, checking out Estes Park, hiking, biking, and getting out there to see more of Colorado in our free time.
As usual, I am trying to catch up on sharing the wonderful experiences we have had here in Colorado this summer. On June 23rd, between visits from friends, and exactly a week after Eric & Pam so graciously delivered our motorcycles to us in Estes Park, we decided to break the no riding spell with a doozy! Mount Evans Scenic Byway has long been the highest paved road in North America, at 14,130′, and it is approximately 100 beautiful, curvy, and twisty miles from Estes Park!
Yup, more Trail Ridge Road! Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP) is so vast and so incredible, and changes with the season, the time of day, the light, the weather, etc., that I will continue to write about it…probably as long as we are here!
Ok, no, I never tire of Rocky Mountain National Park, and Trail Ridge Road in particular. As proof, I offer the previous two installments about this topic. 😀
If you’d like to see what I mean, you can go read Part I, or Part II, or even this post about the fabulous trio of lakes we hiked recently. It is all spectacular, you really have to see it for yourself! But until then, I humbly offer my take on this paradise for your viewing pleasure.
This post is a follow-up to a post on May 27th which covered the eastern part of the scenic crown jewel of Rocky Mountain National Park, Trail Ridge Road (AKA US 34). That post covered Trail Ridge Road from Estes Park to the Alpine Visitor’s center, about 25ish miles. If you’d like to know some of the history and details about this amazing road, you can go back and read that post here. This post covers a bit of the eastern portion again briefly because my sister and her friend were visiting and we had to show them some of the highlights! 🙂 Then we carry on to the western region of the park on Trail Ridge Road.
With the exception of my somewhat cryptic announcement of our summer plans to work camp here at Estes Park Campground at Mary’s Lake back on May 8th, I have spent all my blog capital since sharing the beauty and nature here in Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park. No surprise, since this is one of the most beautiful areas in North America.
Today (June 6th) was our third day off in a row, and our one month anniversary here in Estes Park! Day off #1 (Monday) we hiked the Emerald Lake trail in Rocky Mountain NP, Tuesday we did a scenic day trip to Fort Collins (sorry, FB or Instagram posts only), and today we hiked nearby Lily Mountain trail. Several of our fellow work campers had hiked Lily Mountain and gave us the 411 so we knew it was a serious hike, despite being only 4 miles roundtrip.
Today, since it was Monday, we decided to brave Bear Lake and hike to the trifecta of popular Rocky Mountain lakes, Nymph, Dream, and Emerald. I say ‘brave’ because the “season” has definitely begun here in Estes Park. Locals say that the lines going into the park in summer can be miles long. This morning, fortunately, that was not the case. Bear Lake is the most popular area to saunter around Bear Lake or begin many other hikes, and the parking area there is generally closed to traffic by 8:30 or 9 on a summer day. You can still go there, but you must park at the Park and Ride, and catch a shuttle to the Bear Lake trailhead. Well, we found exactly that situation before 9 AM on a Monday. Hmmm. So that is what we did.