Rocky Mountain National Park

Rocky Mountain National Park

Only A Day

You can see many of the park's highlights by driving along Trail Ridge Road, much of which follows the trail once used by the Ute and other American Indian tribes. It traverses ridge -tops from Deer Ridge Junction, near the Beaver Meadows Entrance Station in the east, to Grand Lake at the western entrance. At elevations of 8,000 feet to more than 12,000 feet, it is the highest continuous paved highway in the U.S. The trip is 42.5 miles between Deer Ridge Junction and Grand Lake. It is 48 miles between the park's east boundary and Grand Lake. It features extraordinary vistas on both sides of the Continental Divide, the mountain spine that determines whether the water from a stream is destined for the Atlantic or the Pacific Ocean. Views overlook fantastic rock formations on craggy mountain slopes, wooded valleys and silver streams. It's not unusual to see mule deer and elk by the roadway. Take a one-hour trail hike on the Toll Memorial Trail (from Rock Cut, six miles east of the Alpine Visitor Center). It is in the center of tundra meadows. There is nowhere else quite like it south of the Arctic Circle. 

Old Fall River Road, open only in the summer, is an alternate route to Trail Ridge Road. From Horseshoe Park Junction, the old gravel road leads one-way (up) through a steep, narrow canyon. No trailers and no vehicles more than 25 feet long are allowed. The pace (15 mph) is perfect for taking pictures. Waterfalls, streams and lakes are reached by short trails leading off the road. For several miles, the road travels high above the trees in the alpine tundra. After nine miles, it joins the Trail Ridge Road at Fall River Pass. 

At Milner Pass, southwest of Fall River Pass, the road crosses the Continental Divide. Going south from Kawuneeche Valley, the road follows the Colorado River to Grand Lake. 

Bear Lake Road leads into the most magnificent scenery on the east side of the park. During the summer, park your car at the Park & Ride parking area and take the Bear Lake Shuttle.