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Rocky Mt National Park in late September

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We're going to RMNP for 7 days the last week of September. Just booked lodging in Estes Park (we have to be based there the whole time because of a conference my husband will be attending) for our family of 4 with 2 young kids.

In addition to the easy day hikes we're planning to take, climbing on rocks near Gem Lake, becoming a Jr. Ranger (my 5 year old), going on some ranger-led programs and driving up Trail Ridge Rd to the alpine area one day, what do you recommend doing in late Sept? What are good ways to experience the elks bugling, and great places to spread out a blanket and picnic under the yellow aspens? What other activities are especially good to do in late September in the park or surrounding areas?

Since our younger child will be only 17 months old during the trip, we won't be able to ride horses, unfortunately, but would love to experience the park in other ways than just hiking. Does the park or outside areas offer (kind of cheesy, but fun) activities like the covered wagon ride to a cookout that they have at Yellowstone? Are there any water activities, not rafting of course, but something on flat water, in/near the park (for the 5 year old; I doubt we'd take the baby on that)? Also, since the baby doesn't love car trips, we won't be taking scenic drives unless there is a good reason to (such as getting to the high parts of Trail Ridge road).

Thanks for any suggestions you have to enhance our mainly hiking- based trip, and for thoughts on how to best enjoy fall in the park and surrounding areas.

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