Rocky Mountain National Park Itinerary help

Old Jul 23rd, 2020, 10:53 AM
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Rocky Mountain National Park Itinerary help

We will be staying in a cottage, in Estes Park, from August 15th to August 21st.

This is our first ever trip to Colorado.Our group consists of my wife, my 13 year old son and his friend. We are trying to figure out a itinerary that mixes hiking with scenic drives and other social distancing activities. We will not be looking for any water actives We just will not feel comfortable dining in restaurants are doing any crowed indoor activities. We are looking to create a itinerary that consist of hiking for half to 3/4 of the day and spending the rest of the day on scenic drives are things of that sort. We will be cautious about walking around town and avoid crowds, but we are up for any ideas about what we should see and do in and around the town of Estes Park. We will need easy to moderate level hikes that gives us the most scenic bang for our buck I see lots of hikes listed on several websites, but I do not know how to organize them so as to be able to do more than one hike a day, to best use our time. Also, we have already purchased our RMNP entrance passes for August 17th,18th,19th and 20th. I would appreciate any tips and suggestions from all you RMNP experts.

Thank you in advance.
RodAndCarrie is offline  
Old Jul 24th, 2020, 11:49 AM
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This is one of the better sites for hikes, organized by both location and difficulty:
Rocky Mountain National Park hiking trails

I've spent a lot of time in RMNP and tend to agree with his ratings.

The permit system has helped alleviate, but not eliminate, the overcrowding of the past years. Since you can enter without a permit before 6 AM and after 5 PM it puts pressure on those times. Parking can still be difficult and trails will be crowded. Your guess is as good as mine as to how many people will be masked and practicing social distancing. But it's better than being crowded indoors.

Two obvious candidates for your days are Bear Lake corridor and a long day to Grand Lake over Trail Ridge Road. Both of those are worth repeating since as there are various options. Other are Wild Basin and Longs Peak areas, which are not far apart. (Late August is prime time for climbing Longs so that parking lot will be full well before dawn.) Lumpy Ridge, close to Estes, is also good. You'll need to print your permit to park there.

There is no dining inside the park, except Alpine Visitor Center, so you need to pack a lunch or plan to re-enter. Note evening construction near the Beaver Meadows entrance.

Taking a tour of the Stanley Hotel is fun, but of course that's a crowded group activity. There's horseback riding, guided fly fishing and rock climbing in Estes, if that's what you are looking for.

Good luck, have fun.

Nelson is offline  
Old Jul 24th, 2020, 12:15 PM
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Thank you for sharing your knowledge of RMNP.
RodAndCarrie is offline  
Old Jul 25th, 2020, 09:56 AM
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Definitely drive over Trail Ridge Road to Grand Lake. It's a spectacularly scenic Road above tree-line, to a gorgeous lake and a small touristy town. Visit Grand Lake Lodge. It has a beautiful front porch, and a restaurant (which is now only serving their lodging guests, I think). It's fun to rent a boat and take it onto the Lake.
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Old Jul 26th, 2020, 07:46 PM
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The Loch is also a nice hike.

Additional comment: RMNP is higher than other US alpine national parks, so beware of altitude issues (breathlessness, headaches). No big hikes at the front end of the trip.
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