Rocky Mountain

Rocky Mountain National Park     Photo: Eric Wunrow/CTO

Stats

>EST. 1915
>ACREAGE 265,828
>VISITORS 2,743,676(2006)

Cue John Denver. With more than 60 mountains soaring 12,000 feet or higher—capped off by 14,255-foot Longs Peak—this Colorado park, just 65 miles north of Denver, offers enough Rocky Mountain highs for all of its nearly three million annual visitors. Innumerable climbing alternatives and over 350 miles of hiking trails allow you plenty of opportunity to find a view to call your own.

EXPERT ADVICE: "One great option for a nontechnical ascent is the summits of Ypsilon, Fairchild, and Hagues peaks," says Andrew Councell, a guide with the Colorado Mountain School. "They can be linked in a day from the Chapin Pass trailhead." (Heads up: The lot is tiny.) The Old Fall River Road leads to the Chapin Pass Trail, a 3,000-vertical-foot climb over three and a half miles to the summit of 13,514-foot Ypsilon. After that, it's roughly another mile to the less visited Fairchild (13,502 feet) and another mile to the Mummy Range's even more remote Hagues Peak (13,560 feet). "On a good day, you're seeing a hundred miles, easy," says Councell.

CRASH PAD: If you do the three-peak traverse in a day, you'll have earned a soak in the hot tub at the Allenspark Lodge Bed and Breakfast. Built in 1933 of pine logs and native stone, this rustic resort is 15 miles south of Estes Park, near the park's south-eastern corner. Doubles from $75; allensparklodge.com

DETAILS: nps.gov/romo, 970-586-1206; Colorado Mountain School, totalclimbing.com

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