Winter in the National Parks: Rocky Mountain

Cold enthusiasts rejoice, the national parks are open all season

Rocky Mountain National Park.     Photo: V.J. Matthew/Shutterstock

Entrance Fee

$20 per vehicle, $10 per biker/hiker

FOUNDED: 1915
SIZE: 265,873 acres

Rocky is one of the most spectacular parks in the nation. Giant mountains here surround huge canyons full of meadow flowers, and the park has an astounding 78 peaks higher than 12,000 feet. You can also find over 150 lakes scattered across the mountainous terrain.

HOW TO GET THERE
The best option is to fly into Denver International Airport and then rent a car from there. The park is about two hours from Denver. Along the way, you can stop in some of the state’s iconic mining and brewing towns.

WHERE TO STAY
Backcountry camping is plentiful, but requires a $20 permit. You can also stay at the Moraine or Timber Creek campgrounds for $14 per night. Estes Park, a nearby town, offers a great selection of accomodations, from cheap to luxurious.

WHAT TO DO
Rocky Mountain offers tons of fun family options during the winter. You can go sledding at Hidden Valley or on an ecology walk with a ranger. Rangers also lead ski tours. Cross-country skiing is plentiful, but you can bring your snowshoes and go for a hike if you prefer. Weather patterns are extremely variable in the park so check current conditions before you go.

THINGS TO REMEMBER
⇢ Here you have a chance to see some of the largest elk herds in the country.
⇢ Snowmobiling is allowed in certain parts of the park, but check before.
⇢ Check the park’s Twitter for more up to date information.

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