Considering your upcoming trip? Therefore, you should not pass up a trip to Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado. This amazing park is the ideal location for an outdoor adventure or just a relaxing break because it offers breathtaking views and a wealth of species. To help you get the most out of your trip, we’ll discuss the ideal time to visit Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado, in this blog post.
The Best Time to Visit Rocky Mountain, National Park Colorado
Rocky Mountain National Park is most enjoyable to visit from June through September. At this time of year, visitors can easily access the park’s hiking trails and other attractions.
Yet, these months are the busiest for visitors to Rocky Mountain National Park. Snow or no snow, the park is accessible to the general public every day, all year round. However, some seasons could render certain park areas inaccessible. By July, the majority of the snow has melted in the higher elevations, making trekking an excellent exercise.
You can take longer mountain holidays without worrying about being influenced by winter weather after mid-June and beyond. Although it is warm during the day and chilly at night in the summer, the temperature is perfect for sleeping outside.
Spring, summer, and autumn are the best seasons to watch wildlife in Rocky Mountain National Park. Elk, moose, and mule deer are among the large animals that give birth to their young during the spring in the park. Rock climbing in the park is best done in the late spring and summer. It’s time for raptor nesting.
As a result, some highways are shut down in March and April to protect the birds. Routes typically reopen in May, even if there is still a lot of snow at higher elevations.
The Best Time of the Year to Visit Rocky Mountain National Park Colorado for Hiking
At Rocky Mountain, the ideal seasons for hiking are spring, summer, and fall. Which season is best for you will depend on the routes you want to hike and the height you want to climb. Trail Ridge Road is normally closed until mid-to-late May, although snow is still common at higher elevations until mid-June. In the winter, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and hiking with traction aids are all excellent alternatives to hiking.
The park’s more than 355 miles of trails offer everything from leisurely riverside strolls to peak-bagging expeditions over 12,000 feet. There is something for everyone to enjoy about hiking in the park, regardless of experience or skill level. We advise taking a guided day trek so that you can learn from an experienced guide about the geology and history of the Rockies.
Best Time of the Year for Wildlife Viewing
The best seasons to see animals in Rocky Mountain National Park are spring, summer, and fall. Elk, mule deer, and moose can be observed in various parts of the park with their newborn calves in the spring. This is the time when many large creatures give birth.
As wildlife enjoys the sun as much as we do, it is extremely probable that you will see it in the summer. Elk are regularly spotted in meadows and at or above the treeline during the summer. Large-horned sheep can be seen from May to mid-September. Mule deer can usually be seen in open meadows at any time of year. Also, visitors frequently see moose in the Kawuneeche Valley willows on the west side of the park.
Last but not least, the rut, or season of mating for many large mammals, occurs in the fall. Usually occurring between mid-September and mid-October, it features high concentrations of elk, bull elk battling for harems on occasion, and the sound of elk bugles resonating against granite mountains.
Best Time of the Year for Rock Climbing
The park’s rock climbing is most enjoyable in the late spring and summer. Since raptors are attracted to the rocky outcroppings to nest, many routes are closed in March and April. Routes normally reopen in May, while higher elevations can still have a lot of snow. Snow melts at high elevations as the season moves towards summer and the climate warms, providing the ideal conditions for climbing.
Keep in mind that the mountains experience extreme weather variations and that winter weather can occur at any time of the year—even in the summer. Put on gloves, a hat, rain gear, and a warm jacket to be prepared. Keep track of the weather and inquire at a ranger station about current conditions.
Best Time of the Year to Visit Rocky Mountain National Park to Avoid Crowd
To avoid crowds, it is advisable to visit Rocky Mountain National Park between November and April. The park is busiest on weekends during the summer and fall, and the total number of visitors rises yearly.
Over 4.6 million visitors visited the park in 2018, although only slightly more than 0.6 million did so from November to April. When there is a lot of snow and fewer visitors, the park turns into a beautiful winter wonderland, and you’ll probably have it to yourself for most of the day.
Here are some suggestions to avoid the crowds if the summer is the only time of year that works with your schedule:
- Go for a hike: The throng will thin down as you get away from the main highways.
- Enjoy the wild west here: 80% of guests stay on the park’s east side, making the west side significantly less busy. Beautiful views and scenery can also be seen on the west side.
- Get up early: The less crowded the trails will be and the more likely you are to find a parking spot.
- See the park’s webcam: To get a better idea of what to anticipate when you try to enter.
- Take the Hiker’s Shuttle: You can park in Estes Park and travel to Park and Ride on the free park shuttle bus, which leaves from the Estes Park Visitor Center. You can change to another shuttle from the Park and Ride and travel to well-liked trailheads along Bear Lake Road or in Moraine Park.
Worst Time to Visit Rocky Mountain, National Park
Summer is the worst season to visit Rocky Mountain National Park because of the huge volume of tourists and the increased cost of lodging. The park is most popular in the months of July and August.
Traveling between various locations inside the park can take longer than normal due to the sheer number of people there. Your options for entertainment, though, are essentially endless. If you wish to, you can go camping, fishing, hiking, and trekking. You have a few options, such as taking a car trip around the area or taking part in a program led by park rangers.
There are countless options for overnight stays both inside and outside the park because nearly all hotel options and the campsite are currently welcoming visitors. Having a solid strategy might help you explore as much of the park as you can when you go there in the summer. A less crowded option is to go to the western portions of the park.