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ColoradoHikesNational ParksRoad Trip

Day Trip Through Rocky Mountain National Park

We thought Denver would be a bit… rockier than what we found it to be, but since it isn’t, we got our rocky mountain fix with a drive through Rocky Mountain National Park and made several stops at the various scenic view points below via the Trail Ridge Road.

Day trip excursions in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado - American Expeditioners http://americanexpeditioners.com/day-trip-rocky-mountain-national-park

Stop #1:
Rainbow Curve Lookout
Aptly named for the rainbows that can be seen in the valley. We were not lucky enough to see one but the view was amazing nonetheless. We definitely got our mountain fix here!

Rainbow Lookout, Day trip excursions in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado - American Expeditioners http://americanexpeditioners.com/day-trip-rocky-mountain-national-park
Rainbow Lookout, Day trip excursions in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado - American Expeditioners http://americanexpeditioners.com/day-trip-rocky-mountain-national-park
Squirrel at Rainbow Lookout, Day trip excursions in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado - American Expeditioners http://americanexpeditioners.com/day-trip-rocky-mountain-national-park
With the plethora of chipmunks scrambling everywhere, this area should have been called “Chipmunk! Lookout!”


Stop #2:
Ute Meadow
One of the trailheads to Colorado’s oldest trail, the Ute trail, starts along the Trail Ridge Road. This trail was used by the Arapaho and Ute on their way between winter and summer hunting grounds on the Great Plains.


It may have been Colorado’s oldest but it felt like Colorado’s windiest trail.

Ute MEadow, Day trip excursions in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado - American Expeditioners http://americanexpeditioners.com/day-trip-rocky-mountain-national-park
That’s a good look for me.


Stop #3:
Lava Cliffs
Formed some 25 million years ago but considered younger igneous rock as the Rocky Mountain uplift actually began about 70 million years ago. And here I was calling myself old for having turned 31 years old.

Lava Cliffs, Day trip excursions in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado - American Expeditioners http://americanexpeditioners.com/day-trip-rocky-mountain-national-park

Lava Cliffs, Day trip excursions in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado - American Expeditioners http://americanexpeditioners.com/day-trip-rocky-mountain-national-park
Medicine Bow Lookout, Day trip excursions in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado - American Expeditioners http://americanexpeditioners.com/day-trip-rocky-mountain-national-park


Stop #4:
Medicine Bow Curve which can be accessed near the Alpine Lookout.

Medicine Bow Lookout, Day trip excursions in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado - American Expeditioners http://americanexpeditioners.com/day-trip-rocky-mountain-national-park

Medicine Bow Lookout, Day trip excursions in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado - American Expeditioners http://americanexpeditioners.com/day-trip-rocky-mountain-national-park
Medicine Bow Lookout, Day trip excursions in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado - American Expeditioners http://americanexpeditioners.com/day-trip-rocky-mountain-national-park
deer, Day trip excursions in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado - American Expeditioners http://americanexpeditioners.com/day-trip-rocky-mountain-national-park
Along the way to stop number 5, we pulled over to watch elk grazing and making derpy faces.

deer, Day trip excursions in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado - American Expeditioners http://americanexpeditioners.com/day-trip-rocky-mountain-national-park

deer, Day trip excursions in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado - American Expeditioners http://americanexpeditioners.com/day-trip-rocky-mountain-national-park


Stop #5:
Bear Lake The Bear Lake area is the starting ground to a system of short trails leading to several lakes. This area is extremely popular and the large parking lot fills up so quickly that a free park shuttle is offered. It started pouring on our drive to the trailhead so we assumed parking would be empty. Not so! The shuttle was still bussing visitors and we only just managed to grab a spot that someone had just vacated. The trail to and around Bear Lake itself was an easy and paved .8 mile loop, which suited us (me) since the rain was cold and we (I) was not dressed warmly… sort of like the last time we were in the Rockies…
Bear Lake, Day trip excursions in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado - American Expeditioners http://americanexpeditioners.com/day-trip-rocky-mountain-national-park
Bear Lake, Day trip excursions in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado - American Expeditioners http://americanexpeditioners.com/day-trip-rocky-mountain-national-park
Bear Lake, Day trip excursions in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado - American Expeditioners http://americanexpeditioners.com/day-trip-rocky-mountain-national-park
Bear Lake, Day trip excursions in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado - American Expeditioners http://americanexpeditioners.com/day-trip-rocky-mountain-national-park
Bear Lake, Day trip excursions in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado - American Expeditioners http://americanexpeditioners.com/day-trip-rocky-mountain-national-park


Stop #6:
Nymph Lake We weren’t cold and drenched enough (actually, we were) so we decided to hike to Nymph Lake after completing the Bear Lake Loop. Nymph Lake is another .5 miles from Bear Lake.
Nymph Lake, Day trip excursions in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado - American Expeditioners http://americanexpeditioners.com/day-trip-rocky-mountain-national-park

Rocky Mountain National Park Overview

  • Coordinates: N40°26.463, W105°45.332
  • Fees: $20/automobile
  • Hours: Open 24/7, 365 days/year
  • Usage: Moderately Heavy
  • Pets allowed: Yes
  • Camera info: GoPro Hero4 Silver edition, Canon EOS-M w/ Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6 EX DC HSM