Winter in Rocky Mountain National Park
Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
With an itch to get the hell out of town after the holiday rush, we decided to head up to Estes Park to get away for a weekend in January. I had always wanted to experience winter in Rocky Mountain National Park from the east side, but with Trail Ridge Road closed during the winter, it’s not exactly a manageable day-trip.* Even during the summer, I feel the east side of the 415 square mile park has quicker easy access to some of the most beautiful spots of RMNP – Horseshoe Park is awesome, even just from the car and Mills, Dream, and Emerald Lakes are amazing spots that you can get to with real short and easy hikes. Plus, Estes Park itself is pretty sweet.
The weather never cleared the way the forecast said and the frigid 40-50 mph winds were gusting down Tyndall Glacier and across Dream Lake were unbearable, but it was a pretty fantastic weekend experiencing the relative solitude** of the park during the winter under a fresh white blanket.
*I’ve been in on the west side from Grand Lake during the winter a few times, but to get to the east side of the park, the next quickest route from Vail is 3.5 hours to Estes.
**Solitude compared to the Cruise America traffic of summer. It was still so busy in the Glacier Gorge & Bear Lake Trailheads, we actually had to just skip it and go back later b/c there was no parking…