There’s more to Rocky Mountain National Park than the extraordinary views from Trail Ridge Road. Willow-choked streams, open meadows, pine forests, and all the edges where those habitats meet make for a park bursting with birding opportunities. After a not particularly spectacular time up in the tundra, I enjoyed a couple wonderful birding days in two very different habitats last month. This is the story of the first of those days.
Rocky Mountain National Park
Night sky star-gazing programs are spreading across the National Park System, and Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado is not about to be left behind. Later this month the park will feature a series of family-friendly night sky programs.
The Old Fall River Road is a popular route with visitors to Rocky Mountain National Park who are looking for a scenic drive at a slower pace, but the historic road was badly damaged by major flooding in September 2013. Thanks to emergency funding, repairs to the road have been completed in time for the traditional July 4 seasonal opening of the drive.
There are two essentials for the birder exploring Rocky Mountain National Park. First, make time to look for the tundra birds along the eleven miles of Trail Ridge Road above tree line. Secondly, and even more importantly, make absolutely certain at least one licensed driver in the car does NOT suffer from acrophobia.
As the name implies, Rocky Mountain National Park includes plenty of rocks, but a fall by a hiker in unusually rugged terrain led to a lengthy and challenging rescue earlier this week. By the time the fourteen-hour operation ended, over forty rescuers had helped lower the victim a distance that equalled the height of the tallest buildings in the country.
Perhaps in a nod to Rocky Mountain National Park's centennial celebration this year, park officials are raising entrance fees, but not until October first, with higher camping fees arriving in 2016.
Perhaps in a nod to Rocky Mountain National Park's centennial celebration this year, park officials are raising entrance fees, but not until October 1, with higher camping fees arriving in 2016.
If you had your heart set to travel Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park this Memorial Day Weekend, well, you'll have to visit the lower elevations of the park because there's too much snow up high to open the road.
Not long into the development of the world’s first national park system, ranchers in and around the valley floor of Estes Park, Colorado, came to an obvious realization: keeping guests happy was easier, and more profitable, than cattle.
Every year, Rocky Mountain National Park snowplow operators begin plowing Trail Ridge Road in mid-April. Crews from the west side of the park and crews from the east side of the park move along the road and eventually meet near the Alpine Visitor Center. The visitor center is the highest in the National Park Service, sitting at 11,796 feet above sea level. Spring storms often impact plowing activities. Plow operators normally encounter drifts from 18 to 22 feet tall.