Rocky Mountain National Park is home to many of Colorado's most amazing mountain landscapes. Here, snow-capped peaks reach the sky and Longs Peak (14,255') is king of them all. Crystal-clear rivers flow into pine-rich valleys and alpine lakes dazzle in the sunlight. Wildlife thrives in the park. Most famous are the socially inclined herds of elk, but also calling the park home are black bears, marmots, beavers, deer, and even elusive mountain lions. In the summer, wildflowers bloom in vibrant carpets on high plateaus and high above treeline, several glaciers and snowfields resist the seasonal sun. Come winter, Rocky Mountain National Park's brilliant lakes freeze solid, winds blow cold, and deep snow transforms the place to a winter wonderland.
Hiking and backpacking are spectacular ways to see all the park has to offer. From short day hikes to epic backpacking adventures, the scenery changes depending on which side of the Continental Divide (which runs north to south through the park) you are on. Peakbaggers have over 90 mountains to choose from; besides Longs Peak, Mount Ida, Mount Chapin, Mount Alice, Chiefs Head, Meadow Mountain, and Isolation Peak are among the classic summits. Climbers have a variety of alpine routes as well as less committing endeavors. Trail running is growing more popular every year and come winter, snowshoeing, backcountry skiing, and ice climbing are all seeing more participation.
Perhaps the best part of this iconic park is how many different regions are within its boundaries. A trip to the rocky talus fields of the western edge are in contrast to the grassy, rolling hills to the east. Tourists flock along Trail Ridge Road, the main artery through the park, but to really experience the beauty of Rocky Mountain National Park, it's worth putting on your hiking boots and stepping into this pristine wilderness.