Hello and thanks for stopping by my article on the beautiful Rocky Mountain National Park of Colorado! My name is Jessica Offill. I have been married to my awesome adventurous husband, Josh for the past six years. We have been teaching English for almost six years now.
We got married in 2015 after graduating from college. Then we moved to Southern Florida. We call Florida home even though we only lived there briefly. A few months after we got married we decided to move to Seoul in South Korea and teach English. Teaching English in both Seoul and then Ho Chi Minh City was amazing! It was so rewarding to teach pupils in class.
In 2018, we decided to leave our job in Vietnam and travel the world. We came up with a plan to teach remotely and travel – spending one or two months in a country at a time. Our goal was to work for five days a week and take our time to experience each country by living there day-to-day.
This overseas experience was so worth the change and risk to try a different lifestyle. We honestly loved it! Unfortunately, in mid-March 2020, COVID brought us back to the US. Thankfully though, we were able to continue working in our jobs and we came back to Florida to wait out the virus.
All in all, we are the types of people who love going on adventures, exploring new places and meeting people from all over the world. Travel really broadens your horizons, changes your perspective and opens your mind. I love learning about how people live day in and day out. You can follow my overseas adventures and US travels at @jessicas.whereabouts.
Hiking the Trails of Rocky Mountain National Park
We have always wanted to travel west, since we are from the east coast of the US. We used to dream of taking a classic American road trip. So recently we spent 38 days traveling west from Florida and visiting Arizona, Nevada, Utah and Colorado. We ended our trip at Rocky Mountain National Park before we headed back home. The trails we hiked were the following:
Emerald Lake Trail
Going on a five mile hike to Emerald Lake was just amazing! It was super adventurous due to all of the recent snowfall. The hike takes you to three stunning alpine lakes which were all very beautiful. Many people were wearing Yaktrax on their boots to help with traction from the snow and ice.
Tundra Communities Trail
We drove up to the Tundra area of Rocky Mountain National Park and hiked the Tundra Communities Trail which was epic! On this hike, you are surrounded by snow capped mountains. The elevation was 12,300 feet.
Cub Lake Trail
The last trail we hiked was to Cub Lake which is five miles long. We mainly hiked this trail because we wanted to see moose. People told us that we would see some moose on this specific trail. We hiked in and didn’t see any moose but on our way out we saw two bathing in a pond and eating grass. One big bull moose and his partner. We watched them for an hour or so!
Why Rocky Mountain National Park is so Special
Rocky Mountain National Park is an iconic place. The hiking is fantastic and the views are outstanding. You are close to great cities like Boulder and Denver, so it’s easy to get to. It’s accessible to people of all ages and hiking abilities. You can do big hikes, light hiking, wildlife watching or just take in the mountain views. The roads into the park are well maintained too.
My favorite place within the park was the Tundra area. Hiking in the snow and seeing a 360-degree view of the snow capped mountains was incredible! We initially planned to do some lengthy hikes like Sky Pond and Chasm Lake, but they were discouraged by the park rangers because of the snowfall. In the future we hope to come back and hike longer trails.
Where to Stay at Rocky Mountain National Park
We recommend staying in the park at one of the campgrounds. We stayed in the Glacier Basin Campground and loved it. Also, while we were there you had to have timed entry permits. But because we were in the campground, we didn’t need them. Estes Park is loaded with hotels. There is a nice Safeway supermarket, Starbucks and restaurants outside the park.
Need to Know Before you Go
The most popular trails at Rocky Mountain National Park which I can recommend are Sky Pond, Chasm Lake and Emerald Lake. We were only able to do Emerald Lake, though. Choosing your trail depends on what kind of experience you want – be it a walk in the park or a challenging hike.
You may or may not need an entry permit to go hiking at the park. Booking a campsite can be difficult, but be persistent and keep trying. Always ask park rangers for advice about trails and conditions. Use recreation.gov, the national parks service website and alltrails.com for advice.
Finally, use the “Leave No Trace Principles”, don’t feed any wild animals, try not to leave food behind, be mindful of bears, keep your distance from wildlife and don’t touch the wildflowers. Above all though, have fun and enjoy the natural beauty on offer in this remarkable national park!