One of Colorado's three National Parks. (The others are Black Canyon of the Gunisson National Park and Mesa Verde National Park) This 415.2 square mile park was created January 26, 1915, though the Never Summer Range was not added until 1929. Originally it had been envisioned to cover most of the Front Range from the Mummy Range in the North, past Longs Peak, down to Mt. Evans in the south. This would have include the Central City mining district and was eventually scraped in favor of today’s location north west of Denver.

The park includes the Trail Ridge Road, the highest highway in North America and one of the highest paved roads of any kind in the world. (See also Mt. Evans) Begun in September 1929 and it was completed to Fall River Pass July 1932. Trail Ridge was built to counter deficiencies of Fall River Road. Plowing to open Trail Ridge Road for the season begins in mid-April. It usually takes about 42 days to completely plow the road. It has spectacular views and I highly recommend driving it if you have the time.

Even better than driving the Trail Ridge Road (which is fantastic!) is hiking in the park. If you do get out of your car, though, PLEASE stay on the trails. Most of the plants above the treeline are so fragile that one clumsy foot could take them out of the picture for 50 years or more. The terrain up there is very similar to arctic tundra, and is extremely fragile.

Rocky Mountain National Park is home to quite a bit of wildlife, as well. Elk, Mule Deer, Pika, Marmot, Longhorn Sheep and Moose, only to name a few.

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