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Saturday, September 17, 2016

Colorado Vacation: Royal Gorge and Rocky Mountain National Park

Ok folks, it's finally time for a recap of the last leg of our Colorado vacation! After our time in Denver and then Manitou Springs, we stopped at the Royal Gorge before heading up to Estes Park in the northern part of the state.

We thought the gorge was really cool, and was worth going a little out of our way for. It's definitely an amazing sight to see.

The bridge is one of the highest suspension bridges in North America. If you're afraid of heights, walking across it might leave you a little shaky.

We made it across the whole length of the bridge, though, and were very proud of ourselves. Those wooden boards are a little sketchy!

After crossing the bridge, we saw a magic show they put on, and then started walking up to a viewpoint area called "Point Sublime," where we had an incredible view of the whole gorge. 

While we were walking, we spotted some wild mountain goats in one large herd. They hopped over a fence, and a couple of them ran out right in front of us. It was definitely the craziest wild animal experience we had of the whole trip!

We rode the gondolas back to the main entrance of the park. Because why not travel in style?

It was pretty cool. We got to take in a 360 degree view as we glided right over the entire gorge.

After the Royal Gorge, we began our trip north. We had to backtrack a little, through the Colorado Springs and Denver area, but then went a little more northwest and drove up the Peak to Peak scenic byway. It was a really pretty drive through the mountains as we made our way closer to our destination of Estes Park.

When we got to Estes Park, we stayed at the Wildwood Inn, which was right down the road from one of the entrances to Rocky Mountain National Park. We had our own suite, which was a little lodge/cabin style place with a complete kitchen, fireplace, and our own private deck and hot tub.

We spent our last full day in Colorado at Rocky Mountain National Park. And since it was the National Park Service's 100 year anniversary when we went, it was a free weekend at the park.

We drove up Trail Ridge Road, the main road that goes through the park, all the way up the mountains and back down to the other side. When we got to the town of Grand Lake, we ate lunch at a little cafe there, then drove all the way back through the park again!

Along the way, the park was nothing short of scenic, and I think we experienced every type of weather! From sunny, to foggy, to rain, sleet, and snow.

We had sun most of the morning and in the later afternoon hours, but as we got to the higher elevations, it began to rain, which turned to sleet, which eventually became snow.

In Estes Park, it was cooler and felt like fall most of the time, even though it was still August. It was in the 60's in town, but as we got higher in the mountains, it dropped all the way down to about 36 degrees or so.

We got out of the car at several of the lookout points off of Trail Ridge Road, but didn't do very many hiking trails. We did climb onto a few rocky cliff areas to take in the view, though.

I love this photo below, because it looks like the bird is just sitting there taking in the view!

It was very cold in the tundra areas at the top of the mountains, and just walking down a few smaller trails definitely takes a lot out of you at the higher elevations. It was crazy how out of shape I felt up here!

The views were worth it, though.

Just seeing all of the different kinds of landscapes the park has to offer - it was one of the coolest places we had ever seen, and probably our favorite day of the whole trip.

Our last night there, we explored some of the shops downtown Estes Park. The town alone is such a cool little place. And before we headed back home the next day, we stopped at Lake Estes, which was gorgeous.

Our first trip to the mountains together was definitely a successful one. I wish we could have stayed longer and done even more, but I'd say that the 5 full days we spent there were not wasted! 

See ya next time, Colorado!

1 comment:

  1. Your trip ideas are so gracefully shown and are just lovely!


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