Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park

United States' flag
North America » United States » Colorado » Estes Park
June 19th 2018
Published: October 30th 2018
Edit Blog Post

Estes Park Estes Park Estes Park

The entrance to the valley and mountains surrounding the town are quite striking. Estes Park serves as the Eastern gateway to the Rocky Mountain National Park. We stayed in the Jellystone RV Park just south of Estes Park. We found that all of the National Park RV sites book well in advance during the summer months. You need to plan way ahead this time of year.
This entry is focused around our return visit to one of our Colorado favorites Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park. We will take you from the meadows to the Alpine area. Our first visit was in early May nine years ago. We were amazed at the marked difference few years and a few months make. In our earlier visit the Moraine valley was filled with full antlered elk by the hundreds. During this visit they were in velvet with new antler growth in velvet and the massive racks were non existent. Likewise all of the herds were now in the high Alpine valleys and the valley was empty. From a photographic standpoint the earlier visit was much more rewarding. On the other hand there was a much greater experience of late Spring and early Summer. Life has it changes in seasons and so does Nature.

Additional photos below
Photos: 26, Displayed: 22


Claire’s Restaurant Claire’s Restaurant
Claire’s Restaurant

Claire’s was one of our favorite restaurants in Estes. We enjoyed the decor, flowers, friendliness and food. Yes they have a great breakfast. Dining on the porch and people watching was fun.
Claire’s hanging basketsClaire’s hanging baskets
Claire’s hanging baskets

It seemed that all of the flowers were very vibrant. You will see later on that we enjoyed the flowers everywhere we went. Can’t wait to show you the shot of a bear enjoying a flower garden while in Valdez, AK. Be sure and remind me if I miss it. I think he was as shocked at seeing us as we were seeing him. Bonnie thought he was a statue until he started moving. But I am getting ahead of myself in our story.
Beautiful flowers everywhereBeautiful flowers everywhere
Beautiful flowers everywhere

This was on the lawn in front of Claire’s. My Grandma Ward would have loved this place.
Bear Lake Bear Lake
Bear Lake

Bear Lake has a .8 mile loop around the lake at 9,475 foot elevation. It is a rather easy hike with an interpretive guide and 30 marked spots along the trail. Either arrive early or late this time of the year or expect crowds.
Bear LakeBear Lake
Bear Lake

The water is very clear and creates a mirror image of the surrounding trees and mountains that top out in excess of 12,000 feet.
Moraine Park and Meadows Moraine Park and Meadows
Moraine Park and Meadows

Moraine Meadows were formed by the cyclical growth and recession of glaciers over many centuries. The most striking part of this picture was the notable lack of elk in the meadows. During our earlier trip to this area it was populated with hundreds of elk with full antlers. Since we were a couple of months later in the year the elk had shed their antlers and were now in the high meadows.
Sadie’s friends Sadie’s friends
Sadie’s friends

All through our trip everyone was so kind and all wanted to see and pet Sadie. It made for meeting many folks from all around the world. We didn’t always speak the same language but that didn’t make a bit of difference and we were all enjoying the Great outdoors and Sadie made a great interpreter. Kindness speaks louder than words.
Off the beaten pathOff the beaten path
Off the beaten path

Bonnie and I own a well used Hummer and when we see a dirt road it always says “come”. Needless to say it gets you away from the crowd and you get to see things that others don’t even know exists. This one took us a way back to Beaver Meadows.
Beaver MeadowsBeaver Meadows
Beaver Meadows

Beaver Meadows is a high mountain meadows at 8440 feet in elevation. You can see the multitude of high country hazards listed on the signs. We survived our stay and found it quite enjoyable. You have to put this trip in perspective. The highest elevation in Florida is 400 feet. So when you add 8,000 to it that is pretty significant for us.
Footbridge Footbridge

This bridge leads to trails out through the meadows. I am quite sure it is built to OSHA standards.
Balance beamBalance beam
Balance beam

I told my gymnast granddaughters that I could master the balance beam, too. They were quite impressed.
Mountain streamMountain stream
Mountain stream

This is what I would have fallen into if I lost my balance not some soft mat. Now aren’t you all impressed at how much of a dare devil I have become?
My Admirers My Admirers
My Admirers

Can’t you see the fear on their face and the relief that I made it across safe.
Beaver Meadows Beaver Meadows
Beaver Meadows

Although we didn’t see any beavers in this location the meadows were beautiful.
Bonnie and Sadie Bonnie and Sadie
Bonnie and Sadie

I liked the rocky backdrop. The Rockies are named very appropriately. There are rocks everywhere you look.
Flowers Flowers

This looked like it had been staged. I liked the old driftwood looking tree with the Spring flowers all around it. It is one of my “circle of life” photos. ‘
Beautiful flowerBeautiful flower
Beautiful flower

I like the simplicity of a sing bloom.
Elk in velvetElk in velvet
Elk in velvet

One of the few elks that we saw in the lower meadows. It is amazing how fast the antlers grow in a single season.
Alpine Visitor Center and Meadows Alpine Visitor Center and Meadows
Alpine Visitor Center and Meadows

What a difference 11,796 feet make in temperature, snow and wildlife all in the same day. Part of the true wonder of Rocky Mountain National Park. This was the first of dozens of times we crossed the continental divide on our trip this summer. The weather can change quickly at this elevation.
Elk herdElk herd
Elk herd

We finally found our Elk in the high meadows.
Snow Snow

The green meadows below still had snow on the sheltered sides of the peaks.
More snowMore snow
More snow

You can judge the depth by the top of the fence sticking up through the snow. I really liked the blue sky and the rugged rocks across the way.
Sadie and her SnowmanSadie and her Snowman
Sadie and her Snowman

At this stage of the journey Sadie was not at impressed with the snow. What would you expect out of a Florida Girl. Once she got a little more used to it she was more inclined to play. No in answer to your question. She hates rubber booties even more.
Sadie’s friendSadie’s friend
Sadie’s friend

Sadie liked the chipmunks we saw during our trip. She finally found someone that was smaller than her.
Rocky Mountain Rocky Mountain
Rocky Mountain

If you have never seen them you need to put this location on your list. You will agree with me that they are ver appropriately named.

Tot: 0.192s; Tpl: 0.014s; cc: 12; qc: 50; dbt: 0.0663s; 1; m:domysql w:travelblog (; sld: 1; ; mem: 1.1mb