We spent last weekend in Rocky Mountain National Park, home of breathtaking views of the Rockies and some truly amazing trails and wildlife.
And for a few days … our campers. We stayed at Aspen Glen Campground. I swear to you, Matt has some sort of genius for picking great campgrounds. This one compared to some of the others wasn’t quite AS amazing, but in RMNP, the pickings are slim because it’s so popular.
All the sites are on top of one another and we lucked out and got one with trees! CO has had a “beetle kill” epidemic running rampant among our trees and they have died off in huge numbers and had to be cut down, leaving many campsites at RMNP very barren. It was also very well located near the N entrance of the park.
We got to camp around 3 on Friday and got everything set up then we set off to drive over Trail Ridge Road which runs from Estes Park to Granby. It goes well above treeline to over 12K feet and has amazing amazing views. Last year we happened to be in the park over Father’s Day Weekend and had snow still 10 feet above our heads! Not this year – hardly any to be found except on the distant peaks of the Never Summer Mountains.
Saturday we went for a trail run which was beautiful but unfortunately not too enjoyable since we were stuffed up and coughing so much. Still, it’s one place I’d really love to go back to for some trail runs – loads of great possibilities. After the run, we went to start our hike to Dream Lake. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get access to it since the road to it was closed and the shuttle parking was full. So we decided to hike Upper Beaver Meadows which was fun but not really what we wanted. Ben did hike pretty much all the way in though, over a mile. It was his first big hike and he did really well. We gave him a lift on the way out though.
We spent the afternoon doing other random things. The older kids rode bikes in the campsite while a group of us went exploring. We stopped at the Alluvial Fan, a beautiful waterfall created by a flood in 1982. It is one of those places that is so incredible it looks like a landscaping company went in and worked their magic.
Ben, the only kid who went with us, saw the towering boulders and instantly wanted to climb to the top, so we did. He was happy.
The next morning we got up bright and early and after a few false starts, we got to the trail head for Dream Lake. It’s a very well-maintained trail, somewhat steep, but not too bad. Along the way there are plenty of beautiful things to see, including this very aptly named “Nymph Lake.” It is effectively an alpine lake yet there dwells there a species of water lily that is incredible. I know I associate water lilies more with warm climates so seeing these here was really cool.
Though the kids had gotten towards whiny (remember everyone had colds??), we pressed on to Dream Lake which was very beautiful. Unfortunately it was also incredibly windy and staying there for very long was next to impossible. Everyone was freezing and before long we packed it in and headed back to break camp.
We all really enjoyed the weekend and I would love to go back sometime. The bad thing about RMNP is that dogs, while allowed in campgrounds are not allowed on any trails and so taking Loki was not really practical. There are also some really incredible back-country spots I would love to see about hiking to sometime as well when the kids are much older.