Monday, January 31, 2011

A Park Alive: RMNP in Winter!

Jared Gricoskie of Yellow Wood Guiding is today's guest blogger:

February is generally the dead of winter in Rocky Mountain National Park, but it can also be one of the most beautiful and captivating times of the year. The thought of an icy landscape, bare branches, and howling winds conjures up images of stagnancy and hibernation – though this time of year is more alive than one would think if you are willing to look closely! Even the ice on Rocky’s subalpine lakes that we think of as a frozen solid is moving and shifting as it constantly freezes and refreezes while the temperature fluctuates and the wind blows. The sights of the undulating ripples of ice can transport you into another world…that is until a 30 mph gust of wind jolts you back to reality! Even the rivers come alive with the ice. Imagine walking down the river beds as they wind through the Park’s meadows, catching glimpses of a coyote against the snowy back-drop, and following the tracks of an elk as he uses the river bed as an easy winter route to travel. Embrace the ice!

For help planning your Rocky Mountain National Park winter adventure (information on renting snowshoes, places to stay, and other winter activities in Estes Park) please visit:

Labels: , , , , ,

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Snowmobiling in RMNP

Did you know that the town of Grand Lake - at the western entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park - allows snowmobiles to drive on the streets right through the heart of downtown? With access to over 300 miles of groomed trails, Grand Lake is a snowmobiler's HEAVEN. After spending a day enjoying the incredible beauty of the winter wilderness, you can drive your snowmobile into town to warm-up over dinner. After this weekends' snowfall, perhaps a trip to Grand Lake is in order! Find out where you can rent a snowmobile for a great adventure here.

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Free Park Entry to Rocky Mountain National Park

The Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar has just announced Expanded Free Entry days into Rocky Mountain National Park!

Here are the upcoming dates for 2011 where there will be no charge to get into RMNP:
National Park Week: April 16-24
The first day of summer: June 21
National Public Lands Day: September 24
Veterans Day: November 11-13

Plan your trip to Estes Park during one of these dates, and enjoy the majestic beauty of our nations most visited National Park!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Carnival in the Rockies!

By mid-winter, the excitement of the holidays are over and many people are looking for a fun diversion. On February 5, 2011 downtown Grand Lake pulls out all the stops to host a festival that's as unique, quirky, and laughter-inducing as you can find. The Grand Lake Winter Carnival is a day of off-beat fun combining parades, contests, races, and merriment - so dust off your halloween costumes and get ready to join the fun! This year the theme is "A Space Oddity", so there will be Snow-alien contests (How much fun is that? A snowman with three heads, tenticles, and creative juices are flowing), flying saucer human bowling, comet teapot curling and more. There are great activities to do with the kids too: a steeplechase, and parent and child sled pull to name a few. After sundown, the sky will be ablaze with an awesome fireworks display and space creatures will cut a rug at the annual ball.

Labels: , , , ,

Monday, January 10, 2011

Rocky Mountain National Park Announces Winter Pile Burning Operations

Fire managers at Rocky Mountain National Park plan to take advantage of winter weather conditions to burn piles of slash from several forest thinning and hazard tree mitigation projects. Exclusion of fire for the past century has resulted in unnatural forest conditions in some areas, with significant accumulations of forest fuels and an increased risk of wildfire. Thinning is done to help alleviate these risks. In addition, park crews have been cutting hazard trees for mitigation of the effects of beetles.

Slash from these projects has been cut and piled by park fire crews and contractors during the last two years. Pile burning operations may began in early February and continue through April as weather permits. The piles, which are now dry enough to burn, are located in several locations on both the east and west sides of the park.

Safety factors, weather conditions, air quality and environmental regulations are continually monitored as a part of any fire management operation. For more information please contact the park’s Information Office at 970-586-1206.

Labels: , ,

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Exciting Educational Opportunity with the RMNA!

If you love to travel, then the Rocky Mountain Nature Association has the trip for you! In the fall of 2011 (Sept 13-24), the RMNA is hosting an overseas adventure to the Tatra Mountains National Park in southern Poland. As a sister park to Rocky Mountaina National Park, this reagion has similar spectacular scenery coupled with unique flora, fauna, and a rich cultural heritage which make it an important international biospheric reserve of Europe. Explore spectacular caves, raft lazy rivers, and take a journey to the top of one of the premier mountains within the Park. Other activities will include travel to the Wieliczka Salt Mine, famous as a world heritage site for it's underground cathedrals and salt statues. This trip should not be missed! To view the itinerary and costs associated with this trip click here.

Labels: , , , ,

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Explore RMNP in the Winter - So Many Things To Do!

For many visitors, winter is their favorite season to enjoy Rocky Mountain National Park. The park is less visited but still very much open and alive with activity. Beautiful backcountry areas can be reached on snowshoes, skis, and at lower elevations - even with hiking boots! Elk, coyotes, deer, snowshoe hares, and other wildlife remain active through the winter. Their story is told by the tracks left in the snow. For those visitors who are prepared, winter is an enchanting time to explore the park.

Snowshoeing and skiing are fun ways to experience the backcountry of Rocky Mountain National Park. This winter, join a park ranger on a wintry excursion! Rocky Mountain National Park offers ranger-led snowshoe ecology walks for beginner level snowshoers on the east side, and for beginner and intermediate level snowshoers and cross-country skiers on the west side of the park. No additional fees are charged to participate, however reservations are required.

Snowshoeing is easy to learn and opens up a new way to see the beauty of nature during its quietest season. For beginners, the snowshoe program is a two-hour exploration of the natural world of the subalpine forest. No previous snowshoe experience is required. On the east side, this walk is held on Saturdays, Sundays, Mondays and Wednesdays at 12:30 p.m. through March 27. The beginner snowshoe tour on the west side is held on Saturdays at 1:00 p.m. through March 19. Beginning on February 5, an additional west side tour will be offered at 9:00 a.m. on Saturdays.

For more experienced snowshoers, a two-hour snowshoe walk is offered on Sundays at 1:00 p.m. through March 13 on the west side of the park. Previous snowshoeing experience is recommended because of the elevation gain, mileage, pace and terrain covered in this program.

Ranger-led cross country ski tours are offered on the west side of the park on Saturdays at 9:30 a.m. through January 29. Participants ski a snow-draped landscape and learn about the Kawuneeche Valley. All snowshoe walks and ski tours require reservations. Reservations can be made in advance, seven days or less prior to the desired program. Participants must furnish their own equipment, including poles with baskets, and be at least 8 years old. To make reservations for east side snowshoe walks, call the Beaver Meadows Visitor Center at (970) 586-1223 between 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. daily. To make reservations for west side snowshoe walks, call the Kawuneeche Visitor Center at (970) 627-3471 between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. daily.

Frontcountry and backcountry camping take place in the winter too! Longs Peak Campground, Timber Creek Campground and designated sections of Moraine Park Campground are open all winter; the fee is $14 per site per night. Water and dump stations are not available in winter at the campgrounds. Self-registration permits for backcountry camping in winter zones are available. There is no charge in the winter for backcountry camping.

Sledding activities can be enjoyed in Rocky Mountain National Park at the Hidden Valley area. Hidden Valley slopes have been contoured to enhance the safety of sledding and other snowplay activities. Facilities at Hidden Valley include a warming hut, which is open weekends, and heated restrooms which are open daily. This area is also a good base location for visitors interested in backcountry skiing, snowboarding and snowshoeing in the undeveloped areas in and around Hidden Valley.

Podcasts on Winter Recreation and Introduction to Snowshoeing can be found on the park website at, Backcountry users should be aware of avalanche conditions, check the Colorado Avalanche Information Center website at

Whenever visiting Rocky Mountain National Park to snowshoe, ski or hike, stop by a park visitor center or call (970) 586-1206 for current trail, road, snow and avalanche conditions. Come enjoy Rocky Mountain National Park in the winter!

Labels: , , , , , , ,