Rocky Mountain National Park
Black Canyon Inn in Estes Park, CO is conveniently located near the popular and majestic Rocky Mountain National Park. Escape to over 355 miles of trails leading you away from the buzz of the city and into a peaceful world of streams, meadows, mountains, wildlife and breathtaking images. This vast park of the Colorado Rockies takes up 265,769 acres of land, includes over 60 mountains peaking at over 14,000 feet and incorporates the Continental Divide. Elevations range from 8,000 feet in the lush, green valleys to 14,259 feet at the top of the park’s highest point of Longs Peak; providing incredible scenery and photo opportunities. One of the main paths, Trail Ridge Road, runs all the way from Estes Park to Grand Lake and reaches over 12,000 ft. at its highest elevation. It is the highest paved road in the United States, and is only open seasonally due to snow at the high elevations.
Visit one of the five main visitor centers for maps of hikes and areas of interest or make your own way through this amazing national park. The Beaver Meadows Visitor Center (one of the only visitor centers that is open all year round and situated closest to Black Canyon Inn) is a national historic landmark within the park and was designed by the famous Frank Lloyd Wright. The Alpine Visitor Center, located at the junction of Trail Ridge and Old Fall River Roads, provides ranger led hikes and a gift shop for souvenirs of your adventures. Fall River Visitor Center (just 5 miles from the town of Estes Park ) offers more information on the many different inhabitants of the park and a place to enjoy lunch before your trek. The Corral Creek and Holzwarth Historic Site stations are seasonally open to the public.
If you are a snow lover, Rocky Mountain National Park has you covered! At Bear Lake, you can, on most days, have the snowshoeing trails all to yourself. If this is new to you, it’s best to start with an ‘easier’ trip as an easy hiking trail is generally considered to be a moderately difficult snowshoe trek. If sledding and tubing are more your style or the kiddos are with you, then be sure to check out the hills at both Bear Lake and Hidden Valley. There are designated areas at both spots that are popular for families to gather and enjoy. The best part is that even if there isn’t any snow in town, there is a good chance that there are still excellent sledding conditions up on the hills!
The park itself was established in January of 1915 and showcases an array of wildlife ranging from the bighorn sheep, elk, deer, black bears, and coyotes. The change of seasons brings different elements to this national park of the Rocky Mountains making no two visits the same. The summer months bring a colorful bloom of wildflowers that cover the hillsides while the autumn months provide a golden hue to the many aspen trees. Winter’s blankets of white lend to the tranquility of the mountains and forests and provide a sense of stillness until spring arrives to rejuvenate and wake up the spirit of the park.
While you’re here you can embark on a day long excursion in the wilderness where you will discover a variety of landscapes and habitats throughout Rocky Mountain National Park. You can also leisurely take short, creek side strolls to help soothe your soul. Whether you wander through the delicate alpine flowers or rock to the rushing waters of the many clear lakes and streams, you are sure to find the peace and relaxation that keeps drawing visitors year after year.