National Parks

Trail Ridge Road, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado


Trail Ridge Road, a highway to the sky in Rocky Mountain National Park is the most scenic, highest, and continuous two laned paved road in the United States. The Trail Ridge Road is actually a stretch of U.S. Highway 34 and the road covers 48 miles between Estes Park on the east side and Grand Lake on the west side of Rocky Mountain National Park. The road winds and climbs up about 4,000 feet in a matter of minutes. It crosses the Continental Divide and reaches the high point at 12,183 feet elevation where evergreen forests come to a halt. Depending on weather conditions, Trail Ridge Road is generally open from late May through October. This fascinating drive takes you to a variety of habitats through woodlands of aspen/pines to thick subalpine forests of fir and spruce, and from lowland mountain meadows to alpine tundra. The drive on Trail Ridge Road offers phenomenal views of mountain range, amazing wildlife sightings, and spectacular seasonal alpine wildflower. The drive on Trail Ridge is so thrilling and is definitely a memorable experience.

Along the way there are numerous overlooks. It takes anywhere between 1 ½  hours to 4 hours to drive on Trail Ridge Road depending on traffic and stops at overlooks. Drive slowly and follow the traffic. Stop at every overlook, don’t rush, take a stroll to overlooks, relax, and enjoy the remarkable views. If you experience high altitude sickness, slow down, sit for a while, drink plenty of water, and take your own time.

These photos are from our drive on Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park in late September 2019. Drive through Trail Ridge Road in summer is more beautiful and pretty as the landscapes welcome with more green lands with a blanket of colorful wildflowers, amazing wildlife, and stunning snow capped peaks in the backdrops.

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Trail Ridge Road Attractions from Estes Park (east side) to Grand Lake (west side)

  • Many Parks Curve Overlook: A hairpin turn at Trail Ridge road. The boardwalk across the road from the parking lot takes to the sweeping views of Longs Peak, the park’s only peak that rises above 14,000 feet, Deer Mountain, many towering peaks, and massive lowland meadows Moraine Park, Horseshoe Park, Upper Beaver Meadows
  • Rainbow Curve Overlook: Features incredible views of Horseshoe Park, Deer Mountain, the Mummy Mountain range, and Alluvial Fan Falls
  • Forest Canyon Overlook: A short stroll offers massive views of eastern edge of Forest Canyon and a deep U-shaped green valley
  • Toll Memorial Trail (Tundra Communities Trailhead): The trail features beautiful seasonal wild flowers, alpine tundra meadows, Mushroom Rocks, viewpoints of Longs Peak, the Continental Divide, and wildlife sightings
  • Lava Cliffs Overlook: Features a rare section of volcanic rock cliffs
  • Gore Range Overlook: Offers views of the Never Summer Mountains and the Gore Range as it sits above the treeline in the alpine tundra
  • Rock Cut: Feathers a beautiful projecting rock formation looking like big welcoming towers. The rock had to be cut in order to allow the Trail Ridge Road to pass through it
  • Alpine visitor Center: Located at the top of the Trail Ridge Road at 11,796 feet above the sea level,  and is a great place to relax. It features a 360 degree view of the remarkable alpine mountain peaks and alpine tundra. Restaurants, gift shops, and restrooms are available. You can hike the short, uphill, steep 0.6 mile Alpine Ridge Trail. The hike offers outstanding panoramic views of mountain peaks, beautiful alpine tundra scenery, and seasonal wildflowers
  • Medicine Bow Curve Overlook: A hairpin turn on Trail Ridge Road. This is the right place to take panoramic views of the Medicine Bow Mountains, known as the Never Summer Mountains
  • Farview Curve Overlook: Features spectacular views of an expansive Kawuneeche Valley and the Never Summer Range 
National Parks

East Side, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado


Rocky Mountain National Park is one of the most visited national parks in the USA. It is renowned for its spectacular landscapes. The park is situated between the towns of Estes Park to the east and Grand Lake to the west in the state of Colorado. Estes Park town is in northern Colorado and it is the base for the Rocky Mountain National Park. Estes Park has more lodging and restaurants than Grand Lake. The East side of the park mesmerizes with its incredible landscapes from snow capped granite peaks to crystal clear lakes and gorgeous waterfalls along with many accessible trails with stunning views.

These photos are from a two day visit to Rocky Mountain National Park in late September 2019. The Aspen trees started turning into golden colors, the alpine tundra turned to yellowish brown, and the elk mating season had just begun. These brought the park’s magnificent views though it was a cloudy and gloomy day.

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Places to Go

  • Moraine Park, Horseshoe Park, Sheep Lakes, Moraine Park discovery Center and Amphitheater, Alluvial Fan Falls, Alberta Falls
  • Bear Lake, Nymph Lake, Dream Lake, Emerald Lake, Lake Haiyaha, Sprague Lake, Bierstadt Lake, Cub Lake

Best Things To Do

  • Drive along the scenic Bear Lake Road. Visit Moraine Park Discovery Center and Moraine Park Amphitheater. There are plenty of pull-outs or overlooks along Bear Lake Road. Keep some extra time for stopping for photos, wildlife, sights, and for unplanned delays
  • Take a short drive on South Moraine Road and Fern Lake Road. Enjoy Moraine Park which has vast beautiful meadows and amazing roaming wildlife in the backdrop of snow capped peaks of the Rocky Mountains in the distant
  • Drive Fall River Road and stop at the scenic overlook Horseshoe Park and Sheep Lakes. Good photo-op for elk and sheep in this scenic meadow
  • Hike the Bear Lake Loop Trail and embrace the gorgeous lake surrounded by the magnificent peaks. More info here
  • Enjoy hiking to Emerald Lake, a stunning emerald green alpine lake which offers outstanding views of Longs Peak, Hallett Peak, and wildflowers. The hike is more delightful with the beautiful floating lily pads covering Nymph Lake and gorgeous Dram Lake along the way. More details here
  • Hike to the gorgeous waterfall Alberta Falls that falls over a rocky cliff. This waterfall is easily accessible from the Glacier Gorge parking area or the Bear Lake parking area
  • Relax and relish at Alluvial Fan Falls. The trail feathers a waterfall over big boulders. This trail also offers hiking, walking, nature trips, and bird watching
  • Hike the popular and splendid Sprague Lake Trail, Bierstadt Lake Trail, Lake Haiyaha Trail, Cub Lake Trail and Fern Lake Trail
  • Explore downtown Estes Park
  • Ride the Estes Park Aerial Tramway
  • Enjoy kayaking on Lake Estes
National Parks

Lakes, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado


Rocky Mountain National Park is one of the most popular national parks in the U.S. The park mesmerizes people with its breathtaking diverse landscapes of snow covered mountains, jagged valleys, pristine lakes, alpine trees and tundra, seasonal abundance wildflowers, and amazing wildlife. The park is a paradise with many gorgeous alpine lakes. The park has 156 lakes with 450 miles of streams. There are plenty of scenic paths with 300 miles of hiking trails that will lead to a number of pristine and crystal blue picturesque lakes within the park.

These photos are from our two day visit to Rocky Mountain National Park in the last week of September 2019.

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Places to Go

  • Bear Lake, Nymph Lake, Dream Lake, Emerald Lake, Lake Haiyaha, Sprague Lake, Bierstadt Lake, Cub Lake, Sky Pond, The Loch Lake, Gem Lake, Chasm Lake

Best Things To Do: Enjoy hiking easy, popular, less than 4 mile short trails that are the most scenic. Embrace the breathtaking views of the gorgeous lakes surrounded by magnificent peaks along the hikes.

  • Bear Lake Trail: This is an easy, popular, busy, and short 0.7 mile loop trail. The trail begins from the Bear Lake Trailhead beyond the Bear Lake Ranger Station located at the end of Bear Lake Road. The trail offers a gorgeous lake surrounded by magnificent peaks. The trail circles around the subalpine lake and passes through a woodland of pine and aspen trees. Parking lots fill up quickly during the morning of the summer season so start early for a better chance to get a parking spot; you will be lucky to get a parking spot early. It is highly recommended to use the free park shuttle at the Estes Park Visitor Center in order to avoid the congested traffic and hassle of parking. Do the hike in the early morning in the counterclockwise direction for great photos of Hallett Peak and Longs Peak reflecting off the lake during calm weather.
  • Nymph Lake: It is a short, easy, mostly paved 1.2 mile round trip hike from the Bear Lake Trailhead. The trail makes a steady climb up with a glimpse of Longs Peak through the jagged forest. The trail offers a beautiful lake with the floating layer of yellow lily pads. In the summer, the lake is covered with yellow blossoms of lily pads. You can further continue hiking to reach another pretty lake, Dream Lake.
  • Dream Lake: This 2 mile round trip hike to Dream Lake begins from the Bear Lake Trailhead. The trail becomes a steep climb for a small portion after Nymph Lake. This portion of trail, between Nymph Lake and Dream Lake offers an outstanding view of Longs Peak, Hallett Peak, and an abundance of wildflowers during the summer. At around 1.1 miles from the Bear Lake Trailhead you will hit the junction for the trails that lead to Dream lake and Lake Haiyaha. Take the right trail to continue on towards Dream Lake. At the end, the views of Hallett Peak, Flattop Mountain, and subalpine lake are spectacular. You can further continue to hike to another jewel Emerald Lake.
  • Emerald Lake Trail: This hike is the most popular, busy, and is considered as a moderate trail. This 3.3 mile round trip hike through the forested jagged valley offers amazing scenery with high peaks, three beautiful lakes: Nymph lake, Dream Lake, Emerald Lake, and the waterfalls. The hike to Emerald Lake begins from the Bear Lake Trailhead, located at the end of Bear Lake Road. The first lake, Nymph Lake is at around 0.6 miles. After passing Nymph lake, the hike becomes steep uphill. Continuing climbing up about 0.5 miles to reach the second lake, Dream Lake. The trail has a series of steep steps. If you experience high altitude sickness, slow down, sit for a while, drink plenty of water, and take your own time.  As you climb up, around 0.5 miles you pass through a very pleasant and impressive pine forest. At the end of the hike, you see the real beauty of Emerald Lake carved by Tyndall Glacier. Embrace the subalpine lake while listening to the sound of a waterfall rushing down the gorge between the two mountains.
  • Lake Haiyaha Trail: This is a less crowded trail when compared to the popular Emerald Lake trail. This 3.6 mile out and back trail begins at Bear Lake Trailhead then goes around Nymph Lake. After passing Nymph lake around 0.3 miles, you hit the junction for the trails that lead to Dream lake and Lake Haiyaha. Take the left trail and hike almost a mile to reach Lake Haiyaha. The hike offers a giant rock-filled blue lake, a waterfall, and colorful wildflowers that bloom throughout the spring season.
  • Sprague Lake Trail: This paved trail is a short and easy 0.8 mile loop trail located at the end of Sprague Lake Road. The trail features a beautiful lake and impressive surrounding peaks. Hike the trail in the morning to capture wonderful photos of panoramic views of the Continental Divide and majestic peaks reflecting on the lake. The sunset reflections surrounded by snow-capped mountain peaks at Sprague Lake is also simply amazing.
  • Bierstadt Lake Trail: This 3.2 mile loop trail begins from the Bierstadt Lake Trailhead and is considered as moderate. The trail offers a gorgeous lake with stunning panoramic views of mountains along the Continental Divide. It is a steep uphill trail with a series of switchbacks to reach the top of the Bierstadt Moraine. Approximately 1 mile from the Bierstadt Lake Trailhead, just after top of the Bierstadt Moraine, the trail reaches the Bierstadt Lake Loop Trail junction. Take right at the junction and a short walk in order to reach the southwestern shore of the lake for great photos.