Rocky Mountain National Park

Funny story about this trip.. the idea of Colorado began when Marc and I landed free tickets from Frontier after a major delay in one of our flights from last year. We had almost forgotten about the tickets because so much time had passed, and it wasn’t until 20 minutes before expiration that I found them sitting under a pile of papers on my very messy work desk. So there I was- I had just gotten home on a Friday night, (after 3.5 glasses of red wine) and stumbled upon our tickets that were valid for 20 more minutes. I needed to book a trip or our flights would become expired. Mexico? California? Colorado? North Carolina? Where the heck should we go and when?! I quickly texted Marc, who was still out with friends, a bunch of random cities. Cabo? LA? San Fran? Denver? Charlotte? Denver. He didn’t even respond fast enough but I already knew that’s where I had my heart set on! We had never been to Colorado together and I knew how much we both would love it. With only 10 minutes left, I booked our flights.. phew!

When we researched how far Denver was from the Rocky Mountain National Park, (only 1 hr. 30 min!) we both knew we wanted to spend the majority of our (very limited) time in the mountains. We were worried about the weather conditions, but made a few calls to our cabin, and researched online, and they seemed to be moderate. Here’s a peek into our weekend at the Rocky Mountain National Park, one of my very favorite (and last minute) trips so far!

What To Do?

After driving through the park, (occasionally pulling over to take some really pretty pictures) we stopped at several trails along the way. Hiking, snow-shoeing, and sledding were some of our highlights in the park. Although there was snow, the road conditions weren’t bad and easily manageable with our four wheel drive. The following day, we found another trail that led to a snow packed mountain for sledding. We brought our own sleds from our cabin, but the park also rents them for super cheap. Some of our favorite trails: Cub Lake, Emerald Lake, Bear Lake, Upper Beaver Meadows & Gem Lake.

Where To Stay?

We stayed at River Spruce Cabins in Estes Park, which I highly, highly recommend! I read about it on Visit Colorado, and so glad I found it. It’s a little gem, less than five minutes from the opening of the park. I have so much to share on this cabin.. but that’ll be another blog post :).

What To Eat?

Some of our favorites in Estes Park were:

  • Dunraven Inn (best Italian)
  • Kind Coffee (cute coffee shop, yummy carmello latte)
  • Baba’s Burgers (super delish burgers & gyros)
  • Steamer’s Cafe at the Stanley Hotel (great breakfast)
  • Este’s Park Pie Shop (famous local pies & treats)

Helpful Hints:

  • Rent a four wheel drive
  • Call ahead for weather conditions
  • Snow pants, gloves, hats are a must!
  • Stop by the visitor center for trail information
  • Prepare for no cell service throughout the park
  • Pay for a week’s worth at the park for only $30, otherwise you will be charged $20 daily

From the spontaneous last minute booking, who would have guessed this trip would be one of my favorites to date? Surrounded by beautiful mountain views and great company, Rocky Mountain National Park will definitely be a trip to remember. Thanks for stopping by!

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