Signed in as a National Park by President Wilson Woodrow in 1915 Rocky Mountain National Park is one the Nation’s oldest and most spectacular natural treasures. It’s majestic peaks, valleys and meadows were carved by ancient glaciers, the remnants of some can still be viewed today. Surrounded on three sides by the Roosevelt, Routt, and Arapaho National Forests the abundance of wildlife, dramatic landscapes and recreational opportunities rivals that of any of the other Western Parks.
Unlike many of the large Western Parks, RMNP has never boasted its own rail system. Many of the early visitors to the park toured by automobile, a commodity at the time. In response to the Great Depression, under the New Deal Act, the Civilian Conservation Corps put in great efforts to create what is now the central attraction of the park; Trail Ridge Road. Trail Ridge Road allows visitors to experience a glimpse at the various ecosystems of the park, rising a staggering 12,000 plus feet above sea level. Similar to the roads to the tops of neighboring Mount Evans, and Pike’s Peak, Trail Ridge Road allows visitors to experience high alpine environments, that many would never experience otherwise. Wildlife viewing is abundant throughout the park, Trail Ridge Road offers visitors the opportunity to view nearly every major species to include; Elk, Mule Deer, Moose, Big Horn Sheep, Mountain Goats, and Black Bear.
Visible from almost any location within the park is the impressive outline Longs Peak, clocking in at a staggering 14,259 feet in elevation Longs is a mountaineer’s dream and is the only one of Colorado’s impressive fourteener’s ( mountains taller than 14,000 ft.) to be found within the park boundaries. First summited in 1868, by the surveying party of John Wesley Powell, Longs has become a premier mountaineering destination in the lower 48. Technical skills are required above the Key Hole Route and altitude demands that climbers be prepared for winter like conditions, and drastically changing weather even in the summer months. If high altitude mountaineering isn’t your thing, no sweat. Even day visitors to the park can experience the majesty of Longs, several day hikes are available below the summit area, but do require some level of fitness preparation, as exertion at higher altitudes can be extremely strenuous.
Want to know more, or see the park for yourself? Check out the National Park Service’s website at: http://www.nps.gov/romo/index.htm
Can’t get to the park but love the views? Images of Rocky Mountain National Park in all its splendor will be included and for sale in the Western Rises Series coming soon to: rebellephotographie.smugmug.com