Rocky Mountain NP and Winter Park

Rocky Mountain National Park

Around Thanksgiving of last year my brother Chase bought plane tickets for him and his wife, Brooke, to come visit us in Denver in June. We have had their visit on the calendar all of 2019, so it’s amazing that the time for their visit has come. After our wonderful stay in Golden, we drove to our overnight spot near the airport, Bass Pro Shops, so we’d be ready to pick them up at the airport the next day.

Pit Stop in Boulder

We picked them up at the airport around 2pm and headed toward Rocky Mountain National Park. On the way, we stopped in Boulder to stretch our legs and check out the town. Surprisingly, we found parking on the street for the whole rig and easily walked over to Pearl Street for a beer at West Flanders Brewing Company.

Downtown Boulder
Downtown Boulder

Moraine Campground in Rocky Mountain National Park

After our stop in Boulder, we continued toward Rocky Mountain National Park. On the way, we saw several elk and even a bear. When we finally arrived at the park, the ranger working at the gate told us our spot was her favorite in the campground, and it was obvious why. The views were amazing. Naturally, Leigh did a ton of research ahead of time and found the best spot! We arrived a little later than we planned but still had enough time to grill steaks and drink a couple of beers before going to bed.

The next day we had a picnic lunch by a creek before driving the Jeep over to the Park and Ride. We took the shuttle from there to the Bear Lake Trailhead. From there, we did the Emerald Lake Hike. This is a really popular hike and a little crowded, but totally worth it! The views were amazing although it was still a little snowy toward the top. After our hike, we spent a relaxing afternoon back at the campground enjoying the views right from our site.

Trail Ridge Road

We planned to spend two days in Rocky Mountain National Park and then drive Trail Ridge Road to Winter Park, CO. We rented a house for the rest of the trip. Unfortunately, as we got ready to leave the next morning, we learned that Trail Ridge Road had just been closed because of snow. We stopped by the visitor center to confirm. They told us it would probably not open for days. We drove into Estes Park to get lunch and plan another route. The new route would be slightly longer and less scenic. We finished lunch and called the info line one more time to make sure the road status hadn’t changed. To our surprise, the road opened for some reason!

Yay!!

We drove back into Rocky Mountain NP and made our way up to Trail Ridge Road. Trail Ridge Road is the highest continuously paved road in the country. The views from the road were amazing. As we climbed higher, it began to snow. When we reached the Alpine Visitors Center at the summit the snow banks were taller than the Bounder. We crossed the Continental Divide and continued to Winter Park. We saw a couple of moose on the way.

Winter Park Mountain Biking

We made it to Winter Park (actually Tabernash) and settled into our rental house, which was awesome. Chase and I immediately drove into Winter Park to rent mountain bikes and ride. We got a good ride in right from the bike shop to finish out an awesome day.

Unfortunately, we weren’t so lucky the next morning. We woke up to a couple of inches of snow. Chase and I debated for a while about whether it was dry enough to ride. We ultimately decided since we had rentals we may as well give it a try. Leigh and Brooke dropped us off at a trail in Fraser while they went into Winter Park. While they were getting lunch and shopping, we had a pretty epic ride. The ground was a little sloppy starting out and only got worse. The ride had a big climb and then a downhill. When we reached 10,000 feet, it started to snow and sleet. We rode around 16 miles and were freezing. When we finished, we rode into town and the girls picked us up at a gas station.

Chase crossing a frigid stream
Brooke and I had a lot of fun exploring the town

We went back to the house, showered, and drove back into Fraser for dinner at Fraser Valley Distilling.

Amazing view from our Airbnb

Hot Sulphur Springs

The next morning we woke up to more snow. Chase and I decided to just take the mountain bikes back. We weren’t sure what to do for the day and ended up settling on driving to Hot Sulphur Springs. The drive over was beautiful, but the springs weren’t as nice as we hoped. Realizing that we had a hot tub back at the Airbnb that was probably nicer, we drove back and spent the rest of the day hanging out there.

Back to Denver

For Chase and Brooke’s last day, we drove over Berthoud Pass and back toward Denver to drop them off at the airport. Since Leigh and I had such a great time in Golden before, we stopped there on the way. Chase rented a bike, and he and I got in one last ride on the Table Mountain Loop. After a great visit, we dropped them off at the airport and drove back to our campground for the next few days at Chief Hosa.

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