How to Enjoy Springtime in Rocky Mountain National Park

04/03/2018 | by Bill Goldmann | Estes Park Rocky Mountain National Park

It’s springtime in the Rockies! The weather is cool, the flowers are budding, and the crowds are minimal. Head outdoors and enjoy all the things to do in Rocky Mountain National Park during this season of re-birth. And with National Park Week coming up, you can enjoy a free day at the park, making this the perfect time of year to visit.

Bask in Sunny Meadows

While the higher peaks will still be packed down with snow during the spring months, lower meadows are filled with sunshine and typically no snow! You will find wonderful hiking trails, from comfortable strolls around mountain lakes to steeper summit climbs. Try out Upper Beaver Meadow Loop, Beaver Mountain Trail or Horseshoe Park. If you plan on venturing out beyond the lower elevation meadows be sure to pack snowshoes or spikes as there is almost guaranteed snow through June.

Hike to the High Country

Springtime in Rocky Mountain National Park is also the best time to hit the high country. With sunnier days and warmer temps making this the time of year particularly refreshing to be outdoors.  In the spring, there will still be snow at higher elevations. Be sure to pack your snowshoes and be prepared for different types of terrain you might come across. This time of year, the snow is guaranteed to fall, especially in the eastern side of the park but with that comes sunny rays that make the snow glisten.

Wildflower Viewing

With warmer spring weather, it brings with it budding flowers. Explore mountain meadows by way of the Tundra Communities Trail. Enjoy the scene of hundreds of different wildflower species, speckled throughout the mountain tundra. Make the short trek up towards Trail Ridge Road to catch a glimpse of the hearty wildflowers that thrive in the extreme alpine climate. Typical flowers to see are Indian Paintbrush, Forget-Me-Nots, and Alpine Avens.

Springtime Wildlife Viewing

There are many animals that call Rocky Mountain National Park home. And springtime in the Rockies means some of these animals give birth and become increasingly active, providing visitors with ample opportunity to spot moms with their babies. With over 1,000 in the park, elk are popular wildlife for viewing. They can commonly be found in lower-lying meadows grazing with their young, making spring a great time for viewing. Bighorn sheep will also start to make their way down later in May, to the meadows of Horseshoe Park.

Wall of Snow at Trail Ridge Road

Trail Ridge Road is a popular scenic drive that runs through Rocky Mountain National Park. Not accessible in the wintertime, the road opens towards the end of spring on Memorial Day weekend (weather permitting). After snow plowing efforts are completed, the road is usually left with roadside snowbanks that can reach over 20 feet high. Depending on how quickly it warms up, these snow walls can exist well into the summer months. So, take a drive and snap a photo, as you can only see in the spring! Always make sure to double-check road conditions before heading up as spring weather in the Rockies can be unpredictable.

Now you know what activities you can plan for when visiting Rocky Mountain National Park in the springtime, book your stay at one of our many Rocky Mountain Resorts accommodations for the perfect mountain getaway.

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