Grand Lake, CO – August, 2017 We treasured our time in the town of Grand Lake on the western edge of the Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP). It was so convenient to slip into the park for a quick visit or for an entire day.
One of the most popular hikes from Grand Lake is Adams Falls. It is an easy half mile walk from a parking lot on the edge of town.
Our first foray into RMNP proper we saw a heard of elk in a field beside the road. We stopped for some photos. A storm was brewing and the wind was fierce. I had to lean on a sign to steady my shot.
They were a group of females and young’uns. I believe there was one young buck among them. See his little horns on the right hand side of the photo? On that same day I stared into the forest as Jim drove and saw a large buck with huge horns. I swear they stood at least 3 feet straight up.
We ventured in on a weekend thinking we would visit one of the sites close to the western edge of the park but couldn’t even find a parking space. Traffic was crazy so we turned around the first chance we got and hightailed it outta there. We returned on Monday morning and crossed the park on Trail Ridge Road. The views along the road were breathtaking.
We visited the Alpine Visitor Center at almost 12,000 foot elevation just as it was opening at 9am. Here is the view from their patio.
There are several elk grazing below that glacial ice. We climbed the Alpine Ridge Trail for more astounding views.
It was drop dead gorgeous in every direction.
And we had it pretty much to ourselves at that hour of the day. It was a bit chilly, around 40 degrees.
We briefly visited the eastern side of the park and checked out Estes Park. Then we drove back via the incredibly scenic AND rustic Old Fall River Road. It was a gravel road with one switchback after another. We had to back up to make several of the sharp turns. Soooo worth it!
We enjoyed a stop at Chasm Falls.
And found a quiet place to enjoy our lunch.
We continued on to where the one-way gravel road brings you back to the Alpine Visitor Center. Here is a view of the center from below. It’s that tiny rectangle to the right of the snow.
We passed through the almost full parking lot of the visitor center. The trail up to the ridge was now crowded with hundreds of people. We were very glad we had braved the chill and had those moments alone with the views.