What to do in Rocky Mountain National Park

What to do in Rocky Mountain National Park

John Denver knew what he was doing when he wrote a song about the Rockies. With an endless amount of activities to do he had plenty of material to form his lyrics around. Here are some of our favorite activities to do in the Rocky Mountain National Park:

Scenic Drive

Sometimes you just want to see as much as possible and be able to relax. This is all possible with the road system of Rocky Mountain National Park. The system offers visitors access to diverse ecosystems characterizing the higher regions of the central Rocky Mountains. The roads can take visitors through lowland meadows and aspen groves, along swift-flowing rivers and up through sub-alpine forests to more than 12,000 feet in elevation. Some of the more popular scenic drives would be on Trail Ridge Road and Old Fall River Road.


For a more up close and personal view of the Rocky Mountain National Park check out more than 355 miles of hiking trails. They range from flat lakeside strolls to steep mountain peak climbs. Make sure you stay safe by asking the park rangers about trips before you head out. Trips can range from beginner to extremely difficult so pick the appropriate trip for you. Some of the more popular trips will show you waterfalls, hidden lakes, or just spectacular peak top views. Here is a list of the top 10:

Mt. Ida
Hallett Peak
Chasm Lake
Emerald Lake
Ute Trail
Sky Pond
Bear Lake to Fern Lake TH
Lake Helene
Bluebird Lake

Wildlife watching

Whether it be Bighorn, Elk, Mule Deer, or other wildlife, Rocky visitors have a passion for viewing wild animals, especially the big ones. A winter elk herd numbering between 200-600, about 350 bighorn sheep, and numerous mule deer call the park home. The park’s great large-animal population makes it one of the country’s top wildlife watching destinations. Here at Rocky you can find 60 species of mammals, 280 recorded bird species, 11 species of fish, and countless insects, including a surprisingly large number of butterflies.


Enjoy a night under the stars in Rocky Mountain National Park! Five campgrounds offer wonderful opportunities for outdoor fun and adventure. Have peace of mind knowing a campsite is waiting for you in beautiful Rocky. Camping reservations can be made and are highly recommended; make them one day to six months in advance. Group sites at Glacier Basin are reservable.

Wilderness Camping

A wide range of wilderness camping experiences are available in Rocky. Those new to wilderness travel have ample opportunity to break their boots in slowly, while those with many miles under their belts can find new areas that test their mettle. Overnight travel in the wilderness requires a permit. Permits and information are available at two wilderness offices in Rocky Mountain National Park.


There are over 50 lakes and many streams where you can fish. Sport fishing is permitted in Rocky Mountain National Park, a protected area. A Colorado fishing license is required and special regulations exist. Fishing activities are balanced with efforts to restore and perpetuate natural aquatic environments and life.

Horseback Riding

There are two stables located within the park: Glacier Creek Stables and Moraine Park Stables. Both open around Memorial Day in late May. Glacier Creek Stables: 970-586-3244; Moraine Park Stables: 970-586-2327. There are many stables outside the park that are permitted to bring riders into Rocky.