Introducing Rocky Mountain National Park
Though Rocky Mountain National Park doesn’t rank among the largest national parks in the USA (it’s only 265,000 acres), it’s rightly among one of the most popular, hosting four million visitors every year.
This is a place of natural spectacle on every scale: from hulking granite formations – many taller than 12,000ft, some over 130 million years old – to the delicate yellow burst of the glacier lily, one of the dozen alpine wildflowers that explode in a short, colorful life at the edge of receding snowfields for a few days every spring.
And though it tops many travelers' itineraries and can get maddeningly crowded, the park has miles of less-beaten paths, and the backcountry is a little-explored nature-lovers' wonderland. It’s surrounded by some of the most pristine wild area in the west: Comanche Peak and Neota Wilderness Areas in the Roosevelt National Forest to the north and Indian Peaks Wilderness to the south. The jagged spine of the Continental Divide intersects the park through its middle. Excellent hiking trails crisscross alpine fields, skirt the edge of isolated high-altitude lakes and bring travelers to the wild, untamed heart of the Rockies.