Best Time to Visit Rocky Mountain National Park

Rocky Mountain National Park has become one of Colorado’s top attractions. The park attracts millions of visitors each year who come to enjoy its stunning scenery, wildlife, hiking trails, and other activities.

Rocky Mountain National Park was established in 1915. Since then, it has grown into one of America’s premier parks. In addition to being home to some of the country’s largest mountains, Rocky Mountain National Park also offers incredible views of the surrounding area.

Rocky Mountain National Park is open 365 days a year. This means you can go whenever you want, even during winter months. If you plan ahead, however, you’ll get the best experience possible. Here are a few things to consider before visiting the park.

Young Asian Female Hiker in Rocky Mountain National Park
Young Asian Female Hiker in Rocky Mountain National Park

Weather in Rocky Mountain National Park

The weather in Rocky Mountain National Park varies throughout the year. Summertime temperatures average around 80 degrees Fahrenheit on average. However, this number can change depending on where you go within the park. For example, if you’re near the Continental Divide, you may find yourself in a cooler climate than those closer to the town of Estes Park.

Wintertime temperatures average around 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Snowfall is common at higher elevations, but snow levels vary from season to season.

Summertime highs usually range between 70-80 degrees Fahrenheit. Winters see lows of about 30 degrees Fahrenheit.

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When to Visit

There are many different times to visit Rocky Mountain National Park. You can go any time of the year, as long as you don’t mind cold or snowy conditions. Spring and fall are great seasons for visiting because they have milder weather than summertime. Winter is another good option. Many people choose to visit when there isn’t much going on so that they can fully appreciate the beauty of the park.

If you do decide to visit during the off-season, be sure to bring warm clothing. It gets chilly at night, especially at higher altitudes.

Rocky Mountain National Park has four distinct seasons: fall, winter, spring, and summer. Each season offers its own unique experience.

Fall is one of the best times to visit the park. Fall foliage is spectacular and the air is crisp and clear.

Winter is great for skiing and snowmobiling. It is also the best time to see wildlife.

Spring is the busiest season for tourists. Although the weather may still be chilly, the flowers are blooming and the birds are singing.

Summer is hot and humid. There is little shade and the mosquitoes are out in full force.

But there are two main seasons: summer and winter. During the summer, the temperature averages around 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Winter brings much colder temperatures with highs averaging around 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

If you don’t mind cold weather, fall and spring offer great opportunities for exploring the park. Fall sees milder weather than summer, while springtime is perfect for viewing wildflowers.

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The best time to go hiking

Hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park is always an adventure. There are many different types of hikes available, ranging from short walks to long treks. Regardless of your level of fitness or skill, there’s something out there that will suit your needs.

Springtime is the ideal time to explore the park. It’s when the wildflowers bloom and the weather is still warm enough to hike comfortably.

Fall is another good option. Hikers have access to all the same trails as they do in the summer, but the leaves turn colors and the air becomes crisp.

Spring and fall are both great times to view wildlife. You might spot elk grazing in meadows or moose browsing along streams.

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Best season for backpacking

Backpacking is one of the best ways to experience the beauty of Rocky Mountain National Park. Backpackers have access to some of the most beautiful scenery in the world.

The park offers over 1,000 miles of trails, including several multi-day trips. Some of these routes take hikers through alpine regions, while others pass through forests and prairies.

You’ll need to register for a permit before heading into the wilderness. Permits cost $5 per person and must be purchased online. The permits allow backpackers to stay up to 14 days in the park.

Winter is the best time to go on a backcountry trip. Temperatures are generally below freezing during this time of year, which makes it easier to travel without getting wet feet.

You’ll want to bring plenty of food and water if you plan on spending any length of time in the backcountry. Make sure you pack extra layers of clothing, too.

When choosing a route, consider how difficult it will be. If you’re looking for a challenging trek, try the Long Draw Trail. This trail takes about eight hours to complete and climbs nearly 2,500 feet above sea level.

If you’d rather not get lost, choose a shorter route like the Beaver Creek Trail. This path is just two miles long and passes through open meadowland.

If you don’t mind hiking at lower elevations, you may enjoy the easygoing nature of the Maroon Bells Trail. This route is less than half a mile long and takes about three hours to complete.

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Best time of the season for camping

Rocky Mountain National Park has many campgrounds available for visitors. Most of these sites offer electricity and restrooms, but there’s no running water or showers. Campsites range from primitive tent spots to full hookups with power and cable TV.

Some of the better known campgrounds include:

Bear Lake Campground – Located near Bear Lake, this campground features a number of cabins that rent out for around $100 per night.

Beaver Meadows Campground – This site is located near the Beaver Meadows area of the park. It features a variety of campsites, including some with electric hookups.

Estes Campground – This campground is located along the Colorado River. There are both tent and RV sites here.

Lulu City Campground – This camp ground is located near the town of Lulu. It features a mix of tent and RV sites.

Many Parks Campground – This camp grounds is located near the Many Parks area of the park. There are both tent only and tent plus RV sites here.

Pitkin Campground – This campgrounds is located near the town Pitkin. It features a variety tents and RVs.

Roosevelt Campground – This camp is located near the town Roosevelt. It features a variety camping options, including tent only, tent plus RV and RV only sites.

Sunshine Village Campground – This camp has a variety of options, including tent only and tent plus sites.

Willow Creek Campground – This camp features a variety of camping options, including tent and RV sites. It is located near the town Willow Creek.

Yampa Valley Campground – This camp offers a variety of camping options. Tent-only sites are available as well as tent plus sites.

Zephyr Cove Campground – This camp provides a variety of camping options including tent only, tent and RV sites. The campground also features an amphitheater where live music can be performed.

There are other campgrounds scattered throughout Rocky Mountain National Park. Some of them have been closed due to damage caused by the 2013 floods. Check the website for updates before planning your trip.

The best time of the season for wildlife watching

The best time to view wildlife in Rocky Mountain National Park is during the spring and fall months. During the summer months, temperatures often exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit. As a result, animals tend to stay inside their dens and caves. In addition, snowfall makes it more difficult for animals to find food.

During the winter months, however, animals come out of hibernation and begin mating. They also start eating grass again which helps keep them healthy.

When visiting Rocky Mountain National Park, you may see elk, bighorn sheep, mule deer, moose, black bears, coyotes, bobcats, golden eagles, bald eagles, peregrine falcons, osprey, red foxes, raccoons, skunks, porcupines, squirrels, chipmunks, rabbits, muskrats, beavers, otters, river otter, minks, badgers, bats, frogs, snakes, lizards, turtles, birds, butterflies, bees, wasps, ants, spiders, scorpions, centipedes, crickets, grasshoppers, cicadas, dragonflies, damselflies, mosquitoes, flies, beetles, and many others.

The best season for rock climbing

Springtime is the best time of the year for climbing in Rocky Mountain National Park. Temperatures are mild and there is no chance of rain.

Summer is another good time to climb in Rocky Mountain National Park because the weather is usually cool and dry. However, this is not always the case. If you plan to climb in the summer, make sure to bring plenty of water with you.

Winter is the least favorable time of the year for climbers. Snowstorms and heavy winds can cause dangerous conditions.

The best season for fishing

Fall is the best time of year to fish in Rocky Mountain National Park, but this depends upon where you live. The best times to catch trout vary depending on the location.

In the eastern section of the park, the best time to catch trout is between October and December. This is when the streams are running high and cold. Trout will be found in these waters as they move upriver to spawn.

In the western section of the park, trout are caught throughout the entire year.

The best time to catch bass varies depending on what kind of fishing you want to do. You can catch largemouth bass by casting small jigs or spinnerbaits along the shoreline.

If you prefer to catch panfish, try using a crankbait or soft plastic worm. Panfish like to feed near the bottom of the lake or stream.

If you’re looking for trophy fish, such as brown trout, rainbow trout, cutthroat trout, brook trout, and speckled trout, then you should wait until spring. These fish are more likely to be found in the larger lakes and rivers.

Avoiding Crowds: Best Times to Go There

During the winter months, the park is less crowded than it is during other seasons. In fact, you might find yourself alone in the wilderness.

However, if you visit during the summer, you might have trouble finding a parking spot. During peak tourist season, the park receives an average of 2 million visitors per year.

This means that there are often long lines at popular attractions. To avoid waiting in line, come early or late in the day.

Rocky Mountain average monthly temperatures

January: -8°FApril: 10°FJuly: 25°FOctober: 40°F
February: -12°FMay: 15°FAugust: 30°FNovember: 45°F
March: -9°FJune: 20°FSeptember: 35°FDecember: 50°F

How to get around the park

Rocky Mountain National Park is accessible via two main roads: Highway 36 and Highway 82. Both highways lead into the park from either direction.

Highway 36 runs north to south through the heart of the park. It connects Grand Lake, Estes Park, Leadville, Berthoud Pass, Granby, Ouray, Telluride, Ridgway, Silverton, Crested Butte, Aspen, Glenwood Springs, and Denver.

Highway 82 runs east to west through the northern part of the park. It leads from Evergreen to Fairplay.

Both highways feature scenic drives that take visitors past some of the most beautiful scenery in Colorado.

You can also drive on foot or horseback along designated trails within the park.

How to Get There

You have three options when traveling to Rocky Mountain National Park. You can fly into Denver International Airport (DIA), Grand Junction Regional Airport (GJT) or Fort Collins Municipal Airport (FCO).

Denver International Airport is located approximately 60 miles away from the park. It takes roughly an hour to drive there.

Grand Junction Regional Airport is located about 100 miles away from the park, making it a convenient option for travelers flying into western Colorado.

Fort Collins Municipal Airport is located about 90 minutes from the park.

Where to Stay

There are many lodging options available in Rocky Mountain National Park including hotels, cabins, campgrounds, and lodges.


You can choose from a variety of accommodations in Rocky Mountain National Park ranging from rustic log cabins to luxury resorts.


Cabin rentals are available in all parts of the park. Some cabins offer electricity while others don’t. Cabins with electricity usually include a refrigerator, microwave, and stove.


There are several campgrounds located within the park. Most campers stay in tent-only sites. Campsites are typically large enough to accommodate a vehicle.


Many people enjoy staying in a lodge instead of camping. Lodges offer amenities such as swimming pools, restaurants, gift shops, laundry facilities, and even grocery stores.

Final words

If you want to get away from civilization, then Rocky Mountain National Park is the place to do it. The park provides plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities like hiking, fishing, boating, horseback riding, and more.

The beauty of this park will leave you speechless. From the towering peaks to the lush forests, everything here is breathtaking.

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