If you are planning to hike in RMNP and drive to Bear Lake, it is likely you will hike to, or pass through Nymph Lake. This lake is only .6 miles from the Bear Lake parking area. It is a moderate climb to a very tranquil and scenic lake that in July is covered with flowering lily pads. During the summer the Bear Lake parking lot can be completely full by 9 a.m. In fact, it doesn't start to clear out until 6 p.m. If you plan a trip to Bear lake you have several options. Arrive very early. Arrive late. Take the free bus. The view of the mountains during the hike is spectacular. Here are a few pictures of the location of the lake and the scenery. Enjoy.
If you are lucky enough to visit Estes in the summer, and happen to be here on a Thursday, the downtown Farmer's Market is a must visit. It runs from 8:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. every Thursday. There is the traditional farmer produce, but also art, lotions, live music and more. One of my favorite booths is on the east side of the market where for $10 you get a bag that you can fill with any and all vegetables and fruit from a wide range of options. Here are a few pictures I took this morning during a visit.
If you haven't visited Estes in a couple of years, you will be surprised to learn of all the new Craft Beer establishments that now exist in and around town. The local laws were recently modified to make it more feasible for these small craft brewers to open in and around town. The Barrel Beer Garden is a new outdoor business in downtown Estes that provides the opportunity to taste and enjoy a wide variety of craft beers. As of a recent count, they have 48 beers on tap. This is a great place to sit with friends on a picnic table and enjoy some the the fantastic craft beers. If your lucky, you will even get to enjoy live music. Below are a few pictures taken during a recent visit to this new business.
The drive up to the Alpine Visitor Center is a must see. Whether you take Trail Ridge Road or Fall River Road you will not be disappointed. The scenery is breathtaking. There are lots of places to take pictures and simply enjoy the view. From the Overlook it is 23 miles to the Alpine Visitor Center when you take Trail Ridge Road. Trail Ridge Road is know as the highest elevation continuously paved highway in the US. It connects Estes Park to Grand Lake. From Grand Lake you can continue west to California. I will cover more on Grand Lake in a future blog. However, here are a few pictures of my recent ride up to the Alpine Visitor Center. Enjoy.
Finding a good picnic area with good views and not too many tourists can be a challenge in RMNP. One of my favorite spots is Upper Beaver Meadows. It is less than 5 miles from the Overlook. There are several nice picnic tables, a restroom, great views and places were kids can explore safely. To get there, simply drive in the entrance next to the Overlook and go straight towards Trail Ridge Road and Estes. The area is well marked, on the left side of the road and only about a mile inside the entrance station. Follow the gravel road for a couple miles and you will see the picnic area on your left. If you continue another half mile, you will find a trail head with a small creek right next to a parking area. This area is often used for weddings due to the spectacular views. It is also an area where you will probably see several horseback riding tours passing by. Here are a few pictures of the area from a recent visit.
One of the most scenic drives in the RMNP is Fall River Road. This is a one way dirt road that travels from just inside the park to the Alpine Visitor Center at over 12,000 feet. You return to Estes on the paved Trail Ridge Road. It is only open for a few months during the summer and typically opens on July 4th weekend. It is a very narrow road, with no guard rails and very steep drop offs. This is not the road for the faint of heart! However, it is negotiable in even a 2 wheel drive car. There are numerous switch backs and for cars with limited turning radius, it can take several attempts. There are several places to pull off and picnic along the way. Don't be in a hurry....no one else will be! It is not uncommon to come upon a car with all the doors open sitting in the middle of the road with the occupants out taking pictures. You will see spectacular views, waterfalls,and Marmots. It is only 11 miles long but will probably take 45 minutes to get to the top. It is twice as long to take Trail Ridge Road but on this paved road you will travel twice as fast. Here are a few pictures from my recent trip.
This shows how tiny my wife is! She rides on the luggage rack! While sitting here, we suddenly noticed our feet were in a pile of Mountain Lion or Bobcat poop. They must also enjoy the view!