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Rocky Mountain National Park is the fourth most visited national park in the country; 2017 saw 4.5 million visitors. It is also the biggest of Colorado’s four national parks and offers all kinds of opportunities for winter fun. Established in 1915 with the Rocky Mountain National Park Act, the park was designated as one of the first World Biosphere Reserves by UNESCO in 1976 - a designation that demonstrates a balanced relationship between people and nature. The vast majority of its visitors come during the summer and early autumn with numbers dropping significantly to just over 110,000 visitors by December. Visitor numbers continue to fall until they pick up again in spring. Winter at Rocky Mountain is amazing. Aside from the sheer beauty all around, there are plenty of opportunities for recreation. Most of the park’s 355 miles of hiking trails can be explored with snowshoes (the 1.6-mile Gem Lake trail is a favorite) and RMNP offers free ranger-led programs on both sides of the


park from January through March. There are also winter ecology walks, full moon walks and several other programs throughout winter. Rocky Mountain is also great for crosscountry skiing. Terrain and deeper snows on the west side of the park make for better cross-country skiing, but you are welcome to strap on your skis throughout the park. Sledding is allowed at Hidden Valley. Other activities in the park include wildlife watching. Winter is an especially good time to look for elk, mule deer, moose and other large mammals (see our guide on page 128). Don’t fee like walking? Snowmobile tour operators work out of nearby Winter Park. Rocky Mountain National Park allows snowmobiling on a two-mile stretch of the North Supply Access Trail in the southwest corner of the park. This trail connects the town of Grand Lake to a system of Arapaho National Forest trails adjacent to the park. For something a little more organized, the Rocky Mountain Conservancy offers a Wintertime Wonders Bus Tour. Tours are led by a naturalist who will guide you through the park from the comfort of a bus.


WINTER VISITORS* December: 112,890 January: 111,512 February: 84,295


Too chilly? Take a tour through the park from the comfort of a heated bus


In the Park, Moraine Park campground is the only campground open all year. All 77 winter sites are first come first served. Park dump stations are closed.

MORE INFO nps.gov/romo

*All data is based on 2017/2018 figures

Profile for West of 105 magazine

West of 105 Magazine, Winter 2018 - 2019, Issue 2