Sunday, October 28, 2012

Rocky Mountain National Park 2012

From Dubois, Wyoming, we traveled to Estes Park, Colorado for a visit to Rocky Mountain National Park.

On September 25, at the recommendation of Park Rangers, we decided to drive the unpaved Old Fall River Road, a spectacular 11-mile drive to the Alpine Visitor Center at the top of Fall River Pass at 11,796 feet above sea level. From there, we had the option of traveling down the west side of the Rockies toward Grand Lake or returning to Estes Park by way of the paved Trail Ridge Road.

Following are pictures from that day.

Mountain Bluebird 

A small waterfall near the roadway

Doug, shooting some video of the beautiful yellow aspen

Another small waterfall

Doug took this shot with our new HD camcorder. He didn't even know he'd pushed that button.

View from the Alpine Visitor Center at Fall River Pass

A storm brewing at the Alpine Visitor Center

When we left the Alpine Visitor Center, we drove a short distance down the west side of the national park, toward Grand Lake. We hadn't gone far before we spotted an osprey in the top of a tree. He was pretty far way, so the picture isn't wonderful; but I couldn't resist including it.


This was another scene along the west side of the park.
We didn't drive far down the west side but turned around and returned to Estes Park by way of the paved Trail Ridge Road. By the time we reached the Alpine Visitor Center again, those lowering clouds we had seen earlier had become dense fog, misting rain, and spitting snow. We parked at the visitor center for awhile, hoping for a change in weather before continuing. But the weather showed no promise of changing. So we started on back toward Estes Park through the fog, rain, and snow. Once we got down to a lower elevation, the snow stopped and the fog lifted; but it was still raining.
Since the weather was not cooperating, we decided to drive to Loveland for an oil change for our vehicle and supper for ourselves. It was getting dark by the time we returned to Estes Park. As we entered the town, a large bull elk strolled across the highway in front of us. Again, the photo, taken at dusk through the windshield of a moving car, isn't sharp; but I wanted to include it anyway.

Elk in town

We heard elk bugling in the national park, but we didn't see any there. We did, however, see several herds of them scattered around the town of Estes Park.
We had planned to spend another full day at Rocky Mountain National Park, but the nasty weather didn't show any sign of improving. So we dropped a few of the activities we had planned and headed for home a day early.


  1. These photos are really beautiful! I'm enjoying your travelogue; we'd love to take this trip!

  2. those views of the falls, hills/mountains, color are gorgeous! the mountain bluebird would have thrilled me to see. :) glad you included the osprey and elk, too. adds great 'flavor' to the terrain.

  3. Gorgeous photos, Linda! Thank you so much for sharing them and providing such a lovely tour!

  4. All wonderful pictures, but I love the one with clouds painting moody shadows on the hills.

  5. I love the beautiful scenery your pictures show.
    I have been to Estes park,and Loveland.This is a gorgeous part of your country.

  6. Hi Linda, I laughed at how little water there was at Horseshoe Falls in your photo. Go to my blog and go to the search link on my sidebar. Write in Horseshoe Falls --and you can see how much water we saw there in June of 2011.

    Glad you enjoyed the unpaved road up the mountain. We loved it--and took many of the same photos which you all took...

    Sorry the weather didn't cooperate for you while there.

    Cold and WINDY and WET here this weekend. Snow in the forecast.... What happened to Fall?

  7. You picked a great time to go it looks like, except for the day of the storm. The colors y'all were able to capture are spectacular!! Elk, osprey, fall foliage AND a bluebird. I'd say that was a successful trip. :)

  8. Thanks, Deb. You'd love a trip like this, I'm sure. For now, though, I suspect your travels will be focused on visiting grandchildren. :)

    Thanks kindly, Theresa.

    Thank you, Linda.

    Thanks, Stephen. And I love your description of "clouds painting moody shadows on the hills." Very poetic.

    Thanks, Ruth. Canada has some mighty beautiful things to see, too. :)

    Oh, Betsy. I checked out your photos, and mine look pathetic in comparison. Oh well...I had some yellow aspen in my shots. So there! :)

    Gail - The weather had been perfect for the whole trip until that last day. And we caught the aspen in all their glory. So we certainly couldn't complain about bad weather on our last day.

  9. Stunning scenery Linda. Beautiful.
    Glad you included the Elk picture.It seems so strange to me to see it just strolling across the road like that.

  10. There is a lot of yellow in your photos, Linda, it looks nice. And I'm glad you added the "elk in town" snapshot, it's interesting to see.

  11. Thank you, Keith. I would like to have gotten a sharper image of that elk, but there wasn't time to do anything more than aim and shoot and hope for the best.

    Petra - That area of our country is known for its yellow aspen in the fall. They are so beautiful, especially when mixed with the green of the evergreen trees. Sometimes, when the sun hits the yellow leaves just right, it almost hurts your eyes to look at it.

  12. We thoroughly enjoyed our drive on Old Fall River Road a few days before you made the drive. We also ran into some nasty weather near the Alpine Visitor Center -- I wonderful if they arrange that to give visitors some excitement. We saw quite a few elk in the park.

  13. Beautiful pics Linda of God's awesome creation! You know you are out West when ELK are walking in front of your car!!!

  14. George - I guess bad weather is to be expected at 12,000 feet above sea level. But the drive up was beautiful.

    Thanks, Diane. Yes, that elk strolling across the highway was quite a sight.


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