There is so much to see and do here, we decided an article on our visit to Rocky Mountain National Park needed to be more then just one blog. So, here is Part 1: Trail Ridge Road and hiking to Ouzel Falls.
Our trip from Fort Collins was uneventful and quick, only 57 miles. We arrived in such good time, we hated to waste the rest of the day, so our first outing was a drive along Moraine Park road in search of wildlife. We were not disappointed, of course neither were the 100’s of other people that had decided the same thing. Can you say crowd?! We were, however rewarded with not only an entire herd of elk, but also two males fighting.
Then it was off to Bear Lake. This is probably one of the most popular areas of the park, and we had no idea if the parking lot would be full. We were fortunate to find a spot, so decided to stop and take a walk around the lake. The sun was setting, and the golden aspen were sparkling.
Next morning, Tuesday, it was up at o-dark thirty (that means really early) for a drive across the center of the park along the Trail Ridge Road. Jennifer wanted to take the alternate route west along Old Fall River Road. This was the first-ever road in a national park, not to mention it is gravel and so narrow that it is one-way only. Still, a great choice as the scenery was spectacular.
Upon reaching the summit, we stopped in at the Alpine Visitor Center. We wanted to hike up to the top along Alpine Ridge Trail. It is fall in the Rockies, and the weather did not let us down. Clear blue skies, cool temperatures, and 50 mph winds at the summit. We managed to hike all the way to the top and had to hold onto the post so we were not blown over by the wind!
Our trip to the west side was all about the search for moose. Seems like that is the one Big 5 wildlife we are destined never to see and this trip was no exception. We did see lots of brilliant fall foliage and another elk herd, but alas no Moose for us.
Wednesday was a hiking day. After a full day in the car driving Trail Ridge Road, a good hike was what we needed to get some exercise. We decided on Ouzel Falls Trail in the Wild Basin area of the park. This trail is a 5.8 mile roundtrip starting at 8400′ and climbing to 9400′. There are three falls on the hike and all three were running well. We had lunch at Ouzel falls before we hiked back down. The Aspen were in full fall color and the water was rushing, clear and cold.
All-in-all a great couple of days so far. Looking forward to our remaining days here in Estes Park, Stay tuned.