Plan Your Trip | When to Come

Storm Pass Changing Seasons

Vacation Planning - Rocky Mountain National Park

When planning your vacation to Rocky Mountain National Park, summer is the most popular time to come, but the other three seasons have much to offer.

Seasons - When to Come

From spring's flowers to fall's bugling elk to winter's snow-covered forests, you'll find beauty and wonder in Rocky Mountain National Park all year long!

Winter: 

Winter means snow in the Rockies and snow means fun. Snowshoeing and crosscountry skiing in the lower valleys, winter mountaineering in the high country, downhill skiing ar Eldora and Winter Park, sledding and tubing at Hidden Valley. Access roads are kept open and provide the winter traveler with a panorama of the high mountains.
 
In the Park, Moraine Park, Longs Peak, and Timber Creek campgrounds are open all year. Once the snows begin, Longs Peak and Timber Creek are not plowed, so you have to carry supplies to your campsite. Moraine Park is the only campground with water in winter. Park dump stations are closed.
 
If you are going into the Park backcountry overnight, you will need a backcountry permit, available free at park headquarters, or the Kawuneeche Visitor Center. Some areas are closed to overnight camping, and the danger of avalanches frequently exists, so plan your trip carefully, checking with park rangers for the latest Information on the areas In which you plan to travel.
 
Never travel alone. Take extra supplies in case you are forced to bivouac overnight. Winter in the Rockies can mean sudden storms and subzero temperatures at any time.   Hypothermia, or loss of body heat through exposure, is a danger that can be encountered any time of the year. If anyone exhibits shivering, slurred speech, incoherence, stumbling, or drowsiness, get the person out of the wet, cold. and wind, and into shelter and dry, woolen clothing. The quickest way to warm the victim is to place the person in a dry sleeping bag with another person.

Spring:

Spring brings mild temperatures, fluffy white snows and showers to feed the wildflowers.
 
Runoff fills the rivers, bull elk and buck deer drop their antlers, spotted fawns, elk calves and moose calves are hidden in the new green foliage and bighorn sheep graze right along the roadsides near Estes. Renewal time!
 
Spring vacationers in March enjoy downhill skiing, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, horseback riding (east), hiking (east). It's a beautiful time of the year - big snows and mild winter temperatures make outdoor advertures particularly invigorating.

Summer:

Summertime in the Rocky Region has been a favorite season for visitors for more than 10,000 years. Native Americans travelled between Grand Lake and Estes Park over some of the same trails we use today. They fished the same streams, slept under the same stars, pitched camp and enjoyed summertime in this wonderful high country.

Six wilderness areas administed by the Nat'l Forest Service are adjacent to Rocky Mountain National Park -- in addition to the 266,714 acres in the Park, that's 253,059 more acres to explore!

Fall:

Fall brings clear blue skies and crisp air punctuated with occasional snows, bugling elk and bighorn sheep butting contests.
 
The Aspen Gold Rush starts in late August at higher elevations and the golden leaves work their way down to lower elevations in October. The peak of color in our mountains is usually in late September. Daylight and elevation set the timing of the color season. Rain, snow, cold and wind affect the intensity of color.
 
Elk bugling runs from mid-September to mid-October, although some bugles may be heard in late August and late October.
 
Bighorn sheep stage their head-butting contests in October and November.
Trail Ridge Road and Old Fall River Road are kept plowed and open until the snowfall is too deep.

 
 

Lodging Availability

Rams Horn Village

EPTV

Windcliff

Castle Mountain