Winter in Rocky Mountain National Park
Our sons friend was in town for a week. She’d never been to Rocky Mountain National Park, and we’d never been there in the Winter. One day, when we all had free time, we headed there for a little sightseeing. The weather people had predicted rain for our area, and snow for the mountains. They hit the nail on the head!
This state still amazes me when it comes to the weather. The snow doesn’t stick around. It snows, then melts. As we drove to the park, what we saw was brown ground and grass. When we arrived at the park, we saw the same scene (Except when we looked up to the sky, to the higher elevations of course – snow-covered and beautiful!).
As we reached our destination, everything changed.
We had decided ahead of time that we would take a different route once we were in the park. On our other two visits, we’d always taken the same way (road) each time. We were looking for different scenery. The road we took this time, had been closed most of the day on our other visits due to construction. It was now open for travel, but still under construction. Bump, bump, bump, bump, bump! So glad we took my son’s Tahoe instead of my freshly washed truck!
As we pulled in to the parking lot, we noticed quite a bit of snow where we would be hiking, and it started falling from the sky too. It was a breathtaking scene. We all layered up, went to the restroom, covered my cameras with plastic bags, and headed to the trail. There was quite a bit of foot traffic at the trailhead and I was actually making fun of the people in snow shoes (in my head of course). Some had ski poles. I had my rubber-soled snow boots (more for dress, but waterproof), my husband had rubber-soled work boots, and my son and his friend had gym shoes. Being from IL and FL, we weren’t really prepared for the hike we took. I actually saw a group of people in shorts! They said that since the weather was nice at the lower elevations, that they didn’t expect the mountains to be so cold. Crazy!
If you look at the image below, there is a narrow path on the left hand side. That was the trail that we slip-slidded along. It’s right next to a drop, which doesn’t look bad, but the snow was deep and dropped in many parts. Next time we go more prepared with proper footwear!
This is my son and his friend. Notice how small they look in this grand scene:
We paused to do a mini photo shoot. The snow was really coming down (as it was most of our hike):
More scenery – no railings. Don’t fall!
We hiked up to a waterfall. Silly me actually thought it would be flowing. Notice the blue patch towards the top center of the image (image below)? That is the frozen fall. I can’t wait to check it out in the Spring!
As we rested by the frozen falls, we saw some beautiful blue birds called Steller’s Jay:
More amazing scenery on the way back down:
On the way back down, it was quite slippery in spots. Like ice. The old people (my husband and I), tried to keep to the side of the trail where we could get better footing. At one point, my leg actually sunk into the snow up to my knee! I’m claustrophobic. I screamed – “get me out of here”! There was another spot where my husband and I actually slid on our butts down a small hill (thank God for the long coat). I hadn’t ‘sled’ since I was a kid. It was pretty fun!
We stopped at one of the visitor centers as we were heading back towards the entrance of the park. Doesn’t it look desolate and barren?
The beautiful scenery heading to and from the park: