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Boulder Brook Blog

Night Sky Festival and World Listening Day

Night Sky Festival and World Listening Day – July 16, 17 and 18    Experience the Milky Way in natural darkness in Rocky Mountain National Park with Rangers, educators and guides to help light your way. Three nights of free, family-friendly activities and night sky adventures kick-off this first time festival.  All programs are free and open to the public and everyone (camping in the park or not) is welcome.  Entrance fees apply except for programs held at the Beaver Meadows Visitor Center. For more information, please call the park’s Information Office at 970-586-1206.


Milky Way Bear Lake 7.5.14  Courtesy Jake Frank

Jake Frank’s amazing photo of the Milky Way over Bear Lake in July 2014 is just one beautiful example of art inspired by the night sky and natural beauty of RMNP.

 July 16, 17 and 18 from 11a to 3p each day at Moraine Park Discovery Center 11am-3pm: Earn your Night Sky Junior Ranger book and patch at Moraine Park Discovery Center from 11a to 3p Thursday, Friday and Saturday with solar observation, special displays and activities.

Evening Events Thursday, July 16


Beaver Meadows Visitor Center – 7:30p – Protecting Night Sky Resources in National Parks and Beyond Jeremy White discusses the ongoing research of the National Park Service Natural Sounds and Night Sky Division of the National Park Service.


Upper Beaver Meadows – 9p – Wonders of the Night Sky — Observe the night sky and visible constellations with the help of a park ranger and expert volunteer astronomers.  Bring warm clothes, binoculars, and a flashlight.


Moraine Park Campground – 9p – Night Sky Photography —Stan Honda, a photographer and former Artist in Residence in Rocky Mountain National Park shares enthusiasm and inspiration related to his night sky landscape project.


Glacier Basin Campground – 9p – James Webb Space Telescope—Learn how astronomers will get a whole new view of the cosmos with NASA’s next flagship mission, The James Webb Telescope.


Night Sky Events Friday, July 17


Beaver Meadows Visitor Center – 7:30p – New Horizons—See the first clear images of Pluto, courtesy of Ralph, the newest Ball Aerospace camera.


Upper Beaver Meadows – 8:15p – Astronomy in the Park—Observe the night sky with the help of a park ranger and expert volunteer astronomers.  Bring warm clothes, binoculars, and a flashlight.


Harbison Meadow Parking Area – 9p – Celestial Wilderness— Explore Rocky’s night sky astronomy with the assistance of a telescope and a ranger.


Moraine Park Campground – 9p – The Moon: A New Perspective—Join us for a brief history of the Moon and its formation, with images of the lunar surface from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Spacecraft currently orbiting the moon.


Glacier Basin Campground – 9p – Night Sky Photography Workshop—Stan Honda, a night sky photographer, gives a hands-on workshop on how to use an ordinary camera to take great pictures of the sky at night.


Night Sky Events Saturday, July 18


Beaver Meadows Visitor Center – 7:30p – James Webb Space Telescope—Dr. Joel Green of the Space Telescope Institute will discuss the formation of proto-planets and their transformation into exo-planets as well as the upcoming mission of the James Webb Space Telescope.


Upper Beaver Meadows – 8:15p – Astronomy in the Park – Observe the night sky with the help of a park ranger and expert volunteer astronomers.  Bring warm clothes, binoculars, and a flashlight.


Moraine Park Campground – 9p – The Aurora:  More Than Pretty Lights in the Sky—Dr. Frank Eparvier of the University of Colorado at Boulder Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics will discuss the impact of space weather on our lives.


Glacier Basin Campground – 9p – The Moon: A New Perspective – Join us for a brief history of the Moon and its formation, with images of the lunar surface from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Spacecraft currently orbiting the moon.


Saturday, July 18 – World Listening Day and The Sounds Of Silence – A Celebration Of The Ban On Commercial Air Tours Over Rocky


Beaver Meadows Visitor Center Plaza and Auditorium – 10a – 4p – World Listening Day celebrates natural sounds all over the world. Drop in for fun and explore the beauty of natural sound.  There will be crafts, interactive games, and a natural sound scavenger hunt.  Story-time at 1p:  How the Estes Valley League of Women Voters successfully “Banned the Buzz”


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Leave No Trace – Outdoor Ethics

Everything we do, from planning and preparing before we arrive to packing out when we leave, protects and conserves RMNP and has a long-term positive impact just as everything counterintuitive to protection and preservation has long-term negative consequences.   One of the most important concepts of Outdoor Ethics here in Rocky and in all National Parks and Recreation Areas is Leave No Trace.   


The 7 Principles of Leave No Trace are:


1. Plan Ahead and Prepare: Know the regulations and special concerns of the area; Be prepared for extreme changes in weather; Schedule wisely; Smaller groups leave less of a carbon footprint; Repackage food to minimize waste; Use a map and a compass instead of marking, flagging, or building rock cairns.


2. Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces: established trails, campsites, rock, gravel, dry grasses, or snow; camp at least 200 feet from lakes and streams to protect riparian areas; Avoid altering the landscape in any way: Use existing sites and trails; Keep it small and simple; Walk single file in the center of trails; Play in sparsely vegetated areas; Avoid endangered or protected areas.


3. Properly Dispose of Waste: Pack it in, and pack it out. Leave no trash, food, litter, waste, TP or hygiene products behind. Use catholes for solid human waste as needed.  Use only biodegradable soap for washing and keep the water at least 200 feat from streams or lakes. Scatter used wash-water.


4. Leave What You Find Just As You Found It: Observe without touching or taking.   RMNP is an inter-dependent managed eco-system in which every creature and thing has a place and a purpose. Remember: It is illegal to remove antlers and other “earth souvenirs” from RMNP.   Do not build structures or furniture. Do not dig holes or trenches.


5. Minimize Campfire Impact: Many areas in RMNP and Estes Park are campfire and open fire restricted. If you must cook out there, please use the smallest possible camp stove only in approved areas. Where permitted, use established fire rings, fire pans, grills, or mound fires. Keep all fires as small as possible. Use only ground-found or deadfall sticks that can be broken by hand for fuel.  Burn all wood and coals to ash.  Soak the fire pit or fire area to ensure the fire is completely out and scatter cooled ashes before leaving the site.


6. Respect Wildlife: Observe from a distance. Use the Zoom. Never feed, follow or predate wild life.  Secure all food to keep from inadvertently feeding wild life.  Avoid wild life during sensitive times. Never disturb mating, nesting, feeding, or birthing and raising young ones.  When in doubt, leave it alone. When concerned, call a responsible wild life responder. Never approach, touch or handle wild babies! You never know where Mom is and she’s probably a whole lot closer than you think.


7. Be Considerate of Other Visitors: Good manners are always appropriate. Be courteous. Yield to others on the trail; step to the downhill side of a trail when encountering pack stock; take breaks and set up picnics or wildlife viewing stations away from the flow of traffic on the trails, within stated boundaries, and in consideration of items 1-6 above!  Last of all, honor the natural beauty and serenity of the outdoors and all of nature’s creatures by speaking softly and minimizing sound.


For more information and additional resources regarding Leave No Trace please visit

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Old Fall River Road Is Now Open!

Usually open from July 4 – early October, Old Fall River Road, a one-way historic dirt road built between 1913 and 1920, follows the steep slope of Mount Chapin’s south face for 9.4 miles.


Two years after the epic flood of September 2013 washed out the historic dirt road, Senator Cory Gardner, Congressman Jared Polis and Federal Highways Administration Division Director Ric Suarez joined park superintendent Vaughn Baker to open Old Fall River Road for the 2015 season.


The $4 million project was funded by The Federal Highways Administration through the Emergency Relief for Federally Owned Roads (ERFO) program.


For information about Rocky Mountain National Park, please call the park’s Information Office at (970) 586-1363 or visit RMNP


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Flowers for Dessert

BB JUN29 010 This handsome Bull is one of our regular visitors. We noticed he has a taste for flowers as he wandered into the flower bed under our sign and efficiently bit the heads off almost all of the newly planted marigolds.
He then went on to eat the wild roses from the bush in front of the office window and finished off with piles of flowering clover.


Guests enjoyed his company for several hours as he ate his way around the property where the last of the early spring flowers and young Aspen shoots growing on the riverbank proved irresistible.

BB JUN29 013
 BB JUN29 006 Surprisingly, there are several varieties of edible flowers (including marigolds) that add both bright colors and fresh, surprising flavors to a cool summer salad which may be enjoyed riverside, right here at your home away from home.

For a close up of this Beautiful Boy or any of the other wild visitors who frequent our Aspen grove, check out our Last Minute and One Night availabilities. We look forward to welcoming you!


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Rock the Rodeo!

Named the Outstanding Small Rodeo in the nation four years in a row, the Annual Rooftop Rodeo features Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) cowboys competing in saddle bronco riding, steer wrestling, tie-down roping, bareback bronco riding, barrel racing and bull riding nightly. Daily kids events, fun, food, and general excitement fill the week with a one-of-a-kind Rodeo experience.


Everyone loves the popular Behind the Chutes Tour offered daily at 4:30p from Tuesday, July 7 through Sunday July 12. Advance tickets are highly recommended.  Kids can Mutton Bust each evening at 8:30p after the nightly Rooftop Rodeo Performances which begin at 7:30p.  Tuesday night Mutton Bustin’ is dedicated to Rocky’s 100th Celebration.  New this year for kids, at 9pm on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday the Cash Catch features young contestants chasing loose sheep to recover a $5 bill attached to the wool on its back.  Sign up for the same night’s Cash Catch at the Mutton Bustin’ booth  at the spectator gate. Cash Catch is limited to the first 100 visitors to register by 7pm.


Special events include “Dress Like a Rodeo Clown” night on Thursday night from 6p-7p.  This is a non-judged just for fun event for kids 5-11. The first 24 clowns enjoy an arena parade, photo ops, and a dip into the “treasure chest” for a special prize.


Friday, July 10 is Purple Night. The Man Up Crusade chose professional rodeo and the PRCA (Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association) to help spread the word and prevent domestic and teen dating violence.


On Saturday, July 11 Tough Enough to Wear Pink invites everyone – cowboys and girls alike, volunteers, spectators, and performers to wear pink to Saturday night’s Rooftop Rodeo Performance.


The Country Music Project, with its mix of male and female four-part vocals and instrumentation that includes acoustic, electric, and steel guitars, mandolin and banjo will keep you dancing all night at the Queen’s Dance held on both Saturday and Sunday, July 11 and 12, from 9:30p.


Gates & the Midway open at 5:30 pm; Nightly Rodeo Performance starts at 7:30 pm

Admission: $17 general admission; $25 box seats

Complete Schedule, More Info and Ticket Purchase: Rooftop Rodeo

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Bicycles are a common sight on Fall River Road and surrounding roadways in Estes Park where several kinds of rides – mountain, road and paved path – are available to fair weather visitors.  Bring your own wheels or visit one of the two excellent cycling shops in town that offer bicycle rentals, repairs, tours, gear and more. You can plan your own outing or tour with a guide at Estes Park Mountain Shop   (970) 586 – 6548 | (866) 303 – 6548  or at New Venture Cycling  (970) 231-2736.  Both offer guided tours, expert advice, and top-notch equipment.


Off-Road Mountain Biking   Roosevelt National Forest offers the most abundant opportunities for Mountain Biking as dozens of trails cover hundreds of miles in this preserved area. Pedal through pine-filled forests, across open grasslands and into terrain studded with rocks and hills. East of town, Pole Hill, also popular with ATV riders, is located just off 36, around mile marker 2. Ride here with care as epic boulders seem to appear out of nowhere on this nearly single track steep uphill climb. Hang in – the ride back down fast and thrilling!


Almost exactly across the street from Pole Hill, is Hermit Park Open Space, a Larimer County recreation area with access to the national forest trails. In addition to camping, cabins and hiking, mountain bikers can access the bike-friendly Homestead Meadows Connector Trail. This trail is 1.1 mile within Hermit Park, connecting to 12 miles of national forest trail. Find additional information, including maps, directions and access fees at


The one sweet spot for mountain biking enthusiasts in Rocky Mountain National Park is Old Fall River Road. Once open for the summer, this is a cars-only, one-way gravel road that climbs to the Alpine Visitor Center. However, mountain bikers flock to the switchbacks before and after the seasonal vehicle period to take advantage of the amazing views and unique terrain.


Remember: Trail bikes, mopeds, and bicycles are only allowed on established roads in Rocky Mountain National Park. Stick to the nearby National Forests for off-road trails and backcountry cycling.


Road Biking   There are 60 miles (97 km) of hard-surfaced road with a five to seven percent grade to challenge and delight any rider.  Highlights include Trail Ridge Road which offers road riders the experience of a lifetime with beautiful scenery, challenging altitude, switchbacks, curves, and hills where cyclists can let it out and fly. Do try to keep your tires on the road!  Trail Ridge Road is typically open between Memorial Day and mid-October. Check the current status of the road at 970-586-1222.


Other options for a challenging ride include the downhill slope from Estes Park to Drake (about 12 miles) which also provides an amazing uphill climb back to town.  Highway 7, the Peak to Peak Scenic Byway, features long climbs and fast downhill coasts with mountain side, panoramic views.  Fall River Road is a steady uphill climb that culminates at Endovalley Road.  Take a break before coasting back to town to enjoy a picnic in one of the lovely riverside meadows.


Road Warriors and drivers alike are advised to share the road – ride single file, signal and use proper turn lanes, and ride the way you drive – with caution and courtesy especially on steep and winding mountain roads where shoulders can be narrow or non-existent. Bicycles are allowed only on park roads (not trails or foot paths).   Remember: Commonly accepted mountain road courtesy calls for slower traffic to pull over and stop to allow congestion behind to pass where appropriate shoulder space is available. Keep in mind when planning: Summer is “chip and seal” season. The work often leaves loose, fine rock on the road that can be very hazardous to cyclists.


Be aware!   Remember to inspect brakes for worn cables and pads as descents may exceed 20 miles (32.2 km) and elevation losses of 4,000 feet (1,219 km).  Carry tools and spare parts. Make yourself visible! Wear Helmets; brightly-colored layers and waterproof clothing. Remember to carry food and to carry and drink lots of water.


Be prepared!  You may ride solo or in groups in Rocky where entrance fees do apply.   A weekly permit is $10 per bicycle.  Any bicycle group of more than 25 riders (including non-commercial and commercial) must contact the park Concession Office at 970-586-1209 for information on regulations, conditions, and permit requirements for cycling in Rocky Mountain National Park.


Be safe!  It is important to consider that Park roads have narrow or no shoulders and are often congested with heavy traffic.  Minimize conflicts with vehicles – Ride in the early morning hours when it is less busy, cooler, and safer on the road.  Try to be off the road in late afternoon when mountain thunderstorms and lightening create serious road biking hazards.


Leisure Bike Trails   Cruisers and families will appreciate the paved Lake Estes Bike Path. The ride is challenging without being overwhelming and the views are lovely. Thanks to nearby bike rentals www.estesparkmountainshop  and the ease of the route, even novices and young riders will be able to complete the picturesque 3.75-mile loop around the lake.


Cyclists looking for an extended ride can take the Lake Trail South, under the highway and through Stanley Park. This route continues south along Fish Creek, where cyclists can head west along the ponds at the Carriage Hills neighborhood, or continue south along Fish Creek to explore the beaver dams.


The Lake Estes Trail also connects with the downtown River Walk, where cyclists are asked to hop off and walk the bike through the busy pedestrian area. West past the downtown area cyclists can pick up the paved trail or ride the shoulder on up the scenic Fall River Road.


Bike Estes gives visitors group riding options.  Enthusiasts may enjoy taking a Saturday morning Show-n-Go Ride. The group meets at Kind Coffee, located at 470 E. Elkhorn Ave, at 7:00 a.m. Route length and difficulty varies. There’s always spectacular scenery and great company! Ride rain or shine! Saturday mornings from May 23 – Sept 5.  For more info please visit  or Group Rides

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Why Drive?

You are on vacation! Relax and enjoy the scenery while a pro does the driving for you!


Rocky Mountain Conservancy (right across the street from Boulder Brook) offers several excellent opportunities to relax and enjoy the wild.  The Grand Lake Safari, offered every Tuesday through August 25, is an all day outing to and from Grand Lake and includes trail and historic highlights, famous places, lots of photo ops, lunch, wildlife and leg-stretch stops.  The Journey to the Top! tour takes you up to Alpine Visitor Center and runs every Wednesday and Thursday through September 3.  The new Sunset Safari over Trail Ridge Road is offered every Friday evening through September 4. Experience the changing light, active wildlife, and calmness of dusk as you ascend in elevation from 7,522 feet in Estes Park to more than 12,090 feet. And if you are an Autumn visitor, Elk Expeditions – tours designed especially for elk viewing during the rut – are offered every Monday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evening from September 7 through October 17.  For detailed tour descriptions and registration information and access please visit  All RMConservancy tours feature professional education guides who lead interpretive walks, talks and discussions on geology, flora, fauna, and the cultural history of Rocky at a number of pull-outs. Participants are provided with abundant photo ops and enjoy the comfort of a 12-14-passenger van or bus. Bus Tour registration includes Rocky Mountain National Park admission fees.


If you just “Gotta Go!” sign up for a Waterfall Hiking Tour or Photo Safari in the neon Green Jeep that can also time travel! Take the Rustic Ranch Tour back to the early 1800’s over rough and rocky terrain through large meadows with galloping horses.  For more information and/or to book your tour please visit or  call 970-577-0034.


Great for the whole family, Rocky Mountain Rush offers several luxury on and off-road tours. Let their guides take you to the “Top of the World” a 3.5 hour tour up Trail Ridge Road for panoramic vistas and awe-inspiring nature.  The shorter “Sunset Tour” is great for families with younger children and features wildlife watching and many photo-ops in the lower valley. For the full list and to book your tour please call 970-586-8687 or visit


And for everything else – to meander, eat and shop downtown, enjoy the scenery on the way to dinner, or take the family on a day trip into RMNP, be sure to use the free shuttle and in-the-park hiker shuttle. Service began on June 27 and continues throughout the summer.  The free shuttle stops right in front of Boulder Brook and takes you downtown or to the visitor center where you can pick up a hiker shuttle and ride to and from almost any day-hike destination in Rocky!


No driving. No parking. No traffic concerns.  Just sit back, relax, enjoy and leave the driving to us!


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Come Visit Boulder Brook

Nestled next to the rambling waters of Fall River, Boulder Brook is ideally located to take advantage of the unique shopping of downtown Estes Park or the rugged splendor of the Rocky Mountain National more