Boulder Brook Blog

Just Take A Walk!


 DD JAN 30 034 After hiking and snowshoeing and running and riding and climbing and adventuring in the park, it’s nice to slow down, relax, and appreciate the forest for the trees.
For a lovely, panoramic view of the valley and wonderful wide angle photo ops as well as close-ups, take a leisurely meander along Lumpy Ridge Trail.  DD JAN 30 030
 DD JAN 30 046  

Remember to look up! The rock formations are a wonderful expression of nature as art. How many critters and creatures can you find?




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Winter fun in the mountain sun!

RMNP is open every day of the year and offers many opportunities for outdoor adventure, sport and play, photography, wonder and wildlife watching.


Snowshoeing is simply winter hiking with appropriate shoes and outerwear. Family friendly with no training necessary, most park trails are navigable with snowshoes. Generally, if you can hike, you can snowshoe.  At the very least, you’ll need a pair of waterproof boots and snowshoes.  Poles are helpful for maintaining balance, but are considered optional. Waterproof pants or gaiters help keep you warm and dry. Layers help keep you comfortable while sunscreen, sun glasses, gloves, a hat, a scarf, snacks and water make the outing more enjoyable for everyone.


If it’s your first visit to the Park in the winter or if you’d like the added fun and security of a guide, make your reservation to Snowshoe with a  Ranger.  On the East side of the park Free Beginning Snowshoe walks are offered each Saturday, Sunday and Wednesday from January through March, depending on conditions.  Visit for details and reservation information.


Sledding, sliding and beginner boarding in Hidden Valley – the one place in Rocky where “good ol’ fashioned” sledding is allowed. No tows are provided; you walk your sled, saucer, or tube up the hill and slide down the somewhat gentle slope which is the bunny slope of the former Hidden Valley Ski Area. Skiers, snow boarders, and snowshoers may pass with caution and must slow down to yield the right-of-way to sleds. A restroom is at the bottom of the hill by the parking lot. On most weekends when there’s an attendant, a warming room is also available. Winter winds can scour the area, causing conditions to vary sometimes throughout the day.  Before you go, call the Park information Office at 970-586-1206 for the latest weather, sledding conditions, and relevant general information.


Cross-country Skiing through a sun-warmed silent forest blanketed in fresh, white snow is invigorating and rejuvenating in that it pairs physical exercise with the beauty of nature. You will need skis and poles with large baskets, and waterproof pants or gaiters (or both) to help keep you warm and dry. In general, terrain and deeper snows on the west side of the park make for better for cross-country skiing, but you are welcome to strap on your skis throughout the park.  The park info line 970-586-1206 is a great resource for trail information and daily weather and wind conditions.


Wildlife Watching, photography, awe and wonderMany park roads are open in winter to provide access to the wintry world park wildlife call home. Winter is an especially good time to look for elk, mule deer, moose, and other large mammals. Elk and mule deer are most active at dusk and dawn, and are usually seen in meadow areas. Look for bighorn sheep along the Highway 34/Fall River corridor on the park’s east side. Coyotes may be seen any time of day. Members of the Jay family, including Steller’s jays, with their striking blue bodies and crested heads, gray jays, Clark’s nutcrackers, and the iridescent, long-tailed black-billed magpies are commonly seen in the park. Moose tend to live more on the park’s west side along the Colorado River.


If you’re not packing a sled, snowshoes, poles, or skis, it’s easy and convenient to rent what’s needed. Several shops in town offer winter equipment rental including snowshoes, cross-country skis, poles, boots, sleds, tubes, saucers, gaiters, and even stabilizers can be rented or purchased. Please ask at our Front Desk for equipment rental coupons and information.


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Was he the model for your sign?

Nov 24 Elk 001

No, he wasn’t the original model. Striking resemblance though, wouldn’t you say?


Whether or not the flowers are in bloom, Elk enjoy our garden and front lawn.  Winter is very challenging for wildlife as food is harder to find and is not as rich and nutritious as the ripe spring, summer and early fall forage.


Remember to view and photograph Elk from a safe distance.  Elk are wild animals. We live in their backyard so they can live in ours.

It’s always a happy day when our guests arrive to a greeting party of impressive young bulls. This handsome guy is part of a group of three that spent the afternoon grazing in the sun and entertaining our visitors with their presence. 


Nov24 Elk2

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Do it with a Ranger!

Rangers are one of our greatest resources.  As experts in local terrain, flora, fauna and wildlife, Rangers watch over and tend to the Park and park visitors with care, enthusiasm and a wealth of knowledge and experience they eagerly share.


Beaver Meadows Visitor Center is open all year and offers a variety of winter programs and opportunities for adventure, exploration and learning in the company of a Ranger.  Drop in any day between 10a and 11a for Wild in Winter! to learn with a Ranger about winter in Rocky and about how humans and animals alike adapt in this beautiful and challenging season.


Saturday Evening Programs (Jan 16, Jan 30, Feb 13, Feb 27, Mar 12) Celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the National Park Service with a variety of engaging, one-hour Ranger-led programs. For details on each day’s program, visit, call the Park Office at 970 586‑1206, or check in at the visitor center before heading into the park for a sunny late morning trek in the windswept snowscape.


Whether you love to snowshoe or you’d love to learn and are feeling a little bit adventurous, reserve your place on a 2-hour, Ranger-led Snowshoe Ecology Walk offered daily at 12:30p from Jan 2–Mar 19.  Learn technique, gain skill and knowledge as you traverse various terrain and explore the natural world of a subalpine forest.  Ages 8 and up only. No previous experience needed. Bring your own snow­shoes. Reservations required no more than 7 days in advance by calling 970 586‑1223 from 8 am to 4 pm. (Snowshoe and gear rental services are available in town. Ask at the Front Desk for more info.)


Imagine the snowfields glowing in silver moonlight beneath the Milky Way in the stillness of the night. The Ranger-led Full Moon Walk is a 1 to 1.5 hour walk held only on the nights of the full moon – Jan 23, Feb 22, and Mar 23, 2016.  Start Times and locations will vary each month.  Reservations required no more than 7 days in advance by calling 970 586‑1223 from 8a to 4p daily. Maximum of six (6) people per reservation.  Outdoor clothing and gear appropriate for the night-time, outdoor conditions are required.


Special Holiday Programs are offered from December 26 – January 1. Stop by the visitor center or call 970 586‑1206 for specific topics and times.  If you’ve got a bigger group or larger family, Park rangers may be available to provide special programs just for you!  Call 970 586-3777 to make reservations in advance.


Rangers and Ranger-led programs are kid friendly and you don’t have to be a kid to enjoy them.  Junior Rangers have fun discovering the natural world and learning about our national parks. We need the help of ALL our rangers to keep Rocky protected for many years to come.  Pick up a free Junior Ranger Activity Booklet at any visitor contact station, discover the park, and earn your badge!


New in 2016 and just for 4th Graders!!  you and your family get free access to hundreds of parks, lands, and waters for an entire year.  How do you get your free pass? Visit Every Kid in a Park at  do a short activity, print your voucher, and bring it with you to the park entrance station. That’s it!  For a full line-up of real time and virtual kid and youth oriented activities and programs, please visit


Remember, Trail Ridge Road and Old Fall River Road are closed for the season.  For Park information and current road conditions please call 970-586-1206.  For Colorado road conditions please visit 

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Daylight Savings – Slow Down!

Elk viewing is by far one of the most engaging and fascinating activities to enjoy especially in the colder months when the local herd spends more time “down-valley” and downtown.


Elk, like much of our local wildlife, feed, forage, and meander all day but are generally most active at dawn and dusk.  As dusk arrives earlier in the winter months, motorists and visitors are advised to be alert and cautious – Elk have no boundaries and wander freely – often close to, beside, across or in the road especially in slick weather, where footing is sturdy.


Visitors downtown may also enjoy “Elks on Parade” the almost daily crossing of the herd from the Visitor Center/Estes Lake area to the surrounding grazing and napping areas.


Elk are like shadows at dusk and can often appear to come out of nowhere.  To prevent incidents and/or collisions between autos and elk, visitors are encouraged to Slow Down! relax the foot on the gas pedal and engage the senses to improve driver reaction time and viewing pleasure.


For the best possible experience with the least possible disturbance, remember to Slow Down! Stay Alert and Look Ahead and Around your vehicle. Watch for the reflections of headlights in shining eyes and on Wapiti (white rumps!). Obey traffic signs and exercise extra caution in  active wildlife areas.


Drivers involved in a wildlife/vehicle collision should immediately report the accident to Colorado State Patrol by balling *CSP (Star* key and 227).  For more information on wildlife and traffic safety please visit www.

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Trail Ridge Road Closed for the Season

RMNP is open and welcomes visitors 365 days a year.  Trail Ridge Road, with eleven miles above 11,500 feet, few guard rails and no shoulder, winter conditions of drifting snow, high winds and below freezing temperatures above 10,000 feet, was not designed for winter travel.  On Friday, October 30, 2015, Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park officially closed to through travel for the season.  Guests are able to drive up to Many Parks Curve on the east side.   Bear Lake Road, Moraine Park, and Horseshoe Park are all open for hiking, wildlife watching, photography, and seasonal sport, adventure and fun.


According to acting park superintendent Ben Bobowski, “At higher elevations with freezing temperatures, ice and snow continues to blow and drift on Trail Ridge Road, making snow clearing operations and driving conditions extremely hazardous.  During the winter season, weather permitting, we will keep Trail Ridge Road open to Many Parks Curve on the east side of the park and to the Colorado River Trailhead on the west side of the park.”


Old Fall River Road closed for the season on October 23.  Trail Ridge Road and Old Fall River Road will remain open to bicycles and leashed pets until November 30, re-opening on April 1, except during road maintenance operations and emergency closures as posted.  Cyclists and pet owners may utilize the road at their own risk.  After November 30, both of these roads will revert to “winter trail status” which means that bicycles and leashed pets are not permitted beyond the closed gates.


For current road conditions and other park information, please call the park’s Information Office at (970) 586-1206.


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Old Fall River Road Closed for the Season

Old Fall River Road has closed for the season. It remains open to bicycles and leashed pets until November 30, 2015, reopening on April 2, 2016, except during road maintenance operations and emergency closures as posted. Cyclists and pet owners utilize the road at their own risk.

Trail Ridge Road October 23 Near Ute Trail

Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park continues to be closed to due to snow accumulation from the recent storm, three foot drifting in some locations and freezing temperatures.   It is unknown when the road may reopen. 

For recorded Trail Ridge Road status please call (970) 586-1222.  For more information about Rocky Mountain National Park please call the park’s Information Office at (970) 586-1206 or visit

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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