The Rocky Mountains are a mountainous range that can be found throughout the states of Colorado, Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming. This massive area is simply gorgeous and no other destination in the world can compete with the beauty you can see here year-round. So if you are thinking about a vacation in the Rocky Mountains read on. A visit to this part of the country will have you exploring history while wandering around the great outdoors. And yet, you will also find yourself mesmerized with all the things you can do inside.
The Rocky Mountains have earned the nickname, The Rockies, which isn’t surprising since they were formed millions of years ago. Animals used to be the only creatures that roamed this natural area, but at the end of the last Ice Age, people moved into the region. From that time forward, more and more people arrived in The Rockies. The most popular arrivals were Sir Alexander Mackenzie from Europe and Lewis and Clark.
The Rocky Mountain National Park was created after the signing of the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. Most of the highest mountains in this region can be found within the state of Colorado. Therefore, that is the area where most people venture when they want to visit the Rocky Mountains.
Colorado is also where many of the historic events took place and where history will live on long into the future. In fact, the national park has implemented many ways to preserve specific items within the park itself, as well as the items in the museums.
Mild temperatures arrive in most areas surrounding the Rocky Mountains during the spring. However, snow can still fall up in the mountains until later in the month of May. The weather during this time of the year can be very unpredictable, so you will want to be prepared for cold one day and possibly warmth the next.
Summertime in the Rocky Mountains means hot temperatures, especially when you are not hiking in the mountains. Thunderstorms are frequent in this part of the country and you must be prepared for hail to fall during any of them. It is best to plan your time outside around the times of the storms because you don’t want to be in the middle of nowhere when one begins.
The weather in the Rocky Mountains is just as unpredictable during the fall as it is during the spring months. There is always a chance of snow during the month of September, and yet you can still see 90-degree days during this time of the year. You can even have a hot day followed by a snowy day or vice versa. The wind can also pick up at this time of the year, which makes the temperatures seem lower than they really are.
Brutal snow and cold are what you should expect when you visit the Rocky Mountains during the winter months. There is definitely a wind chill in this region, and you won’t like it if you are not dressed appropriately. While this area is used to snow, it doesn’t take much for a blizzard to shut things down.
The time of year you are visiting the Rocky Mountains will determine what you need to pack for your vacation. During the summer months, you can wear shorts and t-shirts. But you may prefer pants to go with your hiking boots if you plan to hit the trails.
The winter months will mean warm clothes and layers. A warm winter coat, hat, gloves, and winter boots are also a must, even if you don’t plan on spending a lot of time outside. During the spring and fall, you will want to have clothing for both winter and summer. Since these months of the year are so unpredictable, you are never going to know exactly what you will need to wear during your visit.
One of the favorite activities in the Rocky Mountains is hiking the trails. There are so many different trails within these mountains and each trail offers opportunities for different skill levels. That means you do not need to be an avid hiker to conquer one of these trails!
If you happen to vacation in the Rocky Mountains during the winter months, you won’t be hitting the trails unless you are wearing snowshoes. Thankfully, the ski slopes will be open, so you can see the great outdoors in a different way. Simply head up to the top of the slopes and ski down to see gorgeous views you will never forget.
While you can easily hike and ski to see different types of scenery, you may prefer to check a few things out from the comfort of your car. I recommend taking a scenic drive while you are in the Rocky Mountains. A scenic drive will allow you to take in the sights, while also having an adventure or two along the way. The Trail Ridge Road is one of the best options inside Rocky Mountain National Park. However, it is only open from late spring until the beginning of fall. Therefore, we must plan your trip carefully if you want to add this family adventure to your itinerary.
Other amazing activities you will want to embrace with your family in the Rocky Mountains include:
One of the most popular places to see within the Rocky Mountains is Bear Lake. You will find this lake inside Rocky Mountain National Park. You will be a little more than nine thousand feet above sea level when you visit this lake, so you must be prepared for the altitude change. Other lakes in the area include Dream Lake and Emerald Lake and you can hike to them from this lake. You can also hike to Alberta Falls from Bear Lake. However, I recommend starting that hike over at the Glacier Gorge trailhead. That route is less than a mile, which is perfect if you want to squeeze it in with other hikes on a specific day.
If you are looking for spectacular views when you are in the Rocky Mountains, I recommend heading over to the Longs Peak Viewpoint. This viewing point is located on Highway 7 and it has an elevation of more than fourteen thousand feet. While this is the highest summit within the park, it is a must-see for the views alone! Another overlook you may want to add to your list is the Forest Canyon Overlook.
One of my other must-see sights in the Rocky Mountains is the Continental Divide. You can see this divide when you travel along Trail Ridge Road. This attraction is magnificent, because it divides the continent in two. But the best part is seeing water flowing in two different directions from the divide.
The Taste of Vail is an incredible food and wine festival that is held in Vail, Colorado every spring. This festival is well-known throughout the country and is actually considered one of the best food and wine festivals in all of North America. There are thirty chefs in attendance, as well as approximately fifty wineries. This festival lasts for four days. During that time, you can attend multiple signature events that includes trying new wines being debuted or sipping wine at the top of a mountain.
The International Snow Sculpture Championships are held in Breckenridge every year during the month of January or February. Sculpting teams from all around the world arrive in the area to create masterpieces out of 12-foot-tall blocks of snow. The snow weighs at least twenty tons and the teams only use hand tools throughout the sculpting process. Miraculously, five days later, the snow sculptures are ready for everyone to admire.
The Frozen Dead Guy Days Festival is held in Nederland during the month of March every year. This is a three-day event that celebrates Grandpa Bredo, who is a frozen town resident. You will love all the live music, beer, and food. However, it is the salmon toss and coffin race that will bring you back to this festival year after year!
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