Walking in the Colorado River in Rocky Mountain National Park

Summer in Rocky Mountain National Park

Summers are short, but oh, so sweet in Rocky Mountain National Park. Here are three ways to enjoy it. 


Hikers from all over the world come to Rocky Mountain National Park to explore its rivers, valleys, peaks, and forests. “Where should I hike?” is probably the most common question rangers hear, but the answer depends. 

Short and sweet? Adams Falls is a classic, and Coyote Valley is definitely the easiest, a 1-mile trail with no climb allowing you to stretch your legs and take in the views from the Kauwenechee Valley. 

For moderate hikes, the Big Meadow Trail from the Green Mountain Trailhead is a friendly 1.7 mile hike. Tombstone Ridge is a kid-friendly 4-miler through alpine tundra with jaw-dropping mountain views. 

More serious hikers will love Timber Lake trail, a 12-mile out-and-back hike with waterfalls and wildlife. The trail eventually climbs to a beautiful alpine lake. There is some scrambling necessary over a recent landslide, but it’s a generally moderate hike with little traffic and abundant solitude and scenery.

Visit a Historic Site

Built by German immigrants Sophia and John Holzwarth in 1917, the Holzwarth Historic Site is a high-country homestead that’s an incredible testament to the strength and fortitude it took to carve a life out of the mountain wilderness. The couple built several cabins and began offering a German-style lodging experience to visitors, eventually running a dude ranch, which was purchased by the Nature Conservancy and eventually transferred to the Park in 1974. 

At the site you can see what pioneer life was like in the Rockies, and how the ranch hands lived and worked and what the guest quarters were like. Kids can try their hand at old-time chores, like washing clothes on with a washboard and basin. 

For the true inside scoop, book a private tour with Lively Tours and Talks—local historian and guide Dave Lively will steer you away from the crowds to off-the-beaten-path landmarks that many visitors miss.

Wildlife Viewing 

If you want to see wildlife, especially moose and elk, one of the best places to catch them is in the Kauwenechee Valley, just past the west entrance of the park. The best time of day to spot them? Right around dusk. We suggest you head to the park around 7 pm (the park is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, weather permitting). 

As dusk approaches, animals appear, particularly moose with young ones at their side. You’re bound to see one from your car, but be sure to observe from a distance and do not approach them. Cow moose with calves are considered the most dangerous mammals in North America.

With sunny skies, warm weather, wildflowers, and wilderness in abundance, Rocky Mountain National Park in summer is a true adventurer’s paradise. Be aware that due to the East Troublesome Fire in fall of 2020, some areas may be inaccessible, so be sure to check the park’s website for current closures and re-openings.


The vast mountainous territory that makes up Rocky Mountain National Park has a long and fascinating history. The region has been inhabited by humans for centuries, primarily by members of the Ute tribe.

Hiking Trails

If you’re looking for hikes near Granby, Rocky Mountain National Park is a world unto itself. Plan a leisurely stroll, epic multi-day trip, or something in between, at this stunning natural destination you’ll remember for the...