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Rocky Mountain National Park. It is a glorious place. Home to Longs Peak, the Diamond, Emerald Lake, Bierstadt Lake, Bear Lake, and much more. There are hikes with tear-inducing views, incredible climbing, and world-class fishing. At a time when the Front Range is too hot to climb and local rivers are too fast to fish, it is time to head to The Park. The Park is the ultimate outdoor oasis for both Colorado natives and Colorado newbies.

Lightning Struck Tree

Lightning Struck Tree

With over 300 miles of hiking trails, The Park has something for everybody: from more difficult hikes like The Keyhole Route up Longs Peak to casual strolls to nearby lakes and picnic areas. Some of the recommended hikes include: Ouzel Falls, Bear Lake, and if you feel like ticking a summit off the list, there are several summit hikes including the very scenic Deer Mountain.

Rocky Mountain National Park Granite

Rocky Mountain National Park Granite

The Park also offers amazing climbing. Early in the season, some boulders at higher elevations may still have a firm base of snow; however, much of the climbing in Lower Chaos Canyon, at Emerald Lake, and Wild Basin is free and clear of snow early in the spring. The rock itself is beautiful. Like an abstract painting, the granite swirls a mix gray, pink, green, and black, dotted only with small handprints of chalk. Tall, ominous peaks, clashing hard brown rock against a snowy crust, frame these ancient forms and provide a border to capture the sunny days and the cool mountain breeze.

Climber hiking back from Emerald Lake

Climber hiking back from Emerald Lake

The beauty of The Park does not stop at the panoramic views or the inspiring boulder problems. There are wildflowers beginning to bloom, there are fish in the water, infinite campfires to be had and plenty of star-filled skies ahead. To get to RMNP from Boulder, take Highway 36 straight through Lyons and Estes and follow signs for RMNP. The drive is about an hour and a half but well worth the journey. A day pass is available for $20 and an annual pass is $40. Permits for fishing and camping are extra, but again, are money and time well spent. More information regarding entrance fees, the sights to see, safety and permits is available at the Rocky Mountain National Park Information Office. At last, Park season is upon us.