Elk graze in this vast meadow surrounded by glacier-hewn peaks. At sunrise, the mountains gleam and the winding Big Thompson River glitters in the light.
Hike 14,259-foot Longs Peak, or ogle its awesome cliffs from Chasm Lake (an 8.4 mile hike, one way).
This 30-foot gusher is most impressive during runoff in May and June, but produces a delightfully cooling mist throughout the summer and fall.
The highest continuously paved highway in the U.S., this 48-mile route connects the town of Grand Lake (on Rocky Mountain’s west side) to Estes Park (the eastern gateway). In between, it scales treeless peaks and crosses the Continental Divide.
Jagged stone towers surround this shimmering, 10,110-foot-high alpine lake, reached via a moderate, 3.5-mile (round trip) hike from Bear Lake.
Paddle a kayak or SUP across Colorado’s largest natural lake, which affords wide-open panoramas of the surrounding peaks.
Moose and elk love the mixture of grassy meadows and marshes surrounding the Colorado River, which threads through this broad, mountain-ringed valley.
Located at 11,796 feet, this is the highest visitor center in the National Park Service and overlooks vast swaths of treeless alpine tundra.
A natural salt lick near these lakes attracts so many bighorn sheep that from May through June, a volunteer crew nicknamed the Bighorn Brigade directs traffic on nearby Trail Ridge Road so that sheep can safely cross.
Arguably the most stunning lake in Rocky Mountain National Park, Odessa demands a 8.2-mile (round trip) hike. Make it an overnight by nabbing a permit for a backcountry campsite near the lake.