Rocky Mountain Day Trip: Estes Park, CO
Why go in fall: Rocky Mountain National Park crowds have cleared out, and you can get your fix of fall color and wildlife.
Claim to fame: The town is the park’s eastern gateway.
In the news: President Obama signed legislation designating most of the Rocky Mountain park as wilderness.
Elevation: From the Estes Park gateway at 7,522 feet to the tip of Longs Peak at 14,259 feet, Rocky Mountain is well elevated.
Number of lakes in Rocky Mountain park: 147 Bring your binocs: Look for foraging wildlife like elk herds and bighorn sheep.
History lesson: Farmer Joel Estes is believed to have hosted the first tourists in 1859; as the spectacular scenery attracted more visitors, Rocky Mountain National Park was established in 1915.
Dress code: Hiking boots and a parka, and carry extra layers; the weather can change in a moment at high elevation.