Spring Trip to Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

Estes Park, Colorado, Gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park. On our visit last Fall, I wrote a lengthy post about awe-inspiring scenery, the male elk that lined the roadsides and the food that I packed along for the stay in the cabin. Let’s see what Springtime in the Rockies holds for this trip.

Awe inspiring scenery: I mean really, how many photos can I take of 14,259 feet tall Long’s Peak.  Obviously not enough, I’ve probably been to the park 30 times and each visit I stand there and take photo after photo. First ascended by John Wesley Powell in 1868, some think this mountain is Colorado’s Premier Peak. It is named after Major Stephen Long, who explored the area in the 1820s. Longs Peak is one of the most prominent mountains in Colorado, rising 7,000 feet above the town of Estes Park. And when you get close up and personal with that mountain, you literally can’t take your eyes, or camera off it’s grandeur.

Elk Lining the Roadsides: And I mean really, how many photos of Elk can I take.  Well obviously not enough. Last Fall’s visit during rutting season resulted in us being smack dab in the middle of Spring calving. As the females were tucked away in the trees, bearing and raising the young, these proud males were front and center posing roadside for tourists.  And no matter how many you see, you always stop to take a photo.

One of our favorite paths was marked with a somewhat attention getting sign that found us turning around to find another thing to do.

We diverted to the nearby Estes Park Downtown Riverwalk. A tunnel under Highway 36 goes along the Big Thompson leading past clever shops and quaint restaurants. The entrance to the tunnel is decorated with brightly colored tiles hand painted by elementary students.

Most of the tiles depict mountains, elk, trout or birds, but I knew if I looked long enough I’d find a foodie in the group.

Food, music or political statement?  Whatever message this student was drawing, “give peas a chance” seems to work.

Along one of our hikes, we pass this privately owned cabin inside Rocky Mountain National Park.

Just another scenery shot, this was taken right after a rain shower.

And I can never take enough photos of the dogs. This is little Chili relaxing in the afternoon sun on the patio of the cabin.

Our view of Marmot Ridge from our deck. Yes, we forgot wine glasses and no, we never saw a marmot on the ridge.

Food that I Packed For The Stay In The Cabin:  I mean how many photos can I take of food that I hauled up to the cabin. Well, obviously not enough. We enjoyed chicken fingers with buttermilk dressing for lunch, lemon chive pasta with Hollandaise and asparagus for dinner, berries and English muffins for breakfast, BLT and berries for another breakfast, and country ham sandwiches for a lunch.

Plenty of hikes and walks took care of most of those calories. This is one of our favorites, through an Aspen grove to Fern Lake.

Rocky Mountain National Park…It’s What’s for a Summer Get-Away.

On this day..

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    • Lea Ann says

      Aren’t those antlers fabulous!? They all had them, even the younger males that were just getting antlers. Chili is my baby. :)

  1. says

    Chili is so cute! Fantastic views! I love the coffee cups … and obviously there were not enough pictures! I could look at pictures of the gorgeous views all day long!

  2. says

    Great pictures, Lea Ann. Can’t wait to pack up and make it up to the mountains soon. Little Chili is the cutest. I totally understand that he has to be in the post. Wine out of mugs takes some getting used to and made me smile, but works in a pinch.

    • Lea Ann says

      Thanks Kirsten! Yes, we think that little Chili is just a handsome guy! I guess the mugs were better than drinking it straight from the bottle! :)

    • Lea Ann says

      Lots-o-birds. I’d say bird of the trip was the “attack of the MacGillervy’s Warber”. It was one of those had to be there moments.

  3. says

    You certainly live in a beautiful part of the world Lea Ann. We’ve only been out west once and there we visited friends in Idaho near Yellowstone. Had the time of our lives.

    You sure did a spectacular job of recipe planning. It seems like so much trouble while you are doing it, but it sure pays off in the end. Love your wine glasses. We’ve used a similar set before when on vacation and they are very versatile.

    • Lea Ann says

      You’re always welcome to the Rocky Mountains Sam. We’d love to entertain you in Western style. And thank you, I almost love the planning as much as the cooking, serving, photographing and eating. And, those wine glasses worked great. :)

  4. says

    Oh, your little munchkin is so darned cute! I love his haircut. He needs to have his own FB page like Boo. He is just as cute. What a beautiful trip. Rocky Mountain Nat’l Park always means chicken fingers to us too. The perfect picnic food.

    • Lea Ann says

      I just did a search for Boo on Facebook and couldn’t find him. I always love chicken fingers… so easy and easy to travel.

  5. says

    Always love a good ‘ride along’ Lea Ann and you really covered some ground with your post; thank you! I was just in the mountains this past weekend and there is something so peaceful about it in the warmer months. Beautiful scenery and I loved seeing the bridge tiles up close! One of those things I’ve driven by and seen from afar but never up close.

    Do you have any lodging recommendations since you stay when you go up there? The patio view was pretty fabulous. Would love to hear your preferred spots.

  6. says

    You live in and around beautiful country, Lea Ann. I always enjoy your photos, not only for their beauty, but sense of humor.
    The tile idea was very clever of someone and the “whirled peas” made me smile. Wonder what was to be done with them after whirling?

    • Lea Ann says

      Thank you Barbara, our scenery is awesome. A vacation in our backyard. Whirled peas was most certainly a “find” on that wall.

  7. says

    Gorgeous! I agree you can never take enough pictures of that breathtaking scenery. (guilty of that, myself) Love the shot of the bull elk – magnificent! Also in love with that colorful tunnel. Especially the rascally child that painted the political joke . . . a kid after my own heart. Your food looks so delicious. Why have we never camped together? 😉
    p.s. in 2009 your historic post was Montana Caprese.

    • Lea Ann says

      I agree with rascally. :) Well heck, let’s get those tents out, fire up that campfire and cook up something fun! Yep, that Montana Caprese is one of my favorite posts, and favorite food finds. Hugs.

  8. says

    I adore Estes Park! Can’t believe I waited until just a few weeks ago to stay overnight there. Thanks for the lovely photos–so nice to see reminders of the place.

    • Lea Ann says

      LOL … like I wait long enough for any wine to breath. :) I love that cowboy sign Chris. Wouldn’t it be perfect for the header of my blog. Sheesh, can’t change it again so quickly after my last re-design.

  9. says

    Really I love Estes Park and I live in Estes Park, Colorado. I know about Estes Park and Rocky Mountain national Park. If you go then you never leave this places because It’s good place in Estes Park. We have a streamside on fall river company in Estes Park. We offer Estes Park Lodging, hotels, cabins and resorts etc. Thanks for sharing info !

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