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Monday, April 15, 2024

Things To Do In And Around Rocky Mountain National Park

Read this post if you are looking for things to do in and around Rocky Mountain National Park.

If you are making this trip in your RV, read this post before you start packing - 10 Items You Should Have On Your Camping List.

2022 Cross-Country Road Trip Stop 22

As we were making our way to our second stop in Colorado, I got a text from daughter, Lisa, that the Stanley Hotel, where Stephen King got the inspiration for his book, The Shining, was in Estes Park, known as the base camp for Rocky Mountain National Park. She knew that the park was the next destination on our road trip. She told us that they had a Shining Tour that we might like to do if we had time. Yes! We would love to do that! And we did as soon as we set up and finished a quick dinner at the campground. 

I started this post with a review of the tour we took and realized that the review was turning into a blog post all it's own. So stay tuned!

We spent the following day at Rocky Mountain National Park

We parked the car and took the free in-park shuttle service. There were two shuttles. We boarded the Bear Lake Route shuttle. We got off at the first stop, Bierstadt Lake Trailhead. We were the only ones that got off and soon realized that Bear Lake was probably where we wanted to be. So we went back to where the shuttle dropped us off and waited to be picked up. As soon as we got off the shuttle for the second time, we knew we were finally at the right stop.

After talking to a ranger, we headed to the Bear Lake Loop. 

As soon as we got on the trail we were treated to the most breathtaking views!

We looped around Bear Lake and the followed the trail that led to Nymph Lake.

Nymph Lake was the smallest of the three lakes we hiked around. Rocky Mountain National Park has over 140 lakes.


From Nymph Lake we were able to get to Dream Lake. 

The lake and the whole area around the lake was mother nature's work of art.

We could have gone a little further up a steep trail and gotten to Emerald Lake but we decided that it couldn't be more gorgeous than Dream Lake. Plus we were getting tired and feeling even more tired just thinking about having to retrace our steps to get back to the shuttle so we headed back. 

The views were just as gorgeous on the way back. 

We got back to the campground and had leftovers for dinner. It was still light out and surprisingly we got a second wind. The town of Lyons was within walking distance of the campground so me and Sandie thought we would go into town to do some shopping. The guys thought it would be more fun to sit and relax at the campground with a couple of beers and cigars.

Well, they missed out. The very cute, small town of Lyons was just a short walk from the campground and worth the visit.

Before we knew it, it was starting to get dark out. It was time to head back. Once back at the campground, we spent a few minutes enjoying the stars shining in the perfectly clear sky above.

Our last day in Colorado was a Sunday so we searched for a catholic mass to attend. We found a church in Estes Park which worked out perfectly for us as we wanted to spend the day in the town.

Our Lady of the Mountains was named perfectly as we could see the Rocky Mountains just behind it. It was one of the most beautiful of all the churches we went to on our cross-country trip.

After mass it was time to check out the town and go shopping in Estes Park. It was a much bigger town than Lyons so that meant a lot more stores for me and Sandie to shop in.

A lot of other people had the same plan as us for this beautiful Sunday in Colorado.

Luckily the guys found places to sit as they waited for us. They volunteered to hold our packages while we shopped. Or rather, we volunteered them to take care of our packages!

The guys were very happy that we had a time limit for our shopping excursion. We had people to meet for dinner. Surprisingly, we got back with enough time to take a short walk around Lavern M. Johnson State Park where we were camping.

The park, bounded on three sides by a creek and sandstone cliffs, was one of the nicest and most beautiful places we camped in. 

After our walk, it was time to freshen up and be on our way to meet JT's second cousin, Katie, and her husband Nick, at Post Chicken & Beer in Longmont for dinner.

Me and Soko had never met them before so we had a great time getting to know them. One thing we did learn was that they got married in Rocky Mountain NP and we saw some of the amazing pictures of the beautiful bride in her gorgeous white gown and handsome groom posing in front of Emerald Lake! Maybe next time...

Our next stop was Moline, IL, the childhood home of our Dad, but it was too far from Lyons, CO to make it in one day. Stopping at a hotel in Nebraska would not only make this leg of the trip easier, but would allow us to cross this state off our bucket list!

2022 Cross-Country Road Trip Stop 23

Read about our Stop 21

Have you been to Rocky Mountain National Park? What things did you do in and around the park?

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  1. Gorgeous pictures! What a lovely time. I've been to RMNP once, and we drove all the way through from south to north, ending at Estes Park. It's a beautiful place. Thank you for sharing this post with me and my readers at the Will Blog for Comments #34 linkup. We hope to see you next week at #35, too, sharing more posts, old or new. Have a great week!

    1. What a great idea to drive all the way through. I wish we would have thought about doing that. Guess we will just have to go back!

  2. Oh I LOVE a good lake hike! Those views look incredible.

    1. Then you might want to visit Rocky Mountain NP one day with it's 140 lakes!

  3. Thank you for linking up at Gma’sPhoto ge•ner•ic Linkup Party. The party starts Friday and ends the following Thursday. Please join at

  4. Such a beautiful trip! I am sure that hike at the lake was refreshing. Thank you for sharing your trip with us at The Crazy Little Lovebirds link party #34.

    1. I wanted to stop by again and let you know that your post will be featured tomorrow at the Crazy Little Lovebirds party #35.

  5. I'm from Pennsylvania but I used to live in Longmont when I went to art school in Colorado in 1989. And I have to tell you I love the Estes Park shops. Oh how I'd love to go back and see the mountains again. This is a great roundup of things to do.
    Visiting today from Crazy Little Love Birds 34 #25&26

    1. That must have been so wonderful going to school in Colorado! I hope you get a chance to go back one day!

  6. I We have never been to RMNP but your post makes me want to go soon! We live in Minnesota and our favorite place to hike is the North Shore of Lake Superior, especially in the fall! This looks like a beautiful place to hike! Visiting via the Crazy Little Birds link up today.

    1. I will add the North Shore of Lake Superior to our bucket list in case we are ever in Minnesota again!

  7. Thanks bunches for sharing this with Sweet Tea & Friends April Link up.