Western Side of Rocky Mountain Natl Park


ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK Leisurely hiking, fishing and ranger programs are just a few of the activities available for families who visit Rocky Mountain National Park this summer. Since most of the park's three million visitors enter from its eastern side, vacationers who opt to explore the park's western side, using Grand County as a base, will encounter far less crowded roads, fewer people and more opportunities to "get away from it all." From sitting on the beach at nearby Grand Lake to wilderness hiking, there is something to please every family member. Hiking Never Summer Ranch--This pleasant, level trail runs through a meadow bursting with wildflowers. The route is a half-mile in each direction and begins at the Never Summer Ranch parking area, located within the national park north of Grand Lake on U.S. Highway 34. Coyote Valley Trail-The one-mile trail, a cool and easy walk for families, follows the Colorado River through a wetlands area. The trailhead is located five miles north of the national park's Kawuneeche Visitor Center off U.S. Highway 34. East Shore--The walk begins at the spillway to Shadow Mountain Lake, south of Grand Lake, and follows the shoreline north. Colorado River Trail--Although a longer hike, this walk can easily be completed in a day. Located 10 miles north of the Kawuneeche Visitor Center, the trail is three and three-quarter miles long, culminating at the abandoned mining camp of Lulu City. Fishing Although water levels are higher than usual this year, fishing in Grand County is still ideal, with the best conditions found where water moves from streams and rivers into lakes. The Colorado River, whose headwaters are in Grand County, is fishable at four or five access points. Fishermen ages 15 and up are required to have a fishing license in Colorado. Several commercial establishments in Grand Lake, located on Rocky Mountain National Park's western boundary, sell licenses. To update yourself on the latest fishing information, call or stop at the Kawuneeche Visitor Center and ask at the information desk. Ranger Activities The Kawuneeche Visitor Center hosts several informative programs daily throughout the summer. Among this year's most popular: "Come Bug a Ranger," when the participants learn about the insect residents of Rocky Mountain National Park and their habitats; "Visit to a Forest Home," which includes a one and one-half mile trek into the forest with a ranger who tells where animals reside; "Skins and Things," which educated participants on animals that live in the park; and organized tours to the Never Summer Ranch. The Kawuneeche Visitor's Center is open from 7am-7pm through Labor Day. Along with its ranger programs, the center has several videos on Rocky Mountain National Park that are available for public viewing. Camping From U.S. Forest Service campgrounds and "primitive" camping within the Arapaho National Forest to commercial campgrounds offering a wide variety of amenities, family camping opportunities in Grand County are plentiful. Timber Creek Campground, with 100 sites available on a first-come, first-served basis, is located seven miles inside the west entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park. Backcountry permits are required for any overnight stays outside of a designated campground. A map of Forest Service campgrounds is available at the Kawuneeche Visitor's Center; the Grand Lake area also has commercial campgrounds. Grand Lake The resort village of Grand Lake offers an assortment of family-oriented activities, including horseback riding, mini-golf and bumper boats at the Grand Lake beach. A variety of affordable lodging is available; motels, cabins and condominiums are also found in nearby Granby, Fraser and Winter Park.

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