Interesting Facts About Rocky Mountain National Park

Have you visited the Rocky Mountains in Colorado? The Rocky Mountain National Park is truly one of the most amazing natural wonders- and it is a great vacation destination for visitors of all ages.

The mountains are separated by the Continental Divide Trail, and the entire park expanses over 400 square miles with peaks reaching over 14,000 feet high.

The  Rocky Mountain National Park was established in 1915 and is a short distance from Denver making it the perfect attraction for a road-trip.

In fact, the Rocky Mountain National Park is one of the most well-attended and most-visited parks in the country, hosting more than three million people annually, on average.

Here are a few things you may not know about Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado.

rocky mountain national park
Daniel Mayer (Mav), CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

It Features the Highest Stretch of Road

The Rocky Mountain National Park features the highest stretch of continuous paved road in the country with the Trail Ridge Road.

At points, the road reaches an altitude of over 12,000 feet. The road is approximately 48 miles in length, offering spectacular views of the mountain which are unsurpassed.

The Trail Ridge Road was completed in 1932.

Sprague Lake is Named for the First Paying Visitor

Back in 1939, Abner Sprague was the first visitor to pay the National Park entrance fee of $3.

He was a local to the area who advocated for the park publicly.

Later, the Park would name one of their most visited and appreciated sites, Sprague Lake, after this man.

The Flowers are Something to See

Since there are such fluctuations in altitude, you will see diverse landscape and geography throughout the park.

This makes the wildflowers something special to see, and it is estimated that there are over one thousand different kinds thriving in the park.

Check out the beauty of the flowers, including the Mountain Iris and Colorado Columbine, the official flower for the state of Colorado.

The Park is Home to the Bighorn Sheep

If you want to see Bighorn Sheep, the Rocky Mountains are the perfect place and, in fact, the Bighorn is the symbol of this park!

It is estimated that around 400 Bighorns call the park home, and this breed is considered the largest among wild sheep.

The Park is also a bird lover’s paradise with nearly 300 bird species reported to habitat here.

Some birds that visitors may see during their stay include the Dusky Grouse and the Gray Jay, just to name a couple.

With roughly 400 bighorn sheep currently residing in the park, visitors are bound to come across a few during their stay.

With males weighing up to 300 pounds, they are the largest wild sheep.

There are over 280 different bird species known to habitat in the park, such as the White-tailed Ptarmigan, Dusky Grouse, and the Gray Jay.

The Park is Active in Winter, too

Do not limit your visits to summer months; there is much to see and do in the Rockies during the winter months, too.

From long wintry walks to skating on the lake and learning to ski or sledding down a hill for thrills, the Park comes alive when covered with snow.

Skiers and snowboarders would particularly enjoy this terrain.

The Deer Wear Collars

That’s right- some deer wear collars in Rocky Mountain National Park, but, why?

The collars are the Park’s way of tracking a serious health threat among deer and elk with is CWD, or Chronic Wasting Disease, which is often fatal.

So, if you happen to see a deer with a collar during your stay, it is to help keep the species alive, well, and around for years to come.

The Park is a Mushroom Hunter’s Paradise

Although it is not legal to collect mushrooms on Park property, there are many unusual and even rare types of mushrooms in Rocky Mountain National Park that you must see.

Note the vibrant Coral fungi throughout fallen trees or logs in the Park and if you are lucky, you may find a Morel or two in-season.

While you are not permitted to pick and collect mushrooms, take a picture!

Plan a trip to the Rocky National Park this summer- or this winter!

With such a diverse range of things to see and do, it makes the perfect vacation destination for the whole family.

Check out lodging and accommodations around nearby Denver for a centralized locale near restaurants, shopping, and other points of interest.

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