Scenic USA - Colorado

Trail Ridge Road

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Trail Ridge Road - Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

Photos by Ben Prepelka
Scenic USA Photography

   The year 2015 marked the 100th anniversary of Rocky Mountain National Park, the highest park in America. Trail Ridge Road Mountain View - RMNP, Colorado Created with a pen stroke from President Woodrow Wilson, the 415 square mile park lives up to its name with 77 mountain peaks above 12,000 feet. Noted for its crystal clear lakes, roaring waterfalls and 355 miles of hiking trails, most of the three million yearly visitors can't wait to take Trail Ridge Road, the highest continually paved road in the United States.
   The 48 mile long Roof of the Rockies, one of Colorado's premier scenic byways, showcases the park's grand scenery, an exception variety of wildlife and often a visitor's first view of an alpine ecosystem. Cutting across the Continental Divide at Milner Pass (Elevation 10,758 feet), it would seem the Divide would be the highest point. But that distinction falls between Gore Range and Lava Cliffs overlooks, just south of the Alpine Visitor Center. Tundra View Milner Pass - RMNP, Colorado At this altitude (12,183 feet), the wind-swept landscape exhibits only sparse vegetation. Many of the plants in this alpine tundra ecosystem are similar to ones found in the Arctic Region.
   This autumn view captures the park's lower elevations covered in fir, spruce and blazing aspen trees. After the late spring snow's melt, summer wild flowers cover the park's mountain meadows and also adorn the roadsides of U.S. Route 34. Trail Ridge Road is usually open from Memorial Day to mid October, depending on favorable weather conditions. It's not long before visitors spot the park's most popular animal sightings include elk, mule deer, bighorn sheep and golden eagles. Although there isn't a lodge in the park, five campgrounds are spaced throughout the park. More than 250 back-country campsites invite the truly adventurous. Continue the celebration at Rocky Mountain National Park.

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