We're having a day trip at RMNP, so charge up your batteries!
Park Visitor's Guide: http://www.nps.gov/romo/planyourvisit/upload/trip_planner_2011.pdf
Park Map in PDF: http://www.nps.gov/romo/planyourvisit/upload/parkmap_2011.pdf
The emphasis on this trip is show you as many of the easily accessible highlights of the park as possible in one day. Obviously, you could spend weeks on end in the park and still only see a small fraction of it's beauty, but we'll try to get as much in as we can!
Directions (Travel time from Downtown Denver is approx 1.5-2 hours):
Take 34 or 36 to Estes Park.
Follow 36 through Estes Park to the Beaver Meadows Entrance Station.
Continue INTO the park (There is a $20 day pass fee to enter the park if you do not already have a national parks pass. I HIGHLY recommend you invest in a national parks pass as it supports preservation of our nation's natural treasures. You can purchase one at the park entrance as well that is valid for 1 year at every national park and many state parks).
Turn left AFTER Bear Lake Road, onto the dirt road labeled Upper Beaver Meadows Trailhead.
Continue to the end of the dirt road, approximately 1/2 mile.
We'll be meeting at the trailhead at 8:00am.
Schedule (ROUGH, we'll adjust it by group size)
8:00am: Upper Beaver Meadows Trailhead
9:00am: Alluvial Fan (Waterfall)
10:00am: Hidden Valley (Meadowlands) and Many Parks Curve (Overlook)
11:00am: Rainbow Curve (Overlooking Alluvial Fan)
12:00pm: Forest Canyon (Overlook)
1:00pm: Rock Cut (Tundra and Overlook)
2:00pm: Gore Range Overlook and stop for lunch at Alpine visitor center
4:00-7:00pm: Colorado River Trailhead and Kawuneeche Valley (Trailheads, marshland, and Moose!)
We'll be on paved roads with the exception of the short dirt road to Upper Beaver Meadows Trailhead, which is hard packed and does not require a 4x4 or high clearance.
Anyone who would like to carpool for the trip is welcome, please let me know if you need or would like to carpool, or can take additional passengers.
A tripod is recommended as you'll have lots of opportunities for panoramas, but not a necessity. I would also recommend both a wide angle and a telephoto zoom for the mixture of landscapes and wildlife.
It will be 30-50 degrees colder in the park than in the city of Denver (we'll be above the treeline during the hotest part of the day) so bring a good windbreaker or warm jacket and a hat/gloves to keep you comfortable in the tundra areas. Jeans and light hiking boots are a good idea as well.
We'll be skipping the parts of the park with the highest concentration of mosquitoes, but if you are tasty to them, remember to bring repellent! We'll also be under the sun most of the day, so be sure to bring some sun protection.
Pack a lunch and any snacks you want for the day. Don't forget to bring plenty of water.
Mobile phone signal is limited in the park, so please contact me before Saturday morning if you have questions.
Anyone who would like to continue at the end of the day with me to one of my favorite stellar photography spots (Just outside of Walden, CO) is welcome to, but I'm not including it in this outing as we already have a long day planned.
I'm putting this meetup on the group's schedule 3 times this summer as the Trail Ridge Road is only open from Memorial day to Mid-October because of heavy snow. Please do not miss out on this opportunity!