Monday, July 1, 2013

Summer Rocks on the West Side of Rocky Mountain National Park

Home to the western slope of Rocky Mountain National Park, Grand County, Colorado is a summer favorite for families preferring to experience this adventure wonderland in less-crowded destinations. To help visitors grasp the big picture, the park offers complimentary ranger-led programs throughout the season.

From daytime hiking past meadows and rivers along the Continental Divide Trail, to roasting marshmallows with a wrangler around a campfire, all ages can celebrate the great outdoors. Regardless of the day or evening you visit, there’s something on the calendar.

Here’s a look at the programs being offered on the park’s West Side throughout the summer:

Walks & Hikes

* Hike Through History – Discover hidden remnants of mining and dude ranch history along the Colorado River on a gentle three-mile hike.

* Inside The Fence – Enter an "exclosure" to learn about moose, elk and beaver, and explore habitat recovery firsthand.

* Beyond The Falls – Take an easy one-mile stroll to Adams Falls and soak in the spectacular view beyond.

* Mountain Wildflowers – A ranger leads the way to current blooms and explains what makes them so special. Ends 8/13.

* Rocky Mountain Heritage Walk – Learn Kawuneeche Valley history while exploring a historic guest ranch. Starts 6/22.

* Wilderness Connections – This moderate two-mile hike along a new section of the Continental Divide Trail features a meadow and river.

Children’s Programs (End Mid-August)

* Junior Ranger Program – Earn a Junior Ranger badge with a one-hour program and activities.

* Web Walkers – Explore a section of the Colorado River (6 -12 years).

* Come Bug A Ranger – Learn fun facts about insects. Includes puppets, stories and activities (4 - 10 years)

* Walk Backwards – Step back in time and experience life on a 1920s dude ranch with chores, games and period costumes (6 - 12 years).

Talks & Activities

* Holzwarth Historic Site – Tour a 1920s-era dude ranch for a taste of early homesteading and tourism.

* Skins And Things – Examine the skins, skulls, antlers, teeth and bones of park mammals.

* Ranger’s Flyfishing School – Learn about the park’s fish management program, stream ecology and flycasting. Bring your flyfishing gear or borrow the ranger’s. Runs 6/24 - 8/12

* Behind The Scenes – See short videos documenting how the park addresses challenges like elk management, pine beetles and bear safety. Starts 6/22

* Sisters Of Courage – Learn about the pioneer experience through the story of the remarkable Harbison sisters and their family. Includes a half-mile walk to homestead sites. Starts 7/1

* Exploring With A Camera – Focus on composition, light and basic tips to improve your photos during this photography walk. Ends 8/2

Evening Programs

* Timber Creek Evening Program – Presentations are available nightly at Timber Creek.

* Saturday Night In The Park – Enjoy an evening program in the Kawuneeche Visitor Center auditorium.

* Walk Into Twilight – Take a leisurely stroll as darkness, night sounds and wildlife fill the valley. Bring warm clothes, good hiking shoes and a flashlight. Ends 8/11

* Old Ranch Campfire – Roasting marshmallows (bring ’em), hearing tall tales (the old wrangler will tell ’em) and crooning campfire songs bring back the old days. Dress warmly. Ends 8/9

Night Sky Programs

* Celestial Wilderness – Use a telescope to explore night sky astronomy. Ends 8/10.

Unless otherwise noted, all programs are free and open to the public. All children must be accompanied by an adult. For more information about Rocky Mountain National Park, call 970-586-1206.

For details on dates, times and locations, please click here.

For overnight accommodations in the Grand Lake area, please click here.


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