A sad third-order effect of the massive Cameron Peak and East Troublesome fires has been the closure of most of Rocky Mountain National Park.
National Parks get their status for a reason, and it’s usually amazing scenery and nature.
Part of our reason for picking this area of Colorado was the close proximity to RMNP – hiking, climbing, photos, and nature. These fires sure put a damper on our plans.
Now that the temperatures and wind have moderated, and the fires are mostly contained, small parts of the park that weren’t burned are starting to reopen. One of these gems less than 10 minutes from the house is the McGraw Ranch area, home to several trailheads to get you out beyond the crowds.
We decided that Bridal Veil Falls (not to be confused with the Bridal Veil Falls in Yosemite National Park) would be a perfect first jaunt into the park, taking advantage of a sunny mid-50 degree day.
We were not disappointed! Starting with typical Colorado ranch mountain scrub, the trail winds its way up Cow Creek and turns into a narrow canyon with nice high walls, frozen water, and a very nice little frozen waterfall.
Definitely worth the effort.
Stopping in Estes Park for some winter-stock-up shopping afterward, we were rewarded with hundreds of elk grazing or napping on the Estes Park Golf Course. And on our drive home up Devil’s Gulch road we encountered herds of bull elk fighting and grazing as they make their way down from higher altitudes as winter sets in.
On The Way
Park Your Horse
Bridal Veil Falls
Elk Elk Elk
A quick video of the elk on the Estes Park Golf Course
Bull Elk Fight
Very cool to watch these elk fighting!