The Great American Road trip: Colorado (Rocky Mountain National Park)

 It's been too long between these posts - but I'm ready with my 3rd installment of our Great American Road Trip recap. This time, we are talking about Colorado and Rocky Mountain National Park. 

A little recap - we spent the summer of 2021 on the road for 3 weeks, in 12 states and over 9 National Parks and Monuments. First state was Nevada and then Utah. After Utah we moved on to Colorado to visit Rocky Mountain National Park.

I really enjoyed Colorado and could have explored Estes Park more. Little known fact: I was born in Boulder and we lived there for about a year - but have only really been back one other time before this. 

We stayed at Murphy's Resort in Estes Park for three nights - and it was a perfect spot for us. It was a short drive to the entrance of Rocky Mountain National Park, which was our top priority. In addition to that, the kids had lots to do at the resort - with an outdoor heated pool, tetherball, movies and board games to borrow, and bikes for the whole family. We borrowed the bikes one morning to ride around Estes Lake (right next door.)

There are lots of food options in Estes Park - but here are a few that we tried and really enjoyed.

We always look for a brewery, and this time stumbled across Avant Garde Aleworks. The guy working was super friendly and gave us some great advice on places that we could explore with the kids in the national park.

Antonio's Real NY Pizza was walking distance from our hotel - so this was an easy option to order to go and eat out at the picnic tables at our resort. Delicious as well.

We went to the main strip in Estes Park one day to do some shopping and ate at The Grubsteak Restaurant on their back patio. Afterwards, we stopped at Muchin' House for ice cream (delicious!)

As far as Rocky Mountain National Park goes, be sure to check the website and see if reserved entry is required. It was when we went. With planning, we were able to secure morning entry times for both days we were planning on being there. We used both days to see most everything we wanted to see. 

We made sure to go to the Holzwarth Historic Site. It's fun to see the historic building and to try and imagine what life would be like during a specific time in a specific place without all the amenities we have today. It's a great starting point for good conversations with the kids. 

Holzwarth was also our first Moose sighting! 

To get to Holzwarth you drive the Trail Ridge Road over the high point (12,183 feet!). This drive is great and you get some great looks at animals. We didn't stop at the Alpine Visitors Center because it was so packed. But that is also an option along that road.

On that side we also did the Coyote Valley Trail.

The Bear Lake Trailhead area is a great spot to go hiking with kids. We did the .5 mile (one direction) hike to Nymph Lake all together and then Jonny and Lucille walked back down to use the restroom and do the .5 mile Bear Lake Loop. Gus and I continued on up to Dream Lake (1.1 miles one direction). These were fairly easy hikes for the kids with lots of great views and some wildlife. The trails are a little packed so if your looking for a quieter hike these aren't for you.

Overall, this was another great part of the trip. I can't wait to go back and spend some more time in Colorado with the family in the future.

Next we headed into Nebraska - so stay tuned!

{I’m probably linking this post up at one of the awesome link parties that are hosted by some amazing blogs. Check them out!}

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