Picnic at Lily Lake

Just a few minutes’ drive south of Estes Park, Lily Lake is the perfect place for a springtime outing! The main parking lot is located right off of Highway 7, making for an easy start and finish to the day; there are benches, tables, and even a meadow to sit in and enjoy a picnic, all while basking in the incredible scenery.

Afterward, you can take a stroll on the trail that circles the lake or even veers off on one of the longer trails that lead higher up into the mountains. When you first step onto the main trail, make sure to look just to your left for the perfect view of Longs Peak!

Wildlife viewing

“Rocky Mountain National Park visitors have a passion for viewing wild animals, especially the big ones. With an elk herd numbering between 600 to 800 in the winter, about 350 bighorn sheep, numerous mule deer and a small population of moose calling the park home, it’s no surprise that wildlife watching is rated the number-one activity by a vast majority of Rocky’s three million annual visitors.”

Elk stay in lower elevations during the springtime, and can most often be seen in the meadows or at the edges of the forests. They do sometimes wander into town, however, and if you’re in luck, you might even see them wandering through the Safeway parking lot!

Between the months of May and August, be on the lookout for Bighorn Sheep at Sheep Lakes. Moose can sometimes be seen in the willow thickets along the Colorado River, and at dawn or dusk, you might see bats feeding above ponds and lakes. These are just a few of the many animals you might see; as a reminder, don’t feed the wildlife, and be sure to keep a safe distance at all times.

Stroll down Elkhorn Ave and enjoy some delicious treats

Elkhorn Ave is lined with storefronts selling some of the most delicious sweet treats the Rocky Mountains have to offer. In the space of just a few blocks, you can grab a scoop of ice cream, a box of fudge, a handful of salt-water taffy, a caramel apple and even some fresh-baked cookies (though maybe not all in one day!) On one of our beautiful spring days, wander down the main street and see what little treasures you might find in the shops, then grab an ice cream cone and find a bench under one of the blooming trees where you can enjoy the warm breeze.

Explore Rocky Mountain National Park

Encompassing more than 256,000 acres of land and 350 miles of trails, the sky is truly the limit when it comes to exploring all that Rocky Mountain National Park has to offer. Make sure to get an early start to beat the crowds (and the weather), and be sure to bring lots of water and snacks. Most importantly, make sure to have your camera ready; the Park in the springtime is full of truly majestic sights!

Fly-fishing

“Rocky Mountain National Park offers numerous fishing opportunities for the casual angler to the most seasoned.

Several rivers, numerous small streams and over one hundred high mountain lakes abound with healthy, hungry trout. The Park’s waters contain all wild trout, with a great chance of catching the prized Colorado grand slam: brook, rainbow, brown, and cutthroat trout (including the native greenback cutthroat, once thought to be extinct but now thriving in its natural habitat).

The Big Thompson River below Lake Estes is a closer option, and contains some of the best fly-fishing in the area, with its first 8 miles all catch and release. Moraine Park in Rocky Mountain National Park is a favorite among anglers, with easy accessibility, plentiful hungry trout, and a beautiful setting.

The Roaring River, Glacier Creek, and the Upper Big Thompson are also very popular destinations. Although they do require a short hike, they award the angler with a less populated setting and excellent fishing.”

 


References

Estes Park Trail Gazette

Rocky Mountain National Park

 

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