For quite awhile, we went camping in Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP) every year, but over the past few we have not been. Earlier this summer, our youngest child told us that he wanted to go camping there. My wife went online and was unable to get a spot reserved until mid-September, this past weekend.
When you commit yourself to camping in mid-September in Colorado, especially above 8,000 feet, you are taking a risk. Weather may be awesome that time of year. Weather may be miserable. Last Friday in the Denver area it was miserable. I was worried but the Sheppy family doesn't let a little cloudy cold rain / snow mist affect our weekend plans. We had campsite reservations and we were going.
The weather was the same most of the drive up to Estes Park ... the entrance of RMNP. All of a sudden, though, we broke through the low clouds into perfect sunny weather. The temperature rose into the 50's. Considering how bad it looked, it was suddenly just about perfect.
The nights were a little cold. I was very comfortable in my sleeping bag. The rest of the family complained of cold feet in the morning, but nothing too terribly bad. The feet warmed up pretty quick in the morning.
Saturday's weather was absolutely perfect. Temperatures were in the low 70's with sunny blue skies. We took a hike to one of the many mountain lakes on the East side of the park, Bierstadt Lake. It was a couple of miles to hike up a pretty steep trail. The view was gorgeous.
We had lunch up at the lake and just hung out for awhile.
Someone was nice enough to take a family photograph of us.
My son discovered a log structure.
After the hike, we decided to drive up Trail Ridge Road to enjoy some high-altitude views.
If you've never been to Rocky Mountain National Park, you don't know what you are missing. Some of the views are absolutely breath-taking, even if you don't want to hike very far.
Here we are above 12,000 feet.
We headed back down to camp and had fun by the camp fire and watching the stars. It was a wonderful family experience. The weekend went way too fast.
If you ever have the chance to camp in the park, I entirely recommend it.
The Bears even won Sunday Night!