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As you drive through Rocky Mountain National Park and scan the landscape, you'll see incredible mountain vistas, tranquil wetlands, and wide open meadows. You might spot majestic elk, mule deer, and the occasional coyote. For the past few years, visitors also notice the large teepees of logs scattered in open areas. They're called Slash piles and they're common in RMNP; a result of fuel reduction projects and hazard tree removals.

Slash Pile

Photo Credit: Robert Kunzig, National Geographic Society

Many tree carcasses are left untouched, but the park does need to cull the trees that are along roads, campgrounds, picnic areas, etc., as they can be dangerous for park visitors. Additionally, the strategic tree thinning helps to reduce accumulation of forest fuels along the urban interface and was instrumental in confining the Fern Lake fire from Estes Park.

It seems scary to have multiple mini fires burning in a park full of trees, but the park's fire management team has their methods.

Slash burning in rmnp
Photo Credit: Rocky Mountain National Park

Currently, the park is burning slash piles that are around 2 years old, as they're now dry enough to thoroughly burn. Importantly, burning only takes place when wet or winter weather conditions allow.

The slash piles are built just like camp fires. Twigs and needles on the inside, then the branches, and the logs go on the outside. As the interior burns, the heavy stuff falls in, which helps the pile burn thoroughly and hot. Fires are lit in the morning with the goal being to burn out before nightfall.

Fire mitigation is important in our parks as well as private mountain properties. Learn more about preparing and protecting your homes from wildfire at

Thank you for keeping our communities safe Rocky!



Need a little inspiration for driving up to the park on a cold, snowy day?

How about a challenge to identify all of Rocky Mountain National Park's seven Coniferous trees.

Coniferous trees have distinct characteristics that will help you distinguish if you're looking at a Pine, Spruce or Fir. Then you can drill down and identify the species.

Wind-shaped Limber Pine,

Needles grow in clusters of 2, 3 or 5 depending on the species.

RMNP Pines: Limber Pine, Lodgepole Pine and Ponderosa Pine


Individual needles, which are stiff, pointy and have sharp edges - they'll roll between your fingers unlike a Fir. Remember 'SSS' (spiny, sharp, spruce). Spruce cones hang mid-branch.

RMNP Spruce: Englemann Spruce and Blue Spruce


Needles grow individually on the branch, but they are soft and flat. You can remember 'FFF' (flat, fat, fir). The cones are also at the top of the branch rather than hanging mid-branch like a Spruce.

RMNP Fir: Subalpine Fir


"Douglas-firs" are not actually classified as true Firs. They are a part of an entire genus containing 6 different species!

If you remember one tree, it can be the Douglas-fir. They have a sweet tale that will help you easily identify them on future hikes.

Indigenous legend in the Pacific Northwest tells that a long time ago there was a great fire in the forest. All of the animals were fleeing before the encroaching flames. However, the tiny mice with their short little mouse-legs were not quick enough to outrun the fire. In danger of being engulfed in the flames, they asked the strong and stoic Douglas-fir trees for help. The trees were inclined to be friendly to the mice, and allowed them to climb up their thick, fire-resistant trunks and hide themselves in their fir cones. The mice gladly took shelter inside the cones, and survived the terrible fire. And even today – if you examine the cones of a Douglas-fir closely – you can see the little hind feet and tails of the mice sticking out from beneath the scales of the fir cones. Story from Heart of the West Coast

You can identify Conifers year-round in RMNP! Just another reason to strap on your snowshoes and explore this beautiful national park in our backyard! Learn more about the Conifers of RMNP here. Get to the park early on weekends and carpool if you can!



We are so fortunate to have Rocky Mountain National Park practically at our doorstep! And, Coloradans get at it no matter the weather.

Rain, snow, wind, you name it - RMNP will be busy with adventurers! So be sure to plan ahead because parking at your favorite trail head could be congested.

In the summer months, it's a little easier, as RMNP has a wonderful shuttle service. In the winter months, however, popular areas like Bear Lake are full every weekend. 

Photo credit: Rocky Mountain National Park

According to RMNP, the busiest times are between 10 am and 2 pm, but you never know, so if you can, arrive early or later for a different experience

Animal activity is different in the early and latter parts of the day, so you're more likely to have an exciting wildlife siting!

Photo credit: Cheryl Gorske, Weasel in Winter

Also, the light is more dramatic and you're likely to get me 'loves' on your Instagram feed :)

Be safe and have fun out there! The snow is starting to fall more regularly -

C'mon Old Man Winter!

Battling "Old Man Winter" - By Daniel Slack - Rockland - Camden - Knox - Courier-Gazette - Camden Herald

Who is Quinn?

Quinn is a handstand junkie, tequila aficionado and inspiring Estes Park local who suffered a severe spine injury in October that’s left her paralyzed from the waist down.

After traveling the world pushing the limits of technical free climbing for years, and saving dozens of lives in the back country as a climbing ranger in RMNP, her life path has a different direction.

When Quinn’s not traveling, inspiring or saving lives, she teaches others how to save lives as a Wilderness First Responder instructor, and has helped raise money for adaptive sports and environmental nonprofits nationwide.

On On October 11, while trying to recapture the Nose speed record, Quinn took a 100 foot fall halfway up El Capitan in Yosemite. She slipped toward the top of a formation called the Cowboy Boot Flake (which looks like a Cowboy Boot) and hit another formation called the Texas Flake. The Texas Flake is a massive feature that’s shaped like its namesake state. It’s a few feet wide and sits detached from the sheer face of El Cap by a few feet.

Valley locals for years had said this fall would be unsurvivable, but QuInndestructable proved them wrong. She lived. She broke a few ribs, had some internal injuries, and shattered her scapula — and miraculously has no brain damage. 

Info and Photo Credits from​

Join me and hundreds of others rallying around Quinn to help her continue to live to the fullest!

Saturday at 5 PM - 10:30 PM

The Ridgeline Hotel Estes Park
101 South Saint Vrain Avenue, Estes Park, Colorado 80517

Visit the Fundraiser Facebook page to purchase tickets.

This event is rapidly coming together. Your ticket will cover...

Presentation by Estes Park's own Tommy Caldwell
Live show by Write Minded
Photo booth by The ShutterBus VW Photo Booth Bus
Free Beer & Food
Silent Auction
Epic Raffle

You can also donate to Quinn directly on her YouCaring page.

REEL ROCK 12 Official Trailer

Rocky Mountain National Park Series - December 3rd Full Moon Hike

by Cory Dudley

Bask in the light of the full moon in Rocky Mountain National Park this Sunday 12/3.

What better a way to get into the holiday spirit! 

Photo Credit: NPS/Russell Smith

The Rocky Mountain Rangers lead Full Moon Walks in the winter months, the first one this coming Sunday. Groups leave from Beaver Meadows at 5 pm. Reservations are required and can be made in person or you can call the Beaver Meadows Visitor Center at 970-586-1223. Maybe there will even be a little fresh snow from the system that passes through Sunday - fingers crossed!



Wouldn't it be nice to have a place where people can come together and commit to learning about the world around them in thoughtful, sincere way? Sitting on 180 acres near Ward, Colorado, the Rocky Mountain Ecodharma Retreat Center welcomes participants from near and far to do just that!


“For me in this dark time, Rocky Mountain Ecodharma Retreat Center will be a shining beacon I can trust. I see it offering what we most need: the inspired leadership of committed teachers, a wild mountain setting to awaken our own power and beauty, the ripening of a Sangha to grow a guiding vision for our people, and the strength to make it real.”  

- Joanna Macy, Ph.D Engaged Buddhist teacher 


(Video Credit: Rocky Mountain Ecodharma Retreat Center)


The land is composed of a private river, meadows and woodlands adjacent to the Arapahoe National Forest and mere miles from the Indian Peaks Wilderness. Their mission is to provide a space for low-cost meditation retreats and workshops, surrounded by and focused on nature. The scheduled programs that the group is most excited about are:


Open House Activity Day - July 16th - Join in for a full day filled with community, mindfulness and the beautiful nature that the center sits on. Families are welcome and the event is free, though donations are always appreciated.

Ecodharma Retreat with David Loy & Johann Robbins - August 4th through 13th - This meditation retreat encourages exploration into social consciousness and promoting caring, wisdom and compassion rather than anxiety and anger. 



The center has no paid staff and runs solely with the help of many volunteers, giving their time and expertise to the cause. Click HERE to learn more about the team, their volunteers, and how you can become involved.  



There's a brand new bluegrass festival in town! If you're looking for something fun to do this weekend, head up to Estes Park for their inaugural Mountain Music Festival on Saturday, May 13th from 12 - 9pm. Held in the Estes Park Events Complex, this festival will feature both national and local bands, and promises to be a great time for everyone. 



The event is a fundraising effort for the Estes Park School District's various music programs, which include the state champion marching bands, middle and high school bands, middle and high school choirs, and elementary music programs. It is truly a grass-roots effort, organized for and by the community of Estes Park. Community sponsors include The Rock Inn, Snowy Peaks Winery, Twin Owls Steakhouse, Rock Creek Tavern & Pizzeria, Inwell & Brew, Estes Park News, and many more. The festival's aim is to combat low funding in music programs and get ahead of the ever-increasing costs of such programs. 


"There is a large body of evidence showing that a quality music program raises test scores, (and supports) higher level thinking and performance in many other core areas, as well as social inclusion," says Cynda Basch, Estes Park High School secretary. 


Estes Park's Mountain Music Festival lineup is below...


Front Country  - Headliner, Americana


Rapidgrass - High-Energy Bluegrass 


Bonnie and the Clydes - Rocky Mountain Country Soul 


Chain Station - High-Energy String Band 


Monocle Band - Bluegrass Fusion 


Bella Betts and Will Thomas - Bluegrass Prodigies 


Tickets are available for purchase HERE online. Want to make it into a weekend getaway? Click HERE to check out local lodging options that allow you to soak up the Estes sun all weekend long.



Composer Stephen Lias,like many others in all walks of life, draws inspiration from the great outdoors to create beautiful art in the form of musical masterpieces. The only difference is that his gaze is a bit more specific and focused - on national parks, to be specific!



Included in his dozens of compositions are pieces created thanks to our very own Rocky Mountain and Mesa Verde national parks, alongside many more from around the United States.

This Saturday, March 25th at 7:30pm, the Boulder Philharmonic will debut the composer's newest piece, fondly dubbed "All the Songs That Nature Sings", after writings by Enos Mills, who's considered to be the father of the Rocky Mountain National Park by many. Though there are a very limited number of seats still available for the premier, you can buy tickets HERE. And if you'd prefer to listen to the full concert from the comfort of your home, take advantage of CPR's (Colorado Public Radio) live broadcast!



After the concert, the Boulder Philharmonic travels to Washington, D.C. to perform the complete program at the Kennedy Center's SHIFT event; a festival that showcases innovate American orchestras.

We're inspired and in awe of the beauty all over this state, but we must agree with composer Lias - Rocky Mountain National Park is quite special...




What better way to relax after a long workweek than escaping to the solitude and peace of Rocky Mountain National Park? Today is the official first day to make reservations for a summer backpacking trip! There's nothing quite like unplugging from the world - technology, stressors, workplace issues and everyday troubles - and soaking in some nature instead.



Though you can certainly take a day trip up, overnight backpacking is not allowed without a permit. You can register by either visiting the Beaver Meadows Visitor Center of Kawuneeche Visitor Center in person.

Click HERE for a map of all the available campsites, a recent availability list and a request application, along with all the other information you'd need for your trip!




Over the last 100 years, people have continued to visit Rocky Mountain National Parks (and other parks countrywide) for the same reasons; to enjoy solitude, to experience the beauty of nature, to soak in the scenery, watch wildlife, adventure, explore and join in on outdoor recreational activities. If you're like most Coloradans, you love the snow... But you're just about ready for warmer weather up in the park! Now is the time to prepare yourself for spring and summer trips, so we've compiled your list of must-know's to ensure your visit is fantastic...


Hike Early

By hiking earlier in the morning, you have a much better chance of finding parking without too much hassle. Trailhead parking lots tend to fill up early in the day; Wild Basin Corridor by 9:30am, Bear Lake Trailhead by 8:30am, Glacier Gorge Trailhead by 8:30am, Park and Ride by 10:30am.




Once again, parking can be a huge challenge for visitors. Try to take a larger vehicle that can accommodate your entire group! That way you can also keep all your snacks in one place for the drive home...


Reserve Campsites Now

Camping is very popular in Rocky Mountain National Park, so it's best to reserve your campsites early in the year. Most can be reserved up to 6 months before you plan to visit! The two first-come, first-served campgrounds tend to fill up exceptionally fast, while the Timber Creek Campground on the west side of the park becomes full last.



Weekend or Weekday?

In September, visitation rates are consistently 50% higher on weekend than weekdays. If you're able to get a Tuesday off from the office and take the kiddos up into the wild, you'll enjoy a much more calm experience.


Check the Weather Forecast

If you arrive midday to the park and plan on any extensive hiking, it is absolutely critical that you know the weather forecast for the elevation of your destination. The Rocky Mountains are notorious for extreme weather patterns, and you wouldn't want to find yourself stuck at high elevations when the lightning begins.



ENTER TO WIN an annual pass to Rocky Mountain National Park, courtesy of The Winning Team Real Estate Group! The winner will be announced on Facebook at the end of March.

Click HERE to find out how...


Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 24