Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado | A Life Exotic

Nowhere gives you that quintessential “on the road” view through your windshield quite like northern Colorado, huh?

Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado | A Life Exotic

Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado | A Life Exotic

After skirting the town of Estes Park and taking a quick peek at The Stanley Hotel, which inspired Stephen King to pen The Shining and create its spooky counterpart, The Overlook, it was onward and upward to Rocky Mountain National Park.

Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado | A Life Exotic

Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado | A Life Exotic

RoMo (hold your applause – I wish I could take credit for that, but I stole it from the NPS) was icy and blue and really felt like wilderness. If we were going to see bears on our roadtrip, it would have been here (spoiler alert: we didn’t).

Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado | A Life Exotic

Roughly half of the park was closed due to snow by this point, but we ended up arriving later in the day than we’d planned to anyway, so just had to accept the fact that we weren’t going to get to see every inch of this one.

The photos are a bit dark because we were once again experiencing a phenomenon of being in the mountains. The sun was still relatively high in the sky, but it had dipped behind the peaks, leaving us with bright blue overhead and shadows everywhere else.

Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado | A Life Exotic

Making do, we found an open parking lot, dug our scarves and mittens out from underneath our sandy Arizona flip flops (remember wayyy back when I said it would seem amusing that we were ever in summer gear? we’re there), and took ourselves on a nice little nature walk around Bear Lake.

Well, I am about 80% sure it was Bear Lake.

Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado | A Life Exotic

Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado | A Life Exotic

Despite its (probable) name, there was nary a bear to be seen and it was getting more freezing by the second.

We bundled ourselves back into Kokapelli and headed for the exit, making a quick stop at (85% sure) Sprague Lake, which was a bit more marshy.

Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado | A Life Exotic

Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado | A Life Exotic

It was a long detour for a relatively short time spent in the park, but it was made more than worthwhile as color started spreading across the sky.

Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado | A Life Exotic

Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado | A Life Exotic

Good old RoMo treated us to one of the most spectacular sunsets I’ve ever seen.

Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado | A Life Exotic

Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado | A Life Exotic

Guys. I know I’m probably the boy who cried wolf about sunsets by now, and I’m also probably the boy who cried wolf about landscapes looking like Bob Ross painted them, but seriously. Take a good look and tell me those strokes DON’T look like they were painted by a happy little fan brush. You can’t.

Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado | A Life Exotic

Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado | A Life Exotic

The display also provided a nice backdrop for Kokapelli to show off his sassy side.

Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado | A Life Exotic

Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado | A Life Exotic

How we didn’t make it in to the Escape Campervans marketing materials with this shot, I’ll never know.

The Details: $20 entry fee per vehicle | Open year-round, usually with significant closures due to snow in the winter | Website HERE

Cue the John Denver…

A photo posted by Julie (@alifeexotic) on

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13 thoughts on “Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

  1. RoMo I love it! Hah! I caught “RoMo” on a rainy weekend, loved seeing your perspective of the park!

    Fun fact: West US sunsets are so beautiful because of all the dust and particulate in the air- Here in Salt Lake City we have some killer sunsets and I learned in my climate class that is why!

    Katie @ Katie Wanders

    1. “RoMo” cracked me up, too 🙂 The NPS isn’t exactly known for their sense of humor but maybe they should be! Also, that is a great factoid about western sunsets – I had no idea. Thanks for sharing, Katie!

  2. A little insight on the “RoMo”: all of the NPS parks have 4 letter codes that are used internally. Canyonlands is referred to as CANY and its Island in the Sky district is referred to as ISKY (my personal favorite). I guess RoMo is just too bad ass to keep to themselves!

    1. Seriously, it’s so good, I don’t know how it hasn’t spread farther in use. I’ve seen some of the codes when I’ve looked up different park websites but I had no idea whether they were for the actual parks or just to shorten URLs. “ISKY” is pretty great, too!

    1. Thanks Jenny! I hope you get to do it soon 🙂 I’d pretty much only been up and down the coasts previously (which I do prefer… I’m a big fan of “ocean road” views myself!) but this roadtrip definitely expanded my horizons into the middle of the country, which was cool. We ended in California though – posts coming up!

  3. When I finally visited Colorado this summer, I took so many pictures out of the windshield. They were mostly terrible (hello dashboard reflection!) but the scenery really inspires that kind of rapid fire photo taking as one sight is just so much more beautiful than the last!

    1. I totally agree! I have hundreds of “driving photos” from this roadtrip that are just awful – lens flare, dirty windshield, who knows what else! – but I couldn’t help taking them. Every time you think you’ve seen the best view there is, you round a corner and get a better one. Glad you loved the Colorado scenery, too!

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