After leaving the wonderful Denver museums, we drove up to Estes Park, and the Rocky Mountain National Park. WOW! It took almost 2 hours because we hit rush hour and drove on Interstate 25, which was packed at 4pm on a holiday weekend, sometimes bumper-to-bumper. It should take about 1 1/2 hours from Denver. (Denver traffic is horrible, with only two major routes going through it.)
The road to Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park was cut through a gorge created by the "Big Thompson River." It was unbelieveably rough, with rocky cliffs on either side of the twisty-turny entrance to the park. Breathtaking!
There is a daily entrance fee to the national parks of $20 per car. It is well worth the investment. There are lots of white-capped mountains, aspen, and even ELK! There was a wolf who was wandering too close to the elk herd and was chased away by an elk. We also saw white-tail deer (but a variety different than in the Eastern U.S.) and various unidentified wildlife and birds.
We took a steep but gradual hike up to a wondeful waterfall, which had carved circles in the rock. Reminded me how powerful water is. Our teenage boys, of course, went much faster than we did, so went much higher.
We drove home via Boulder at 9pm, and it only took about 1 1/2 hours.