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, and sometimes bumper to bumper. It should take about 1 1/2 hours from Denver. (Denver traffic is horrible, with only 2 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." Unbelieveable rough and rocky cliffs on either side of the twisty turny entrance to the park. Breathtaking! Even my teenage boys were amazed and delighted.
There is a daily entrance fee to the national parks of $20 per car. It is well worth the investment. 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 wonderful waterfall, which had carved circles in the rock. It reminded me of how powerful water is. Our teenage boys, of course, went much faster than we did, so they went much higher.
There were many hikes, as outlined on the handouts at the ranger station where you paid your $20 fee.
Every time you turned a corner, there was another spectacular view, or different type of wild life.
We drove home via Boulder at 9pm, and it only took about 1 1/2 hours.