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Rocky Mountain National Park's Subtler Side

A wander through Rocky Mountain National Park's Western side reveals a more subtle, verdant & lush aspect to this wonderful park.

By: Adrien Patanè + Save to a List

Rocky Mountain National Park is known for its craggy mountain peaks and stunning high elevation vistas, typically accessed via its eastern side from the bustling Estes Park. Venturing to the more remote and lesser visited western side rewards with far less crowds, and due to its location & elevation a greener, lush side of the park. Grand Lake serves as a launching pad for this region with numerous trailheads very close to this quaint little town.

These captures were taken on the gorgeous East Inlet Trail up to Lone Pine Lake, a strenuous 12mi (out-and-back) hike passing through pretty meadows, serene misty ponds, dense forest & bubbling creeks. Numerous campsites are scattered along the trail which is suited for overnight ventures or shorter day hikes.

To get a full sense of the size of this spectacular park, returning to Denver via Trail Ridge Road which bisects the park and allows you to experience the more dramatic scenery as well. RMNP's Bear Lake area is not to be missed - but that's for another adventure :-)

Starting at the Western gateway to the park, Grand Lake is a tamer version of Estes Park, more remote and prettier, to the east lies the East Inlet Trail - early mornings here are misty & atmospheric wandering through wetlands and flanked by towering peaks

Gorgeous meadows line the trail - this is moose country too so dont be surprised if you're not alone in this lush wilderness

Towering misty sentinels flank both sides of the valley

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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