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a sunday afternoon in rocky mountain national park

when pals come to visit, you take them to see your favorite spots – the places that make where you live so special. for me, that place is rocky mountain national park.

I’ve been lucky that during my time in Colorado, lots of people have wanted to come visit, and most of those times, I’ve been able to take them up for a visit to RMNP. Two weeks ago, our pal Jake came to visit with his silly pal Alex, who then also became our pal, and we drove up to Estes Park to give them a little taste of some big mountains.

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Old Fall River Road & Chasm Falls

After entering the park and meeping our way to OFRR, we decided to take a drive on Old Fall River Road before it closed for the season. OFRR is a one-way, scenic, crumbling dirty road that winds back and forth all the way up to the Alpine Visitor Center at 12,000+ feet.

I was surprisingly terrified almost the entire drive to the top – the turns were sharp, the road was tight, and the cliffs on the side of the road were steep and rocky. YIKES. But we stopped on our way up to see the pretty pretty pretty Chasm Falls – which you can also hike to (the trail lengths depends on where you decide to start, there are two different trailheads).

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Alpine Visitor Center

While it was a sunny, warm early October day when we left the Boulder area, by the time we got to Alpine Visitor Center it was less than 40 degrees, cloudy, gray, windy – and the views were INSANE.

Alpine Visitor Center is the highest facility of its kind in the National Park Service at 11,796 feet, and while you’re up there, you can have some snacks in the little cafe, shop in their lit gift shop, or just take in the views. We did all of these things, plus “hiked” up the mini trail that takes you to 12,000 feet for more views and more wind and more cold.

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Alpine terrain

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Just two bros enjoying the views & sharing some organic cheese crackers

Trail Ridge Road

Alpine Visitor Center is at the intersection of Old Fall River Road and Trail Ridge Road in RMNP, and since since OFRR is a one-way road, the only way to get back to Estes Park is to take Trail Ridge Road east. Personally, I think this stretch of TRR is the scariest – from AVC basically all the way to Rainbow Curve. There is no guard rail, not even a SEMBLANCE of a shoulder, and when you’re driving east, you’re on the side close to the edge. NO THANKS.

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Help.

I was too scared to take a lot of pictures on both of these drives, but here are some shots from when we got down to some lower elevations.
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Longs Peak as seen through rainy windows!

After surviving the drive down, we did a little hike up to Alberta Falls to see some aspens (it looks so different in October than it does in July, like when we hiked there when my parents visited!). Amy and I are hoping to get in tons more hikes this fall and into the winter.

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