5 Grand Facts about Rocky Mountain National Park

A lake surrounded by mountains and trees.

Rocky Mountain National Park is one of the best attributes of about Grand County. Just five minutes from Grand Lake, the Park is our 265,000-acre backyard. We're so proud of the park that we wanted to share some of the grand facts about our pride and joy.

Here are 5 lesser-known facts about the Park:

1. Moose Like The West Side Better

It's well-known that elk can be found elegantly striding through the entirety of Rocky Mountain National Park, but it's a lesser-known fact that moose prefer to dwell on the west side of the park in the Kawuneeche Valley.

Standing above six feet, a moose is hard to miss when you spot one. Look for moose in areas with aquatic vegetation and willow trees. If you really want to ensure you spot a moose, rangers at the Kawuneeche Visitor Center can let you know where they can be found and important safety tips if you cross paths with a moose.

2. Rocky Mountain National Park is Climate Friendly

In 2007, Rocky Mountain National Park joined the Climate Friendly Parks Program, the collaborative effort between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the National Park Service. Joining this effort means that Rocky Mountain National Park is taking proactive steps to enact climate friendly behavior.

The Park's goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 17% below 2005 levels by 2017 by: reducing fuel use and emissions from park facilities and operations, increasing climate change outreach and education efforts, and developing management strategies to adapt to climate change. For more info, visit the NPS website.

3. A Ranger Can Be Your Guide

The knowledgeable Park Rangers are ready and able to take you on walks, talks and hikes throughout the Western side of Rocky Mountain Park. Seven days a week throughout all seasons you can take advantage of 1-3 hour long programs that will leave you and your family educated and in awe.

From fly-fishing school to historic hikes, caravans to the wildflowers and photography walks, there are a variety of programs available for all ages, interests and capabilities. Find more information in the Park's official newspaper or call 970-586-1206.

4. You Can Get a Little Taste of Yellowstone

Save yourself the drive to Wyoming and see the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone on a smaller scale. Known as Little Yellowstone, this canyon on the western side of the park has multihued seams of volcanic ash that warrants the Yellowstone comparison.

Little Yellowstone is near the Colorado River Trailhead. The National Park Service has excellent directions to Little Yellowstone and other worthwhile hikes in the Kawuneeche Valley.

5. There's a Bright Side to the Back Side

On average, nearly 3 million people visit Rocky Mountain National Park a year. Of those 3 million, 2.4 million visitors flow into the Park from the east side. By coming in through the less frequented west side, you'll have access to all the beauty of the Park without the worry of bumping elbows on the trail.

There's plenty to do once you leave the west side of the Park as well. Find great lodging, dining, and activity options in Grand County.

NPS has the best directions into the west side of the Park.