Destination: Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

Rounding off my trip to Colorado this past summer was none other than at the Rocky Mountain National Park. The third most-visited national park in the U.S., RMNP offers plenty of nature (of course) with its miles of paved trails, luscious waterfalls, and views of the *literally* rocky mountains at every turn.

My friend and I did a day trip to RMNP, as it was only an hour from Boulder. We left in the early morning, and we reached Estes Park, the small town that serves as a gateway to RMNP, around 10:00. After getting some information at the Beaver Meadows’ visitor center, we headed 30-minutes south to the other side of the park, where we paid admission ($25 for a day pass) at the Wild Basin entrance. From there, we began our hike to three different waterfalls, which would take us about six miles (10 kilometers) round trip. A long hike, but a rewarding one nevertheless.

On our way to RMNP.

We first visited Copeland Falls, where we checked out both its Upper and Lower Falls. Following that, we headed to Calypso Cascades, which was full of fallen trunks and slick boulders, but its drop was massive, albeit smooth at the same time. Our last leg of the hike was to Ouzel Falls, which was similar to Calypso Cascades, but its two-tiered waterfall offered a more-dramatic drop to admire from the bridge.

Copeland Falls.
Calypso Cascades.
Ouzel Falls.

It was then a matter of turning around and heading all the way back to the Wild Basin entrance, which took about 90 minutes non-stop. In total, we spent 3-4 hours hiking, which was intense for irregular hikers like us, but still worth it.

We took the car back to Beaver Meadows, where we entered from its entrance to check out Sprague Lake and Bear Lake. Both were nearly-devoid of people when we arrived, as we came in the late afternoon, around 17:00– most visitors had gone home for the day, and we were glad to have avoided the crazy crowds in the morning and early afternoon.

Both of the lakes were absolutely gorgeous, as we did a half-loop around each of them. The water was so blue that it appeared to mirror the sky, and the abundance of thin pine trees all around were so verdant– along with the golden hour (aka “sunset”), it made for a beautiful end to the day, and to my time in Colorado overall.

Sprague Lake.
Bear Lake.

We left at half-past 18:00 to head back to Boulder, getting back around 19:30. Utterly exhausted, we rested extremely well that night, and the next day I had the energy to head to the airport to catch my flight back to Los Angeles.

…and that concludes my recap of my time in Colorado this summer. Aside from exploring its nature and trying plenty of good food, I also felt surprisingly relaxed. Hadn’t felt that in a long while, and I think taking every day easily, let alone in the moment, was very therapeutic. Catching up with my friend on our past, school, and adult life was also a pleasure, and I think it really shows just how our 20-year friendship has matured since we were kids. Colorado was the laid-back, but much-needed break I had, and it gives me inspiration to see more of the U.S. in the near future.

Thanks for reading, and expect more travel posts to come soon!

— The Finicky Cynic

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