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Rocky Mountain National Park - Complete Information Resource


The "Crater" - Rocky Mountain National ParkDepending on the time of year and your location in the Park, the weather can range from hot in the meadows to frozen tundra. Rocky Mountain National Park ranges from 7,500 feet to over 12,000 feet in elevation. One can enjoy a warm sunny day in the lower elevations at the same time it is snowing in the higher elevations. Another phenomenon in Rocky Mountain National Park is it's ability to create micro-climates where weather conditions can vary greatly from the surrounding area.

When traveling into the high country one should always be prepared for most any type of weather year round, as conditions can change very quickly turning a sunny day into a full blizzard in a matters of minutes. Many a visitor to Rocky Mountain National Park has fallen victim to these rapidly changing conditions. Don't become a statistic. Prepare well and let others know of your destination and route. It can literally be the difference between living and dying. Remember, "Mountains Don't Care!"

Seasonal Conditions:

Spring (April and May)

Spring comes to the montane environs--elevations 8,000' to 9,500' (2,438 - 2,895 m)--in late April, although snowfall is not uncommon at this time of year. Unpredictable weather alternates between warm and cold, wet and dry.

In June, spring is just reaching the subalpine country -- 9,500' to 11,500' (2,895 - 3,505 m), while summer is on the plains. Wildflowers begin blooming at lower elevations in late April or early May. Many trails are still snow-covered. In late May, Trail Ridge Road opens for the season.

Fall (September, October, November)

September and October bring clear, crisp air, blue skies, and generally dry weather. An early snowstorm may occur. Aspen leaves start changing colors in mid-September. Elk mating season begins in September and continues through most of October.  Trail Ridge Road usually closes for the winter by mid-October.

Summer (June, July, August)

On the alpine tundra -- 11,500' to 13,000' (3,505 - 3,962 m) wildflowers bloom from late June to early August.  Afternoon thunderstorms and wind are normal patterns. Always be prepared for temperature drops of 10-20 degrees Farenheit.

Winter (December, January, February, March)

Lower elevations on the east slope of Rocky Mountain National Park are usually free of deep snow. At higher elevations, arctic conditions prevail. Sudden blizzards, high winds, and deep snowpack are common. The west side of the park experiences more snow, less wind, and clear cold days during these months.

Most high country overnight trips require gear suitable for -35 degrees or below.   Skiing and snowshoeing conditions are best in January, February, and March.

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