Getting there: To reach the west side, drive east on I-70 and then north on U.S. Highway 40 to U.S. 34.
Getting around: Trail Ridge Road — designated U.S. 36 on the east side of the park and U.S. 34 on the west — climbs to 12,183 feet above sea level and almost a mile above Estes Park. Although it arches around the north end, it remains the quickest route from one side of the park to the other, because no roads go all the way across the middle. In a park without much pavement, this is the premier drive and one of the most spectacular in the national park system.
Hikers may choose from 19 major trails for close looks at mountains, lakes and waterfalls. Some 260 miles of the 400 miles of trails are open to horses, available at liveries in and near the park.
When to visit: The park is open all year, but a large chunk of Trail Ridge Road — from the south end of Farview Curve to Many Parks Curve — closes from mid-October to June. Snowmobiles may travel up U.S. 34 from the Kawuneeche Visitor Center 16 miles north to Milner.
Lodging and food: The backcountry has 269 designated campsites (permit only; call 970-586-1242). Of the five drive-in camps, four are open from mid-May to late September. Two year-round camps operate at Moraine Park and Timber Creek. For more details, call 800-365-2267. No other lodging can be found inside the park, but lodges, inns, hotels, cabins, bed-and-breakfasts and motels abound in Estes Park and Grand Lake. Call their Chambers of Commerce to get the lowdown. Estes Park: 800-443-7837/970-586-4431; www.estesparkresort.com. Grand Lake: 800-531-1019/970-627-3402; www.grandlakechamber.com.
Accessibility: A detailed description of the facilities accessible to disabled visitors is available at all visitor centers. Sprague Lake Camp has been specially designed for disabled visitors and accommodates 12 campers with up to six wheelchairs. Accessible trails include Sprague Lake, Bear Lake (partly accessible), Coyote Valley Trail and Lily Lake.
Information: Rocky Mountain National Park, Estes Park, CO 80517; 970-586-1206. For a recorded phone message: 970-586-1333. TDD: 970-586-1319; www.nps.gov/romo.