Alpine Picnic in Rocky Mountain National Park

This post may contain affiliate links which means we receive a small commission at no cost to you when you make a purchase. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

An alpine picnic is definitely something to add to your bucket list, your to do list, or whatever type of life list you keep. About 3 1/2 years ago, we went camping in Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado, and it was a trip full of awesome memories. So much so that we still dream of living in the mountains, though we’re completely happy and content where we are right now in our little neck of the woods.  Rocky Mountain National Park, picnic in the alpine, alpine picnic, alpine tundra, Colorado, Old Fall River Road

Recently, I’d read on the Rocky Mountain National Park Facebook page that the Old Fall River Road is closed, due to flood damage. In fact, they’re saying it will be closed through 2014. When it does eventually open back up, I encourage you to drive this old one way road up through the mountains to the alpine tundra. It’s a spectacular drive with gorgeous views and definitely something noone should miss out on.

Driving the Old Fall River Road can take half a day or more, depending how much you stop, and I’ll write more about the road itself in a later post; but just to give you a small picture of what it was like….Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado, Old Fall River Road It’s 11 miles long, gravel (no pavement at all), one way, no guard rails of any sort, and quite a few switchbacks as drivers make their way up the mountain. The road actually opened in 1920 and was the original road to the top, so to say, in Rocky Mountain National Park. It winds up through the forested mountains, from Horseshoe Park to Fall River Pass at 11,796 feet above sea level. Drivers eventually come into the alpine tundra, where absolutely no trees exist because it’s just too cold for them to live; so, pack a jacket. Old Fall River Road winding through the tundra in Rocky Mountain National ParkThe road ends near the Alpine Visitor Center, so visitors can take Trail Ridge Road back down through the mountains.

We love finding “off the beaten path” roads and trails when we’re traveling, especially in the national parks. Nature abounds on many of the back roads, and it’s just a quiet retreat from the mainstream tourist attractions. We did run into quite a few people; it’s such a small world. We’d drive a little, get out and take pictures; everyone was really patient with each other. We were all trying to soak up every view and every piece of nature. Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado, alpine picnic, picnic in the tundra, Old Fall River Road, view from the top in Rocky Mountain National Park, Old Fall River Road, Trail Ridge Road, mountain trail, alpine trail, view from Old Fall River RoadFor me, views like this remind me of a Creator at work…. an amazing Creator who makes all things beautiful.

Once we reached the top, the views were even more spectacular, no matter which direction we faced.Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado, Old Fall River Road, alpine picnic, tundra in Rocky Mountain National Park Elk grazed in the meadows below.Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado, Old Fall River Road, alpine picnic, tundra in Rocky Mountain National Park, elk in Rocky Mountain National Park, elk There was a bit of snow in the tundra at end of summer; soon there would be a lot more.Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado, Old Fall River Road, alpine picnic, tundra in Rocky Mountain National ParkThe wind was biting, but that didn’t stop us from enjoying a picnic, exploring a couple of the trails, and soaking it all in. Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado, alpine picnic, picnic in the tundra, Old Fall River Road, view from the top in Rocky Mountain National Park, Old Fall River Road, Trail Ridge Road, mountain trail, alpine trailThe kids were so little. I’m not sure what Jacob was doing here, probably acting like his silly self, but I promise you that it didn’t drop off where he was…. believe me, I freak out over steep drop offs (you should have seen me hanging on to them when we visited the Grand Canyon, another story for another day). Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado, alpine picnic, picnic in the tundra, Old Fall River Road, kids in the alpine The clouds were so close, they cast ginormous shadows that covered the mountainsides. And I’ve talked about this before, but I love the sound of the wind making its way down through the mountain passes. It’s an amazing sound, haunting and mysterious.Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado, alpine picnic, picnic in the tundra, Old Fall River Road, view from the top in Rocky Mountain National Park, Old Fall River Road, Trail Ridge Road

On the way back down Trail Ridge Road, we had beautiful views of the mountains and even found a lake nestled in amongst the peaks. Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado, alpine picnic, picnic in the tundra, Old Fall River Road, view from the top in Rocky Mountain National Park, Old Fall River Road, Trail Ridge Road

What places to explore are on your life list?

10 thoughts on “Alpine Picnic in Rocky Mountain National Park”

    • Scarlet, thank you! They really are true treasures. We love exploring any national park we can get to. I’d love to take my kids to as many as possible, but RMNP has definitely been a favorite.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.