Rocky Mountain National Park includes a portion of the front range of the Rocky Mountains. Mountain scenery is spectacular as Trail Ridge Road leaves Estes, Colorado, and rises to the Continental Divide (an imaginary line which pertains to the movement of rivers — rivers to the east of the divide travel to the Atlantic or Gulf of Mexico, rivers to the west travel to the Pacific) and beyond. Notable locations on the highway include Berthoud Pass and Grand Lake. Wildlife sightings are usually frequent.
The Colorado Rockies area, just west of Denver, offers a variety of year-round activities, besides those already described in Rocky Mountain National Park. Golden is the location of the Coors Brewing Company. Boulder is the home of the University of Colorado and its setting, at the base of the Rockies, is truly spectacular. The area is very popular with rock-climbers. Leadville, which prospered because of its silver mines, is interesting to visit because its looks very much like it did during its mining days.
Aspen, Colorado is one of America’s foremost ski areas. The town, nestled in the Rocky Mountains was once a premier location for mining silver, but has now been transformed into a resort area in the winter, and attracts many of the rich and famous as well as snow buffs from all over the world.
Vail, Colorado, like Aspen, is one of the nation’s premier skiing areas. Vail has the look and feel of an alpine village and offers activities throughout the year to capitalize on its reputation.
An interesting day trip while in the area is to head 65 miles (105 kilometers) north of Denver, to Fort Collins, where numerous companies offer white water rafting trips on the Cache la Poudre River. Be sure to make reservations in advance, since these excursions are extremely popular.