Family-Friendly Guide to Rocky Mountain National Park

Family-Friendly Guide to Rocky Mountain National Park

It is easy to get caught up in a 9 to 5 to-and-from work routine. After a few loops, you will not even notice. However, spending a few days in the outdoors with the kids is an exceptional way to reward yourself for your hard work and a wonderful bonding experience to create memories to last a lifetime.

One of the most exceptional destinations in the US to do so is the picturesque Rocky Mountain National Park. Spanning the Continental Divide, this high-altitude Colorado park features mountain peaks reaching heights of 14,000 feet, vast stretches of tundra, shimmering lakes, and streams shaded by aspen trees that provide habitat for black bears, elk, moose, and bighorn sheep.

For millennia, prehistoric mammoth hunters roamed this area, followed by the Ute and Arapaho peoples, who spent their summers here until the early 1800s. Today, Rocky Mountain National Park exemplifies the essence of its namesake mountain range, offering breathtaking landscapes and remarkable diversity, along with plenty of trails, accommodation options, and dining choices nearby to delight travelers of all ages.

Before you get lost in our blog, be sure to browse our Wanderful Storefront for all our favorite travel products, gear and must haves!

It’s a fantastic destination choice for families, conveniently located only 2-hours from Denver International Airport. In this guide, we take a closer look at Rocky Mountain National Park and why you must add it to your bucket list. Our guide covers all the nitty-gritty of planning a family vacation to Rocky Mountain National Park.

This post includes affiliate links. It’s super important for us to be transparent with our Wanderers! If you click on one, we may receive a small, but wanderful commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks for WANDERING with us!

When is the best time to visit Rocky Mountain National Park?

The high season at Rocky Mountain National Park is from summer to mid-autumn. This makes sense because from July to October, you get to see pretty wildflowers, snow-free hiking paths, golden aspen trees, and wildlife.

The weather is nice during this time, with warm, sunny days and cool nights, although it can start snowing in September, especially in the high regions. Winter and spring are also great times to visit if you have snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and backcountry skiing on your bucket list.

The main road in the park, Trail Ridge Road, typically closes between late October and late May, depending on the weather. But by May, the snow is starting to melt in the lower parts of the park, which are still around 8,000 feet in elevation. This is when you can see baby animals like elk and moose calves munching on the fresh green plants.

What to do in Rocky Mountain National Park with kids

There is so much to do with kids at this breathtaking national park and chances are high that you will run out of time before exhausting all the activities. Here is a couple of fun things to do with kids at Rocky National Park:


Hiking is the best way to enjoy the wild beauty of Rocky Mountain National Park. There are 355 miles of trails to pick from, and they all lead to stunning alpine lakes, lively waterfalls, or mountain summits. While many of these require some hiking experience, there are also some easy routes you can explore with your kids such as Alluvial Fan, Bear Lake Loop, Alpine Ride Trail, and Lily Lake Trail among others.

Join the Rocky Mountain Junior Ranger Program

Rocky Mountain National Park has a special program for kids known as “Rocky’s Junior Ranger Program.” It’s for kids from kindergarten to eighth grade. The program teaches kids how to take care of the park, interesting facts about plants and animals, and how to protect the environment.

When kids finish the Junior Ranger booklet, they are rewarded with a badge. There are three different activity books for different age groups: 5 and under, 6-8, and 9 and up. The National Park Junior Ranger program is one of the best things for families to do in Rocky Mountain National Park.

You can get a free Junior Ranger activity booklet at any visitor centers. You can find the Junior Ranger Headquarters at Hidden Valley, on the east side of Rocky Mountain National Park along Trail Ridge Road if you happen to visit in the summer.

Take a scenic drive

The scenic Old Fall River Road is about 9 miles long. It’s usually open for driving from early July to late September. It follows a trail more than 10,000 years old. The views of the tall mountains and alpine lakes are stunning.

Along the path, you will even cross the Continental Divide and see wide-open scenes of towering peaks. The entire drive takes about two to three hours, but the time varies depending on how often you stop to enjoy the sweeping views and take pictures of the beautiful sights.

Another possible route is Trail Ridge Road, one of ten byways in Colorado. It stretches for 48 miles, going from Estes Park to Grand Lake. The coolest part is that you will go as high as 4,000 feet in just a few minutes. The highest point along the road is 12,183 feet. While here, you’ll see incredible views of the Rocky Mountains, spot wildlife, and see beautiful alpine wildflowers.

See the Rocky Mountains on the back of a horse

See the countryside on the back of a horse just as locals did back in the day. It’s a great way for older kids to see more of the beautiful alpine scenery. Journey through the picturesque trails and meadows of the Colorado Rockies.

There are several horseback tours, including a two-hour ride to lovely spots like Fall River, Hidden Meadow, and the ever-charming Horseshoe Park. If you are up for a longer adventure, there are also four and six-hour tours. And for the most adventurous folks, there’s a full-day experience that lets you explore the Roaring River, Ypsilon Lake, and the historic Lawn Lake.

Don’t forget to bring some snacks and water for your ride. Alternatively, sign up for the Dinner Ride, which not only includes a scenic ride through Rocky Mountain National Park but also a delicious dinner at the Trailhead Restaurant.

Mountain biking

You can ride bicycles on all the roads that cars can use across the national park, whether they are paved or dirt. Biking is a fantastic way to enjoy the park’s stunning scenery. In Rocky Mountain National Park, the 16-mile Horseshoe Park Loop is a breathtaking encounter with nature for bikers. Before you set off for your ride, check the road conditions at the Visitor Center and follow the rules for an incident-free experience.

Where to stay when you visit Rocky Mountain National Park

There are so many accommodation options to pick from for visitors to Rocky Mountain National Park. You can go camping or stay in a family-friendly hotel depending on what experience you desire. Here is a breakdown of each to help you make your decision;


The national park has up to five campgrounds all with unique features and amenities for an enjoyable experience in the wild. They include

  • Glacier Basin: This campground is found along Bear Lake Road, about 6 miles south of the Beaver Meadow Entrance. It’s open from May to September and has 150 spots. The cost is $30 for each night.

If you have an RV or trailer, they can be up to 35 feet long. They also have group sites, and it costs $3 for each person per night to camp there. We advise you to make reservations before setting off for your trip.

  • Aspenglen: This campground is on Highway 34, just west of the Fall River Entrance Station. It has 54 sites and is open from May to September. It’s a good idea to make a reservation here, too. It costs $26 per night, and if you have an RV or trailer, it should be no longer than 30 feet.
  • Longs Peak: This campground is on Highway 7, about 9 miles south of Estes Park. It has 26 sites and is open from June to September. The cost is $26 per night when there’s water available. You can only set up tents here, and it’s first-come, first-served.
  • Timber Creek: This campground is around 8 miles east of Grand Lake Entrance Station on Highway 34. It has 98 campsites and is open from May to October. The cost is $26 per night when they have water available. If you have an RV or trailer, it should be no longer than 30 feet. It’s first-come, first-served, so no reservations are needed.
  • Moraine Park: The campground is situated about 2 ½ miles south of Beaver Meadows Entrance Station. It has 245 campsites and is open all year round. You can reserve a spot from late May to late September, and if not, it’s first-come, first-served.

The cost is $26 per night when there’s water (during the reservation dates mentioned), and $14 per night when there’s no water. If you have an RV or trailer, they can be up to 40 feet long. They also have group sites available.

Family-friendly hotels

There are plenty of family-friendly hotels to pick from around the national park and these include:

  • The Historic Crag’s Lodge: Nestled in the middle of a beautiful green forest, The Historic Crags Lodge sits on the north side of Prospect Mountain, just three miles away from the stunning Rocky Mountain National Park.

This mountain lodge is all about comfort, providing a snug escape with a rustic style filled with classic wooden furniture and a delightful atmosphere. You’ll find an outdoor pool, hot tub, and convenient access to everything Estes Park has to offer, making it hard to say goodbye to this cozy cabin getaway.

  • Appenzell Inn: The Appenzell Inn is a family-run hotel near Rocky Mountain National Park. They provide free Wi-Fi, a simple breakfast, and parking for guests. You can also use their indoor pool, ponds, and gardens during your stay.

Visiting Rocky Mountain National Park with kids can be an unforgettable experience for the whole family. This magnificent natural wonderland offers a wide range of activities and sights that are not only breathtaking but also educational and fun for children of all ages.

From exploring the diverse ecosystems, spotting wildlife, and embarking on kid-friendly hikes to enjoying a horseback ride, Rocky Mountain National Park has something to offer for every season and interest.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Cookie Consent with Real Cookie Banner