Get the Most out of Your Rocky Mountain Vacation by Avoiding Crowds, Bugs and Carsick Kiddos

Male Elk off Fall River Road in Rocky Mountain National Park

If you are planning a trip to Rocky Mountain National Park this summer, you are going to create wonderful family memories. My whole website is dedicated to how amazing I think Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park are.  I think it’s also helpful to know the less than spectacular parts of a destination that might come up so you can plan ahead.

#1: Crowds – I’m not the only one that loves the Rocky Mountains. I have to share my favorite place with a ton of fellow tourists who come when it’s most convenient – holidays and weekends. That means during these busy times, we have to wake up super early and try to get the kiddos packed and fed so we can get into the park before 7AM. That sounds terrible, but it’s worth it especially if we are trying to find a parking space near some of the most popular destinations like Bear Lake and Alberta Falls.

How to avoid the crowds in Rocky Mountain National Park:

  • hike in less popular destinations
  • go (really) early in the morning
  • hike on week days
  • pre-purchase your park pass online
  • help lines run faster by asking questions at the visitors centers instead of the park entrances
  • ride the shuttles

#2: Mosquitos – I don’t think I’m alone in my hatred of mosquitos. I noticed more of them on our trip this July, especially in hikes around lakes such as Bear Lake and rivers such as our trip from Fern Lake trailhead to The Pool. You might not want to avoid these beautiful destinations on your trip, so my suggestion is to wear bug spray. If you have babies and are breast-feeding like I am, go for sprays without DEET.

If anyone has a favorite brand of natural bug spray that works, let me know! 

#3: Less wildlife – Compared to May and October, I feel like we saw less wildlife on our trip this July. We got to see an elk really close up on Old Fall River Road and two moose near Grand Lake, so this ‘complaint’ is pretty minor. Could be the warm weather? Could be the crowds? Male Elk off Fall River Road in Rocky Mountain National Park

#4: Carsick Kiddos – Winding mountain roads sometimes make my toddler car sick. This time we weren’t prepared and the cleanup was awful. Next time we go on a trip to the mountains I’m bringing a carsick kit with:

  • bucket
  • towels
  • Clorox wipes
  • trash bags
  • bottle of water
  • change of clothes for everyone
  • pretzels/saltines/ginger snacks
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