You are on vacation and it’s lunch time …. if you are like me, there are some days you are handing chicken nuggets back to your toddler from a fast food place (no judgement) or you are begging your kids to sit still at a nicer restaurant and give into screen time (still no judgement). But, some magical days you have the opportuniy to stop and enjoy a meal as a family in a beautiful setting. Picnics are the best!
Rocky Mountain National Park is an ideal place for family picnics. But where are the best places to go? A good resource for picnicking ideas is the National Park’s website which lists over 25 picnic sites.
On a recent trip we decided to try out the Coyote Valley picnic area which is conveniently located off Trail Ridge Road on the way from Estes Park, CO to Grand Lake, CO. There are several parking spots, a restroom and trash receptacles which all come in handy for family picnics.A short yet beautiful walk leads to picnic tables on your left. There are seven tables available as first come first serve. The picnic area doesn’t have grills and portable grills are not allowed in this location.
We enjoyed spectacular views of the Never Summer Mountains and the Colorado River which ribbons through the Kawuneeche Valley.
After being contained in car seats for the drive up Fall River Road and down Trail Ridge Road (with a brief stop at the Alpine Visitor Center where we begged them not to touch items in the gift shop) our girls had fun burning energy and exploring.
After lunch we took a stroll along the Coyote Valley Trail which is a flat half mile walk each way. We appreciated the opportunity to rest on benches and learn about the landscape from educational exhibits along the path.
The Kawuneeche Valley is an area of the park we look forward to exploring more in the future!