Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.

Henry David Thoreau

Rocky Mountain National Park

Sunday August 10, 2014
Glacier Basin Campground
Rocky Mountain National Park



We decide to give Winnona a break driving up into the Rockies.  So I drive Ruby.  We had planned to take US 36 to Estes Park and on into the Glacier Basin Campground.  All was well until we came to Lyons about 60 miles up the road and find that we will have to take a detour of 16 miles up Colorado Route 7.   Now this two lane road is a scenic highway for sure but it is not RV friendly.

At one point after being slowed down to 25 miles per hour to deal with the terrible road conditions, Winnona had a line of cars behind her.  David said she was the head of the parade.

One motorcyclist couldn’t wait for a pullout, of which there were few, and went flying around on a double yellow.  Looked like a blind curve to me.  That’s pretty much what the road was, one curve after another with a great mountain stream on one side and rocky side walls on the other.







As we get closer to Estes Park the road becomes wider and flatter.  There are a ton of cars parked along the road on both sides.  Amazingly there is room for Winnona and her dolly so David says he’s pulling over  We use walkie talkies when we drive separately.   Turns out it is an Elk Jam. I take this picture when I get out of the car.


The elk pay us no mind but they must think we are totally crazy.  Tons of people with cameras.   BUT this sighting is a good omen for our 12 days here.  The first picture shows where they were just off the side of the road.  Look for the two little brown things.













We never usually stop with Winnona along the way to “sight see” on our trips but today we do for some reason.  I guess so the traffic can get around us.  

Second stop is Lily Lake.  This is a Trail Head for several trails in the National park.  It’s a lovely little Glacier made  lake but my pictures are hampered by a BIG dark cloud coming our way. 







We see this little family out in the middle of the lake.  Not sure who they are.  Suggestions??






Here we learn about Enos Mills who is considered the Father of Rocky Mountain National Park  In 1881, at age 14, he left his family in Kansas and the next year climbed Longs Peak, the highest point in the park.  He repeated this ascent more than 250 times usually while guiding hikes  from his homestead cabin or Longs Peak Inn  his nearby guest lodge. 

The information tells us that this area around the lake is  the landscape that inspired him to spend most of his life passionately writing and speaking about the Longs Peak area.  In 1907 he proposed that Congress preserve this region of the Rocky Mountains as a national park.  The park was created in 1915.  Enos Mills died 7 years later at the age of 52.  The picture is of him at his cabin 2 miles from Lily Lake on Colorado Rt 7.






The road gets wider and better as we approach Estes Park.  But it does start to rain.







This map from the Lily Lake area shows the route we were taking to Estes Park as well as a short cut on Mary’s Lake road which we bypassed because we just weren’t sure.

We later took Mary’s Lake Road and found it to be more suitable for RVs than most of  Route 7.   Driving through Estes Park was really out of the way for us since we were going to Glacier Basin Campground which you can see if you look very carefully on the map just up from and to the left of the ‘You are Here’ circle. 

We go on up Route 7, turn left on Route 36 drive through town and then come down on 36 to pass the Beaver Meadows Visitor Center and enter the park. 

First left turn then heads down Bear Lake Road past the Moraine Park Museum and eventually to that little tent sign for our campground.  RVs cannot go any further down Bear Lake Road than the campground.

Driving through the tourist area of Estes Park would give me the white knuckles but David has no trouble with this stuff luckily.  I’m paying too much attention to all the traffic and all the people to get a picture that really portrays the zoo that this town is.





We arrive at Glacier Basin after more like 100 miles rather than the 72 we were expecting.  We find that it is a 4 loop campground. The loops are very small and the sites stacked on top of one another.  BUT we’re inside the National Park and don’t have to drive far as for hiking as we would if we were in a private park in Estes Park which is the only nearby town.  A park shuttle also runs very frequently if you are willing to hike between 8am and 6pm.




We are in site 6 which looks like this before Winnona gets there.  It’s a rock lined pulloff just barely wide enough to put out your slides.

This is loop A.  Notice the trees.  Loops C & D have had all the trees removed because of the pine bark beetle which is a serious problem here.  When I made these reservations I was thinking that I didn’t want a treeless campground since we’d be using our generator, but now that we are going to be dependent on our solar set up, full sun would have been helpful. 




Ruby gives way to Winnona and brings up the rear.  We should have driven around the small campground  circle backwards so that our door could be facing into the ncie sized site and not onto the road. 

But by the time I thought about doing this, we were already leveled up and we decided that we won’t be here much anyway.  We have lots of hiking to do.





We have our dinner outside and are scolded by this Steller’s Jay.  He really is stellar looking isn’t he?





We’re about ready for bed when we remember the “super moon” and step outside to see it rising in the sky.  A beautiful way to end our first day in Rocky Mountain National Park.





  1. I think the ducks are mallards. Love the steller jay photo!

  2. Replies
    1. That is especially fun coming from you :-)))))))

  3. What a great day! National parks are wonderful!

  4. I agree, that Estes Park is a zoo! We stayed on the other side of the park in Grand Lake, but drove over to Estes Park one day and experienced the madness. I know you are going to have a grand time in RMNP!

  5. That is a Steller Jay just like teases our neighbors cat. They know cats and love to tease them.

  6. Holey moley that was a thrill ride for you and Winnona...I would have been having a heart attack. We drove 7 up from Black Hawk but we weren't in the RV :-). You'll have a great time, we couldn't do any hiking while there (that nasty old no dogs rule) but we drove Old Falls River Road and Trail Ridge Road. Stayed one night in Estes Park second night in Grand Lake which we liked much better.

  7. Well, we certainly are excited to see what hiking you find and share with us:o)) Be safe and Have fun!!!

  8. I'm curious as to why you had to detour at Lyons. Is the road into Estes Park still closed from last years flooding? We've traveled both routes many times and yes, what you had to do would be tiring and frustrating! Wish I could've gotten word to you that Mary's Lake Road was good. Can't imagine driving Winona through Estes Park! Thumbs up for David!! We loved Lily Lake and would alternate the Lily Lake flat loop and the Estes Park walking trail as our off hiking day exercise! Can't wait to see more!

  9. If you are going to be at the head of the parade , maybe you can stop for a break and have some Elk Jam on wheat bread. It makes a good sandwich. Save some for the Jay!

  10. What a beautiful bird! and, of course other scenery!! So nice you saw the moon too, amongst the trees!

  11. The stellar jay is a real beauty. Here we've got blue and gray jays. The elk jam reminds me of a provincial park where you'll often see cars pulled over in April and May particularly- moose tend to be near the roadsides.

    A beautiful area. I'd love to see that park.

  12. WHAT. You're in RMNP??? I missed A LOT.

  13. Thanks for the memories!! We were there a year ago June. We stayed at the county campground. There are elk everywhere, at every turn. I've never seen so many buck. It was so much fun. Enjoy your stay:)

  14. I love to watch the jays. They are beautiful and bold!

  15. Even all those years ago I wasn't impressed with Estes Park, but fell in love with the Rockies. Said I wanted to live there someday, but that day hasn't come, yet. Sure look forward to your hiking here.

  16. Looks like you two have found another great park and are camped "in" it. I'll be waiting for your reports on the hiking.

  17. Looking forward to being in Colorado ourselves next week (Durango area), your pictures are a nice teaser for us.

  18. Detours are no fun ... the unknown adds more stress. You done well.

  19. That's definitely not my favorite campsite, but I do love the Stellar Jay.

  20. Great Elk picture! Glad Pops isn't daunted by the drive. I would have been. Rocky Mountain is beautiful even if the campsite isn't ideal. Looking forward to hearing about the hikes!

  21. That Steller's Jay didn't give you much of a "stellar" welcome! Pretty bird, though, nice enough of it to pose for your picture.

    Interesting sites, hope there is not too much traffic to disturb your peace and quiet. Thank goodness for the solar and not having to use your genny much in this campground. After all the trouble you went through setting up the solar, this is the wonderful payback...it was worth the struggle. :c)

  22. The purple flower is gorgeous! I have never seen a stellar jay- how handsome he is! Can't wait so see more elk pictures. They are so majestic. Have fun hiking! xxxooo

  23. One would think that the sites would be arranged so that going "backwards" would not be required to set up with your door to the picnic table.....of course I am not an expert at campground design :-). Leading the parade is the perfect mind-set in those situations - he's a good one that David. Aren't Elk the most majesticYou'll be leaving there today so I'm anxious to see all the wonderful places you've seen and learned about - and how the solar did in the trees :-). Safe travels.

  24. oh my goodness. . .see where your campground is on the map. . .and then the Road with 66 on it. . .the Campground we park hosted in was right there where that road dead ends. . .our back window looked out over Glacier Basin. . .it was fabulous!

    Can't wait to see what you discover. . .aren't the elk just magnificent. . .they came through the campground regularly. . .we loved it there!

  25. If I have to be in a traffic jam, Elk is one of the best reasons:)

  26. Love the stellar jay and great shot of the elk

  27. I still have to see a Stellar jay. We have never been to CO, so once again you are one of our trip advisors so to speak.

  28. What a great elk photo! And the stellar's jay, too -- reminds me of home in Ashland, and the dozens of stellar's jays that frequented our feeders. Raucous and beautiful! Can't wait to read about your adventures in RMNP.

  29. What a beautiful bull elk you saw, and the jay was a looker as well! So jealous of you right now, though we're thinking we'll be there next September.


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