This is the 12th National Park we have been to as a family – and I think it is my favorite! (A ranks it #5, but whatever!). Other than the sort of insane crowds (long lines to get in to the park, and full parking lots), it was amazing. The views of the mountains were outstanding, the air was clear and cool, and there were lots of hikes that were fun and perfect for kids.
The first day in the park we headed to the Alluvial Fan hike. This alluvial fan was made in 1982 when a lake broke through its barrier and 29 million gallons of water went crashing down the river, carrying huge boulders with it, which spread out in a fan shape (it also caused a few deaths and the flooding of Estes Park). Now, there is a short hike to see the river flowing and all the boulders around this area make for a really fun climb. N absolutely loved climbing these boulders and making up his own trail. He did NOT want us to help him at all as he climbed.
The hike started by the river and the rocks were fairly small
But as we headed upstream, the boulders got bigger (and more fun to climb on!)
We hiked up the rocks for a while (maybe 1/4 mile or so?) then turned around and had fun choosing a new path to get back down the rocks. There were also picnic tables, so we stopped and had our lunch. It was a great stop and a perfect start to our time in Rocky Mountain National Park!
We went to another hike at Gem Lake, but it was steep and the boys were pretty tired, so we only made it a little way before turning around. We got a few nice views in the short time we hiked though!