How do I Hike in Rocky Mountain National Park?

How do I Hike in Rocky Mountain National Park?
Over 3.1 million visitors travel to Rocky Mountain National Park every year to enjoy the rustic outdoors and the scenic mountain range. Hikers can traverse over 355 miles of trails that vary in difficulty and terrain. Park rangers can assist you in deciding which trail is best for you, and they can make recommendations for breathtaking views that you shouldn't miss. Elevation in the park can range from 7,500 feet to over 12,000 feet, and hikers can choose to go anywhere from lakeside walks to mountainous treks. The park is the most crowded during the summer months; however, that is when the weather is the most pleasant.
 

Instructions

Difficulty: Moderate

Step 1
Obtain a map of the park's trails, and plot your course. The park offers trails to accommodate every hiking skill level, from beginner to experienced mountaineer.
Step 2
Pack lightly, but make sure you are prepared. Suggested items include: rain gear, sunscreen, pocketknife, whistle and a first-aid kit. Bring plenty of drinking water as well, because the high altitude of the park can cause you to dehydrate quickly. Include food that is high in carbohydrates or protein to help refuel your body during and after exercise. Many hikers find that a walking stick can provide much-needed support on some of the more challenging trails.
Step 3
Dress comfortably yet practically. A good pair of hiking shoes or boots can go a long way toward keeping you relaxed on the trail. Wear a few layers of upper-body clothing to keep you warm in the morning, and then you remove layers as the temperature rises. Wear a hat to protect you from the sun.
Step 4
Leave early for your hike, as thunderstorms can develop very quickly in the mountains during the afternoon.
Step 5
Stop to refuel periodically. If you feel dizzy or short of breath, a small snack or drink of water often will help greatly. Take breaks to enjoy the scenery as well; Rocky Mountain National Park has breathtaking panoramas and exceptional vantage points along many of its trails.
 

Tips & Warnings

 
Higher elevation means less atmosphere for the sun's ultraviolet rays to pass through. Always use sunscreen to decrease the risk of sunburn.

Article Written By Jacob Hendriks

Jacob Hendriks' work has appeared in "The Western Front," "The Planet Magazine" and Trails.com. He graduated from Western Washington University with a major in international business management and a minor in Community Health. Hendriks' passion for sports nutrition and fitness, combined with experience as a personal trainer, has led him to pursue health-oriented journalism.

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