A relatively close getaway for those living in the Denver area, Rocky Mountain National Park and its two gateway towns offer a number of romantic ways to spend time together. Here are some of our favorite activities to do as a couple.
1. Ski, Snowshoe, or Hike Under a Full Moon
Celebrate your love as you ski or snowshoe under a full moon at Grand Lake Nordic Center in Grand Lake, the western gateway town to Rocky Mountain National Park. You’ll have incredible moonlit views of Rocky Mountain National Park and Arapaho National Forest.
On the eastern side of the park, take a full-moon winter hike or snowshoe with a ranger. Reserve your spot at the Beaver Meadows Visitor Center in Estes Park.
2. Treat Yourselves to a Musical
If you are in Grand Lake in the summer, spend an evening at the Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre where Hollywood actors David Hasselhoff and David Arquette worked as young thespians. Offering three shows every summer, professional actors take the stage and perform popular Broadway musicals like Les Miserables and The Addams Family. Buy your tickets early as the word is out about this gem. Completed in 2011, the jewel-box theater seats 300 people. There’s not a bad seat in the house.
3. Float on a Boat for Two
During the summer, Grand Lake is like a sheet of glass in the morning, making it the best time to be on the water. In the afternoon, the wind picks up and storms roll in, putting a quick end to any boating activity. You can rent kayaks, paddleboats and more from businesses located on the lake’s shore. Consider the brightly colored paddleboats, which enable you to board the same boat and pedal around the lake as you enjoy some of the most stunning views of the Rockies.
4. Spend Time Together On A World-Class Scenic Drive
During the summer or early fall, drive Trail Ridge Road, the highest continuous paved road in the United States, which connects Estes Park to Grand Lake. Reaching 12,183-feet, the road offers sweeping views of many of the park’s 72 named peaks that reach for the blue Colorado sky. Keep your eyes peeled for elk, moose, bighorn sheep and bear, as well as some of the 281 types of birds that live in the park.
Park your car at the Alpine Visitor Center — the highest visitor center in the national park system — located at the zenith of Trail Ridge Road. An easy hiking route leaves from the visitor center and takes you above 12,000 feet. If the afternoon lightening storms have already moved in, skip the hike, brave the crowds and explore the center’s exhibits, gift shop or restaurant.
5. Watch the Sunrise
Sit by Sprague Lake (pictured at top) and watch the sunrise together by this striking lake in Rocky Mountain National Park near the Estes Park entrance. Enjoy the half-mile trail around the lake in winter or summer, but bring your skis or snowshoes if you visit in winter.
6. Get Married in Rocky Mountain National Park
Forget about the beach or Las Vegas. A Rocky Mountain wedding beats those locations in uniqueness and majesty. You can reserve a wedding spot in the park by simply applying for a special use permit and paying the $250 fee. There are thirteen pre-scouted locations in the park for your selection, or request a spot with special meaning to you. Note that there are limits as to the number of people and cars, food, and the volume of music. Most sites accommodate less than 20 people but there are locations that may have up to 100 including Lily Lake. For more information, visit the National Park Service wedding web page at www.nps.gov/romo/planyourvisit/weddings.htm