We moved to the East side of Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP), the side we first came in through but couldn’t find an open campground in. It is a more crowded and touristic part of the park but has also a lot of trails and different views to experience. We based ourselves for 3 nights at the Moraine campground. The first day we got there Sylvie was feeling sick (altitude sickness may be?) and a storm came through- a pretty strong one, a tourist even got struck by lightning- so we just hung out.
RMNP is set in the Southern Rockies and could be just as well called “top of the world”. It has the highest major highway in North America, Trail Ridge Road (remember the white-knuckle foggy drive?), that tops out at 12,183 ft (3713 metres) and nearly one third of the park is above treeline-11,400 ft (3474 metres)-which we certainly felt in our hikes over the next couple of days.
While RNMP is beautiful, we never got the feeling it was truly wild. Despite abundant deer-family wildlife (deer, moose, & elk), it felt over-managed, manicured, and it is lacking in predatory animals (there are only 20 to 24 black bears left in the entire park – the lowest density of any national park). May be you have to backcountry hike/camp to experience the wilder side in the park. So we are now on our way to the Grand Tetons/Yellowstone NP (which will be our second visit) and are currently cleaning, re-stocking, resting etc in a small town of Wyoming named Riverton. We found a little A/C heaven casino hotel (it’s 100F/38 C) to spend a couple nights in. We are not gamblers but appreciate the casino hotel deals!