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Beaver Meadows Visitor Center picture in Rocky Mountain National Park
Rich Crowder / Getty Images

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  • Museums Type
  • Less than 1 hour Time to Spend
4.7
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    5.0
  • Facilities
    3.5
  • Atmosphere
    4.5

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To get an educational overview of the park, it's wise to stop in at one of RMNP's visitor centers, such as Beaver Meadows. According to recent visitors, the park rangers are extremely helpful and knowledgeable and can help you decide which trails to take, depending on your time and skill level. Along with books and maps, you can also purchase (or rent) equipment like walking sticks or cleats.  

Recent travelers said a stop at Beaver Meadows (located near the park's main entrance along Highway 36) is a must, reporting that the friendly, helpful rangers gave valuable tips about how to get the most out of an RMNP vacation, including what roads and trails might be closed. 

The Beaver Meadows Visitor Center is open year-round, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., though it operates on reduced hours in the fall, winter and spring. It is free to access with park admission. For more information, visit the National Park Service website

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#1 Trail Ridge Road Horace Albright, director of the National Park Service between 1929 and 1933, once said about Trail Ridge Road, "It's hard to describe what a sensation this new road is ... Read more » Carolyn Hebbard / Getty Images

#2 Beaver Meadows Visitor Center To get an educational overview of the park, it's wise to stop in at one of RMNP's visitor centers, such as Beaver Meadows. According to recent visitors, the ... Read more » Rich Crowder / Getty Images

#3 Bear Lake Bear Lake is encircled by a nearly 1-mile trail that visitors enjoy for its ease and beauty, especially during the fall when the aspens turn gold. Spruce, fir and pine ... Read more » Rhona Wise / Getty Images

#4 Downtown Estes Park Estes Park is the gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park, and it is home base for many visitors. It contains a host of accommodations, ranging from inns and motels to ... Read more » Ronda Kimbrow Photography / Getty Images

#5 Emerald Lake Trail This popular 3 ½-mile, round-trip hike winds past Nymph Lake, Dream Lake and Tyndall Creek, and offers some breathtaking views of Longs Peak, Hallett Peak and Flattop Mountain before reaching ... Read more » Brad McGinley Photography / Getty Images

#6 Moraine Park Museum Housed in a converted log cabin built in the early 1900s, the Moraine Park Museum is filled with exhibits on the natural environment of Rocky Mountain National Park, from its ... Read more » Jasperdo / Flickr

#7 Stanley Hotel Tour Not only is the grand Stanley Hotel a member of the Historic Hotels of America, it's also listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Aside from its historic ... Read more » RiverNorthPhotography / Getty Images

Trail Ridge Road picture in Rocky Mountain National Park
Beaver Meadows Visitor Center picture in Rocky Mountain National Park
Bear Lake picture in Rocky Mountain National Park
Downtown Estes Park picture in Rocky Mountain National Park
Emerald Lake Trail picture in Rocky Mountain National Park
Moraine Park Museum picture in Rocky Mountain National Park
Stanley Hotel picture in Rocky Mountain National Park
Trail Ridge Road picture in Rocky Mountain National Park
Beaver Meadows Visitor Center picture in Rocky Mountain National Park
Bear Lake picture in Rocky Mountain National Park
Downtown Estes Park picture in Rocky Mountain National Park
Emerald Lake Trail picture in Rocky Mountain National Park
Moraine Park Museum picture in Rocky Mountain National Park
Stanley Hotel picture in Rocky Mountain National Park

Eleven miles of Trail Ridge Road sit above the tree line. Carolyn Hebbard / Getty Images

A visitor's first stop at Rocky Mountain National Park should be one of its visitor centers, including Beaver Meadows. According to recent visitors, the park rangers are extremely helpful and knowledgeable and can help you decide which trails to take, depending on your time and skill level. Rich Crowder / Getty Images

When the aspens change color in the fall, Bear Lake is an especially glorious sight.  Rhona Wise / Getty Images

For many travelers, Estes Park is the gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park. It's also the starting point for the must-see Trail Ridge Road. Ronda Kimbrow Photography / Getty Images

While on the Emerald Lake Trail, you'll pass by a series of lakes, including the subalpine Dream Lake.  Brad McGinley Photography / Getty Images

The Moraine Park Museum doubles as a gallery and a visitor center, and it's also on the National Register of Historic Places.  Jasperdo / Flickr

Back in 1980, the Stanley Hotel was the inspiration for Stephen King's "The Shining." These days, visitors can experience the hotel that made "Jack a dull boy" while on a tour or a stay.  RiverNorthPhotography / Getty Images

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