The year before I moved to Colorado, my boyfriend and I took a road trip through Colorado for my birthday and made sure RMNP was one of our stops. We instantly fell in love with Estes Park and scenic beauty of Rocky Mountain National Park. We made the mistake of only spending a couple of days in the park (stupid) but the impact it made on us never faded. Who knew a year later I would be living only 1.5 hours away from Estes.
Since my first trip to Estes, shooting in Rocky Mountain National Park was something I really wanted to do; Brooke and Chris helped make this a reality! When they told me they wanted engagement photos in the mountains, I instantly recommended RMNP and I was ecstatic when they agreed. We took their photos in mid-October so we were able to avoid the heavy out-of-state crowds in the summer. Unfortunately, Trail Ridge road was closed by this point which undoubtedly has the craziest views in the park. I met them at Beaver Meadows Visitor Center where I gave them an overview of the locations I selected while Brooke showed me her ADORABLE outfits. We first started at Sprague Lake off of Bear Lake Road to capture the sun setting on the water. I was fan-girling over the view because it was just so. perfect. Not to mention they were adorable together. After Sprague lake I took them to Moraine Park in hopes of capturing some elk, but they were out of sight (sad). However, the stunning view of Moraine Park at sunset made for incredible photos and we were even blessed with a bright, fat moon to end the session.
Since living here I have traveled to Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park more than I would like to admit, but here are a few helpful tips I have learned through my travels:
- A photo permit is $50 and super easy to purchase, don't risk it for the biscuit!
- Trail Ridge Road is only open during the Summer season until able and has insanely epic mountain views you can easily drive up to
-Summer-Early Fall is the busy season so make sure you plan ahead and have a timed-entry pass. If you're not able to secure a pass, you can enter the park after they close without one at 6pm.
- If you plan on eloping in the park you will need to secure a separate wedding permit for that as well!
- The elk are beautiful, but do not forget they are wild animals that can charge if they so please. They are extra-protective of their babies in the summer. Keep a safe distance from them even if others aren't!
- Dogs are not allowed on any trails in the park whatsoever and for their own safety (I have seen moose and wolves in the park). But, if you really want to bring them along they are more than welcome to enjoy the views from the car and hop out for a few quick pictures.
- For a somewhat easy hike with a gorgeous view, Emerald Lake is a 3.2 mile trail that gives you a classic mountain lake view. Along the way there are tons of photo opportunities like Dream Lake and Bear Lake. However, this is probably the busiest trail in the summer so keep that in mind.
Thanks and Gig 'em! I hope this helps someone out there :)