Straddling the Continental Divide, Colorado's Rocky Mountain National Park boasts some of the most spectacular high-mountain landscapes in the U.S.
Photograph by Robert Harding World Imagery, Alamy
Frosted with snow, Bear Lake gleams beneath distant Longs Peak and Keyboard of the Winds. The lake is one of the few high-mountain lakes in Colorado reachable on a paved road.
Photograph by VividFolio, Alamy
In summer, some 3,000 elk roam the park's high country, but in winter most move to lower elevations outside the park. Rocky Mountain is also home to mule deer, bighorn sheep, and scores of smaller mammals.
Photograph by Jim Dockery, Alamy
Sunrise is quiet at Sprague Lake, a fishing pond reachable by an easy half-mile walk.
Photograph by Scott Warren, National Geographic Creative
Despite the park's popularity, it's possible to find solitude along the trails or on the shore of a high-altitude lake—such as Dream Lake, pictured here—where the loudest sound is the croaking call of a raven.
Photograph by Clint Farlinger, Alamy
A rushing stream tumbles down a slope in Rocky Mountain National Park, which contains some 450 miles of waterways in all.
Photograph by John De Bord, Alamy
The park's highest mountain at 14,259 feet, Longs Peak is a strenuous hike for even the most experienced climbers. It's a 16-mile round-trip trek.
Photograph by RJ Sangosti, Getty
Autumn brings vibrant yellow coloring to deciduous trees in the park, which also supports conifers and hardy shrubs.
Photograph by Pete McBride, National Geographic Creative
A rafter on the Colorado River gets a once-over from a moose on the riverbank. The huge animals are regularly seen grazing in the wetlands along the Colorado and other streams.
Photograph by Tom Uhlman, Alamy
Rocky Mountain National Park is one of the best places in the U.S. to spot a variety of small mammals, including the yellow-bellied marmot. These chubby members of the rodent family often greet hikers on mountain summits, sunning themselves and occasionally giving a loud whistle.
Photograph by Debra James, Alamy
A hiker heads up a grassy ridge in Rocky Mountain National Park, where gasping for oxygen is a way of life: The low elevation here is around 8,000 feet.
Photograph by Rui Xu, Alamy
Lily pads float on the surface of Nymph Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park.
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