Wednesday morning we got up early and headed for the Grand Lake entrance to Rocky Mountain NP. We weren't able to drive the scenic road through the park our first time around, because of late spring snows, so we were hoping to hit it on the way back. We checked again at the visitor center, hoping the trail ridge road across the park might have opened up, but no luck. We would have to go back out of the park and drive all the way around, rather than just driving through (plus missing those alpine views!) We drove up as high as we could before the road closure, up to the Continental Divide, where the plowed snowbanks were still over our heads.
We slowly made our way back down, hiking a short way near the beginning of the Colorado River. We also checked out the Holzwarth historic settlement, and made a picnic lunch there. We decided to hike the Coyote Valley trail, but we barely got 100 yards onto the trail when we found the way blocked by a young male moose, taking his time munching on weeds.
We stood there for a while watching it, but it seemed in no hurry to move, so we gave up on the hike, contented ourselves with taking pictures and talking to some other hikers. They casually mentioned in passing that the Trail Ridge Road had opened at noon! We decided to finish our final hike, and hope it wouldnt close again before we left.
We drove past Grand Lake to the Adams Falls trailhead, another short and easy hike. We got to the falls, and some other hikers told us they had just seen a baby moose another half mile up the trail. So we hiked a little further, and watched the baby moose from afar for a while until other some hikers spooked it.
We headed back up the mountain, and the pass was still open when we got there! The snowbanks kept getting higher, and the trees soon disappeared as we gained elevation into the tundra, but the roads were fine. We reached the summit, somewhere around 12,050ft, and hiked the Tundra Communities trail even higher up to the ridge in the snow. It was pretty spectacular, but the sky soon started getting dark, it started snowing, and we heard some thunder, so we didnt stay long. Back down to the east side of the park, and onward! We made it just into Kansas that night, and got a hotel. We have two more parks to see on the way back east, but we have a lot of tiresome driving, so I think we're done camping for the trip.