Hoar Frost - an Up-close Look at Tiny Wonders in RMNP

Hoar Frost in Winter

Did you know there are different kinds of frost?  Next time you have to clean off your windows on a cold morning, take a minute to look closely - you might be surprised!  One of the most beautiful kinds of frost is called Hoar Frost.  It generally appears after a day of temperatures above freezing, followed by an extremely cold night with mid to high humidity.  The end result is amazing fern-like ice structures covering nearly everything from grass blades to tree limbs.  It's caused by the crystal structure of water and the way it freezes.  If you are brave enough, head out to a watery area after a warmer day and cold night and check out the miniature beauty.  By 9:30 am the hoar frost will usually all be gone, so soak in the tiny magic and then go warm your toes in the car! 

Guest blogger Jared Griscoskie of Yellow Wood Guiding

Experience Rocky Mountain National Park During the Holidays

The holiday season is a great time to visit Rocky Mountain National Park.  In addition to beautiful scenery, wildlife viewing, and a variety of winter recreational activities to do on your own, some fun activities with park rangers are offered.  Rocky Mountain National Park has a calendar full of fun family activities for the holidays.

On the east side of the park (Estes Park):

Winter Storytime -- December 26 through January 2 at 10:00 am daily.  Read with a Ranger! Hear stories about the wonders of the winter season.  Meet at Beaver Meadows Visitor Center (located on Highway 36) for this 30 minute program.

Skins and Skulls -- December 26 through January 1 at 2:00 pm daily.  Meet Rocky's wildlife!  Come to this 30 minute program at Fall River Visitor Center (located on Highway 34) for a hands-on experience.

Snowshow Ecology Walks -- December 26, January 1, and January 2 at 12:30 pm.  Join a ranger for a beginner-level snowshoe tour exploring the natural world of a subalpine forest.  Ages 8 years old and above.  Participants will need to bring their own snowshoes which can be rented at sporting goods stores.  Reservations required - call (970) 586-1223 beginning December 19.

Spirit of the Mountains -- Shown by request daily from 8:30 am to 4:00 pm.  See the stunning 23 minute park film at Beaver Meadows Visitor Center (located on Highway 36). 

On the west side of the park (Grand Lake):

Ski the Wilderness -- Join a park ranger for this 1.5 hour cross country ski tour of the Kawuneeche Valley.  For ages 8 and above.  December 31 at 9:30 am.  Reservations required - call (970) 627-3471 beginning December 24.

Snowshoe in the Kawuneeche -- Beginner-level snowshoe tour with a ranger.  December 17, 24, and 31 at 1:00 pm.  Intermediate-level snowshoe tours held December 18, and January 1 at 1:00 pm.  For ages 8 and above.  Reservations required - call (970) 627-3471 no more than 7 days in advance. 

Beaver Meadows Visitor Center and Kawuneeche Visitor Centers are open daily 8:00 am to 4:30 pm, closed December 25.  They feature the free park film, bookstore, and general park information.  Fall River Visitor Center is open December 26 through December 30 from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm as well as weekends throughout the winter (closed December 25).  Features general park information, life sized wildlife displays, a booksotre, and a discovery room where kids can touch objects and dress up as rangers, American Indians, and pionners. 

For more information about Rocky Mountain National Park, and to learn about additional snowshoe and ski programs being offered after the holiday season, please call the park's Information Office at (970) 586-1206.  All park visitor centers and the Information Office will be closed on December 25.