Roosevelt National Forest - Storm Mountain, an easy to moderate motor bike ride near Estes Park

Rocky Mountain National Park is surrounded by several national forests - of which the two main ones are Roosevelt National Forest (to the north and east sides of the park) and Arapaho National Forest (on the west and south sides of the park). 

In the national forests, unlike in RMNP, you are allowed to hunt, as well as take your dog on walks, go ATVing or motorcycling, and in the winter, go snowmobiling. Snowmobiling is only allowed on the groomed trails in Arapaho National Forest, many of which can be found near the Grand Lake area to the west side of RMNP. For more specific information and maps, check out the US Forest Service site. 


Storm Mountain Overlook

Roosevelt National Forest is over 800,000 acres large. It is divided into 2 ranger districts - the Canyon Lakes Ranger District and the Boulder Ranger District. It was originally created in 1897 as a part of the Medicine Bow Forest Reserve, but has since been renamed initially the Colorado National Forest (in 1910), then in 1932 it was renamed again to honor President Theodore Roosevelt. 
Just outside of Drake, in the Roosevelt National Forest, is one of many fun areas where dirt bikers can ride - Storm Mountain. It is an easy to moderate ride, although the conditions of the ride change based on the weather. When the roads get wet, they become very slippery and harder to navigate. If it's been dry for a while, it's easier to manage. When you get to the top you have a magnificent view of the entire foothills area. It's probably one of the best places to see fireworks on the 4th of July, as you can see all the fireworks displays as they happen. For specific trail information and directions, you can check out the Stay the Trail website. Storm Mountain trail is open from mid-June to the end of November.
Storm Mountain Overlook2
And this is the view as you are coming down out of the forest - closer to the Masonville/Fort Collins area. The access on this side of the forest is only open during hunting season.
Storm Mountain trail

Hot Springs near Rocky Mountain National Park

The closest natural hot springs to Rocky Mountain National Park are at Hot Sulphur Springs, CO, located outside of the park about 20 miles to the west of the Kawuneeche Visitor Center on Hwy 40.


Hot Sulphur Springs

*One of the 24 pools in Hot Sulphur Springs, CO


Hot Sulphur Springs has been in operation since 1864. Imagine soaking in the springs where the Ute Indians once bathed. There are over 200,000 gallons of totally natural, fresh hot mineral spring water flowing through the pools daily with no chemicals or filtering.

Every day of the year from 8:00 a.m. to 9:45 p.m. you can access the 24 pools.  Pets are not allowed on the property. Kids who are under 12 can only go into four of the pools, leaving the other 20 pools open for Adults Only for a quiet and relaxing experience.  Fees charged for entrance.


Hot Sulphur Springs pictures

*Pictures of a few of the other pools at Hot Sulphur Springs


All of the minerals found in the hot springs water are good for hair & skin: sodium, sulfates, chloride, magnesium, potassium, calcium, floride, lithium & zinc. You will leave after your soak feeling very relaxed and refreshed.


Old Town Hot Springs in Steamboat Springs

*Old Town Hot Springs in the downtown area of Steamboat Springs, CO


Another option for hot springs near RMNP, if you're looking for a longer day trip, is to head northwest from RMNP to Steamboat Springs, CO with its two different hot springs: Strawberry Park Hot Springs and Old Town Hot Springs.


  • Strawberry Park Hot Springs is located up in the mountains above Steamboat and is much more natural in feeling. In addition to their hot spring pools, they also offer areas for Watsu therapy and table massages for the total relaxation experience.
  • Old Town Hot Springs is perfect for those looking for a nice soak closer to town with waterslides (open seasonally) and a workout facility as well.