Rocky Mountain National Park Family Adventure

Trip Length5 Days
Group Size4–12
Activity level
Starting from
$2,199 for REI Members
$2,419 for non-members
DeparturesJun 2024-Aug 2025

A classic camping family adventure chock-full of wildlife sightings, spectacular mountain scenery and awe-inspiring hikes.

Rocky Mountain National Park is the quintessential destination for a family vacation. With its forests and mountains, its great outdoors and great adventure, the landscape will inspire a sense of exploration in young and old alike. Children will relish the opportunity to learn from our fun and energetic guides, and the whole family will love the five memorable days spent at our comfortable campsite.

Hiking to alpine lakes and an old mining ghost town, we keep a lookout for the park's abundant wildlife. A mid-trip rafting adventure on Colorado's only designated "Wild and Scenic River" offers an exhilarating change of pace. And no trip in the Rocky Mountains is complete without a scenic drive along the Trail Ridge Road, the highest paved road in America and ranked one of the country's most beautiful drives. Days on the trail lead to nights around the campfire under Colorado's incredibly starry sky—a lovely sight to behold with family and new friends.

Recreational Equipment, Inc. is authorized by the National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, to conduct services in Rocky Mountain National Park.

Not traveling with kids under 18? Check out our Rocky Mountain National Park Adventure.

No adventure in the Rocky Mountains would be complete without a scenic drive through the alpine tundra along Trail Ridge Road, one of the country's most beautiful drives.

Trip Highlights

  • Explore the spectacular landscapes of Rocky Mountain National Park
  • Enjoy family-friendly hikes past wildflower meadows and cascading waterfalls
  • Raft the Cache la Poudre River and take a drive on famous Trail Ridge Road
  • Search for elk, deer, bighorn sheep, marmots and other park wildlife
  • Savor delicious guide-prepared meals and sleep in comfort in our oversized tents

Activities

This trip is rated Moderate (3). Upon arrival, you should be able to hike up to 5 miles while carrying a 5-10 pound day pack without major discomfort over varied terrain, some of which includes elevation gains and loss. Hikes take place between 8,500' and 11,000' in elevation.

  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Rafting
  • Hiking

What's Included

Four nights camping accommodations; meals as noted on the daily itinerary; professional guide leadership; roundtrip transportation from/to Denver and during the trip; whitewater rafting excursion; park entry fees and related permits. See this trip's Gear List for details regarding any equipment that may be provided for your use during the adventure.

Accommodations

Camping, 4 nights

Your Adventure Itinerary

Itinerary map for Rocky Mountain National Park Family Adventure
Day 1

Scenic Drive to Rocky Mountain National Park and warm-up hike

Our trip begins this morning in Denver, Colorado where we meet our guides & fellow family adventurers. A brief orientation before loading into our private van ensures we're ready for the days ahead as we set out for Rocky Mountain National Park. The Rockies are rich in history and our guides take advantage of the scenic drive to share the story of this beautiful region. Arriving at the park, we head to our campsite where we'll enjoy a wonderful lunch and set up our cozy basecamp home for the next 4 nights. Our accommodations include roomy oversized tents, allowing us plenty of space to stretch out and stow our gear. Next stop is our first of many amazing hikes that offers glimpses of the magnificent wilderness we'll explore in the days ahead. Once we've completed our hike, we'll return to camp for a delicious guide-prepared dinner together. A campfire under a star-filled Rocky Mountain sky brings this incredible first day to a close. Lunch and Dinner included.

Hiking: 4 miles with minimal elevation gain and loss; Van transfer: 2 hours; Camp elevation: 8,500'

Day 2

Hike to sparkling alpine lakes surrounded by towering peaks

The sounds of birds and chipmunks awaken us in our comfy tents, and we begin our first full day of adventure in Rocky Mountain National Park. A hot breakfast helps fuel our hike to a series of beautiful alpine lakes crowned by towering granite peaks. Situated in the Tyndall Gorge, Bear Lake is by far one of the most popular and most photographed lakes in the park. After Bear Lake, our trail takes us on a gradual ascent to Nymph Lake, lined by pond lilies and offering stunning views of Longs Peak (14,259') and Glacier Gorge. Prepare for jaw-dropping scenery when we reach Emerald Lake, with the jagged spires of Hallett Peak and Flattop Mountain dominating the skyline. After soaking in the dramatic scenery, we return to camp where some relaxation time and dinner awaits us in our comfortable outdoor home. All meals included.

Hiking: 4.2 miles, Elevation gain/loss: +800' / -800'

Day 3

Raft the Cache la Poudre River and spend the night stargazing

Today we see the Rockies from a new perspective. After a hearty camp breakfast, we load into our van and drive over to meet our river guides for a fun morning on the Cache La Poudre River. After a safety talk and rafting instruction, we hop in our rafts and enjoy thrills and stunning scenery in equal measure. Get ready for splashing and laughing on Colorado's only designated "Wild and Scenic River." We raft a stretch of the river that's perfect for families, even those with no previous rafting experience. After a delicious lunch recapping our paddling exploits, we return to camp in mid-afternoon and have plenty of time to play games, relax in the fresh mountain air, or catch up on some summer reading. Another night of stargazing and roasting marshmallows with newfound friends is the perfect end to an adventure-filled day. All meals included.

Rafting: 3 hours; Van transfer: 3 hours roundtrip

Day 4

Hike to a trio of beautiful backcountry waterfalls

This morning we take a scenic drive along the eastern slope of Longs Peak in the Tahosa Valley to the Wild Basin Trailhead. Here we load up our daypacks with lunch, snacks and cameras before setting out to visit three distinctly beautiful waterfalls. Copeland Falls, Calypso Cascades and Ouzel Falls each have their own special look and feel and offer a variety of great photo opportunities. In the rushing streams, the songbird known as the water ouzel (or American dipper) entertains us as it flies, floats, swims and wades in an unending search for aquatic insects. Our guides prepare a special farewell dinner for us tonight—a celebration of our adventure together and an opportunity to share stories and reflect on the joys of time with family in the restorative wilderness. All meals included.

Hiking: 5 miles, Elevation gain/loss: +887' / -1,670'

Day 5

Spot marmots, elk and pika on a scenic drive across Trail Ridge Road

No experience in Rocky Mountain National Park would be complete without driving across the Trail Ridge Road—widely considered the most beautiful drive in America. Gaining 4,500' in elevation during our drive, we see the vegetation and terrain transform drastically while we try to spot marmots, pikas, elk herds and bighorn sheep. We'll stop to enjoy a few short hikes at over 11,000' in the alpine tundra before continuing on Trail Ridge Road towards the west side of the park and the headwaters of the Colorado River. En route, we visit Holzwarth Historic Site for a short, easy walk before resuming our drive back to Denver. We anticipate getting back to the Denver host hotel between 5pm and 6pm. Breakfast and lunch included.

Hiking: 1 mile above 11,000' with minimal elevation gain/loss; Drive along Trail Ridge Road and back to Denver (with numerous stops): 4 hours

Itinerary map for Rocky Mountain National Park Family Adventure

Gear List

The key to staying comfortable while on an active trip is layering. To get maximum comfort with minimum weight, you need versatile layers that mix and match to create the right amount of insulation, ventilation and weather protection. Try to bring only what is necessary—this will help you and the field staff.

Already booked this trip? Sign into your online traveler profile for a more detailed list of what you'll need.

REI members can shop for gently used gear online or at most REI stores. Members can also trade in pre-loved used gear online or at any REI store in exchange for REI gift card credit. Check out Re/Supply at REI to learn more.

We provide

What to pack

Contact Us

Feel free to give us a call at 1 (800) 622-2236 should you have any questions regarding the gear list. The staff at our stores and Direct Sales ( 1 (800) 426-4840 ) will also be happy to help you with gear questions. Or check out REI Expert Advice , which has great information to help you prepare for your trip.

Trip specifics may change over time. Reviews reflect the version of the trip that was active at the time the reviewer took it. Please review the itinerary as described above and call our team for any additional details.