Rocky Mountain National Park Family Adventure

Trip Length 6 Days
Group Size 4-12
Activity level
Starting from
$2,249 for REI Members
$2,475 for non-members
Departures Aug 2020-Aug 2020

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 six 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 whitewater 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.

REI Flash 18 Pack

Kids get an REI day pack — Kids traveling on our Family Adventures will receive an REI day pack for their adventure! Kids age 8-17 will receive the REI Flash 18 Pack (while quantities last, colors may vary). Learn more about REI Family Adventures.

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

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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
  • Learn about the natural history of the Rocky Mountains from our exceptional guides


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 8500' and 11,000' in elevation.

  • Hiking
  • Rafting
  • Wildlife Viewing

What's Included

Five nights camping accommodations; meals as indicated on the daily itinerary; professional guide services; transportation during the course of the trip. See this trip’s Gear List for details regarding any equipment that may be provided for your use during the trip.


Camping, 5 nights

Your Adventure Itinerary

Day 1

Scenic drive to Rocky Mountain National Park and Sprague Lake hike.

Our trip begins today in Denver, Colorado. Meet your guides at 1pm at our host hotel near the Denver International Airport. A brief orientation ensures we're all prepared before we load into our private van and set out for Rocky Mountain National Park. From Plains Indians to buffalo hunters, this region is rich in history and our guides take advantage of the scenic drive to begin to tell the story of this beautiful region. Upon arriving at the park, we stop at the Moraine Park Discovery Center before continuing on to our campsite. Our camp accommodations include oversized tents allowing plenty of room for us to stretch out and stow our gear. After dinner and some relaxation time, we head out for an evening hike to Sprague Lake, hoping to see some elk, moose, or deer. We end the night around a campfire under a star-filled Rocky Mountain sky. Dinner included.

Hiking: 1.5 miles with minimal elevation gain and loss. Transfer time: 2 hours. Camp elevation: 8,500’.

Day 2

Hike from Bear Lake with panoramic views of the Continental Divide.

We start the morning off with a cup of fresh hot coffee or hot chocolate as our guides prepare a hearty camp breakfast designed to fuel us for the day's hiking. After breakfast, we set out on a (mostly) downhill hike from Bear Lake through a forest of spruce, fir and lodgepole pine trees on top of the massive Bierstadt Moraine. This moderate trail allows us to acclimate to the high elevations of the Park and rewards us with stunning panoramic views of the jagged eastern face of the mountains along the Continental Divide. Along the way, we pause at Bierstadt Lake for a tasty guide-prepared lunch. After soaking in the dramatic alpine scenery that surrounds us, we continue our hike all the way back to camp where appetizers and a hearty dinner await us in our comfortable outdoor home. All meals included.

​Hiking: 6.5 miles with 800' elevation loss.

Day 3

Hike to sparkling alpine lakes surrounded by towering peaks.

The sounds of birds and chipmunks awaken us in our comfy tents, and we begin a full day of adventure in Rocky Mountain National Park. A hot breakfast is the prelude to 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 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 alpine scenery that surrounds us, we return to camp where a hearty dinner await us in our comfortable outdoor home. All meals included.

Hiking: 4.5 miles with 625' elevation gain and loss.

Day 4

Raft the Cache la Poudre River and spend the night stargazing.

Today we see the Rockies from a new perspective. Fueled by a delicious camp breakfast, we load into our van and travel for an hour and a half to meet our river guides and get ready for a fun morning paddling the Cache La Poudre River. After a safety talk and rafting instruction, we hop in our rafts and enjoy equal measures of thrills and stunning scenery. 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. Transfer time: 3 hours roundtrip.

Day 5

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 beautiful, but distinctly unique waterfalls. Copeland Falls, Calypso Cascades, and Ouzel Falls all have their own special look and feel and offer a variety of great photographic 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 a never-ending search for aquatic insects. Our guides prepare a special farewell dinner for us tonight, providing an opportunity to reflect on our adventures in this magnificent national park. All meals included.

Hiking: 5.4 miles with 970' elevation gain/loss.

Day 6

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, 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 high in the alpine tundra at over 11,000' before continuing westward on Trail Ridge Road across the backbone of the continent 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 6pm and 7pm. Breakfast and lunch included.

Hiking: 1.5 miles above 11,000' with minimal elevation gain/loss. Scenic drive on Trail Ridge Road: 2 hours with several breaks including short hikes. Total transfer time: 4 hours.​

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. This gear list has been created to help you choose the proper equipment. Try to bring only what is necessary; this will help you and the field staff.

What to pack

Contact Us

Feel free to give us a call at 800-622-2236 should you have any questions regarding the gear list. The staff at our stores and Direct Sales (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.