The Art of Exploration · a diary of day trips, natural places, and miscellaneous adventures

Many Parks Curve

Saturday, October 10th, 2009 in Colorado
Many Parks Curve

During the winter, Many Parks Curve is the end of the line for anyone driving eastward through Rocky Mountain National Park along Trail Ridge Road. As early as October, conditions can be wintery enough to shut down traffic for days at a time. When I visited the park earlier this month, Trail Ridge was closed three of the four days I was there due to ice slicks and blinding swirls of snow at every turn.

Fortunately, on the one day the road was open, we seized the opportunity to drive up and over the Rockies. It was an incredible drive, laden with switchbacks that climb to a maximum altitude of 12,183 feet. It’s also a long drive—it took us the better part of the day to get to Grand Lake and back.

But this post isn’t really about the day we drove along Trail Ridge Road to Grand Lake. It’s about the those three other days, the days when Many Parks Curve was the end of the line. It’s about what we did instead, what we did when the goal of driving Trail Ridge Road was thwarted by capricious shifts in the weather so common during autumn in the Rockies.

On those days when the weather closed the road, we spent long bits of time soaking in the views Many Parks Curve had to offer. We walked the boardwalk path that framed the overlook and soaked in the vast view of Moraine and Horseshoe Parks. We gazed at Longs Peak, the tallest of all the summits in Rocky Mountain National Park, measuring a respectable 14,255 feet above sea level.

The panoramic views at Many Parks Curve are distracting in a way. I spent most of the time staring outward over the distant landscape. It took a while before I turned around and noticed the beautiful views in the other direction. Those views, looking up the steep cliffs behind the outlook, are what are pictured here.

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