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Need a National Park fix? It's hard to beat RMNP


A list of the most visited national parks in the United States reveals something most Oklahomans already know — Rocky Mountain National Park is a pretty cool place to visit and fairly accessible from Oklahoma by car, unlike more faraway parks like Yellowstone, Glacier or Yosemite.

RMNP saw about 3.4 million visitors in 2014, making it the fifth most visited national park. Number one for the umpteenth year in a row was Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee with 10 million, more than double the visitors the Grand Canyon hostedl last year.

Summer is the most popular time to go to RMNP. The weather is great. The snowmelt from the mountains makes for tons of cool water features aroundf the park and it’s hard not to like wandering through an alpine meadow with all kinds of flora and fauna in full bloom.

The downside of that is trails are clogged with people and downtown Estes Park is a zoo.

If you want a mountain fix but without the hordes of people visit in September or very early October. You’ll find that you have the place to yourself, relatively speaking, and the Aspen trees are peaking right about that time as well. The weather is usually nice (though a little chilly at night).



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Matt Patterson

Matt Patterson has been with The Oklahoman since 2006. Prior to joining the news staff in 2010, Patterson worked in The Oklahoman's sports department for five years. He previously worked at The Lawton Constitution and The Edmond Sun.... Read more ›