Don’t go to Rocky Mountain National Park on Labor Day weekend

Here’s a little nugget of wisdom for you: If you’re thinking about visiting Rocky Mountain National Park down in Colorado, don’t wait to go next Labor Day. That weekend, it turns out, is a bad time to go to Rocky.

The kids started school a couple of weeks ago, but the whole family had Labor Day off. We decided to try to fit in one last blast of fun in the outdoors on Labor Day weekend.

We did some fishing and caught a Cowboys game on Saturday, and our plan for Sunday was to go down into Colorado and check out Rocky Mountain National Park. It was a bit early to listen to the elk bugling, but we did see quite a few elk along the way. Unfortunately, we saw probably 5,000 other people for every elk we saw. The park was absolutely packed. I guess everybody else within 500 miles decided to save their trip to Rocky for Labor Day weekend, too.

We had planned to stop and hike some trails along the way, and get out away from the roads and the gaggles of people. But nearly every pullout and all the trailheads were crammed full of vehicles already. So instead of getting out and communing with nature more intimately, we stayed on the road and saw what we could of the park through the windows.

That was OK, though. I know in a few weeks, the leaves on the aspens will be changing – they were already starting to turn in the higher elevations. And the elk will start getting serious about the rut about that time, too. Our first foray into the park was basically a scouting trip for later in the year, when we can go back and see the colors and listen to the elk. And from what I’ve heard, the crowds thin out considerably after Labor Day.

Which is good, because it was nuts last weekend. I can’t recall seeing that many people even in Yellowstone. When I go to the woods, I like to get away from other folks, rather than sit in bumper-to-bumper traffic all day.

It was still good to get out, though. And now I have a better idea of where to go later in the season, when most of the other people are back at school or work.