Camping National Parks Rocky Mountain National Park Travel Van Life Wildlife

Rocky Mountain National Park

Chipmunk Savoring his Flowers

There are, of course, the big 5 mammals that everyone hopes to see when they visit Rocky Mountain National Park. They are, in no particular order: moose, elk, bighorn sheep, bear, and mountain lions or cougars. These are the iconic animals of the Rocky Mountain region, at least in Colorado.

However, there are an abundance of other adorable and very interesting animals in the park. While hiking to Cub Lake, my son and I spotted several chipmunks scurrying about. One of them caught my attention because he was sitting very still on a rock enjoying the scent of the flowers he gathered. I watched him for a bit and snapped the image above. It’s such a sweet moment, in my opinion. I had to share it.

Of course, there are also more than 280 different species of birds in Rocky Mountain National Park. Here, perched on the rooftop of a ranger station at Sheep Lakes, is a beautiful Western Bluebird.

Western Bluebird

While hiking back to the van, we saw this inquisitive ground squirrel. I know he looks like a chipmunk, but he’s not. Ground squirrels are often mistaken for chipmunks. You can identify them from their lack of stripes on the head, slightly larger size, and shorter tail.

Golden-Mantled Ground Squirrel
Bull Elk Resting

At the end of the day, my son and I drove back to our campsite to find this charming fella just relaxing in the fading sunlight. Of course, I had to stop and get a photo.

One beautiful, crisp morning I decided to get up very early and head to Sprague Lake hoping to photograph another moose. Instead, I saw not one but two large bull elk feeding at the edge of the lake. I was so captivated that I completely forgot to take photos of just the mountains and lake.

Bull Elk at Sprague Lake

We really enjoyed our stay at Glacier Basin, despite the crowds and noise. I’ve camped at the Moraine Park Campground before and really liked it. However, I think I like Glacier Basin better. My son kept the campfire going while I cooked us some vegan tacos and cilantro-lime corn.

My son, Josh, and Mowgli by the campfire.
Vegan Tacos with Cilantro Lime Corn

I did go back and take some photos of Sprague Lake early in the morning. No elk or moose this time, just me and my camera.

Morning at Sprague Lake

Josh and I were lucky to score a parking spot at Bear Lake and spent a couple hours meandering around the lake. Dogs aren’t allowed, so Mowgli got to nap while we took in the views. It was really cool that morning, so I didn’t have to worry about him overheating in the van. In fact, we wore layers for our hike.

Josh at Bear Lake
Me at Bear Lake

I’m a professional photographer, so I rarely make an appearance in photos. I’m always on the other side of the lens. I did ask my son to snap this photo of me at Bear Lake.

Bear Lake

We had a wonderful time in our five days at Rocky Mountain National Park. I’m ready to head back again. Well, maybe in a few weeks once the crowds have lessened. Until then, I have the memories of our trip and the images to share.

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