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9 of the most beautiful places in the spring

By: Shea Gunther on April 25, 2011, 2:47 p.m.
Rocky Mountain National  Park wildflower field and mountains

Photo: Rennett Stowe/flickr

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Rocky Mountain National Park

Rocky Mountain National Park (aka RMNP) sits straddling the Continental Divide in Colorado's northern Front Range. Its 265,828 acres hold 359 miles of trails, 150 lakes and more than 60 named peaks with an elevation higher than 12,000 feet, including the 14,259-foot-high Longs Peak. The park’s higher elevation means that springtime rolls around a little later than your average U.S. state — the best time to visit to catch the newly blooming flowers while avoiding the worst of the end of winter storms is mid-May. You'll still want to dress warm, but if you make a springtime visit to RMNP, you'll enjoy the sight of elk dropping their antlers, bighorn sheep grazing on the cliff sides, and fields of newly opened wildflowers.