The four US states of Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, and Colorado are full of so much natural beauty it’s almost hard to believe. From the world-famous Yellowstone National Park to lesser-known shimmering lakes, this region is perfect for hikers, skiers, and wildlife enthusiasts. Below are six of the best areas to visit in the Rocky Mountains if you’re looking to escape the hustle and bustle and embrace your wild side.
1 | Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
As the birthplace of the Arkansas River, the Rocky Mountain National Park is the perfect spot to try your hand at rafting. Some of the areas can be a little intense, so head to Browns Canyon for calmer waters, if you’re a beginner. With more than 100 peaks measuring over 3,000 meters high, hiking enthusiasts are also in luck! Along your trek, you could set your eyes on a huge range of mammals, including elks, moose, bears, and incredible mountain lions.
2 | Lewis and Clark Caverns State Park, Montana
Head underground to see one of the largest and most complex limestone cave systems in the Northwest. You can only explore the caves on a guided tour, which take place between May and September. Your guide will take you through narrow passages, small and grand rooms, and will show you the cave’s resident bats. If you can’t make it between May and September, fear not: there’s plenty of other things to do in the Lewis and Clark Caverns State Park. With a huge network of hiking trails and 40 campsites, it’s easy to spend a few days enjoying incredible views and challenging treks.
3 | Craters of the Moon National Monument, Idaho
A series of eight major eruptions created this strange-looking lunar landscape around 15,000 years ago. The lava created a series of deep cracks, which you can explore via several hiking trails. The monument is located within a national park of the same name, which protects nearly 3,000 square kilometers of natural beauty. One of the best things about the park is that it’s an International Dark Sky Park, meaning plenty of stargazing opportunities. Meanwhile, astronauts and aliens alike will be looking down on you, as the lava flows of the Craters of the Moon National Monument are visible from space!
4 | Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
Stretching into the neighboring states of Montana and Idaho, Yellowstone is a world-famous national park and the largest active geyser field in the world! From the enormous Old Faithful geyser to the series of colorful hot springs, there are plenty of watery wonders to enjoy. For your own safety, you should stick to one of the marked hiking trails in Yellowstone National Park.. Out of the 2,092 meters of hiking paths, one of the best is Uncle Tom’s Trail, which will take you to the breathtaking Canyon’s Upper Falls.
5 | Glacier National Park, Montana
Covering more than 4,000 square kilometers, the Glacier National Park is a nature lover’s dream! Get a feel for the park by driving along the famous Going-to-the-Sun Road. Throughout your journey, you’ll be spoiled by incredible views over lakes, such as St. Mary Lake, and gorgeous waterfalls, like the Weeping Wall. Afterwards, get your hiking boots on and get stuck in! The Trail of the Cedars is perfect for beginners, well-marked, and even wheelchair friendly. If you get tired, you can stop at one of the park’s beaches; for example, around the shores of the beautiful (but chilly) Lake McDonald.
6 | Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming
I hope you’re not afraid of heights, because the Grand Teton National Park boasts twelve peaks over 3,600 meters high! The largest of these is the Grand Teton, which stands at roughly 4,200 meters tall. If you’d prefer to stay on ground level, why not stroll around the wetlands of the Schwabacher Landing to see a huge (and adorable) beaver colony? Alternatively, hike through the pine forest of Death Canyon, which overlooks the picturesque Phelps Lake.