Autumn Begins Early
Autumn begins on September 23, but it arrives earlier than that at Rocky Mountain National Park. Autumn is a time of changes, especially weather-related changes, across all the altitudes in the park.
At the lower altitudes of about 8,000 feet, around headquarters in Estes Park, weather in mid September has ranged in temperature from freezing to 80 degrees. We can experience rain events, frost, hail, and many lovely fall days.
At Alpine Visitor Center at almost 12,000 feet, both snow and hail may fall. This results in both overnight and short term closures of Trail Ridge Road for safety purposes. The tundra turns to fall colors, with browns, golds, and russets replacing the vibrant blooms of summer.
A few flowers, mostly yellow and purple asters, still bloom at lower elevations. Elk gather in herds as the bulls bugle to entice cows to join their harems. Migratory birds flock and head southward.
If you plan to visit the park in at this time, bring your camera to capture the spectacular changing colors, but also bring many layers of warm clothing and rain gear to accommodate the changing weather conditions. We really want your trip to be both safe and enjoyable.