All About Weather

Snow is blowing in the air along a mountain trail
Snow is blowing in the air on a windy, winter day


Rocky Mountain National Park is known for extreme weather patterns. Due to elevation ranges, slope, and exposure, weather conditions inside the park can change rapidly. Be weather aware before heading out on any backcountry trip.

Weather Forecasts

For detailed weather information on all locations inside Rocky Mountain National Park, visit the National Weather Service's page for RMNP at

What's the Weather Like at Bear Lake?
Click here to see the forecast for Bear Lake

For weather forecast Information on locations surrounding the Park, visit:
Estes Park Forecast
Grand Lake Forecast

Interested in detailed weather information on Trail Ridge Road? Please visit the National Weather Service's page for Trail Ridge Road

There is a blanket of fresh Snow at the Loch, there are pine trees with snow on their branches and mountains in the distance.


How Much Snow is in the Park?

Ever wonder how much snow is in the park? Rocky Mountain National Park has SNOWTEL monitors located near Bear Lake, Wild Basin, and the Kawuneeche Valley.

Snow Depth - Bear Lake
Snow Depth - Wild Basin
Snow Depth - the Kawuneeche Valley


Annual Climate Conditions

Temperatures are often moderate at elevations below 9,400' (2,865 m). At higher points, like Bear Lake, Trail Ridge Road, or Longs Peak, it may snow even in July.

A wide variation between day and nighttime temperatures is also typical of mountain weather.

Summer days in July and August often reach the 70's or 80's and drop into the 40's at night. All temperatures given are in Fahrenheit.

Based on ten years of precipitation data, Estes Park receives approximately 13.10" of moisture every year. Grand Lake receives about 19.95" yearly. This precipitation comes in the form of rain or snowfall through the year.

Climate vs Weather - What's the Difference?

Climate is a general term to express broad patterns. For example, Colorado's climate is sunny with warm summers and cold winters.

Weather applies to specific movements of air masses, levels of precipitation, and temperature fluctuations at specific times of the year.

The Continental Divide runs northwest to southeast through the center of the park atop the high peaks. This accounts for two distinct climate patterns - one typical of the east side near Estes Park and the other associated with the Grand Lake area on the park's west side. In recent years, park researchers have been tracking changes to the climate in the park.

Winter (December - March) Lower elevations on the east slope of Rocky Mountain National Park are usually free of deep snow. At higher elevations, arctic conditions prevail. Sudden blizzards, high winds, and deep snowpack are common. The west side of the park experiences more snow, less wind, and clear cold days during these months. Most high country overnight trips require gear suitable for -35 degrees or below. Skiing and snowshoeing conditions are best in January, February, and March.

Spring (April - May) Spring comes to the montane area - elevations 8,000' to 9,500' (2,438 - 2,895 m) - in late April, although snowfall is not uncommon at this time of year. Unpredictable weather alternates between warm and cold, wet and dry. In June, spring is just reaching the subalpine country - 9,500' to 11,500' (2,895 - 3,505 m), while summer is on the plains. Wildflowers begin blooming at lower elevations in late April or early May. Many trails are still snow-covered. In late May, Trail Ridge Road opens for the season.

Summer (June - August) On the alpine tundra -- 11,500' to 13,000' (3,505 - 3,962 m) wildflowers bloom from late June to early August. Afternoon thunderstorms and wind are normal patterns. Always be prepared for temperature drops of 10-20 degrees Fahrenheit.

Fall (September - November) September and October bring clear, crisp air, blue skies, and generally dry weather. An early snowstorm may occur. Aspen leaves start changing colors in mid-September. Elk mating season begins in September and continues through most of October. Trail Ridge Road usually closes for the winter by mid-October.

Last updated: May 17, 2024

Park footer

Contact Info

Mailing Address:

1000 US Hwy 36
Estes Park, CO 80517


970 586-1206
The Information Office is open year-round: 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. daily in summer; 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Mondays - Fridays and 8:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. Saturdays - Sundays in winter. Recorded Trail Ridge Road status: (970) 586-1222.

Contact Us