Thing to Do

Explore the Alpine Tundra

visitors walk along a paved trail on the alpine tundra
Visitors on the Tundra Communities Trail

NPS Photo / Bonnie Breach

  • Distance: 0.6 miles round trip
  • Elevation Gain: 260 feet 
  • Type of Trail: Out & Back, Easy

Feel like you're on top of the world! Hike Tundra Communities Trail off Trail Ridge Road - the highest road in any national park. Only accessible for a few months out of the year, you will be able to experience a special part of the expansive tundra environment. You'll notice the grand scenery, but don't forget to look down! This is truly a land of extremes. Strong, frequent winds and cold temperatures help limit what plants can grow there. Most alpine plants are perennials. Many plants are dwarfed, but their few blossoms may be full-sized. The flowers you see blooming can take literal decades to build the energy to do so. Be sure to also check out the Mushroom Rocks – unique rock formations composed of gneiss and Silver Plume granite jutting out from the ground right off the trail. 

Tread Lightly:This fragile ecosystem requires care and sensitivity, please do not go off the trail. Repeated footsteps often destroy tundra plants, allowing exposed soil to blow away. Recovery may take hundreds of years, so please use designated trails when exploring this unique area.

Altitude Warning: Altitude sickness affects many visitors every year. Symptoms include headache, nausea, fatigue, dizziness, vomiting, and even unconsciousness. Altitude can also aggravate pre-existing conditions like heart and lung disease. Take your time, drink water, eat, and rest. The only cure for altitude sickness is to go down to a lower altitude.

Note: Extreme weather can change the status of Trail Ridge Road at any time—be ready to adjust your travel plans if needed, and always check the weather before you start your drive.

Details
Entrance fees may apply, see Fees & Passes information.
Extreme weather can change the status of Trail Ridge Road at any time—be ready to adjust your travel plans if needed, and always check the weather before you start your drive.
Accessibility Information
The Tundra Communities Trail is a paved trail. 

Rocky Mountain National Park

Last updated: November 9, 2020