The 7 Best Rocky Mountain National Park Tours From Denver [2022 Reviews]

Ah, the great Rocky Mountains – known for having some of the highest peaks and versatile landscapes in the country, its indigenous communities, all kinds of beautiful wildlife, and much more.

If you’re in Denver and want to grab some time away from the bustling city life, then you’re in the right place! Not everyone wants or is able to drive themselves, and this is an excellent alternative with guides to teach you while you sit back and enjoy the view.

As you can imagine, there are a lot of tours to choose from and that can make it hard to select one. Well, we’re here to bring you the top guided tours of Rocky Mountain National Park available!

Be sure to see our reviews of Pikes Peak Tours.

Best Rocky Mountain National Park Tours

 Discover Rocky Mountain National Park from Denver or BoulderPrivate Rocky Mountain National Park from Denver and BoulderRocky Mountain National Park and Estes Park Tour from Denver
editors choice
Discover Rocky Mountain National Park from Denver or BoulderPrivate Rocky Mountain National Park from Denver and BoulderRocky Mountain National Park and Estes Park Tour from Denver
Departure Point:Variety AvailableHotel pickup and drop-off includedDenver Union Station , 1701 Wynkoop St
Departure Time:Varies, depending on pickup selectionMorning8:15 am
Duration:8 hours8 hours8 hours
Includes:Lunch, landing and facility fees, bottled water, professional guide and driverHotel pickup, national park fees, bottled water, driver/guide, professional guide, snacks, guide gratuityNational Park fees, transport by air-conditioned 12 or 15 passenger Ford Transit touring van, water refills

Tour Information & Booking

Tour Information & Booking

Tour Information & Booking


Quick Answer: The 5 Best Guided Tours of Rocky Mountain National Park

  1. Discover Rocky Mountain National Park from Denver or Boulder
  2. Private Rocky Mountain National Park from Denver and Boulder
  3. Rocky Mountain National Park and Estes Park Tour from Denver
  4. Private Rocky Mountain National Park Tour from Denver or Estes Park
  5. Hiking Adventure in Rocky Mountain National Park from Denver

Rocky Mountain National Park Tour Reviews

1. Discover Rocky Mountain National Park from Denver or Boulder

Discover Rocky Mountain National Park from Denver or Boulder

Tour Highlights:

  • Duration: 8 hours
  • Departure: Variety Available
  • Departure Time: Varies, depending on pickup selection
  • Includes: Lunch, landing and facility fees, bottled water, professional guide and driver

The Rockies are vast, and there’s a ton to explore, so it’s highly recommended if you’ve never been out there before that you go on a guided tour. The Discover Rocky Mountain National Park from Denver or Boulder tour is a top pick for many, especially for newbies to the area.

This day trip will make you realize just how incredibly close Denver is to this rugged beauty and wildlife. You’ll start by getting picked up at either Estes Park Visitor’s Center, Walnut Café, or at Union Station. Union is usually the most convenient due to its central location, and you’ll meet here at 9:00 am.

The transportation is very spacious and you’ll be able to make yourself comfortable while checking out the amazing views out of the big windows.

Your first stop is going to be the legendary Stanley Hotel, located in Estes Park. Known for being the inspiration behind Stephen King’s ‘The Shining’ and even the location of the subsequent film, it has quite the history behind it.

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After some photo ops and learning about the area, you’ll then head to Rocky Mountain National Park.

Here, your guide will tell you all about this area, which is just full of history, culture, and is very relevant to our country, today. There are multiple stops you and your tour will take, which allows for a breather and for some time to absorb the views and information your guide will bestow upon you.

After this, you’ll head on to Trail Ridge Road which leads you to the highest point. The drivers are very skilled and careful, so you can feel confident you’re in good hands. Of course, this is a “weather permitting” situation, as it can get wet or windy quickly.

 

Tour Information & Booking

100% refund for cancellations within 24 hours of tour experience


2. Private Rocky Mountain National Park from Denver and Boulder

Private Rocky Mountain National Park from Denver and Boulder

Tour Highlights:

  • Duration: 8 hours
  • Departure: Hotel pickup and drop-off included
  • Departure Time: Morning
  • Includes: Hotel pickup, national park fees, bottled water, driver/guide, professional guide, snacks, guide gratuity

Next up, we bring you yet another 8-hour tour to the great Rockies. The Private Rocky Mountain National Park from Denver and Boulder tour offers various pickup locations to make it as convenient as possible for you.

Offering a maximum group size of just 5 people, you’ll be able to see all the best nooks and crannies and can feel free to ask your guide anything you want.

There are multiple pickup times, depending on if you’re going to be picked up in Denver or Boulder. However, both will take place in the morning, so you can have as much light as possible and avoid the crowds.

The vehicle is air-conditioned and comfortable, and you can just sit back, relax, and enjoy the views of the little silver mining towns along the way!

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Make a stop at the notorious resort town, Estes Park, where you’ll get to see the eerie-yet-elegant Stanley Hotel. The Stanley, as you may already know, was where the inspiration for ‘The Shining’ came from and was later even filmed on location. This stop also breaks up the driving so you can stretch your legs and learn something new.

You’ll then head to the Rocky Mountain National Park, which covers a whopping 400+ miles, consisting of crystalline lakes, lush forests, and high mountain peaks that look like they can almost touch the sky. It’s not out of the ordinary to catch a glimpse of some moose, deer, black bears, elk, and all kinds of birds of prey.

The great thing about this tour, is that no matter what time of year you go, there’s always something to offer. From the snow to the fire-red leaves to the sunny skies, it’s always beautiful.

 

Tour Information & Booking

100% refund for cancellations within 24 hours of tour experience


#3 Rocky Mountain National Park and Estes Park Tour from Denver

Rocky Mountain National Park and Estes Park Tour from Denver

Tour Highlights:

  • Duration: 8 hours
  • Departure: Denver Union Station , 1701 Wynkoop St, Denver
  • Departure Time: 8:15 am
  • Includes: National Park fees, transport by air-conditioned 12 or 15 passenger Ford Transit touring van, water refills

While Denver certainly has a lot to offer, if you want to explore the “real” Colorado – the rugged, expansive landscapes and all – then you’re on the right track.

The Rocky Mountain National Park and Estes Park Tour from Denver will take you on a fascinating day trip to see some of the top sites the state boasts. Clocking in at 8 hours long, you’ll even be back in time for dinner!

Similar to the other 2 tours we’ve covered so far, this one will also take you to both Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park. However, there’s only one pickup option, which is at Denver Union Station.

You and your group will start off at 8:15 am so you’ll be back to your hotel before dinnertime. That’s pretty crazy when you consider all of the sights you’re going to see!

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The guides are so knowledgeable, funny, and just overall very entertaining. You can count on them making just about anything an adventure, and they make it easy to retain information with how they present stories.

Not to mention, they’re very safe drivers which is important when driving in the mountains. You really can just relax and enjoy the view in the 12-passenger Ford Transit touring van, which is smooth and spacious.

On your way to the parks, you’ll drive through downtown Boulder and get to see the University of Colorado Boulder Campus and Pearl Street. Downtown is quite charming, with a lot of brick buildings, fresh air, and lots of delicious food.

Next, enter the national park, where you’ll get to start out by checking out the Beaver Meadows Visitor Center. The center is as informative as it is entertaining, with captivating exhibits and a knowledgeable staff. Then, walk down some trails outside where you’re likely to see some wildlife around the mountain peaks.

Depending on what your group chooses to do, you’ll take a stroll around either Bear Lake or Sprague Lake – both of which are gorgeous and come from the surrounding mountains’ runoff. If you’re going in the winter, you’ll even be provided with some snowshoes for a safer, more effective walk.

The Many Parks Curve Overlook is fascinating, with views as far as the eye can see. Waterfalls and rivers are next, and around the water you’ll likely see Bighorn Sheep or Moose!

After, take a leisurely walk around downtown Estes Park which offers charming little artisan shops and enjoy a delicious lunch.

 

Tour Information & Booking

100% refund for cancellations within 24 hours of tour experience


#4 Private Rocky Mountain National Park Tour from Denver or Estes Park

Private Rocky Mountain National Park Tour from Denver or Estes Park

Tour Highlights:

  • Duration: 8 hours
  • Departure: Hotel pickup and drop-off included
  • Departure Time: 9 am
  • Includes: Private guide, bottled water, fuel surcharge, Sprinter van (up to 11), entrance fee

Are you the kind of person who enjoys coffee, delicious food, and the great outdoors? We sure hope so, because the Private Rocky Mountain National Park Tour from Denver or Estes Park is all that and more!

This one is a bit different from the others, in that you’re going to explore Lyons/Estes Park, and the vast national park.

This 8-hour tour makes sure you make the most of the excursion, with round-trip transport from either Denver, Boulder, or Estes Park. Of course, depending on the option you choose your pickup times will differ but all will be in the morning.

Your ride is a Sprinter van that fits up to 11 people, making it great for larger families or groups of people traveling together.

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Your guide/driver will be very entertaining and informative, making for a great time from the very beginning. Your first stop will be at the town of Lyons, located in Boulder.

This somewhat “hip” town is a hotspot for music enthusiasts – particularly bluegrass, folk, and alternative genres. Stop for some fresh coffee and local snacks before continuing on to downtown Estes Park for further sightseeing!

Arrive next at the expansive Rocky Mountain National Park, which is one of the most popular in the nation. Its glaciers, rich forests, and incomparable overlooks from thousands of feet up are certainly awe-inspiring.

Your guide will tell you all about the history of the area, and allow for plenty of stops to take photos and rest. The crowd favorite seems to be the Many Parks Curve Overlook, which has views of various 14,000-foot peaks.

Take some time to check out the Alpine Visitor Center as well, which has great exhibits, an interesting gift shop, and a café.

 

Tour Information & Booking

100% refund for cancellations within 24 hours of tour experience


#5 Hiking Adventure in Rocky Mountain National Park from Denver

Hiking Adventure in Rocky Mountain National Park from Denver

Tour Highlights:

  • Duration: 8 hours
  • Departure: Varies
  • Departure Time: Varies, depending on pickup point
  • Includes: Local expert hiking guide, transportation, lunch, water refill, snowshoes/YakTracks if needed

Perhaps the other tours sound interesting to you, but you’re looking for a tour that focuses more on being active. If so, then check out the Hiking Adventure in Rocky Mountain National Park from Denver tour. This 8-hour tour is pretty self-explanatory, that consists of an easy to moderate, 4-mile hike that’s great for most activity levels.

If you’re trying to stay active while in Denver, this is a much better alternative than just heading to the gym. Meet up with your driver/guide at Denver Union Station, located in the city center. Alternatively, they also offer pickups in Boulder as it is along the way.

Your first stop will be in the vibrant town of Lyons, which is known for its great local music scene and natural beauty.

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Here, you’ll have some time to grab a fresh coffee and a bite to eat before heading to Estes Park. At Estes Park, the main attraction for many is getting to see The Stanley Hotel. This ominous location is not only famous for its part in ‘The Shining’, but its ghost stories aside from that!

Next, is the Rocky Mountain National Park, where you’ll partake in a guided hike. This hike is made more for people who are beginners or intermediates in hiking, making it great for all ages and experience levels! Even if you’re an advanced hiker, you’re sure to still appreciate the stunning views!

Your guide will be able to answer just about any question that you throw their way, offering interesting stories about the region and its history.

 

Tour Information & Booking

100% refund for cancellations within 24 hours of tour experience


Denver Tour Guide

Best Tours of Rocky Mountain National Park

Getting There –

Getting to Denver from within the US is very easy and with so many different options, you’re sure to find something that works for you.

Air – Did you know that Denver International Airport is the 3rd-busiest airport in the US if you can believe it! With a whopping 24 airlines operating in and out of it, no matter where you’re located you’ll find a good route. Not only that, but their airport makes it easy to get to the city center with the public train that has a stop there. There are always cabs and rideshares available, too.

Amtrak – The California Zephyr line actually makes a stop right in the center of Denver, at their beautiful Union Station. Running daily, they start in San Francisco but make stops in various other cities around the US.

Car – Driving to Denver is possible from anywhere within the continental US, and for those located on the Western side of the country is quite easy to do. Thanks to its somewhat-central location within the west, driving may be a preferable option for some travelers.

Getting Around –

Getting around Denver is also very easy. In fact, we’d be willing to bet that it has some of the best public transportation in the country.

Driving – If you’re going to drive to Denver, that’s not a problem. Driving here is very easy, and we noticed that there isn’t usually too much traffic. The streets are well-maintained, even in the older neighborhoods. They’re wide, and the drivers overall are respectful. However, parking downtown is very expensive, so if you’re going to be traveling around this area you may want to explore other options.

Buses – The city has over a thousand city buses with more than an impressive 10,000 local stops in 8 different counties. If you’re looking to head to the airport or suburbs to/from downtown, grabbing a bus is probably the easiest way. They make getting to just about any part of Denver a breeze, and we found the buses clean and well-maintained and they run 365 days a year!

Light Rail – The light rail, part of Denver’s Regional Transportation District (RTD), consists of 12 different lines that cross not only Denver, but Boulder and some other areas! While it does depend on the specific line, day, and time of day, you can expect each train to run every 15 to 30 minutes. Make sure to check the schedules and routes online – also to see the fees as they do vary.

Scooters – Electric scooters have exploded in popularity over the last few years, and are currently one of the most popular way that locals navigate Denver. They’re meant to be used in the bike lane, and can go pretty fast! You’ll see both Lyft and Lime scooters all over the city, usually available for around 30 cents a minute. If traveling short distances, it’s a nice alternative to walking and will get you where you need to go faster.

Lyft/Uber/Taxi – These are all available all over Denver, but they can add up quickly if you’re just relying on them or if you’re traveling longer distances. However, for the times when the light rail or bus isn’t available it’s a great option to have.

Where to Stay –

The great thing about Denver is that there really is something for everyone. Whether you’re looking for a busy city life that never stops, or quiet, calm suburbs, you can find that here.

Union Stations/Lower Downtown – If it’s your first time in Denver, or if you really want to see as much as possible, we highly recommend staying in lower downtown. Thanks to Union Station reopening in 2014, it makes traveling anywhere around the city a breeze. Oh, and if you love checking out incredible restaurants, boutiques, and bars, then this is the place to be. However, it is a bit more expensive than the rest of the city.

Five Points/RiNo – This neighborhood is just north of Union Station, making it still very conveniently located. This one is almost like the “Brooklyn” of Denver, with all kinds of trendy clubs, breweries, and interesting food options like markets are available. If you’re a foodie or super into nightlife, you may just prefer it over lower downtown. However, it is notably noisy on the weekends due to loud music coming from bars.

Cherry Creek – Do you like luxury? Then Cherry Creek is hard to beat. It’s known for luxe residential units, massive shopping complexes, and wide streets that are perfect for strolling around. Not to mention, it’s overall quiet and you won’t have to deal with struggling to find parking. However, it’s not close to much of anything else and if you aren’t driving you’ll definitely have to grab an Uber/Lyft everywhere.

Central Business District – If you’re heading here for business or a convention, you may find this the best area to stay in. Skyscrapers, shuttles, the Denver Convention Center, and all kinds of events are found here. However, if you’re into nightlife you’ll likely find this option a bit boring as once business hours are over it goes quiet.

Capitol Hill – Why does it feel like every neighborhood named Capitol Hill is like this one? Older, beautiful residential homes, contrasting more “edgy” areas like tattoo parlors, liquor stores, and bars are what this one boasts. It’s known to be a bit more “hipster” and is awesome if you’re looking for an entertaining area to stay on a budget. Not only that, is it’s still quite close to downtown and the CBD.

Restaurants and Eating Out –

If you’re a foodie, you’re sure to enjoy the Mile High City. Let’s break things down by meal so you have a better idea of what Denver has to offer your taste buds.

Breakfast – There are a ton of people who have moved to Denver from Mexico, and that’s evident in the local cuisine. El Taco de Mexico is simply the best if you’re recovering from a long plane ride or a long night. Their egg-and-chorizo burritos are serious lifesavers! Other great options are the huevos con machaca and La Machaca de Mi Amá. If you’re looking for a lighter option, try a red bean bun with a matcha latte at Tokyo Premium Bakery. We’re also big fans of “Onefold”, which is sublimely “Denver” with their Bacon Fried Rice bowls, and all kinds of meat-heavy to veggie options.

Lunch – Listen, we’re going to recommend Mexican food in Denver, no matter what the meal is. So, aside from Kiké’s Red Tacos, Denver also has some great pizza (of all different styles!). For Neapolitan, try Marco’s Coal-Fired, or White Pie for Connecticut Style. If you’re trying to stick to a healthier diet, we love The Turtle Boat! Delicious poke always seems super fresh here, and you can indulge without the extra calories or feeling sluggish afterward. We can’t recommend the frybread and curry at Tocabe if you’re really feeling hungry!

Dinner – Inspired by the NYC neighborhood, Greenwich is trendy, and your ultimate “hipster” dining spot. Pizza with Brussels sprouts, bacon marmalade, and lemon relish are just some notable details we really liked. However, their cocktails are unique, “crafty”, and pair perfectly with their dishes. For an interesting take on Mexican food, check out Cantina Loca. From their perfectly-sweet pulque to cactus tempura, you’re sure to find something here you haven’t tried before. Three Saints Revival is a pan-Mediterranean spot, “celebrating old and new world wines”. Despite being beverage-forward, it’s great for grabbing some pork belly with saffron-pickled apples or scallops.

Nightlife and Entertainment –

Denver has a pulsing, lively nightlife and you can find just about anything here.

Bars – If you’re going downtown, you have to check out their bars. 54thirty Rooftop and Le Mèridien Hotel are both some of the top options, with amazing views high up of the city. The open-air spots make them ultra-busy during the warmer months and are perfect to start off the night with. Howl at The Moon is a blast, and people here are looking to really party and have a good time.

Alternatively, if you’re looking for a calmer, casual spot, check out Appaloosa Grill which throws it back to the American west. Oh, and we can’t forget Union lodge No.1, which is great for a date, as it’s an intimate speakeasy with strong, 19th-century-inspired cocktails.

Clubs – Denver has some of the best clubs in the country, especially if you’re into electronic music. Glow Lounge is beautiful and overall such a good vibe. With the glowing parts of the venue, it is great to dance a bit here and meet some locals as everyone seems so friendly and in a good mood. If you’re just looking to dance and don’t have a particular genre in mind, “Your Mom’s House” has everything from jazz and soul to techno and house, to Latin and Reggae.

Temple Nightclub is known for having some of the best DJs in the world (mostly mainstream/EDM). SoCo Nightlife District consists of 6 popular venues: The Church, Club Vinyl, City Hall, Milk Bar, Living Room, and Bar Standard. They all take production and talent seriously, and you’re sure to have a good time here. Oh, and there are plenty of underground warehouse events going around the city if you’re into techno!

Breweries – Denver is a hotbed of supreme breweries, and you’d be remiss to skip them! Wynkoop has been around for over 30 years, and was started by one of the state’s former governors and mayors. They offer all kinds of obscure flavors like green chiles and gummy bears.

Blue Moon is global now, but it started right here in 1995. It’s calm, and the crowd tends to lean slightly older. Cerebral Brewing is more “sterile” in both the looks and the approach to their brewing. However, the result is delicious, from all kinds of sours to a rich imperial coffee stout. TRVE looks kind of like a cave, and is a great place for hanging out for hours and trying delicious brews like oak-fermented saisons and cultured sours. Make sure to grab their signature fried chicken sandwich, too!

Weather –

Denver is a city that definitely gets seasons – seasons which can have a great effect on what you plan on doing. If you like the warmth, we recommend going from the beginning of June to the middle of September, where the daily average is around 80 degrees. The colder months is from mid-November to the beginning of March, where it can definitely snow and be outright frigid. However, September and October and March/April are nice jacket weather where it’s neither too cold nor too hot.

Attractions –

Union Station – If you’re going to be in the area, make sure to check the station out. In 2014 it underwent a massive restoration, turning it into a cultural and entertainment hub. The Mercantile Dining and Terminal Bar are favorites, along with some bookstores, a hotel, and of course the convenience of having the rail, Amtrak, and shuttle bus station right there.

Denver Art Museum – The building alone is worth going to see, and looks like a fortress! The large gallery space inside showcases art from Asian, Indigenous North American, Alaska Native, European, and American art before 1900.

History Colorado Center – This is a newer attraction, but is great if you want to learn more about Denver and the state. It covers its history through technology and hands-on exhibits that are fun for kids and adults, alike.

Confluence Park – Founded originally as a gold mining camp, this beautiful park is great to walk or ride around. If you’re looking to get some fresh air, it’s fun for taking a picnic or a cup of coffee and just enjoying the day. Not to mention, you can take the Platte River Trolley to the Downtown Aquarium!

Elitch Gardens Theme & Water Park – This is the only waterpark in all of the country located downtown. Surprisingly, they’ve managed to fit in over 50 rides, including rollercoasters and plenty of wet rides!

Coors Field – Even if you aren’t a huge baseball fan, checking out an MLB game here is a great way to spend an evening. Grab a hotdog, beer, and have fun with the local fans.

Cherry Creek Shopping – Boasting over 500 stores, boutiques, galleries, and more, you can easily spend all day here. If you’re looking to buy a souvenir or treat yourself, this is the place to do it.

Pikes Peak – The red rock formations around it make it one of the top spots in Colorado for escaping the city noise and crowds. If you’re looking to do the same, we highly recommend take a tour of Pikes Peak.

Tips –

  1. Denver isn’t called the “Mile-High City” for nothing. It really is very high in altitude, and if you aren’t used to it it can really ruin your time. Make sure to drink plenty of water before and during your trip. Also eat foods high in potassium. The extra hydration and potassium will help your body better acclimate to the higher altitude.
  2. Make sure to bring a jacket. While Denver is not located in the mountains, the weather can be quite finicky. Not to mention, when you’re going to Rocky Mountain National Park, you are going to be up in the mountains, which can have completely different weather than Denver.
  3. Be respectful of nature. Colorado is a state that really values its wilderness and wildlife, and it’s important to follow outdoor etiquette.
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The Discover Rocky Mountain National Park is our Editors Choice for the best tour of Rocky Mountain National Park from Denver

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Robert Baker

Robert is a content writer and editor at World Guides to Travel where he shares his love for the great outdoors. He also writes in-depth travel blogs for other websites around the world. Robert is passionate about the environment and uses his writing to educate people about the advantages and importance of sustainable living. Robert enjoys creative writing. In 2009, his children’s novel Sally Hemings & the Good Associates won the Children’s Fiction section of the You Write On Book of the Year Award.
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