Rocky Mountain National Park connects two mountain towns. On the east side is Estes Park or the West side is Grand Lake. The connecting road, Trail Ridge, is open from about Memorial Day through the middle of October (depending on snow conditions). It is closed all winter long. The drive in either direction is breathtaking. Mountain peaks, narrow roads, and vistors center at the top. Estes Park and Grand Lake each have their attractions. Estes Park is closer to Denver and thus tends to be more touristy and crowded in the summer. However, the close in hiking is better Estes Park, although the trails are crowded. Grand Lake is a wonderful old western town that still captures a feel of an earlier time. The town is on the shores of the largest natural lake in the state--Grand Lake. The hiking is less crowded and the town itself is less crowded. Start on one side of the park and traveling to the other side. If you have the time, stay in both towns and enjoy what each has to offer.