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Rocky Mountain Conservancy

  • 1895 Fall River Road
  • Estes Park, CO 80517
  • Ph: (970) 586-3262
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Rocky Mountain Conservancy provides custom and regularly scheduled educational adventures and bus tours for visitors to Rocky Mountain National Park and surrounding areas. Educational tour topics include: Trail Ridge Road and Elk Expeditions, backpacking/hiking, birding, photography, wildflowers, wildlife, geology, history, astronomy, kid’s geocaching and more! With advanced notice, any educational class can be customized for a family or group.

Journey to the Top! A Trail Ridge Road Bus Adventure

One of the premier attractions of Rocky Mountain National Park is Trail Ridge Road, the nation’s highest continuous paved highway. Trail Ridge Road meanders through various life zones on its way

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Spend the morning discussing the migration, nesting, habitat, conservation, natural history, and ecology of mountain birds. Have fun in the field while learning to identify, enjoy and appreciate

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This two-day class will give you the techniques needed to capture the landscape in watercolor. We will open our eyes to the beauty surrounding us and learn ways to paint skies, mountains, water,

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Take a sunset safari over Trail Ridge Road to experience the changing light, active wildlife, and the calmness of dusk with an ascent in elevation from 7,522 feet in Estes Park to more than 12,090

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Butterflies enthuse people, mosquitos exasperate people, several thousand insects go unnoticed, and a few nifty insects catch our attention by serendipity. The amazing pine sawyer that lands on your

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Wildflowers of RMNP

Explore the wonder and diversity of the Park’s wildflowers with former Rocky Mountain National Park interpretive naturalist Leanne Benton. The Park’s vertical topography allows for a variety of

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Spend a day in Rocky Mountain National Park with your camera, photographing whatever wild creatures may be encountered. This adventure will allow photographers of all experience levels to become more

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When visiting the mountains, it’s easy to let ourselves get swept up by the stunning views of the high country and overlook the interesting things occurring in the meadows and forests below. Join our

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Rocky Mountain National Park contains breathtaking scenery, ample wildlife viewing, and opportunities to connect with the past as you travel across Trail Ridge Road, the scenic and awe-inspiring

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Using a GPS unit, discover the natural treasures along Upper Beaver Meadows trail. Follow the clues left in nature to uncover the hidden mysteries that are located in this upper montane ecosystem.

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July 5th: Painting. Through this series, students will unleash their creative potentials through various art forms including photojournaling, painting, sketching, and crafting. These artistic

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July 6: Enos Mills: “Father” of Rocky Mountain National Park: For his tireless efforts, Enos Mills (1870-1922) is remembered as the “father” of Rocky Mountain National Park and a Colorado legend. His

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Spend the morning discussing the migration, nesting, habitat, conservation, natural history, and ecology of mountain birds. Have fun in the field while learning to identify, enjoy and appreciate

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Who doesn’t love a good mystery? Who Pooped in the Woods? will have you solving real-life mysteries from start to finish. You’ll learn how to recognize different animal signs like scat (a fancy word

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Spend the day exploring the flora of the Park with a former RMNP interpretive ranger and Master Herbalist. Our attention will be focused on native plants and their current usage as food and medicine

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It is easy to forget that travel in Rocky was once not as simple as it is today. Join us as we switchback through time to traverse the park’s oldest road up to the Alpine Visitor Center and back down

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Birding the Life Zones

Rocky Mountain National Park is a birder's paradise during the nesting season. During this two-day class, we will explore the various ecosystems (life zones) of the Park to find 50-70 bird species. We

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Study the history of the Town of Estes Park, the Estes Valley, and Rocky Mountain National Park, all of which share a common ecosystem and an interrelated history. Following a brief overview using

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This all-day tour will provide an overview of the region's past by mixing brief lecture-and-discussion format with visits to historical sites of significance. Site visits will range from an ancient

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July 12 — The Rhododendron Family
The very name “rhododendron” conjures images of shrubs with gorgeous flowers, but neither name nor image suggests the relatives: blueberry, cranberry, kinnikinnik. In

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July 13: Rocky Mountain Tales of Survival (various): Hear thrilling tales of adventure from pioneers facing perilous encounters and daring escapes. Abner Sprague recounts the 1896 camping trip that

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This course provides basic identification and biology of the insects most commonly encountered in freshwater habitats. Emphasis is placed on identification of aquatic insects and other insects often

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July 14: Wild Basin Orchid Trail. A prudent sense of safety keeps us looking at the ground as we walk, and trails trick us into looking straight ahead to see what’s coming. The consequence of looking

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Who doesn’t love a good mystery? Who Pooped in the Woods? will have you solving real-life mysteries from start to finish. You’ll learn how to recognize different animal signs like scat (a fancy word

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Bears are the iconic symbol of the American wilderness. North America has three of the world’s eight species. Historically, the Park had two of the three - now only one. Learn the natural history of

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This class will focus on the Civilian Conservation Corps and its years in Rocky Mountain National Park. Following an historical overview discussion of the CCC, we will visit the sites of three of the

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Butterflies are easily observed insects which fly in every life zone of Rocky Mountain National Park. This class will begin with an indoor introduction to basic butterfly biology, butterfly behavior

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Come learn about climate change in our beloved park. The prospect of rapidly changing climate and landscapes should give us pause. Will our grandchildren see the same birds and wildflowers, play among

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The combination of heavy snowfall, bitter wind, low temperatures, and mountainous topography in alpine areas creates the most severe climate in the world," writes alpine researcher Joyce Gellhorn in

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Learn about Rocky’s hummingbird populations and their habitat while observing field ornithologists as they safely capture and band these remarkable birds. Marking individual birds remains essential to

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Using a GPS unit, discover the natural treasures along Upper Beaver Meadows trail. Follow the clues left in nature to uncover the hidden mysteries that are located in this upper montane ecosystem.

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July 19th: Crafting. Through this series, students will unleash their creative potentials through various art forms including photojournaling, painting, sketching, and crafting. These artistic

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Come explore Rocky’s history with a guided naturalist hike to the once active Eugenia mine. Kids will learn about how some colorful characters in Rocky’s past shaped the landscape, exploring how the

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While bugs are often seen as annoying and gross, they are actually quite extraordinary! They are able to lift impressive amounts, fly far distances, and jump to astonishing heights. Learn the basics

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Learn about Rocky’s hummingbird populations and their habitat while observing field ornithologists as they safely capture and band these remarkable birds. Marking individual birds remains essential to

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Recent research shows abundant algal growth along the shores and lake bottoms of The Loch and Sky Pond in RMNP. Join a park researcher Isabella Oleksy to learn about her study to determine what

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Spend the morning discussing the migration, nesting, habitat, conservation, natural history, and ecology of mountain birds. Have fun in the field while learning to identify, enjoy and appreciate

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Who doesn’t love a good mystery? Who Pooped in the Woods? will have you solving real-life mysteries from start to finish. You’ll learn how to recognize different animal signs like scat (a fancy word

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The bighorn sheep is the rightful symbol of Rocky Mountain National Park and the State of Colorado. It is one of the most highly esteemed mammals in North America, representing the majestic rugged

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James Hutton, who lived in Scotland during the 18th century, made three great discoveries that geologists use to read geologic history. They are 1) the present is the key to the past, 2) the earth is

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This two-day class will take you several steps beyond the basics to a deeper understanding of aerial perspective, linear perspective, simplifying shapes, linking values and more exciting compositional

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Rocky's Other Plants

Wonderful as they are, wildflowers are not the only plants out there. Mosses provide nesting material for American dippers and house those amazing little tardigrades. Horsetails descend from plants

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July 26 — The Lousewort Family
Decades ago, botanists lacked knowledge necessary to assign some plants to natural families. As a result, some wildflowers were temporarily assigned to families on the

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Wind makes aspen leaves and conifer needles whisper, but they do so in different voices. In flight some birds’ wings whistle, some trill, some buzz, and some are silent. Subalpine fir and balsam

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Enjoy breathtaking views as you hike across the alpine tundra from Milner Pass to the Alpine Visitor Center on a Native American foot trail. Learn about alpine ecology, geologic formations, and the

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Using a GPS unit, discover the natural treasures along Upper Beaver Meadows trail. Follow the clues left in nature to uncover the hidden mysteries that are located in this upper montane ecosystem.

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August 2nd: Sketching. Through this series, students will unleash their creative potentials through various art forms including photojournaling, painting, sketching, and crafting. These artistic

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Come explore Rocky’s history with a guided naturalist hike to the once active Eugenia mine. Kids will learn about how some colorful characters in Rocky’s past shaped the landscape, exploring how the

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In this highly interactive, inspirational, and fun course you will learn to look for and find the many “small wonders” in Rocky Mountain National Park. For the past 100 years, the Park has given us

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Fly-fishing is a sport that dates back centuries. In Rocky Mountain National Park, it draws beginners and seasoned anglers alike. Join Rocky Mountain Conservancy as we give kids a taste of what

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This all-day tour will provide an overview of the region's past by mixing brief lecture-and-discussion format with visits to historical sites of significance. Site visits will range from an ancient

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This course is designed for the recreational traveler who has little or no experience using a GPS and/or GPS owners who would like to gain a greater understanding of their receivers. Emphasis will be

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August 9 — The Mistletoe Family
Ancient druids made mistletoe culturally meaningful; Christmas made mistletoe fun. However mistletoes may be regarded culturally, they figure prominently in various

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August 11: Hidden Valley Meadow. A prudent sense of safety keeps us looking at the ground as we walk, and trails trick us into looking straight ahead to see what’s coming. The consequence of looking

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Geology of the Western Slope

The western part of Rocky offers a grand opportunity to see some of the oldest rocks in Colorado and some beautiful examples of very recent (geologically speaking) glacial features. Learn how

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Enjoy a leisurely hike through Wild Basin to Ouzel Lake. Walk along the beautiful North St. Vrain Creek; learn about the many plants that grow along the water’s edge, and visit impressive Calypso

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Mushrooms & Other Fungi

Long regarded as atypical members of the plant kingdom, the fungi are now regarded as a separate kingdom of their own standing. Because mushrooms are so visible and figure so prominently as foods and

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You’ve driven Fall River Road from Endovalley to the Alpine Visitor Center…but did you know the west side of the old route still lies like a phantom between Trail Ridge and Grand Lake? Fall River Road

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Spend the day exploring the flora of the Park with a former RMNP interpretive ranger and Master Herbalist. Our attention will be focused on native plants and their current usage as food and medicine

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This two-day class focuses on Colorado’s top predator, mountain lion (Puma concolor). Experienced mountain lion researchers will lecture on mountain lion ecology, ongoing research, human-mountain lion

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The Life & Times of Moose

Moose naturally occurred in Colorado then naturally vanished from the state long before people brought them back. Thus the moose has a prehistory and a history in this region plus a natural history as

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Much of today’s magnificent scenery in Rocky Mountain National Park is attributable to the erosional effects glaciers. This course will begin at the terminal moraine of an ancient glacier near a Park

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Spend a day in Rocky Mountain National Park with your camera, photographing whatever wild creatures may be encountered. This adventure will allow photographers of all experience levels to become more

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This class uses built environments—buildings, fences, roads, and so forth—to explore the human and environmental history of the Kawuneeche Valley. We will begin with an indoor introduction to the west

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Don’t put your camera away after the sun sets! There’s a whole different park to photograph when the stars come out. And you don’t need a telescope. This 3-day course will discuss and demonstrate

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Celebrate the National Park Service’s 100-year anniversary by creating a travel sketchbook. Document your travel experiences by learning 100 approaches as you create your sketchbook in this 2-day

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This spectacular loop affords views of the Continental Divide, rushing waterfalls and lush aspen and pine forests as participants wind their way through a subalpine ecosystem on this day-long hike

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In this advanced watercolor 2-day workshop, time will be spent exploring ways to develop individual intuitive skills as painters. Expect to identify, develop and strengthen your unique methods of

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There is much more going on in any forest than meets the eye. A forest is much more than a collection of trees. During this all day class, we will explore and discover the interactions that take place

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Have you ever wondered how a non-hibernating animal like yourself might fare trying to survive in the alpine year-round? Come watch the American pika demonstrate its survival strategy. Pikas and their

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Elk Expeditions

The fall rut is a spectacular display of elk mating behavior featuring bugling, posturing and herding displays. This extraordinary event will be available for viewing from the comfort of a

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The Cow Creek Trail provides a lovely walk through meadows flanked on either side by rock outcroppings and pine forests. Participants will stroll through these meadows, past an historic homestead and

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From Elk to Aspen: An Educational Adventure by Bus

It’s impossible to ignore the magic of fall in the Rockies, as morning sunlight glows through golden aspen leaves and elk bugles echo in the distance. Experience these autumnal wonders from the

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Great wildlife images don’t just “happen.” They are created when the right opportunity presents itself, and the photographer is there and ready! Being there and ready requires a unique combination of

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Seeing wildlife in Rocky Mountain National Park is not at all unusual. However, making great photographs of what you see sometimes presents a challenge and many times results in disappointing images.

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Join researcher Scott Rashid as he traps and bands boreal and northern saw-whet owls in Rocky Mountain National Park. Learn about their habitat requirements, nighttime activity, and general ecology

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Autumn is a truly magical time to be in the high country. This class will focus on two seasonal events that will offer photographers an outstanding opportunity to capture memorable moments digitally —

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