When people think of the Rockies, most automatically think of Colorado or Montana. But the region that encompasses the Rocky Mountains actually stretches as far North as Canada, and as far South as New Mexico. The Rocky Mountain region is known for its natural beauty, and is an excellent place to get in touch with the great outdoors.
Leafcanoer, cmlenny, recently shared highlights of a trip to the Rockies in the leaf, “Eastern Idaho/Yellowstone National Park – adventure awaits!” From rivers to sand dunes, geysers to wild animals, the Rockies has no shortage of sights and activities. For those needing a break from everyday life, here are five ways to get back to nature in the Rockies.
Explore the Snake River
The Snake River is considered the largest tributary of the Columbia River, and winds through Wyoming, Idaho, and into Washington state. The river is approximately 1,078 miles long, and forms parts of the historic Oregon Trail. Since the 1890’s, the river has been used to generate hydroelectricity, and is also used to provide water to surrounding farmlands. The Snake River cuts through North America’s deepest river gorge, Hells Canyon. Popular activities to do along the Snake River include fishing, hiking, and boating. The largest white water rapids can also be found along the Snake River, in Idaho.
Visit Mesa Falls
A must-do while exploring the Snake River is a visit to Mesa Falls. There are actually two sets of waterfalls: Upper Mesa Falls and Lower Mesa Falls. These two waterfalls are known to be the last two prominent waterfalls untouched by human control. Upper Mesa Falls stands almost as tall as a 10-story building, and Lower Mesa Falls is not that far behind in height. The views surrounding the falls are breath-taking, and an excellent reminder of the beauty and power of nature. Mesa Falls is located in Eastern Idaho, in the Targhee National Forest.
Camp Out at St. Anthony Sand Dunes
Also in Idaho is St. Anthony sand dunes, which comprises of 11,000 acres of white quartz sand. The dunes are constantly shifting. Some of them reach up to 400 feet high and can move up to 8 feet each year. The sand dunes, located near St. Anthony, Idaho, are a great place to go camping. There are campsites along the east end of the dunes, and also in the south-central portion. Another popular activity to do at St. Anthony Sand Dunes is to go off-roading. Visitors have also explored the sand dunes on horseback.
Observe Animals in their Natural Habitat
The Rocky Mountains are home to a wide variety of animals. These include elk, moose, mule deer, mountain goats, bighorn sheep, black bears, grizzly bears, wolves, and coyotes. In Yellowstone National Park, you can also find bison, lynx, mountain lions, and bobcats. The best way time to see animals are in the early mornings and the evening hours, when they are most likely to be feeding. And many visitors opt to camp out in the park, to increase their chances of seeing animals and to be more immersed in nature. However, there are a number of safety considerations to keep in mind when visiting Yellowstone, mainly that since these are wild animals, it’s wise to maintain a safe distance from them to avoid getting injured.
Witness Geysers at Yellowstone National Park
Another draw to Yellowstone National Park are the geysers, which are periodically erupting hot springs. The most famous geyser at Yellowstone National Park is Old Faithful, aptly named due to its almost routine eruption every 63 minutes. According to the National Park Service, Yellowstone National Park has almost half of the world’s geysers. Besides Old Faithful, there are a number of other geysers throughout the park, each with its own unique feature that is worth visiting.
For many of us, everyday life can get tiresome and tedious. But now that it’s summer, it’s the perfect time to visit the Rocky Mountains and witness nature at its best. For more ideas about how to get back to nature in the Rockies, check out the “Eastern Idaho/Yellowstone National Park – adventure awaits!” leaf and more like it by downloading the LeafCanoe app.