What's the Current Weather in Rocky Mountain National Park?
While the overall size of Rocky Mountain National Park may be relatively small, the weather can vary drastically from place to place, especially as you change altitude. It is therefore wise to look at several of the forecasts below to get an idea of what to expect.
Be sure to not only look at the temperature and the chance of storms, but also at the expected wind speed. The winds can at times be so strong (+40mph) as to make hiking dangerous and topple trees. It also creates windchill, making it feel much colder than the listed temperature.
Because the weather conditions can change from hour to hour, I recommend that you look at the "Hourly Weather Forecast". This is an option you'll find on each of the forecast pages, located on the right side under, "More Information". This will enable you to see when the winds will be the strongest, what times they are expecting the storms to arrive, etc..
While these forecasts by the National Weather Service are very helpful, it is important to note that accurately predicting mountain weather is extremely difficult, so always prepare for unexpected changes in the weather.
The Bear Lake area is one of the most popular areas in Rocky Mountain National Park, find out the weather forecast for this area. This forecast also covers much of Glacier Gorge, Dream & Emerald Lakes, and Lake Bierstadt...
Flattop Mountain has an elevation of 12,326' /3,757m and is on a major hiking route through Rocky Mountain National Park. This forecast will give you an idea of conditions through the tundra areas in the central part of Rocky Mountain National Park...
Grand Lake, Colorado lies at the western entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park. It sits at an elevation of 8,365' / 2,550m. The forecast should be similar for much of the Kawuneeche Valley, Adams Falls, lower North Inlet Trail and other trails at or near this elevation on the west side of the park...
Longs Peak often has its own weather. This forecast is based on the Boulderfield area below the Keyhole. You can expect conditions to be colder, with higher winds, and greater potential for storms as you climb towards the summit...
This forecast is for the Rock Cut area along Trail Ridge Road at an elevation of 12,110' / 3,691m. This forecast should cover much of the tundra areas in this part of the park including Tombstone Ridge, Forest Canyon Overlook, and the Alpine Visitor Center...
What to expect during late spring in Rocky Mountain National Park
Around mid-June the warmer weather finally overcomes the winter. The snow in the mountains begins to rapidly melt and the valleys below turn lush green. There will still be quite a bit of snow up high, but it will be rapidly turning to water. As a result, higher trails can be a mix of snow and mud.
At this time of year the temperatures begin to warm. It is not unusual for the lower elevations of the park to have some days in the upper 70s and 80s (20-25C), though at night it may get down into the 40s (4-8C). Up in the mountains the weather is likely to be much colder with high temperatures not likely to exceed 60 degrees (15C) and temperatures will likely be near or below freezing at night.
Smoke and Air Quality
With the growing number of wildfires in the western North America, we've had to adapt to much more smoke in the air. While Colorado skies have historically been crisp and clear, more recently they have been very hazy as smoke rolls in from fires far and near. Fires in other parts of Colorado, in Arizona, Montana, Canada or any of the surrounding areas can produce smoke that fills our skies. This can dramatically impact the views of the surrounding peaks and even result in air that can at times be unhealthy to breathe. Here are some tools that you can use to evaluate the impact of smoke on this area. Also, check out the webcams as they can give you an idea of the current smoke in the air.
NOAA Smoke Map (click on "Near Surface Smoke" or "Vertically Integrated Smoke")
During the spring and early summer the melting snow leads to fast running streams in Rocky Mountain National Park. These are much more powerful and dangerous than they look. During this time of year stay away from streams, do not try to cross them without a bridge, and keep children away from them.
From mid-October through mid-June anyone hiking, skiing, or snowshoeing in the mountains should be aware of the potential for avalanches to occur. A good rule of thumb is to avoid being on or immediately below slopes that have an angle of 35-45 degrees and to know the current avalanche forecast before you head out.
Here's a good primer on avalanche safety by the Colorado Avalanche Information Center.