Frequently Asked Questions
It’s about the scenery…
It’s about the history…
It’s about the PEOPLE!
Frequently Asked Questions about Guided Tours:
Why should I choose Lively Tours and Talks?
Ten reasons to tour with us:
- We share our passion with you
- We know the West side of Rocky Mountain National Park inside and out
- We believe in connecting you with the people and cultures of the area
- Our guests come back to us again and send us their families and friends because of their exceptional experiences with us
- Dave is a well-known local expert and historian
- We offer tours no one else can
- We guarantee departures and do not cancel tours
- We are insured and stand behind our tours
- Dave is a Certified Tour Guide by the International Guide Academy with CPR and first aid training
- We operate under all required permits
For more information about Dave and Lively Tours and Talks please visit About
How can I reach Lively Tours and Talks?
What are the differences in your three tours?
The “Sisters of Courage” tour focuses on the Harbison family and life in the decades before and after 1900. Homesteaded by the two daughters, the Harbison Dairy Ranch would supply fresh milk to the residents of Grand Lake for over 50 years. You will hear astounding stories of their lives, visit the homestead site and see the scant remains of their efforts.
The “Rocky’s West Side Stories” tour focuses on introducing you to many people who have called what is now Rocky Mountain National Park, home. You will start at a homestead site and walk to a gold mining town site to learn how to keep your food cool while keeping it away from the grizzly bears.
The “Lost Lodges of Rocky” tour focuses on sharing with you a few sites of the more than 30 lodges and resorts which were a part of the landscape over the years as you walk to the site of the first “hotel” in the Kawuneeche Valley. You will discover the understandable circumstance that led to the nickname “Squeaky” Bob.
How long has Lively Tours and Talks been in business and who owns the company?
Lively Tours and Talks LLC was established in 2016. We are a family business owned by Dave Lively. Dave will be your CEO (Chief Experience Officer) and has enjoyed presenting the Rocky Mountain National Park and Grand Lake area to a wide variety of audiences since 2006. For more information please visit the About Page.
What do your tour prices include?
Your tour includes transportation, Rocky Mountain National Park entry fees, bottled water and light snacks, maps, binoculars to share, engaging stories, glorious scenery, and memorable experiences.
Do you charge any additional taxes or entrance fees?
There are no additional taxes or fees. Your entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park is included in the tour price.
How large will my group be? What if I am traveling alone?
Our minimum guest is you. Our tours are designed for 4 or fewer guests. We provide tours into Rocky Mountain National Park in a 4-door pickup truck. The group will always be small with a maximum of 4 guests. Our small group size and personalized service allow you to enjoy the beauty, culture, flavor, and excitement of a new land not far from the well-trodden tourist track, but from the perspective of an insider.
Do you have permits to operate guided tours within Rocky Mountain National Park?
Yes, Lively Tours and Talks operates under a Rocky Mountain National Park Commercial Use Authorization permit and its insurance requirements. The National Park Service is undergoing a multi-year revision of its fees and permits. You can rest assured that Lively Tours and Talks knows and will always be in compliance with current requirements.
How far in advance do I need to reserve my guided tour?
You are welcome to reserve your tour 6 months in advance. You may reserve you tour up to 4:00 PM on the day prior to the day of departure, if there are openings available.
Are children welcome on Lively Tours and Talks guided tours?
We welcome all families aboard, with a limitation of 4 guests age 14 and over. We are unable to accept reservations for children under the age of 14 for our tours. Guests between ages 14 and 18 must be accompanied by an adult. Families with children under 14 and larger groups can enjoy the Lively Tours and Talks experience by contacting Dave directly through our Contact Page and booking a Family Experience. These experiences feature family-friendly pricing and activities.
Can we stop for photos?
Definitely. We have several planned stops, and we are prepared to stop on request or if we see wildlife.
Can I bring my luggage?
Our tours are in a 4-door pickup truck; unfortunately we don’t have room for your luggage to be safely transported.
What is your Cancellation Policy?
Plans change, and we understand that. If life throws you a curveball, we won’t throw back a penalty. Please refer to our Cancellation Policy Page for details.
What should I bring on the tour?
Itineraries may consist of walking on uneven terrain or walking through the forest without an improved trail at times. Bring along sunglasses, rain jacket and/or coat, camera, memory cards, batteries, sunscreen, hat, and closed-toe sturdy walking shoes or boots. We suggest you bring a daypack and selfie stick. There is device charging available in the vehicle if you bring the necessary cord.
Walking sticks are not mandatory, but they do offer a level of stability on uneven surfaces such as the trails we will be walking. We recommend you dress in layers to be prepared for the sudden changes in temperature and weather conditions common at high altitude.
You are welcome to bring beverages and snacks, but please leave the alcohol, tobacco and marijuana behind.
What happens if there is less than Colorado blue-sky weather?
The tour is “on” rain or shine. Weather in Rocky Mountain National Park varies from moment to moment sometimes. Please be prepared for bright sunshine, partly cloudy days, light rain that may last only a few minutes to rain that may pour for hours on end. Snow is possible any day of the year. Please see the listing of What to Bring on your tour.
What kind of shape do I need to be in to enjoy my tour?
Our tours are active but not strenuous for those in average condition. Our tours are 4 hours of mixed driving, talking and walking. The walks vary from ¼ to 1 mile. We pride ourselves on bringing travelers the very best experiences our destination offers. Itineraries may consist of walking on uneven terrain or walking through the forest without an improved trail at times. Some of the most unique sightseeing can mean accessing locations that restrict vehicle travel, especially in historic areas.
How do you accommodate people of varying abilities?
Our small group size of 4 or fewer allows us to tailor our tours to your abilities and interests. Itineraries may consist of walking on uneven terrain or walking through the forest without an improved trail at times and may not be suitable for those with some disabilities.
What do I do with my electronics and valuables when I’m on the tour?
It’s best to leave valuables at home, please understand that the items you bring are 100% your responsibility. You will want to have with you the What to Bring list of items, and the vehicle will be locked while parked. Please be aware there is very limited cell service within Rocky Mountain National Park. We suggest you put your phone in aviation mode to save your battery and allow you to take pictures.
What about the altitude? I’ve heard of altitude sickness.
Altitude sickness can be a problem, especially for people coming to the mountains from sea level. To prevent altitude sickness, stay hydrated by drinking extra amounts of water, and stay away from alcohol and caffeine. Altitude sickness can be serious, you may experience an upset stomach, headache, dizziness or shortness of breath – please inform your guide so he is aware of your symptoms and can begin treatment as soon as possible. There will be water, and oxygen available in the vehicle if needed.
What other risks should I be concerned about?
At Lively Tours and Talks your safety is paramount. Dave is trained not only to keep you safe in the wilderness, but also to be ready for the unexpected – whether it be high water, a lightning storm or those off-itinerary events you weren’t expecting. When considering your tour options, it is important to inquire about safety records and current trainings. Ours, we are proud to say, are impeccable and always up-to-date.
What time and where do the tours start?
We will meet you at the Grand Lake Center at 301 Marina Dr. at the corner of Marina Dr. and Center Dr. There is a map available here, please call Dave 970-531-1211 if you have any questions. The morning tour leaves at 8:00 AM and the afternoon tour leaves at 1:30 PM. Please arrive 10 minutes before departure.
Is there parking at the Grand Lake Center?
Yes, there is ample free parking.
Are tips included in the tour price?
Tips are not included because we believe that recognizing excellent service is a personal matter. At the end of your trip, although not compulsory, if you felt your CEO did an outstanding job, tipping is encouraged – and welcomed. The amount is entirely a personal preference, many people follow restaurant guidelines of 15-25%.
I am having a family reunion, do you offer campfire programs?
Contact Dave directly at 970-531-1211 or firstname.lastname@example.org to find the program that appeals to your family.
Frequently Asked Questions about Step-On Tours:
What is a Step-On Guide?
A Step-On guide works with your Tour Director providing local expertise, enhancing your time and providing hidden insights and a deeper understanding of the area.
Where do you meet the motor coach?
Generally, I step-on board at your departure point the morning of the tour, or I will step-on in the Grand Lake area.
Do you step-on for multi-day trips?
Certainly! I would be happy to provide you with itinerary suggestions.
We already have a Tour Director on board, why would we hire Lively Tours and Talks?
To turn a good tour into a great experience! We have the local knowledge and insights to provide you a deeper understanding of the area.
What routes do you suggest?
I will be happy to work with you for suggested routes from and to your departure depending on the timing of your day.
Will you meet our bus or motor coach anywhere beside the Denver area?
Yes, we have offered step-on service from and to other areas such as Steamboat Springs, Colorado. Please contact us to discuss the timing and a suggested itinerary.
Do you offer tours to other locations beside RMNP?
Yes, please contact me if you are interested in other aspects of Grand County or Northwest Colorado.
How long will we be out of the bus on an average day?
I work with you on the suggested itinerary to schedule one to four hours off the motor coach.
Will we have photo stops?
Yes, several are scheduled on each tour and we try to accommodate wildlife sightings if traffic conditions allow for safely pulling off the road.
Will we see animals?
Moose, elk and deer are commonly sighted… no guarantees, they are wild animals. Big horn sheep, mountain goats, black bears, and small animals such as pika, marmots, chipmunks, and squirrels are a possibility.
What should we bring on the tour?
Itineraries may consist of walking on uneven terrain or walking through the forest without an improved trail at times. Bring along sunglasses, rain jacket, and/or coat, camera, memory cards, batteries, sunscreen, hat, and closed-toe sturdy walking shoes or boots. We suggest you bring a daypack. Walking sticks are not mandatory, but they do offer a level of stability on uneven surfaces such as trails we may be walking. We recommend you dress in layers to be prepared for sudden changes in temperature and weather conditions common at high altitude.
You are welcome to bring beverages and snacks, but please leave the alcohol, tobacco and marijuana behind.
What does RMNP charge for a group to enter RMNP?
The entrance rates are currently based upon the capacity of the bus ranging from $75.00 to a maximum of $200 for a full-size motor coach.
The rates will be increasing beginning October 1, 2019 and will be $15 per passenger plus the requirement for a Commercial Use Permit fee.
I have heard the entrance fees are going up? Is this true?
Yes, the National Park Service has announced a price increase for tours in all National Parks that charge an entrance fee beginning October 1, 2019. Rocky Mountain National Park entrance fees for tours will be increasing to $15 per passenger on any size bus or motor coach. In addition, a Commercial Use Permit (CUA) is required. The application fee for a CUA is $300 per year.
Lively Tours and Talks will provide the use of our CUA for a nominal fee of $50.
Where there be time for shopping at the visitor center?
The itinerary can be adjusted to accommodate shopping time at a Rocky Mountain National Park Visitor Center and/or in Grand Lake if desired.
Will you step-on for a family reunion or wedding party on a tour?
Please call or email me for suggestions to make your gathering an experience your guests will fondly remember.
Do you supply the bus?
Lively Tours and Talks does not provide the bus or motor coach, but I will be happy to suggest suppliers to suit your requirements.
When is the best time of year to bring a bus tour to Rocky Mountain National Park?
Rocky Mountain National Park is enchanting 365 days a year, but Trail Ridge Road over the Continental Divide is only open late May – mid October.
What is the best route to tour from Denver to Denver?
There are several options depending on the starting location. I’ll be happy to discuss them with you.
What if the weather is less than a Colorado Blue Sky day?
The tour is “on” rain or shine. Weather in Rocky Mountain National Park varies from moment to moment sometimes. Please be prepared for bright sunshine, partly cloudy days, light rain that may last only a few minutes to rain that may pour for hours on end. Snow is possible any day of the year at higher altitudes.
Are gratuities included in the step-on tour price?
Gratuities are not included because we believe that recognizing excellent service is a personal matter. At the end of your experience, although not compulsory, if you felt your tour guide did an outstanding job, tipping is encouraged – and welcomed. The amount is entirely a personal preference, many people follow restaurant guidelines of 15-25%.
Frequently Asked Questions about History Talks:
How long are your programs?
Lively Tours and Talks programs are one hour, plus time for questions and answers.
Where will you travel to present a program?
Anywhere in Colorado. I do charge a $50 travel fee, regardless of location outside Grand County.
Can you do a program outdoors?
Family reunions and pre or post wedding groups looking for an activity may request a program around the campfire or other location.
I provide photos and illustrations to pass around.
Who are your audiences?
The programs are designed for audiences aged 9 and older.
What is the minimum audience size required?
There is no minimum.
What equipment do you require from us?
A room that can be darkened, seating, podium or table, projector and screen. If the room is large, a microphone is requested.
What do you provide?
I will supply my Mac laptop and adaptors to connect to your projector cables. I will provide my projector if needed. A USB Flash drive will be available if you prefer that I use your equipment.
Will you offer a program on our local history?
It would not be fair to you to attempt a program beyond my area of expertise. The cultural history of Rocky Mountain National Park connects closely to the history of Colorado, audiences statewide are engaged by these stories… they are about the people!
May children attend your programs?
Certainly, but the programs are directed toward adult audiences.
We are not a non-profit. Will you still present a program?
Of course! Non-profits, libraries and government facilities receive a 25% discount on each program.
Can we get a discount for scheduling two programs?
The price each is the same for one or multiple programs.
Do you offer all of your programs during Women’s History Month of March or only Sisters of Courage?
Any of the programs are available any time of year.
How is the world-renowned Sculptor in Buckskin tied to Grand Lake?
Phimister Proctor’s time in Grand Lake as a boy deeply influenced his career and the rest of his life.