Happy Friday! Ready for a trip to the mountains? With its gorgeous views, inviting downtown, and close access to a wide range of outdoor activities, a trip to Estes Park ensures a fun excursion. Here are some ideas to get you started.
Estes Park is located 50 minutes from Longmont, 1 hour from Boulder, and 1.5 hours from Denver.
Downtown Estes Park is home to a number of restaurants, stores, and cafes. Meander along the bench-lined Riverwalk or pop into a small shop (we love visiting Frames Games & Things Unnamed for unique games). Keep an eye out as you explore town for sculptures and other public artworks. Looking for a little history? Take a tour of the famous Stanley Hotel to learn about the hotel’s infamous past and paranormal activity.
Or maybe you want to test your limits at Open Air Adventure Park where visitors traverse an aerial ropes course. Hit a movie showing in the evening at the Historic Park Theatre or Reel Mountain Theater.
Located west of Estes Park, Rocky Mountain National Park includes 300 miles of hiking trails that travel through alpine, glacial, meadow, and riparian environments. Here are some of our favorite RMNP hikes:
-Lumpy Ridge Trailhead: From here you’ll be able to access the Lumpy Ridge Loop (11 miles) and Gem Lake Trail (3.5 miles).
–Bear Lake Trailhead: This trailhead provides access to five different lakes: Bear, Nymph, Dream, Emerald, Haiyaha, and Bierstadt. Hike anywhere from 0.25-10.5 miles.
The wildfires of 2020 significantly damaged sections of RMNP so be sure to check trail closures before your visit and follow all trail signage. Also note that dogs are prohibited from RMNP trails. Park entry is $25 per car or you can buy an annual pass for $70.
Outside of the park we suggest visiting Lily Mountain Trail for a 4 mile round trip hike with awesome views. Or plan a route from Lion Gulch Trailhead or Homestead Meadows to explore several historic homestead sites. Dogs are welcome at these locations and a number of others.
Located on the outskirts of town as you drive in on Route 36, Lake Estes offers opportunities for water fun. Visit the Marina to rent canoes, kayaks, paddle boards, motorized fishing boats, pontoon boats, rods, reels, and bikes. Take a walk on the 3.75 mile trail around the lake.
No matter the time of year, wildlife abounds in Estes Park. Keep an eye out for elk, deer, and coyotes as well as chipmunks, squirrels, raccoons, beavers, and badgers. At higher altitudes, you may see marmot or pikas. If you’re lucky you may spot more elusive moose, bears, foxes, bobcats, or mountain lions. Remember to give wild animals their space!
We hope you enjoy your trip to Estes Park! Until next time!
Allison and Ken