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Estes Park: The mountains are calling and I must go!

Updated: Oct 31, 2021

Set in a valley surrounded by the Rocky Mountain National Park. Estes Park is a town in northern Colorado. It’s known as a base for the Rocky Mountain National Park, home to wildlife including elk and bears, plus miles of trails. The park’s Trail Ridge Road winds past craggy peaks, forests and tundra. Nearby are the wilderness areas of Roosevelt National Forest. The Estes Park Aerial Tramway connects the town to the summit of Prospect Mountain for views over the valley.

No matter what type of activity you enjoy, it is sure to be better here! No one questions that Estes park natural playground comes first when planning activities.

There is a wide array of commercial activities expands the outdoor enjoyment of the area. You can rent a bike, take a fly-fishing lesson, ride the aerial tram to the top of a small peak for a breathtaking view of the valley and downtown below. Or if you just go wander in the downtown area and maybe riverwalk

These are but a few of the activities offered in Estes Park.

Peak to Peak Scenic Byway:

This is my favorite road in Colorado. It follows the Continental Divide all the way from I-70 (near Idaho Springs) to Estes Park (the gates into Ricky Mountain National Forest.) This 55-mile route, which starts in Central City and runs north to Estes Park along Colorado Highways 72 & 7, passes through Allenspark, Black Hawk, Central City, Drake, Eldora, Empire, Estes Park, Evergreen, Genesee, Georgetown, Golden Mountains, Idaho Springs, Idledale, Meeker Park, Morrison, Nederland, Raymond. There are several stops if you are a photography lover, it's worth it.

Be on the lookout for wildlife like moose and elk and black bears too!

Riverwalk in Downtown:

The riverwalk is such a nice, relaxing place to spend some time, rest, relax, watch the river and listen to the rushing water, have a picnic, or just take a break from shopping. It runs through downtown and adds a nice atmosphere to the shopping area.

Estes Park
Riverwalk in downtown Estes Park

Many shops enter from the Main Street and exit right onto the river walk. It’s handy to get an ice cream from the shop and enjoy it on the river walk!

Aerial Tramway

The tram ride up the side of the mountain is breathtaking and the view from the top is spectacular. Also the restaurant and gift shop offers some very tasty treats. Very reasonable in price and a fun adventure.

Downtown Estes Park:

The town is so charming and has cute little shops, several great restaurants and lots of places for ice cream and treats. It is easily walkable and there is something new to see in every block. We like the park by the water wheel. It also has your touristy souvenir shops! Do not miss it, it's worth a trip!

Lake Estes:

Lake Estes lies adjacent to Estes Park, Colorado and close to Rocky Mountain National Park, making it the perfect place to stay and enjoy water sports, like boating and fishing.

This famous Estes Park lake has been a favorite destination of tourists for decades. Since it’s so close to Rocky Mountain National Park, those who are visiting find coming to Lake Estes provides some relaxation in between other more adventurous outdoor recreation in the area.

Lake Estes, Estes Park offers so much for the summer or winter traveler. Besides the breathtaking scenery, there are numerous activities to fill your vacation days i.e. fishing, hiking and biking, camping or winter Sports if you get to come during ski season.

The Stanley hotel:

If you travel to Estes Park, you have to stay at this hotel. It is the most breathtaking beautiful place. The building is historic and beautiful and they have a wonderful Cascades restaurant with delicious food! The staff is incredibly nice and the building is rich with history and ghost tours. It's a short walk to downtown Estes Park from the Stanley Hotel. If you are coming from outside Colorado, do not miss the opportunity to stay at the Stanley but make sure it's open, as the last time we drove there, it was closed due to Covid-19. If you are driving to Estes Park, a lunch or a drink at this hotel will be unforgettable.

The Stanley Hotel
Our last visit to Estes Park, the Stanley was closed but we got to see one of their features outdoor :)

The Chapel on the Rock:

It is a functioning Catholic chapel and tourist landmark in Allenspark. It's a 19 min drive (11.4 mi) from Estes Park via CO-7.

Church, mountain,
The Chapel on the Rock

The chapel is located on the grounds of the Saint Malo Retreat. It is a one of a kind place! Not really a lot to see or do around but definitely worth the stop and look or take few snaps of the the breathtaking scenery. I heard the pope has been there before !

Dining in Estes Park:

There are several choices that you can pick from. Either you are a fine dining lover so you can stop at "Cascades restaurant" in hotel Stanley or the "View Restaurant" or you love to try local cuisine like "Seasoned-An American Bistro" or the "Egg of Estes".

The eclectic mix of locally owned restaurants in Estes offers unique, authentic dining experiences that go beyond just a great meal. The local restaurateurs are ready with a casual bite, an elegant date and everything in between. Try the local game at a rustic cabin-like locale. Opt for elegance in a historic dining room. Chow down with the kiddos on handmade pizza or juicy burgers.

Don't forget that there are lot of Gelatos (ice cream) places in downtown, most of them are locally made ice cream that you'd probable want to try after your meal.

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