At the entrance of Rocky Mountain National Park, Estes Park is one of the most desirable vacation destinations in Colorado thanks to stunning mountain vistas and a charming downtown. Situated 7,522 feet above sea level, the entire area is home to breathtaking views, incredible natural scenery and plenty of skiing and hiking adventures to be had. The town itself has the feel of a quaint mountain village yet allows for a range of phenomenal cuisine and culture in the middle of an outdoorsman's paradise. Whether you're looking for a romantic getaway, a memorable family vacation or just isolation from the fast pace of the city for a few days, Estes Park is the perfect destination.
Estes Park Attractions
Known by many as the gate to Rocky Mountain National Park, Estes Park is a veritable treasure trove of activities based around its immense natural beauty. Featuring guided tours, world class camping, great hiking and an absolutely endless supply of beautiful backdrops for family photographs, Estes Park is perfect for those who appreciate the great outdoors. The four trailheads accessible from the town offer fantastic access to the local hiking trails and phenomenal ski slopes, as well.
Within Rocky Mountain National Park alone there are over 100 separate peaks that rise above the height of 11,000 feet. As a result, Estes Park has become a prime destination for climbers and backpackers from across the globe. Strap into a harness, don't forget the crampons and scale some incredible rock faces or, if you're looking for a slightly more tame experience, take some of the winding backpacking trails to the top of these beautiful peaks. Since many of these peaks run directly along the continental divide, climbers can take in the unforgettable sight of watching snow begin its long journey either east to the Atlantic or west to the Pacific.
Estes Park Things to Do
If you're visiting Estes Park in either the spring, summer or autumn, then you'll want to take part in the fantastic trail running scene. While the city does offer a variety of trails that cater to all skill levels, some of the most beautiful scenery is found on two of the more challenging routes, Black Lake Trail and Lumpy Ridge Loop. While the former is an intermediate, 9.6-mile trail, Lumpy Ridge Loop runs for over 10 miles and features a nearly 3-mile change in elevation from start to finish. Black Lake Trail is recommended for those desiring water-centric viewpoints, as it passes by two lakes and a series of waterfalls. Lumpy Ridge, considering its changes in elevation, caters more to those looking to view the world from above as they pass through mountainous ridges and rugged terrain.
Of course, some people will prefer to experience the beauty of Estes Park from the valley below. Since its official sanctioning by the United States government nearly a century ago, Rocky Mountain National Park has served as a habitat to both domesticated and wild horses. A variety of options are available through the park for horseback riders of all levels, including day trips and backcountry horse camping sponsored by the National Parks Office. Those who would prefer to be a bit more independent can set off alone and will find over 260 miles of beautiful wilderness trails for their enjoyment. Both Thunder Lake Trail and Finch Lakes Trail are popular among vacationers and locals. These trails are accessible from the Wild Basin Trailhead, which is easily found from multiple park entrances.