Nestled high in the Colorado mountains and located just to the west of Rocky Mountain National Park is Estes Park. Small mountain towns all tend to be very similar – buildings no more than three floors high, old fashion candy shops on main street, upscale dining options, and relatively expensive hotels. Having visited plenty of these little spots in my life and I even lived in one for a while, and they really are all very similar in their appeal. Estes Park has all of these things, but it is exceptionally fun and charming.
A Perfect Mountain Town
This really is the perfect mountain town for a Rocky Mountain weekend getaway. There’s no shortage of things to do in town! Stroll down the main street and pop in local candy shops or head out into the wild. You won’t be disappointed with your time here.
We loaded our bikes in our truck and spent ample time riding the trail around Lake Estes. It was pretty chilly and the area had suffered some substantial flooding in the days prior to our arrival, but we loved checking out the scenery!
Looking for an easy activity with rewarding views? Rid the tram up to the mountain top! The small tram cars are really cute and fun to ride in, and the views at the top are to die for! Don’t worry, the ride is smooth and there is ample space at the top to walk around and take pictures.
Not only do you get a bird’s eye view of the town, but awe-inspiring views of Rocky Mountain National Park and the Colorado wilderness.
These views made one thing clear: we could not wait to head into Rocky Mountain National Park and see all the beauty up close! The clear Colorado skies and expansive green mountains are a great to take in.
Luckily, Estes Park is a gateway town to Rocky Mountain National Park. This is another huge National Park which involves a lot of driving. We spent a day there and barely broke the surface of this park. And, there are wonderful scenic lookouts scattered throughout.
The Stanley Hotel
If you remember Stephen King’s movie, The Shining, you may also recognize The Stanley Hotel. I will never forget that movie as it terrified me as a child, and driving onto the property was enough to stir my overly active imagination! They offer haunted tours!
If you are flying in, you will most likely arrive at Denver International Airport. From there, you will have to drive north on I-25. The road to Estes Park from nearby Loveland seems like the most winding, curvy road I’ve been on, so take your time and drive cautiously. The views of the Big Thompson River during the drive are also lovely!
Where To Stay
While there’s many places to stay, we picked the Estes Park Resort because we wanted to be right on Lake Estes and would highly recommend this hotel. The property is wonderful, the rooms are well appointed and the views can’t be beat! We spent ample time on our balcony just taking in the environment. The natural area allowed us to even see some nearby wildlife including a fox! Plus, this property sits on the bike path around the lake so it is super convenient.
Estes Park is also home to wineries, breweries, go-karts, putt-putt golf, fishing, wildlife spotting, and so much more. If you’re looking for a weekend away in the perfect mountain town, Estes Park is for you!