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!


The Tram

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.

dsc03617 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.DSC03666.JPG


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!



Getting There

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.  

Enjoying the views from our balcony

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!

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  1. I love love Estes Park. We always stay there when visiting RMNP. Just a fun place and lots of good food, hiking, and horsebackriding!

  2. Oh what a fabulous view! What a magnificent place to visit, so much stunning scenery and I love that there is a winery and plenty of places to go hiking, great post! Thank you for sharing this information with us, pinned for future reference!

  3. I have never been to Colarado – yet! Am pinning for future reference though. Great views and wildlife! And the hotel from The Shining 😱FAB!!!

  4. What Incredible views, stunning landscapes! We’ve not had many wilderness stays, as we mainly go camping, but this place looks lovely and would be right up our street. I’m intrigued to see what your lodge was like.

  5. In my mind I associate Colorado with skiing, but now it will also be the Rocky Mountain National Park. Estes Park sounds like a great base to explore the area, especially with that view from the resort. Love wild nature like this and would love to see it one day. Thanks for sharing.

  6. This is somewhere I’d love to go! Being “not American” I have had my impression of your small towns built within my mind by media – movies and books mostly! (yes a lot of Stephen King!) Reading your post and seeing the photos I don’t think I am going to be disappointed when I do get to visit the small mountain towns in America!

  7. Count me in, I’m ready to go and visit this amazing town Estes Park nestled in the Rocky Mountains. I will do all of the wonderful things you mentioned expect the haunted tour in the Stanley Hotel. Like the idea of packing a bike…What beautiful pictures and Thanks for Sharing!

  8. Love those views from up high! Such beautiful landscape. Had no idea the hotel is there either – would be so awesome to do a tour of the place! Some of my friends are really into movies so they would love that! Great stuff, thanks for sharing!

    1. It is such a fun little spot! You’ll definitely have to get up there to visit your friends and enjoy the area.

  9. Wow those views are incredible! I can imagine the hiking would be pretty good too! And you even managed to see some wildlife! Great trip and I have never even heard of the place so thanks for sharing

  10. Would love to visit Estes Park one day! I have spent a decent amount of time in Grand Junction and Denver so would love to see other areas of the state now. Thanks for all the suggestions 🙂

    1. Estes Park is not horribly far from Denver, if you’re ever in the area again and in the mood to visit a charming mountain town, we highly recommend it!

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