If you’re visiting Rocky Mountain National Park be sure to spend some time in the bustling gateway community of Estes Park, Colorado. It is a beautiful mountain town nestled into the Rocky Mountains at the East Entrance to the park. From shopping and dining, hiking, fishing, museums and beyond, there is a lot to do and see in Estes Park!
Here is a list of our six favorite Estes Park activities:
1. Ghost and history tour
The Stanley Hotel, one of the Historic Hotels of America, holds 90-minute Ghost and History Tours (day and nighttime tours). The 100+ year old hotel has a haunted 4th floor, secret passages for servants, and was the inspiration for the Overlook Hotel in The Shining by Stephen King. Look at their website to book tours and for special events held on occasion.
Fly fishing is a long-standing Colorado pastime. Hire a local outfitter in town and learn something new or refine existing skills. Wade in clear waters among beautiful scenery and picnic creek-side, for either a half or full day excursion, and hopefully catch that trophy trout.
3. baldpate inn
Get a taste of Estes Park’s history from this 1911 homestead site. Over the years, it became an Inn and the site for the world’s largest key collection housing over 20,000 keys such as Mozart’s wine cellar, Frankenstein’s castle, and a key from the Pentagon. Enjoy signed photographs of US presidents and other famous people as you explore this unique place. Stop by during lunch or dinner and they serve a specialty soup and salad buffet.
4. horseback riding
Give your feet a rest and take in the Rocky Mountains on horseback. Several outfitters provide trail rides of varying length and location around Estes Park and Grand Lake (the park’s western entrance).
5. Good eats
There are fantastic options for dining in Estes Park. The following are some tried and true spots to enjoy a good meal:
Breakfast- The Egg and I
Lunch- Peppers Mexican Grill or Antino’s Real New York Pizza & Deli
Dinner- Smokin’ Dave’s BBQ & Tap House or Rock Inn Mountain Tavern
6. Estes park day hike
Some of the best hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park is right out of town. Strike out on your own or join The Wildland Trekking Company on an organized group hike. Glacier Gorge packs the most bang for the buck, just a 25-minute drive from town, you’ll enjoy spectacular subalpine scenery.
Emily Rolando – Wildland Trekking Guide