Estes Park is known as the base camp for the Rocky mountain national park. The area is full of amazing scenery and visitors can do as little or as much as they wish in this region. One of the major tourist attractions in Estes Park is the Rocky Mountains where many activities can be enjoyed. But the area is also about kicking back and relaxing.
10. Relax at a spa
If the scenic views and fresh air are not quite enough to let you unwind, then a massage or spa treatment will help. There are many spas to choose from where you can treat yourself to a pampering romantic weekend. Local spas offer many different treatments and the lodgings in the village and along the river have qualified massage therapists in a range of techniques. The top rated place today is the affinity massage and wellness centre on Elkhorn avenue.
9. Enjoy outdoor activities
From taking a relaxing stroll to ice climbing, there is something for all types of adventurers. Horseback riding is a very popular activity and fun for all of the family. There are many ranches and stables that offer trail rides in the area. If lots of hiking is too much, there are piloted jeep tours and off-roading through ranch lands, meadows and national forest. For the more adventurous skiing or split boarding may be chosen, depending on the changing seasons and weather. Local climbing guides offer guided trips and there are rental possibilities at the local mountain shop.
8. Summer concerts at Performance park
During the months of July through September concerts are performed at Performance Park which is at the West end of Elkhorn avenue. Visitors bring chairs or settle down on the grass to enjoy the music. The concerts run every Thursday night at 7pm until 8pm and are free to attend. Artists featured are both local and national and include varying genres. From Jazz, folk and classical music check the schedule and you will find something to enjoy. The area is within easy walking distance from the downtown shops and restaurants. This is the best way to get there are parking can get crowded.
7. Moraine Park museum and visitor centre
An interactive natural history museum with themes on geological processes, weather and climate, glaciation, eco-systems and human impact. The exhibits explain the past and present landscape. There is a half a mile nature trail to enjoy here and a bookstore containing lots of information about the area. An amphitheatre with seating interspersed with trees is found around 100 feet away from here. During the summer there is a free shuttle bus from the Glacier basin/Bear lake park and ride. The centre is closed during the winter months.
6. Park theatre
The historic Park theatre was constructed in 1913 and is the oldest motion picture theatre in the United States. The cinema is housed in an 80-foot-tall building with a neon outlined tower. There is one auditorium today which has 224 seats, all providing a great viewing experience. A great way to fill the time on a rainy day. The theatre is located at 130 Moraine Avenue and ticket prices cost $9 for adults, $7.50 for seniors and $6 for children under 12. 3D showings cost and extra $3 per ticket.
5. Macgregor ranch museum
Macgregor ranch offers a look back in time to the past for its visitors. This cool ranch shows the early life of settlers and homesteaders of the Colorado Territory. The main ranch house is now the museum and tours include the original furnishings, memorabilia and history of the Macgregor family. The Macgregor ranch is open to the public from the end of May until the end of August and the museum is open Tues to Sat 10am to 4pm during June, July and August. Admission is $5 for adults and free for children.
4. Estes Park aerial tramway
The aerial tramway takes passengers from the starting point in Estes valley to the summit of Prospect Mountain. After the journey soaring above the tree-tops visitors can take in the panoramic view from the observation platform which overlooks Longs Peak, Continental Divide, The Rocky Mountains and the Village. A gift shop and a coffee house are also located at the summit where you can shop, grab a bite to eat and enjoy the views. There are picnic areas and easy hiking making it a fun place for families with kids. Round trips cost $12for adults and $8 for children ages 6-11. The tramway operates daily 9am to 6pm from May to September.
3. The Stanley hotel
The spooky hotel is famous for its architecture, history and beautiful views in every direction. However, it is best known for its role in the acclaimed Steven King novel ‘The Shining’. The Stanley Tour office offers many tours and special events. Tours include the Stanley tour which focuses on the hotels history, and the Night Ghost tour which takes visitors through the most haunted spaces throughout the hotel. Prices range from $23 to $60 depending on the one chosen. Online and telephone bookings can be made in advance to secure your place.
2. Bear Lake
One of the most beautiful places to visit in Estes Park. Bear lake loop is a scenic trail suitable for all abilities and the round trip is less than a one-mile loop. The trail is recommended to be followed in a counter-clockwise direction. Starting at Bear Lake ranger station the trail passes through the forest trees including aspen, pine, fir and spruce. The best time to start the trail is early-morning when the mountains can be seen reflected in the water. Great exercise and a popular place for the whole family.
1. Peak to peak scenic byway
A designated scenic byway, the drive starts at CO highway 7 passing Lily mountain and the Twin Sisters, down Allenspark on CO highway 72 and 119, then through Blackhawk and Clear Creek Canyon. The Autumn months are the best time to take the drive as the trees along the route turn delightful shades of orange and yellow. Along the road were many gold mines and today some are open to the public to pan for gold in the creek, especially fun for kids. It takes 3 hours for a leisurely drive from one peak to the other.
The weather is changeable and it is advised to bring clothing for a variety of climates just in case, especially as outdoor activities are the most popular things to do in Estes Park. The best time to visit is in the summer months when most of the attractions are open to visitors. Whether it is a break with friends or family it can be enjoyed by all.