Trip Guide to Estes Park, Colorado | Midwest Living

Trip Guide to Estes Park, Colorado

More than 3 million people visit Rocky Mountain National Park each year. In north-central Colorado, Estes Park provides a popular base for exploration.


Estes Park Aerial Tramway See the valley and surrounding mountains from the summit of Prospect Mountain.

Estes Park Mountain Shop Sign up for lessons in fly-fishing or rock climbing, or rent any gear you forgot.

Footpaths of the World Outfitters will plan guided or self-guided hikes and snowshoeing trips.

Green Jeep Tours Be prepared to get dusty off-roading while learning about the area and its wildlife.

Riverwalk A 1-mile trail runs along the banks of the Big Thompson River behind downtown shops, galleries and restaurants.

Rocky Mountain National Park The 250,000-plus acres of deep forests and majestic terrain call you to get out and hike, camp and view wildlife. Drive the Trail Ridge Road to the Alpine Visitor Center; its perch at nearly 12,000 feet above sea level ensures jaw-dropping views.

Estes Park

Estes Park. Photo courtesy of Visit Estes Park.

Snowy Peaks Winery and Tasting Room Sample wines from Colorado grapes and nibble on gourmet snacks.


Casa Grande Affordable Mexican food such as carne asada and tacos al carbon is all the better with Big Thompson River views.

Notchtop Bakery and Cafe Breakfast or lunch diners love the French Toast Sandwich, stuffed with scrambled eggs, ham and cheddar cheese.

Poppy’s Pizza and Grill A wheat beer from Estes Park Brewery goes well with pizza on homemade crust covered in your choice of five sauces and 40 toppings.

Smokin’ Dave’s BBQ and Taphouse It can be a bit of a wait for a table at this popular spot for slow-smoked ribs, Southern-style catfish and 15 beers on tap.


Estes Park Condos Along the Fall River minutes from town, this complex of one- to four-bedroom condos is peaceful and comfortable. Rates include seasonal gear like fishing poles and tackle. ​

Silver Moon Inn Remodeled rooms on the banks of the Fall River offer easy access to both downtown Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park. Make a s’more around the fire pit at night.

Stanley Hotel It’s only fitting that the 1909 lodging feels a tad spooky; the hotel inspired Stephen King’s The Shining. For tales of ghosts and history, take a 90-minute day or evening tour. Overnight guests can request Suite 217, where King dreamed up The Shining, or one of four other rooms that the hotel says have “high paranormal activity.” ​

Stanley Hotel

Stanley Hotel. Photo courtesy of Visit Estes Park.

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