Two-Day Getaway to Estes Park, Colorado | Midwest Living

Two-Day Getaway to Estes Park, Colorado

In north-central Colorado, Estes Park provides a popular base for exploring nearby Rocky Mountain National Park.

Day 1

Rocky Mountain National Park has 265,795 acres of deep forests and majestic terrain for hiking, camping and wildlife viewing. Whether you drive the 48-mile Trail Ridge Road to the Alpine Visitor Center or hike to it, its perch at nearly 12,000 feet above sea level ensures jaw-dropping views.

Back in town, dig into homemade pizza crust covered in your choice of five sauces and 40 toppings at Poppy’s Pizza and Grill.

Sample wines made with grapes grown in Colorado at Snowy Peaks Winery and Tasting Room.

Get to Smokin’ Dave’s BBQ and Taphouse for worth-the-wait slow-smoked ribs, Southern-style catfish and 15 beers on tap.

Kitschy moose decorations, a private patio with a hot tub and full-size kitchens make for comfy stays at Estes Park Condos (from $175).

Day 2

Kind Coffee sells organic, fair-trade coffee as well as muffins and bagels.

Be prepared to get dusty off-roading while learning about the area and its celebrities on a Green Jeep Tour; the staff takes special requests for add-on lunches.

You can see the entire Estes Park valley and the surrounding mountains from the Aerial Tramway.

Photo courtesy of Estes Park Convention and Visitors Bureau

Photo courtesy of Estes Park Convention and Visitors Bureau

Dinner at Molly B calls for an elk burger or Rocky Mountain trout.

More information: (800) 443-7837;

Stay to remember

It’s only fitting that The Stanley Hotel’s tour might be a tad spooky—the place inspired Stephen King’s The Shining. After seeing Stanley Steamer, an early-20th-century car with a steam engine, parked in the lobby of the Estes Park hotel, the tales of ghosts and history begin. Brave enough to stay? Book Room 217, where King thought up The Shining.

The Stanley Hotel

 The Stanley Hotel

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