Estes Park Colorado is best-known for being the main gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park. This designation alone makes it a popular place to visit, with recreational pursuits being what most visitors have in mind. Complementing the recreational opportunities in Estes Park CO are a few in-town attractions that warrant a look, and visitors shouldn't want for dining or lodging options. This is a vacation destination that is very complete, and it only gets better when you consider the proximity that it offers to some of Colorado's larger cities.
Estes Park Colorado sits on the front range of the Rocky Mountains and is just 70 miles northwest of Denver. Also close by are Boulder and Fort Collins. In fact, Estes Park is just 34 miles northwest of Boulder, and 42 miles is all that separates the town from Fort Collins. This makes it easy to include all four destinations on a multi-stop tour through the region. Of course, you could also opt to spend all of your vacation time in Estes Park. There are certainly enough things to do, especially when you consider that one of the country's greatest national parks is right at the town's doorstep.
Rocky Mountain National Park is a spectacular place to visit. Majestic mountains dominate the scene, and the area is also rich in pine trees and alpine lakes. Some of the best Colorado hiking can be enjoyed within Rocky Mountain National Park's boundaries, and this is just the start when it comes to the activity options. Rock climbing is also popular, as are activities such as horseback riding, fishing, and camping. Lakes and streams alike provide the fishing options, and several designated campgrounds team up with a number of backcountry sites on the camping front. Among the designated campgrounds is the Moraine Park Campground. Often times, deer and/or elk pass through this campground, so you might keep your camera handy at all times.
In Estes Park, it is possible to arrange Rocky Mountain National Park tours. It is also possible to rent a bike, some cross-country skis, or other equipment that you might need in order fullfill your recreational ambitions. If you just want to venture into the park for some sightseeing, Estes Park makes a fine place to begin a scenic driving tour. The famed Trail Ridge Road stretches from Estes Park to Grand Lake, and this stretch of Highway 34 is especially popular with sightseeing motorists. You might be interested to know that the highest portion of Trail Ridge Road tops out at an impressive 12,183 feet above sea level.
Estes Park sits at an elevation of 7,522 feet above sea level. Founded in the 1850s, it has always been a resort town. The king of the Estes Park hotels, the landmark Stanley Hotel, was erected in 1909 and helped to inspire Stephen King's novel The Shining many years later. Also worth highlighting is the fact that the Stanley Hotel was built by F.O. Stanley, who was also responsible for inventing the Stanley Steamer. A heated outdoor spa, a tennis court, and a spa figure among the facilities at the Stanley Hotel, and the 140 guest units come in a variety of shapes and sizes. The hotel's address is 333 Wonder View Avenue, and it is worth a visit even if you aren't planning on staying overnight.
Other in-town attractions that Estes Park visitors might want to make some time for are the Estes Park Museum and the Estes Park Aerial Tramway. The museum is found at 200 Fourth Street and provides terrific insight into Estes Park's early days. Admission is free, and visitors are welcome to pick up some info about downtown Estes Park walking tours. As for the Estes Park Aerial Tramway, it ascends 1,100 feet in a mere five minutes. The trip takes tram passengers up Prospect Mountain, and as you might imagine, the views are spectacular. 420 E. Riverside Drive is where you can find the lower terminal for the tramway.
The Estes Park hotels offer something for a variety of tastes and preferences. There's the historic Stanley Hotel, and for those who like luxurious lodges, it is hard to top the Taharaa Mountain Lodge at 3110 S. Saint Vrain Avenue. On the other hand, travelers who have value in mind might see if any rooms are available at the clean and comfortable Haber Motel. This well-priced and highly-regarded lodging establishment can be found at 397 E. Elkhorn Avenue.