Eastern Basecamp for Rocky Mountain National Park
Perched at 7,200 feet and 90 miles away from Denver, Estes Park is a fantastic basecamp for exploring Rocky Mountain National Park’s eastern side. Take a stroll down its lively downtown lined with coffee shops, restaurants and shops. Or sit on a bench along the Riverwalk, which spans the downtown area from the Estes Park Visitor Center to Performance Park on the west end of Elkhorn Avenue.
Estes Park also has a full, year-round calendar of exciting festivals and events, from an award-winning rodeo to an iconic Celtic festival and live outdoor concerts to elaborate holiday celebrations.
Top 4 Things to Do in Estes Park
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1. Visit the Haunted Stanley Hotel
The Stanley Hotel, a white palatial hotel opened in 1909 and was built by inventor F. O. Stanley who produced steam cars. Author Stephen King’s overnight stay here inspired his best-selling book The Shining. Take a ghost tour, then in the evening, have a drink at the Whiskey Bar, which has Colorado’s largest selection of whiskey. You may even spot the ghost of Stanley checking in on his establishment.
2. Go Family-Style at the YMCA
Set in a forested compound overlooking Estes Park, the YMCA of the Rockies is a family-oriented camp with rustic wooden lodges and dining halls straight out of a national park postcard. The camp offers numerous activities, including crafts, mini golf, horseback riding, and ziplining.
3. Ride a Horse
There’s nothing more quintessentially Western than jumping in the saddle for a ride. Several outfitters run guided trips into the park and the surrounding Roosevelt National Forest.
4. Find Your True Nature at Dao House
For a peaceful mountain retreat, head to Dao House, which offers lodge rooms, standalone suites and wellness programs in a beautiful forest setting. Dao House offers holistic treatments like massage and herbal aromatherapy, as well as classic western ranch activities like rides on a horse-drawn carriage, wagon or sleigh, one of which brings you to an outdoor campsite for a cowboy dinner.
Is the altitude giving you a headache? Head to the Oxygen Lodge where you can pay to breathe in 90 percent pure oxygen infused with energizing aromatherapy blends. Choose between a 30-minute or 45-minute treatment.
For more information:
Estes Park Visitor Center
500 Big Thompson Avenue, Estes Park, CO 80517