Been to Estes park and done short hikes, but really want to do something off the beaten path? Or you want to summit a mountain over 14,000 feet? Want a guide for Longs Peak? Check out this site it wont disappoint! Great guides that are extremely knowledgable. Took my family on a hike with them to mt. Ida and we had a picnic along the way. Amazing views and we learned a lot!
They cater to whatever you're looking for.
Located on a rise, north of town is the historic Stanley Hotel. Opened in 1909 by F.O. Stanley, the owner of the Stanley Steamers, the hotel served as the residence for many early visitors to Rocky Mountain National Park. Guest were picked up from the train station is Boulder in a Stanley Steamer.
Stephen Kings movie 'the Shining' was filmed here.
For pictures of the inside, see my Stanley Hotel travelogue.
The "chapel on the rock" is now part of a nonprofit religious retreat facility. The chapel was designed by Jacques Benedict and made out of native stone that was hulled by mule to the site. Just incredible.
No visit to Estes Park is complete without a visit to the Stanley. The hotel is now over 100 years old! It's most famous for inspiring Steven King's novel "The Shining." The hotel does not allow visitors to freely wander the hallways if you're staying, but the lobby, gift shop and bar are open to everyone. If you'd like to see more, but aren't staying, you can take a ghost tour ($15) of the hotel. The hotel is a step back in time and the view from the grounds is incredible.
Homestead Meadows are the remains of a dozen cabins from the late 19th, early 20th century. To reach the first of the homesteads requires a 3 mile hike. Just before the first homestead the trail splits, about half the homesteads are on the right trail, half on the left trail. The round trip hike is between 6 and 17 miles, depending on how many homesteads you visit.
The pretty views alone are worth the trip. Besides that many activities can be done at the town and park. Walking, skiing, rafting, biking, fishing, boating, and horseback riding for a few to name. That depends on the season and what hits your hot button.
I was happy I booked a hot river rock massage at Riverspointe Spa. It was conveniently downtown, near where I had lunch. Great service, atmosphere, best massage I've ever had (by far.)
Lots of happy couples getting couple's massages too :)
I have found a TRUE day spa in town, Riverspointe Spa. From the moment I opened the door I was feeling and being cared for. I sat down and changed into spa sandals and inhaled the wonderful smells around me. I was guided to my locker room and found a very plush robe and towel in a beautiful locker and bathroom area. I did not know exactally what I wanted to have for a massage experience as all sounded like something I would like. I did finally settle on a Thai yoga massage with Kathy, and I must say it was a very relaxing and balancing experience. I will be back to try other services. This place rocks and I have found my new treat!
The Estes Park Aerial Tramway takes visitors to the summit of Prospect Mountain, overlooking the town and offering the best views of the Rockies. At the top is a small gift shop. From here, one can hike to the summit, but there are too many trees to see very much.
It's a favorite place for people to feed tidbits to the small chipmunks and ground squirrels. This is one place where it's OK; they're at least semi-tame. It's not like the National Parks. Of course, I was too cheap to buy any food for them, but still managed to get some good photos.
Estes Park has a very picturesque River Walk. Not quite equal to the one in San Antonio, but it's perfect for a pleasant little stroll before or after dinner. And in the evening, you may get to see a few elk. Just keep your distance.
If you want to learn about Estes Park, then be sure to visit this small, modest museum. It's not very big, but it has a lot of information about the town. Learn about Joel Estes, who founded the town. Explore the world of the first inhabitants, the Ute and Arapaho tribes. See a Stanley Steamer, the car invented by F.O. Stanley, who also built the famous Stanley Hotel. See how the town developed. It's well worth an hour's visit.
Go to ZootScoot Scooter Rental, and rent an italian retro style scooter then head for Rocky Mountain National Park. Absolutely the best way to cruise around the park. The scooters are very quiet, and get 100mpg. The cost of gas is included in the rental. Oh! No clutch! Good Times.
Take your friend, spouse, or just unknown person and walk around Lake Estes. It is very clean, very beautiful and refreshing. Some people bring there stuff for fishing.
There are nice trail around the lake that also leads to the downtown towards shops and restaurants.
LONGS PEAK SCOTTISH/IRISH HIGHLAND FESTIVAL
Don't be fooled by the Longs Peak name, it is in Estes Park. This festival is the weekend after Labor Day. I highly recommend this festival. There is so much variety of stuff going on. Be aware that the weather/conditions can be hot, wet, cold, snowy, muddy, cloudy that weekend there. I think I've experienced it all. There is real jousting, dancing, music, clans, vendors, food, athletic compitition, reenactors, etc.
Famous from Stephin Kings novel "the shining" This beautiful hotel has great views and they have regular tours here on the history of the hotel,estes park, and Ghostly Encounters at the Stanley. We never took the tour, but the hotel is an impressive architecture feature of the town.