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OK, I admit it, I'm not the fittest hiker to set my sneakered foot upon a trail in Rocky Mountain National Park. Nevertheless, I've found a wide variety of trails that are well worth getting out of the car and walking for a short time to see some the spectacular beauty that this mountain park has to offer. It won't kill you, no matter how much fudge you ate in Estes Park!
The most bang for the buck (i.e., scenery vs. difficulty) is the trail around Sprague Lake, off Bear Lake Road. The trail is completely level and well maintained, about a mile around the lake. The lake is home to many ducks and other birds; you can even see the trout in the clear water streams that feed into the lake! As you get further around, look behind you at the magnificent vista of Hallett Peak - the reflection of the peak on the water gives some of the best photo opportunities in the park. The golden aspen color in the fall makes the scene even more beautiful.
Another trail that take more effort, but is not impossible for the fitness-challenged, is a hike to The Loch, with a nice rest stop at Alberta Falls. The trail starts at the Glacier Gorge Trailhead and is very popular with hikers. It is a moderate uphill climb for some of the trip, but the reward at the end of the 2.7 mile trails is a spectacular view of a mountain lake and snowcapped peaks around it.
The Bear Lake area has a variety of trails of varying length and difficulty. Some of the popular destinations are Bear Lake (0.5 mile), Nymph Lake (0.5 miles), Dream Lake (1.1 miles) and Emerald Lake (1.8 miles). Our family hiked to Dream Lake in June and it was still covered in snow, which made it even more incredible to see.
If you're coming from the "flatlands" to visit the Park, be sure to take it easy upon arrival to allow yourself time to acclimate to the altitude. Drink lots of water and rest if you get a headache. Take one of these easy hikes at first, but, by all means, get out of the car and really enjoy the beauty of one the best national parks in the world!
Updated Apr 14, 2006
Address: Rocky Mountain National Park
I am not a beer drinker, but my husband is. I am not often enthusiastic about visiting breweries, but my husband is. This is why I was dragged to Estes Park Brewery, only to surprisingly have a great time!
The brewery offers free tasting of their beers if you are over 21. I believe we tasted about 7 or 8 beers all together. They included Long's Peak Raspberry Wheat, Stinger Wild Honey Wheat, Estes Park Gold, Trail Ridge Red, Estes Park Porter, Samson Stout, and their IPA. The bartender told us that their Hefeweizen was available in the beer garden bar. We gave him $1 each for a tip and went up to the beer garden for our favorites. I really enjoyed the Raspberry Wheat and my husband wanted to try to Hefeweizen. We had a couple small glasses of each.
The brewery also offers tours of their facilities during the daytime and the inside of the brewery is visable from the stairs up to the beer garden.
There is a full-menu restaurant and a full-bar in the beer garden area. Also, in warmer months, you can sit outside on a large patio that has a spectacular view of the mountains.
Written Oct 21, 2004
Address: 460 Prospect Drive
Phone: (970) 586-5421
From Estes Park, its just a short drive to The Rocky Mountains. In fact the town sits at the entrance to the Park. I cant remember what the entrance fee was but if you save your receipt it is good all week long. We actually went through the Rocky Mountains on Trail Ridge Road to get to the other side and go to Steamboat Springs. The drive was nice. the landscape was beautiful and if youre lucky you might get to see elk, deer, or other wildlife.
Check out my Rocky Mountains travelogues for more pictures on this beautiful place.
Updated Dec 19, 2005
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.
Written Jun 6, 2007
Address: 1360 Big Thompson Ave.
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.
Written Mar 16, 2010
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.
Updated Sep 28, 2008
Address: 420 East Riverside Drive Estes Park, CO 80517
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.
Written Sep 28, 2008
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.
Written Oct 9, 2006
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.
Updated Mar 16, 2010
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 :)
Written Feb 10, 2009
Address: 121 Wiest Drive
6 Reviews and 584 Opinions I have stayed at the Stanley Hotel. I thought it would be a romantic place to celebrate are 10th...
4 Reviews and 191 Opinions Didn't Stay here. Was snowed out no Refund. Credit Card was charged as soon as reservations were...
1 Review and 24 Opinions This was a place that gives a person the most Bang for the Buck! They were also the only Inn in...