Situated on the verge of Rocky Mountain National Park and Roosevelt National Forest and crisscrossed by waterways such as the Big Thompson River and Fall River, the mountain town of Estes Park has no shortage of stunning views. From standing along the shores of Lake Estes to relishing in the jaw-dropping vistas that are the reward of conquering a challenging trail, there’s a breathtaking view at nearly every turn in Estes Park. Whether you’re seeking a scenic picnic spot or the best place to capture the perfect photo, be sure to visit these top 5 Estes Park sightseeing spots for a gorgeous view in Estes Park!
To get a bird’s eye view of Estes Park and the surrounding area, head to the top of Prospect Mountain. Conveniently accessed from Estes Park’s downtown, the peak of Prospect Mountain can be reached by taking the historic Estes Park Aerial Tramway to the top. These eye-catching red cable cars are an Estes Park mainstay and have been transporting people to the peak of Prospect Mountain for nearly 70 years, where scenic views await. Relax and soak in the views as the car whisks you smoothly to the top in under five minutes. From the viewing point, look out over the charming area of Estes Park and the majestic mountain ranges that surround. Take time to browse the gift shop and enjoy a light snack before again boarding the tramway for the scenic descent.
Estes Park Memorial Observatory
Take advantage of the clear Colorado skies by planning a visit to the Estes Park Memorial Observatory during your stay, one of the more popular things to see in Estes Park. The Observatory is home to a 16-foot dome which houses top-of-the-line telescopes and other equipment for viewing the night sky. Viewing sessions are paired with informative talks about the planets, nebula, galaxies, and their features that will be observed. A trip to the Estes Park Memorial Observatory is a great way to pair learning with nature and to gain a deeper appreciation for the dazzling night sky Colorado is so well known for!
Peak to Peak Scenic Byway
Road tripping is at its finest on the Peak to Peak Scenic Byway, which weaves its way through stunning scenery from Estes Park through Clear Creek Canyon and down to I-70. While driving this designated Colorado Scenic Byway in its entirety takes around 3 hours (one direction), it’s also possibly to simply drive a portion of the route and turn around when you’ve had your fill. Relish in the comfort of your vehicle as jaw-dropping scenery unfolds before you or opt to partake in a few short hikes and viewpoints along the way. As the oldest scenic byway in the state, you’ll also pass by side routes to ghost towns and opportunities to mine for gold, turning it into a full day of exploring. High country lakes, herds of elk, and beautiful forest and mountain scenery make this an unforgettable route filled with gorgeous Colorado views.
Estes Park’s 185-acre Lake Estes is a beautiful oasis among the surrounding mountains. This reservoir situated just east of downtown is a popular Estes Park sightseeing spot for a waterside picnic, a leisurely stroll, or water activities when the season permits. The lake is encircled by a 4-mile paved path great for walking, jogging, or biking with a view. When the weather is clear and the water is calm, the surrounding mountains create a picture-perfect reflection in the water, making a great photo op. When warm-weather days descend on Estes Park, experience the beauty of the lake from aboard a stand up paddle board, kayak, canoe, or pontoon boat easily rented from the Lake Estes Marina. Luxury cabins are also located along the north shore of the lake, providing an excellent option for Estes Park accommodations with a view.
Lily Mountain Trail
This trail situated outside Rocky Mountain National Park’s bounds is a great option for experiencing the area’s beautiful terrain without actually entering the confines of the park. Situated outside the park’s eastern border, this trail actually makes its way through Roosevelt National Forest, over rocks and boulders and through a picturesque evergreen forest, making it one of the best things to see in Estes Park. You’ll scramble and push your way up 1180 feet of elevation gain over the 2-mile ascent to the top, where panoramic vistas serve as your reward. Plan to spend plenty of time soaking in 360 views of Rocky Mountain National Park and the surrounding areas, including top sights such as Mount Meeker, Longs Peak, the mountains along the Continental Divide and in the Mummy Range, Estes Cone, and Twin Sisters Peak, among others. Bring along some snacks to refuel before making the two-mile return trip back to the start.
Bring along your camera and prepare to be wowed when you visit these top 5 spots for a gorgeous view in Estes Park! Contact us to learn more today!