Get away to the Colorado mountain town of Estes Park, where surrounding wilderness beckons for adventure and the town offers a charming place to embrace a slower pace of life. From outdoor locales with some of the best views in Estes Park to the shops and restaurants of downtown, there are many ways to spend your days enjoying this Colorado mountain town. Be sure to add these top 5 Estes Park tourist attractions and hot spots to the itinerary to get the most out of your stay!
Peak to Peak Scenic Byway
Soak up some of the area’s most beautiful scenery from the comfort of your vehicle when you road trip on the Peak to Peak Scenic Byway. This route runs from Estes Park through Black Hawk to I-70, taking approximately three hours to drive one-way. Stop to pan for gold at the sites of old gold mines, take in sights such as Lily Mountain and Twin Sisters, or venture off on side roads to explore ghost towns and alpine lakes. Whether you drive the route in its entirety or simply drive until you’ve had your fill of epic views before turning around, Colorado’s oldest scenic byway is well worth the time.
Both the Big Thompson River and Fall River make their way through downtown Estes Park, making the rushing water part of the soundtrack of the town. A walkway known as the Riverwalk meanders alongside the river, a key part of Estes Park tourism, creating a peaceful place to go for a stroll. Shops, restaurants, and bars are located along the Riverwalk, making this both a lively and beautiful place to explore downtown. The confluence of the rivers occurs along the Riverwalk at George Hix Riverside Plaza. Snag a bench and enjoy this quaint downtown park, surrounded by picturesque bridges and fountains.
Estes Park Aerial Tramway
While there are many hikes in the area that afford breathtaking views, few routes require as relaxing of an ascent as the Estes Park Aerial Tramway. Take in sights of Estes Park from a bird’s eye view from the peak of these quintessential red cable cars. These picturesque cars have been whisking people to the summit of Mount Prospect for nearly 70 years. Still owned and operated by the family of the original designer and builder, this operation is a mainstay in Estes Park. The free span creates a smooth ride from bottom to top, as you slowly rise above the beautiful Estes Park scenery. At the mountain’s peak, take in panoramic views of Estes Park and the surrounding mountains. Browse the gift shop at the top and linger over a light snack before retreating back to the mountain’s base.
Rocky Mountain National Park
Known as the Gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park, Estes Park sits on the verge of hundreds of miles of hiking trails, scenic viewpoints, and untouched wilderness. As one of the most-loved National Parks in the country, many use Estes Park as their launching point for adventures into the park. Rocky Mountain National Park is home to subalpine and alpine terrain, an abundance of wildflowers, and a variety of wildlife. And each season in the park brings a completely different experience, from snowshoeing beneath snow-laced branches in the winter, to walking beneath golden leaves in the fall, to cresting a challenging peak in the summer. Some of the iconic mammals that can be spotted within the park’s bounds include black bears, bighorn sheep, elk, moose, mule deer, pika, and marmot, among others. The Bear Lake Loop and Sprague Lake Loop are family-friendly trails that provide excellent scenery and a gentle introduction to some of the additional trails that lie within the rest of this vast park.
Estes Park Tourism in Downtown Estes Park
Don’t make the mistake of simply bypassing Estes Park’s downtown on your way to Rocky Mountain National Park. This charming mountain town has much to offer for those who are willing to browse its storied streets! Browse a variety of shops that range from art galleries to boutiques to old fashioned candy and ice cream shops. When it comes to refueling, Estes Park is known for their unique game meats. Replace the traditional hamburger with elk or yak, and wash it all down with a cold, locally brewed beer from one of the breweries located in town. Many are surprised to find they don’t need to venture further than downtown Estes Park to spot an abundance of wildlife. Especially during early morning and early evening hours, mule deer and elk can often be seen congregating in open spaces around town! Stay awhile in Estes Park, which is also home to a great assortment of Estes Park vacation rentals, perfect for enjoying a few days in the mountains.
Enjoy all this Colorado town has to offer and be sure to hit these top 5 Estes Park tourist attractions and hot spots in Estes Park on your mountain getaway! Contact us to learn more!