17+ OF THE BEST FUN THINGS TO DO IN ESTES PARK

Estes Park, Colorado is a haven for people who love the outdoors. With a massive national park, beautiful mountain peaks, an amazing lake, and plenty of outdoor activities for the whole family — Estes Park has a lot to offer its visitors.

If you find yourself is this amazing Colorado town, get ready to have some fun. Here are some of the best things to do in Estes Park.

ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK

17+ OF THE BEST FUN THINGS TO DO IN ESTES PARK

As one of the most easily recognizable attractions in the small town, you’ll find plenty of reasons to be excited about a trip to Rocky Mountain National Park.

The park has a collection of outdoor activities to do, which include wildlife sightings, legendary hikes, scenic drives, and even beautiful peaks to explore. An entrance to this massive park is located just ten minutes away from Estes Park.Here are some of our favorite activities to do at Rocky Mountain National Park.

Details: Website

DRIVE THROUGH TRAIL RIDGE ROAD

Trail Ridge Road is a long paved road on the outskirts of the national park. The trail connects the east side of the park with the west side of the Grand Lake. With a total distance of 48 miles, the road offers an experience unlike any other.

From the comfort of your car, you will be able to spot the local wildlife and witness the beautiful mountain peaks. In a matter of minutes, you will climb 4,000 feet, looking at the landscape change around you.

And regardless of the season, it is always much colder there than either the lake or the national park. Be sure to pack a coat if you plan on getting out to get a better look! It’s usually best to stay in your car while exploring the peaks.

Details: | Website

GO SNOWSHOEING OR CROSS-COUNTRY SKIING

Winters in Rocky Mountain National Park are some of the coldest in the entire state. Temperatures comfortably stay a little below or above 10°F. And with temperatures falling that low, there is plenty of snow throughout the park for a comfortable snowshoeing experience.

Strap on some snowshoes and walk on soft clouds of snow on the park’s many hiking trails to see the beautiful snowcapped mountains and spot the local wildlife. No training is necessary — if you can hike, you can snowshoe! You can even trek off the beaten path and explore other sides of the mountain. Just a short walk off the trail is a frozen lake, and just a little further is a creek bed.

Cross-country skiing is also another popular activity during the winter months. You’ll find deeper snow on the west side of the park, but you’re welcome to use your skis throughout the park. Rocky Mountain National Park is also known around the world as being home to some of the best backcountry skiing.

Details: Website

STAY THE NIGHT

Camping is another fun activity that you cannot miss out on when visiting Rocky Mountain National Park. The site features plenty of camping grounds for you to visit during the day, where you can set up and stay the night. You can either choose to be close to other campers or stray off a little farther from the campgrounds.

Of course, the type of camping equipment you bring to the park will also decide where you can set up for the night. Gaze into the stars that are impossible to see during the hustle and bustle of city life as they illuminate the night sky.

You can easily buy firewood from the campsite or bring your own. Be sure to completely put out your fire when you are sleeping or before you leave the campgrounds. The camp does not allow people to gather firewood, so be sure you are packing enough.

Details: Website

FALL RIVER VILLAGE RESORT

17+ OF THE BEST FUN THINGS TO DO IN ESTES PARK
Courtesy of: Fall River Village Resort

Fall River Village is the newest resort in Estes Park. The resort is just a five-minute walk away from downtown Estes Park and features plenty of recreational activities for you to engage in during the stay. The resort features a fun pool and a nice hot tub too!

Fall River Village features over 60 luxurious places for you to stay. They have luxury condos by the riverside with two bedrooms and a view of the river. There are also townhomes with a mountain view at the resort, which are much bigger and come with more amenities.

Details: 200 Filbey Ct, Estes Park, CO 80517 | Website

CATCH A FISH

Since all of the condos view the river, guests can even fish right off their deck! Bring your bait and fishing poles to the deck for an incredible fishing experience. Try your luck with some of the carps, bass, and breams that swim through the river just outside your back door.

Details: 1751 N Lake Ave Unit 106 & 107, Estes Park, CO 80517 | Website

BIG THOMPSON RIVER

17+ OF THE BEST FUN THINGS TO DO IN ESTES PARK

The Big Thompson also called the Big T, stretches 78 miles. Starting from the rocky mountains, it is one of the easiest rivers to follow, as it runs right beside Highway 34.

One of the most popular activities that we engage in at the Big T is riverside fishing. If you particularly enjoy fishing, you can find plenty of beautiful spots right beside Highway 34, where you can cast a line.

Downriver from forest canyon feature plenty of brown trout, cutthroat, and rainbow. You can find plenty of public access spots along the highway, as well as a sweet spot in Moraine Park.

Details: Website

RIDE A HORSE

The Big Thompson River is also home to the Big Thompson River Ranch, a historic ranch with plenty of activities for the family. One of their absolute best and most popular services is horseback riding.

They take you out on multiple trails, like the Sulzer Gulch, which has you exploring the cottonwoods. You can also explore an old wagon trail near Alexander Mountain or ride through the Green Ridge meadows.   

Details: 1895 Big Thompson Ave, Estes Park, CO 80517 | Website

GO HIKING

Since you are going to Big Thompson River anyway, why not take one of its trails to Lake Estes? This 8.0-kilometer (5 mile) walk is very friendly to people who are new to hiking, as well as people who are more used to the activity. And even though it is not as long as many would expect, it can be tiring, so you should manage your equipment accordingly.

The best part about this trail is that you can bring your furry friend with you as you make the trek. The view is also incredible, as the trail starts from the Big Thompson River and continues to Lake Estes. You will also be looping around the lake, allowing you to see the view that surrounds it.

Details: Website

CLIMB A ROCK

17+ OF THE BEST FUN THINGS TO DO IN ESTES PARK

Estes Park is easily the best place to be for outdoor activities. And at Estes Park, you can take up rock climbing with the help of a professional trainer. Estes Park Rock Climbing offers a proper gym along with professionals who have the necessary experience to help with your rock climbing skills.

But if you want to take up the real deal, then you should head out to Rocky Mountain National Park. The park features multiple granite faces and peaks to climb where you can test your rock climbing skills. (And in the winter months, ice climbing is popular here too.)

If you happen to be climbing some of these peaks, the chances of running into some of the native wildlife increase significantly. The chances that you will run into bighorn sheep, golden eagles, and black bears are high. Therefore, you should manage your expectations accordingly.  

Details: 1230 Big Thompson Ave, Estes Park, CO 80517 | Website

EXPLORE BEAVER MEADOWS VISITOR CENTER

17+ OF THE BEST FUN THINGS TO DO IN ESTES PARK

When you’re up on the Trail River Bridge, you can take a break from the trip and visit the fun Beaver Meadows Visitor Center. This is the highest visitor center you can find in the national park, at a staggering height of 11,796 feet. The visitors center features maps, restrooms, and a place for snacks so you can relax before hitting the road again.

Details: Website

ESTES PARK AERIAL TRAMWAY

17+ OF THE BEST FUN THINGS TO DO IN ESTES PARK
Courtesy of: Estes Park Aerial Tramway

The Estes Park Aerial Tramway makes for a great place to see the surrounding city in all its glory. Even though the tram ride itself can feel a little boring on your way to the top, it isn’t the highlight of your visit. The view from the top of Prospect Mountain is truly amazing.

Prospect Mountain only has an unpaved road, which makes the tramway trip one of the only ways that you can get to the top and take in the magnificent views.

At a height of over 12,000 feet, the best times to go are during the afternoon or the early morning, as they have the smallest crowds.

Details: 420 E Riverside dr., Estes Park, CO 80517 | Website

PEAK TO PEAK SCENIC BYWAY

17+ OF THE BEST FUN THINGS TO DO IN ESTES PARK

If you’re looking for a short road trip down a beautiful highway, then the Peak to Peak Scenic Byway is the way to go. Driving down this three-hour-long road with some of the most beautiful scenery outside your windows is one of the best things to do in Estes Park. The road starts at Estes Park and ends at I-70.

Throughout highways 72 and 119, there are plenty of gold mines. You can even see remnants of that life left behind in Ward, the small town that goes just past Blackhawk.

It is an especially good trip to make during the day when you can see all of the interesting landmarks scattered along the byway. Be sure to bring a camera with you, because you don’t want to miss any of the beautiful views from this road trip — it’s filled with amazing photo opportunities!

Details: 72 CO-7, Estes Park, CO 80517 | Website

STANLEY HOTEL

17+ OF THE BEST FUN THINGS TO DO IN ESTES PARK

The Stanley Hotel is possibly the most recognizable attraction in the entire city of Estes Park. It is most famous for inspiring Stephen King to write The Shining. The prolific writer got the idea for the book when he stayed at the hotel alone.

Guests of the hotel and day visitors can sign up for one of the hotel’s two guided tours — and you should! The day tour takes you through the entire hotel and its beautiful interiors, where you can see the different rooms and amenities. It also features the history of Stephen King, and is perfect for those who love history and storytelling.

But the real tour happens at night, where a tour guide takes you on a paranormal tour of the hotel. This tour will also have a few references from The Shining, and you’ll learn all about the “active” phenomena at the hotel. (Both tours are for visitors ages 8 and up.)

After your tours — you may need a drink! The hotel also features a historic bar, which carries a unique 1900s vibe.

Details: 333 Wonderview Avenue, Estes Park, CO 80517 | Website

DOWNTOWN ESTES PARK

17+ OF THE BEST FUN THINGS TO DO IN ESTES PARK

Downtown Estes Park is the place to be if you want to take a break from the outdoor activities. Just strolling down the streets that have a downtown feel to them is one of the best things to do in Estes Park. There are more than 300 shops in the entire district where you can buy plenty handmade goods.

You can also find plenty of local restaurants and shops. Some of the best shops in downtown Estes Park sell great outdoor gear, so if you find yourself unprepared for the elements when you arrive, don’t worry! They’ve got you covered.

Details: Website

LAKE ESTES

17+ OF THE BEST FUN THINGS TO DO IN ESTES PARK

Lake Estes is your one-stop shop to have a good time in Estes Park. The lake features all of the water activities you would expect from a lake. Paddle-boarding, boating, kayaking, and fishing are all on the table when you visit the lake.

And if you’re looking for any of these items, they are fairly easy to find at the Lake Estes Marina & Rentals. The Marina offers all the equipment you need to have a good time on the lake. They rent out rods and reels, canoes, paddleboats, pontoon boats, kayaks, and much more. You can even find fishing licenses and souvenirs there.

And when you are out of the water, you can play some horseshoes or even a little bit of volleyball. The staff at the Marina can provide you with all of the equipment you need for both activities.

Details: Website

ESTES PARK 18-HOLE GOLF COURSE

17+ OF THE BEST FUN THINGS TO DO IN ESTES PARK
Courtesy of: Estes Park 18-Hole Golf Course

The Estes Park 18-Hole Golf Course is the perfect place for you to wind down, relax, and play a few holes.

The golf course is well known for its beauty — it was ranked the 6th most beautiful golf course in the U.S. in the Golf Book of Lists. The grounds are close to Rocky Mountain National Park, allowing you to get a good look at the mountains’ beautiful peaks as you play.

If you don’t want to play a long game, you can also take advantage of their extensive practice facilities. The course rests on the southeast side of the small town, a perfect place for some nice open plays.  

Details: 1480 Golf Course Rd, Estes Park, CO 80517 | Website

MORE INFORMATION FOR YOUR TRIP TO COLORADO

Where to Stay in Estes Park

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