Estes Park Attractions

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Written by bike posted on Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010

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Estes Park is situated at the edge of Rocky Mountain National Park, where the Front Range meets the Colorado Rockies.

Trees of different shades blanket the Estes Park landscape in autumn. (Colorado Tourism Office)

Outdoors lovers make this a popular summer vacation destination, taking advantage of all the things to do in Estes Park. Book a room in one of the affordable Estes Park hotels and stay a while- there is a lot to see!
Hiking
Rocky Mountain National Park has over 350 miles of trails to explore. Each is different, passing by beautiful scenes full of wildflowers, waterfalls, lakes, forests, high meadows, alpine tundra, and towering mountains. Routes vary greatly, allowing for a great hiking experience no matter your age or ability level. Try strolling around a placid lake or trekking along the Continental Divide.
Roosevelt National Forest surrounds Estes Park on its north, south and east sides. Visit these less crowded trails through forests to lower elevation mountains and historic sites.
Climbing
Sprinkled throughout the 350 miles of trails at Rocky Mountain National Park you’ll come across boulder fields just waiting to be climbed. Lones Peak is also there for those of you wanting to do some alpine climbing. Plus countless other summits!
Whitewater Rafting
Choose from the Cache la Poudre or Colorado Rivers for a real Colorado rafting experience while you’re in the area. Both receive tons of snowmelt, and thus have fantastic whitewater especially early in the summer. Depending on where you enter into the rivers, you can have an adrenaline heavy experience or a relaxing float with the whole family. Guided tours are available for both kinds of trips.
Kayaking
The first phase of an Estes Park urban renewal project has already been finished that will build a kayak run for river enthusiasts. The park is just 200 yards long so far, but already has pools and eddies for paddlers to play around in. It starts at the west end of Performance Park and will eventually continue east into downtown Estes Park.
Cross-Country Skiing
The hundreds of miles of hiking trails get covered in snow each winter, in essence passing the baton to the cross-country skiers and snowshoers in the area. Sprague Lake and Bear Lake are the two most popular areas to ski in Rocky Mountain National Park. Rent skis and sign up for lessons or tours in town.
Skiing near Estes Park
Eldora Mountain Ski Resort is the closest place to downhill ski. It is a full-service resort, complete with rentals, lessons and night skiing. The resort is just an hour south of Estes Park along the Peak to Peak National Scenic Byway.
Fishing
Estes Park is at the crux of the Big Thompson and Fall Rivers. In addition to these trout-rich waters in and around town, anglers can try out Lake Estes and Mary’s Lake. One day fishing licenses are available for the lakes and rivers. Where licenses aren’t required, for example in private trout ponds, you can pay by the inch for the fish you catch. They’ll even clean your fish for you! Fishing within Rocky Mountain National Park does require a license, but offers a large variety of rivers and alpine lakes. Favorites include Fall River in Horseshoe and the Big Thompson in Moraine Park.
Scenic Drives
Trail Ridge Road takes you way up to 12,000 feet or take the Peak to Peak Highway to Central City and Eldora Ski Resort. Old Fall River Road, Bear Lake Road, Glen Haven-Drake loop and Grand Lake are other beautiful drives in the area.

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