1. Take a ride on the Estes Park Aerial Tramway
We won’t lie, we’re a sucker for tourist traps. Sometimes they are that way for a reason right? Although the tram ride itself is underwhelming the views from the top are breathtaking!
Travel Tip: There are less crowds in the early morning or late afternoon. We went right at 9am when it opened and there was still a line. However when we left the line was 5x as long!
Address: 420 E Riverside Dr, Estes Park
Hours: Sunday-Saturday, 9am-6pm
Cost: $12/pp round trip
2. Take a kayak out and relax on Lake Estes
Driving by Lake Estes you’ll laugh like we did because the lake itself might be the smallest one we’ve ever seen! However, this actually made the experience so much better because there aren’t any big boats disrupting the waters. We were able to get to the far side of the lake within 45 minutes and really enjoyed the mountain views.
Hours: Sunday-Saturday, 9am-5pm
3. Visit the Stanley Hotel… if you dare
This haunted hotel is best known for it’s inspirational role in Stephen King’s novel, turned film, The Shining. It has been featured as one of America’s most haunted hotels and continues to still operate since it’s doors opened in 1909. You can’t help but hear Jack Nicholson eerily saying “heeeeeerrrrreeee’s Johnny!” when walking up to the Stanley. Visit just to see or stay the night if you’re really brave! If you’re a fan then you might also like these fun facts.
Travel Tip: You can visit the hotel itself for free but the Stanley also offers special tours.
Hours: Multiple tour times starting at 10am most days
Cost: $20-25/adult $17/children (save $5 with AAA)
4. Rent a Jeep and go trailing
If you’re into exploring new places, thrilling adventures, and getting off grid for awhile, a Backbone Adventures’ Jeep Rental is for you. We had a blast taking out a 2 door Jeep Wrangler and exploring some of the off-roading trails near Estes Park. Our favorite being Storm Mountain.
Travel Tip: Backbone Adventures also offers ATV, Harley Davidson Motorcycle, Dirt Bike, UTV, RAZOR, and Snowmobile rentals.
Hours: Sunday-Saturday, 9am-5pm (also the length of time you are able to use your Jeep)
5. Grab some grub at The Wapiti Pub
The Wapiti Pub prides themselves on how they “embody everything that is Colorado” and boy do they ring true to that tagline. Not only do they have terrific dining options that support local, they also have an AMAZING Colorado craft beers and a nice sunny patio to relax on after a full day of hiking.
Hours: Sunday-Saturday, 11am-9pm Menu
6. Enjoy a sweet treat at Estes Park Taffy Company
Grab an ice cream and then get a few different taffy flavors to go! We liked the huckleberry, salted caramel, lemon, banana, Mexican chocolate, and and triple berry the best.
Address: 121 E Elkhorn Ave, Estes Park
Hours: Sunday-Saturday, 10am-6pm
Cost: $12.99/lb (about 60 taffy pieces, or you can always get less)
7. Leisurely stroll and shop at Downtown Estes Park
Support local by shopping at some of the coolest shops you’ll find while in Colorado. There is a lengthy list of 300 places to buy hand crafted goods, souvenirs, clothing, jewelry, outdoor gear, and many restaurants/pubs!
Travel Tip: Parking can definitely be tricky! We had the most luck close to the Estes Park post office.
Address: 356 E. Elkhorn Ave, Estes Park (general location)
Hours: Monday-Saturday, 10am-8pm (most stores)
8. Visit Rocky Mountain National Park
Obviously, we saved the best for last! No trip to Estes Park is complete without visiting nearby RMNP. With so much beauty around, you’re sure to want to spend a few days here, not to mention that this year the National Park Service is celebrating it’s Centennial Birthday. Be sure to find your way to Trail Ridge Road as well! How many jaw dropping national parks have you been to?
Address: 1000 US Hwy 36, Estes Park
Hours: 24hrs/365 days a year
Cost: $20/vehicle day pass or $30/vehicle 7 day pass
With so many activities in Estes Park there is sure to be something for everyone. Which sites would make the top of your list?