8 Epic Things to do in Estes Park

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

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Feast your eyes on your own panorama of Estes Park!
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Climbing to new heights at Prospect Mountain

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
Cost: $20/hr

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Going with the flow on Lake Estes
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Alright, but this mountain view though…

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)

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So ominous whenever there is a storm brewing!

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)
Cost: $200

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Trailing to the top of Storm Mountain
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Where the mountains and the cool, crisp air make you feel alive

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

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Anyone else get excited about craft beer?
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Entrance to the Wapiti

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A light and refreshing Estes Park local, the Honey Stinger.

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)

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So many flavors!

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)

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You can even see a movie at this historic theater!

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

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Dream Lake, you were stunning
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Views en route to Emerald Lake
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There was a rock slide recently at Emerald Lake so we were worried that it wouldn’t look the same! However we were still impressed by the beauty that was here!


With so many activities in Estes Park there is sure to be something for everyone. Which sites would make the top of your list?

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18 Comments

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  1. Looks like an amazing place! Would really like to travel here someday. I especially would like to see the Rocky Mountains and try a Colorado beer.

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  2. Looks like a beautiful place. I love the Rocky mountains. It is the Kayaking and jeep photos that really sold me on adding it to my list for next time we are in Colorado.

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  3. Wonderful adventure. I worked for Parks Canada, and we often got to see vistas like this. The North American continent has some amazing variation in landscapes. I do think some of the rentals offered are a little pricey though – on both sides of the border.

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  4. I love Colorado and even though of moving there from Las Vegas before we decided on a life as digital nomads instead. I don’t think there is any place more beautiful than Estes Park in the U.S. I have traveled all over and the air is clear and crips and always has such great natural fragrances. Now I am making myself homesick again.

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    • We love it too! There is just something about the calm water, crisp mountain air, and you’re so spot on about the fragrances of the wildflowers, waterfalls, and just all around nature! We hope to end up here someday to live for a little while. 🙂

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  5. Very cool location. I was thinking, “where the heck is Estes Park?” as I was reading the entire post. It wasn’t until nearly the end through that you mentioned it was in Colorado. Oh, that’s neat. Now I know in what part of the world it is. Then I went back and read the full post because I was now interested. Thanks for the great information 🙂

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    • Ckaway, thanks for pointing that out. It’s in our menu and pin photo but I realized we failed to mention it at the beginning. I’m glad you were able to find some ideas from us! Hope you’re able to visit there someday soon! 🙂

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  6. What a fun adventure! Renting a jeep is something I would do. We rented one in Aruba, and had a blast off-roading.

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  7. I totally just want to jump in these photos with you! Looks like a major blast!

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  8. This place looks awesome! I’d love to get stuck into some adventure with killer views like that! The hotel being inspo for The Shining is a bonus – I’d love to see it!

    Plus, your outfits were awesome!

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  9. This looks exciting! I bet you two had a lot of fun! I wanna jump to those destinations right away!

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