Top 20 Things To Do In Estes Park

With incredible views and so much to do, Estes Park is the perfect vacation destination. Here are our top 22 things to do in Estes Park. It’s not everything but this list should give you a good idea on what you could experience in Colorado!

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1. Estes Park Horseback Riding

Estes Park on Horseback

One cannot vacation in Colorado without experiencing its majesty on horseback! Whether you want to ride for one hour, eight hours or overnight, there is an Estes Park Horseback riding option for you!

Vacation packages in Colorado include a diverse range of equine adventures. You can make your way to a remote lake or stream for some fishing, experience a breakfast or steak dinner on your trek, or travel back in time to an old homestead–saddle up!

All ages and experience levels are welcome. Outfitters know their stock well and will pair you with the perfect horse for you. You can choose from pony rides for youngsters, horseback riding on established trails through scenic private land, or rides through the forest and into the mountains.

If you are feeling brave, there are even horses to take you to Rocky Mountain National Park. In the wild areas of Colorado, you never know what you will see. Keep your eyes peeled for coyote, deer, elk and, of course incredible land formations and picturesque scenery that’s so sought after by all on Colorado vacations.

2. Zipline Estes Park

(nearby)

For the adventurous at heart, zip-lining through the Rocky Mountains could be an exciting addition to your Colorado summer vacation! View the mountains from a brand new perspective as you soar through the mountain meadows and take in Estes Park’s picturesque Rock Mountain views. You will certainly get your heart pumping with up to 40 mph speeds at 80 feet off the ground, many reaching nearly 1,600 feet in length!

Vacation packages in Colorado are perfect for the entire family, too. Zipline tours are available near Estes Park and led by experts. They offer shorter, slower and lower rides to accommodate younger or less experienced groups while maintaining the same amazing mountain views.

With a wide variety of speeds ranging from 18 to 40 mph, this popular Colorado adventure is perfect for families of all ages. Many Colorado vacation packages are all inclusive, but either way, you’ll want to be sure this thrilling experience is on your list!

3. Lily Mountain Trail

For most adventurers, hiking in Colorado is a must. If you are looking for a family or pet friendly hike that is relatively short (around 3.8 miles, round trip) Lily Mountain Trail is an ideal choice. It offers panoramic views of Rocky Mountain National Park, Twin Sisters Peak and Longs Peak, from the summit and has no shortage of stunning forest throughout.

The hike begins at the Lily Mountain Trailhead, about 6 miles south of Estes Park. (You may want to arrive early as parking is limited.)

With occasional rock outcroppings, the first mile of your journey will take you through pine forest and provide stunning views of the valley. Next, the trail steepens as it climbs the north side of Lily Mountain. The following portion of the trail is well defined and easy to follow, but the last .25 miles is not as well marked.

To help guide you to the summit, previous adventurers have placed small claims to help you to the summit. As with lots of hiking in Colorado, this portion requires some scrambling, but all of your effort will be well worth it when you reach the awe-inspiring views.

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4. White Water Rafting Estes Park

(nearby)

Poudre River (whitewater rafting) outside of Fort Collins

For thrilling Colorado river adventures, look no further than Estes Park! Plunge into the Colorado or Poudre River to splash, drop, and bump your way through a memorable afternoon. Rafting the Colorado River is for beginners and seasoned white water rafters, alike.

Full disclosure, there are no white water rafting adventures directly in Estes Park, but If you are looking for a fun family Colorado experience, there are beginner classes near Estes Park that allow children to enjoy a fun ride, and they’re guaranteed to get the whole group soaking wet!

Advanced rafters may opt for Colorado white water rafting, for an action packed, thrilling, heart pounding Colorado adventure! Between all of the excitement, there will be plenty of time to take in the wildlife. Keep a lookout for eagles, deer, bighorn sheep, and coyotes!

5. Downtown Estes Park

From shopping, to outdoor activities and exceptional dining, downtown Estes Park delivers, year round. With the rise and fall of peaks as a backdrop, phenomenal views abound in every direction.

Inside the village you can stop for ice cream, sink a line in Fall River, or mosey down the Riverwalk. During the summer months you will want to stop by one of many patios to enjoy a glass of wine or fine dining with a one-of-a-kind view.

Stop by the shops for a gift or momento. Chain stores won’t be found in downtown Estes Park. All of the businesses are independently owned, which makes for a unique and memorable shopping experience.

6. Estes Park Lodging

We realize this isn’t actual something to do in Estes Park, but while you’re here, you’re going to need a place to stay. Estes Park Lodging options include luxury Estes Park hotels, condos, vacation homes, historical hotels and rustic Colorado cabins in the mountains. And many lodging options are attractions themselves!

With more than 150 Estes Park Lodging choices, whether it’s a romantic getaway, a family vacation, or a Colorado mountain adventure you are after, there are prices and styles to turn your Colorado vacation dreams into a reality.

7. Rocky Mountain National Park

Rocky Mountain National Park Dream Lake Fog

The amazing mountains of Rocky Mountain National Park surround the Estes Park and provide awe-inspiring scenery, diverse wildlife, and new Colorado adventure for all ages. This is truly a special place!

When snow from the taller peaks melts, water runs east to the Atlantic Ocean or West to the Pacific as these amazing mountains make up the Continental Divide. As always in Estes Park, the wildlife in and around this breathtaking mountain town will not disappoint!

Whether it’s a chipmunk or an elk, you are sure to spot some of the many animals that make the park come alive. The Estes Park vistas are accessible by car, horseback, or by foot. Whichever way you arrive, you will surely want to stay for the majesty and inspiration of these magnificent mountains.

8. Open Air Adventure Park

Open Air Adventure Park allows you to make your very own adventure in a unique outdoor experience in Estes Park! Choose from 32 different challenges ranging in ability level from easy to difficult. Obstacles include crossing moving platforms, crossing rope bridges, swinging above ground, and tightrope walking.

Trained staff members are always nearby as you are flying high, and safety gear is always used to ensure your safety. And as one of the most affordable attractions in Estes Park, Open Air Adventure Park should be at the top of your Colorado vacation checklist!

9. Estes Park Aerial Tramway

Estes Park Aerial Tramway

If you aren’t in the mood to hike, but would love a wonderful view of Estes Park, visit the Estes Park Aerial Tramway! The tram will take you above the treetops to the summit of Prospect Mountain. Plan to stay all day, return whenever you wish, or make no plans at all.

You can spend your day hiking on family friendly trails, observing panoramic views of the mountains, visit the coffee shop, the gift shop, or even get hitched! The Estes Park Aerial Tramway is open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. during the summer months.

10. Estes Park Riverwalk

Winding through downtown Estes Park, the Big Thompson and Fall Rivers offer a soothing choir of babbling brooks and delightful sights and sounds. Taking a stroll down the Estes Park Riverwalk is a fantastic way to spend an afternoon. Offering restaurants, bars, shops and activities, it is a great way to experience the essence of Estes Park.

Filled with a playground, benches, dining, sculpture, and intimate spots, it’s no wonder that several vacation packages in Colorado include the Estes Park Riverwalk.

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11. Estes Park ATV Rentals

For the adventurous in spirit, Estes Park ATV Rentals offers unguided tours through the beautiful back-country of the Rocky Mountains. Whether you rent an ATV, UTV, a dirt bike, a Jeep, or even a GoPro, everything will be ready and waiting for you at the trailhead to provide a worry-free, hassle-free Colorado adventure.

Our experienced guides will put together an Estes Park ATV Rental package based on your skill level and provide safety equipment so you can focus on the trail! Enjoy the scenery, enjoy the adventure, enjoy your ride!

12. Red Rose Rock Shop & Dicks Rock Museum

Red Rose Rock Shop offers a wide variety of fossils, minerals, gifts, jewelry, decor and rocks in their Estes Park store location. Stop by the historical landmark connected to the Rock Shop called Dicks Rock Museum, and find a wide variety of geological wonders.  This compelling display captivates the hearts and minds of aspiring geologists of all ages and its completely free to the public.  After a long morning of spelunking through Dicks Rock Museum, grab a bite to eat for lunch at the quaint coffee shop called Coffee on the Rocks located next to the Red Rose Rock Shop.

13. Snowy Peaks Winery

When you vacation Colorado, be sure to take some time to relax and visit the Snowy Peaks Winery and Tasting Room. Enjoy the view of the Colorado Rocky Mountains as you sample locally made, award-winning wines and gourmet cheese, chocolates and jams. Or let the friendly Snowy Peaks Winery staff pack some up for your trip to nearby Rocky Mountain National Park.

Kids are welcome and will enjoy a juice tasting as well as having some fun in their playroom.

14. Estes Park Brewery Tours

Estes Park offers several brewery tours, all including delicious, hand-crafted beer, all made with the finest grains and Rocky Mountain water. Each tap room offers a bar with a light atmosphere, traditional pub fare such as pizza and burgers, and even bottles of their beer for you to take home for later as souvenir to remember your Estes Park Brewery Tours.

15. Estes Park Spa

No Colorado vacation would be complete without a little R&R. Whether you’re looking to recover from a vigorous hike, or simply to treat yourself, Estes Park Spas offer a wide variety of treatments such as Swedish and hot stone massage, mud wraps, sugar scrubs, manicures and pedicures, and salon services.

All inclusive Colorado vacation packages can take a lot out of you. Take a moment out of your fun Colorado vacation and let yourself be pampered.

16. Lake Estes Marina

Lake Estes Marina offers aquatic adventures on Lake Estes. Activities include pontoon boats, canoes and kayaks, fishing, a variety of boat rentals and bicycle rentals. (Life Jackets and fuel are included with a boat rental.) The Lake Estes Marina also offers access to gorgeous Lake Estes trail which is accessible by foot or bicycle. For fishing licenses, supplies and snacks, visit the Lake Estes Marina store. Boat rentals are available during the warmer months.

17. Estes Park Elk Fest

One of the most popular things to do in Estes Park is the annual Elk Fest. In late September, festival goers celebrate the rutting period for the big horn sheep as well as the local elk. Held in Bond Park, there are many activities to entertain nature lovers, including guided Estes Park wildlife tours, educational activities and conferences, wildlife exhibits, bugling competitions and exhibitions of Native American culture.

You may also enjoy a variety of food vendors, novelty vendors, and entertainment of all kinds to enhance your Colorado Adventure!

18. Estes Park Wildlife Tours

As part of your Colorado vacation, consider booking a spot on one of the many Estes Park wildlife tours! Tour guides aim to help you find various large and small animals as well as birds of the Rocky Mountains.

Tours are given by car, mostly and stops are made when animals are spotted so that you can get out to get a better view. Animals often spotted on the Estes Park wildlife tours include, but aren’t limited to: Moose, Marmots, Ground Squirrels, Elk, Pikas, Chipmunks, Coyotes and Bighorn Sheep.

Tours are as much about spotting wildlife as they are about learning about the wildlife and habitat of the Rocky Mountain National Park. If you are an animal love or nature enthusiast, and Estes Park Wildlife tour is a great addition to your trip!

19. Estes Park Bike Rental

Biking is a popular activity in Estes Park, and also included in many all inclusive Colorado vacation packages. There are several Estes Park bike rentals options available, as well as mountain trails, roads and paved paths to explore.

Mountain forest trails just outside the city limits provide the most abundant mountain biking trails in Estes Park, as the trails in Rocky Mountain National Park do not allow mountain biking. There are several trails all around Estes Park allowing you to explore the city on two wheels.

Road bicyclists enjoy the scenic road views in Estes Park, while many roads are shared by both automobiles and bicyclists alike! For cyclists who don’t like to compete with cars, the Lake Estes Bike Path is appreciated by the “Sunday Driver” bicyclists. The slower pace allows them to enjoy the scenery, or hop off to smell the flowers or walk at the Estes Park downtown Riverwalk.

20. Peak to Peak Highway

The Peak to Peak Highway is a 55 mile designated Scenic Byway that passes by popular attractions including, Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forest, the Indian Peaks Wilderness Area, Golden Gate Canyon State Park and Rocky Mountain National Park. It is Colorado’s oldest Scenic Byway and it provides miles and miles of breathtaking Colorado Adventures as well as the continental divide.

AND OF COURSE!

21. Rocky Mountain National Park Fishing

Fly fisherman in the Big Thompson River

Estes Park is the only major city to be completely surrounded by Rocky Mountain National Park, and that is why fishing here is so extraordinarily special.  Nature lovers and anglers from around the world love Rocky Mountain National Park Fishing and all the majesty this National Park has to offer. RMNP offers fly fishing opportunities up in the high country streams of the Rockies, where most folks catch and release, as well as trout fishing in the headwaters of the Colorado River, Poudre, Big Thompson and Fall Rivers.

For more of a family fishing atmosphere try fishing Lake Estes and Lake Mary right here within the city limits of Estes park where you’ll conveniently find boat and canoe rentals.

Rocky Mountain National Park Fishing allows all kids under the age of 16 to fish for free without a fishing license year round. However, every year for the first weekend in June, even adults can legally fish for free without a Colorado fishing license.  For tips and the latest Rocky Mountain National Park fishing hot spots, be sure to stop into one of the many local Estes Park bait shops and stock up on equipment, and bait as well as charters and guides.

All the necessary fishing licensure needed to fish the plethora of Colorado’s lakes brooks and streams will be available for purchase at most bait shops within Estes Park.

 

22. Stanley Hotel Ghost Tour

Stanley Hotel

If your family is looking for a thrill on your Colorado vacation, The Stanley Hotel Ghost Tour might just be the adventure you’re seeking.  The world renowned Stanley Hotel can be seen for miles around due to its stark white face and its iconic blood red roof, nestled in the quiet rocky mountain town of Estes Park.

The Stanley hotel was built in 1909 and is most well known for its prominent role in the Hollywood thriller “The Shining” written by Stephen King.  Due to the many stories of first hand encounters from Hotel staff and visitors alike, The Stanley Hotel has made many of America’s Most Haunted Hotels lists.

The Stanley Hotel has daytime tours, as well as ghost tours after dark for the true adventurer.  If you’re looking for Stanley Hotel tour deals, guests of the hotel receive a small break on both daytime and nighttime ghost tours.  But be careful for what you ask for, when you stay overnight at the ominous Estes Park Stanley Hotel, you just might get more than you bargained for.

2 Comments on “Top 22 Things To Do In Estes Park

  1. Brit Myers

    A friend of mine recently went to Estes Park to ride on the Aerial Tramway to get shots for her website. I am blown away by the views. So much so, that I am planning a trip there. I was very happy to have found a list of all the things worth doing. I plan on doing as many as I can from your list when I go this fall!

    Reply

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