Estes Park Attractions
If you love adventure, then you will definitely love Estes Park. Besides being surrounded by some of Colorado’s most majestic peaks within the Rocky Mountain National Park, Estes Park has a unique culture and stands apart from the typical mountain town, customarily popular for skiing and winter sports.
Estes Park is the destination for all things Rocky Mountain wilderness adventures, including wildlife watching, hiking and rock climbing, water sports and horseback riding. And there are many more attractions in and around Estes Park and Estes Valley which don’t involve getting sweaty, wet or grubby (although we love those excursions!) From art and cultural visits and gastronomic tastings, to scenic and family-friendly fun days out, here are some of our favorite attractions in Estes Park and the Rocky Mountain National Park.
Estes Park aerial tramway
The Estes Park aerial tramway was opened in 1955 and runs to the summit of Prospect Mountain. The open-air concept was designed by Robert Heron in 1955 and modeled on “free span” European versions that run the entire length of cable between the top and bottom stations. The design allows visitors to take in the amazing views to the Rocky Mountain National Park below.
Over three million passengers are taken to the top of Prospect Mountain every year, so if you don’t feel like hiking but want a wonderful view of Estes Park and the Rocky Mountain National Park, the aerial tramway is where you need to be. It will take you above the treetops to the summit of the mountain. There are some friendly family trails that you can hike on Prospect Mountain.
The Estes Park aerial tramway runs daily from 9am to 6pm between May 25th to September 2nd. You don’t have to book in advance, but trips can be cancelled in adverse weather conditions Check the website for details.
Rocky Mountain National Park Gallery
The Images of Rocky Mountain National Park Gallery explores the history of Estes Park right back to the beginning of the ice age when the mountains were formed here. Originally, Native Americans settled in the area followed by fur-trappers and settlers in 1862.
There is an exhibition in the museum that covers both the founding of the town and the Rocky Mountain National Park. The gallery is also surrounded by buildings with a rich history. If you are a sucker for all things history, then the Rocky Mountain National Park Gallery is a must-visit.
Estes Park Visitors Center
The Estes Park visitors center is a hub of activity and information and your first port of call to learn about local activities and places to visit. The center is conveniently situated near the intersection of Hwys 34 and 36 at 500 Big Thompson Avenue, and you can pick up a free shuttle bus to take you in and around town from here.
From the center you can pick up the hiking trail to Lake Estes to the east and to the downtown riverwalk in the west.
Head to Estes Park visitors center if you want to:
• Grab fee information about Estes Park including wildlife and outdoor activities
• Use their free wireless internet
• Purchase a book about Estes Park
• Enjoy a picnic in the beautiful location surrounding the centre
Estes Park is a renowned rock climbing destination with few places in the United States surpassing the region and the Rocky Mountain National Park for great climbing locations. If you want to try out rock climbing for the first time, or want some practice before you head to the peaks, then the Performance Park in Estes Park is the venue for you.
Performance Park is an amphitheater located in town with a rock wall behind where you can get to grips (literally) with the art of rock climbing. Lessons can be taken with Estes Park Mountain Shop or the Kent Mountain Adventure Center. Give it a go!
Snowy Peaks Winery
If you find yourself vacationing in Estes Park, Colorado we highly recommend a visit to the Snowy Peaks Winery and Tasting Room. Not only can you enjoy delicious wine and gourmet tasting sessions, but you can also take in the awe-inspiring view to the Colorado Rocky Mountains.
Enjoy the award-winning handcrafted wines of Snowy Peaks along with some excellent wines from other local wineries. All the wines created by Snowy Peaks are produced from local Colorado grapes, some of which are produced in one of the highest vineyards in the world at 4000 to 5400 feet. They produce a selection of red and dessert wines, including Syrah, Merlot and Malbec.
They also offer a range of delicious local artisan foods, including chocolate, cheese and smoked meats. What’s not to love!
And a visit to Snowy Peaks Winery doesn’t mean leaving your children at home as kids are invited to enjoy a juice tasting and have fun in the playroom.
Estes Park Brewery
This is a great stop-off after a full day’s hike. The Estes Park Brewery has been crafting local beers since 1994 and now offer 12 delicious hand-crafted beers and a root beer. They also offer sample tastings, so you can decide on the one you want to enjoy with your pizza or burger, which they also serve up in the restaurant! There is a beer garden with amazing scenic views, pool tables and video games. The perfect way to relax and kick back with friends.
The Estes Park Brewery isn’t the only craft beer joint in town. You can also head to the Lumpy Ridge Brewery over at 531 South Saint Vrain Avenue and compare your favorites!