Estes Park Colorado Things To Do In Summer – Summer is almost here and that means it’s time to start making travel plans! Last summer I really wanted to write an Estes Park summer guide but the reality was we were deep into Covid. We have lived in the Estes Park area for the past two years and came here every year for ten years before that, and I have learned a lot in that time.
If you are familiar with Northern Colorado or Rocky Mountain National Park you know or at least have heard of Estes Park. Summer is always busy in Estes so I thought I’d put together a post-COVID summer guide to help people with their travel plans. Notice I said these words after covid. Colorado is slowly reopening but Covid has still affected some businesses, restaurants and activities. Things change quickly around here and I’ll give you the latest information I know, but it might be wise to check things out before you go.
Estes Park Colorado Things To Do In Summer
Below, I’ll share my favorite things to do, Rocky Mountain National Park updates, favorite restaurants, and other helpful tips.
Summer Events In Estes Park
If you come to Estes Park this summer, chances are you plan to visit RMNP at least once while you’re here. Whether it’s your first visit or you’re a seasoned visitor, there’s one important change you need to be aware of – the timed booking system. It was not implemented last year due to Covid, but has been in the works for years due to overcrowding in the park. Visits to the park have increased significantly every year for the past ten years (not counting covid 2020), and this is the solution that park officials have come up with to relieve congested parking lots and roads.
Let me emphasize this important point, entry time recording systems are completely different from entry fees. You still have to pay a fee or get an annual pass to get in during guard station hours, which I think is 5-6, but I’m not sure. The booking system requires that you also have an entry point between 09.00 and 15.00. You don’t need a reservation to enter before or after these hours, but you still need to pay a feeor get an annual pass if the guard stations are open.
Now, here’s another new change…this year they are dividing the park into two zones, the popular Bear Lake Corridor and the rest of the park. You can select any zone when you make a timed entry reservation, but if you do not have a Bear Lake reservation, you will not be able to enter that zone during the reservation period. Alternatively, if you have a Bear Lake reservation, you can also access the main park. Also note that the Bear Lake corridor requires daytime (5:00 am to 6:00 pm) entry points. One final point to emphasize is that once you enter the park with your reservation time and pay your entrance fee, you are free to enter and exit. Park as often as you like during the rest of the day. be independent This is different from other parks where you can’t leave and come back in once you’re inside. At RMNP you can. Go here to read about the different entrance fees and passes and make your purchase, and here to read more about the timed reservation system and buy a reservation ($2 per day).
But besides Rocky Mountain National Park, Estes Park has a lot more to do and see…
Fun Things To Do In Estes Park Colorado
Steeped in history, you’ll find the Stanley Hotel with lots of fun things to do. This spooky historic hotel is known to be haunted by a few spirits, and Stephen King was inspired to write The Shining after spending a few nights in room 217 (we stayed in that too!). Outside, you’ll also find a clearly inspired hedge maze to traverse. History and Ghost Tours run daily and you can’t miss Aidan Sinclair’s amazing live show! If you get hungry there is also a restaurant (recommend dinner accommodation), a bar and a coffee and ice cream shop in the basement.
Snowy Peaks Winery features award-winning Colorado wines with indoor and outdoor seating, along with an extremely friendly and knowledgeable staff. Wine flights (see above) are only $9 and a fun way to try some great wine! A variety of cheeses, meats, crackers and chocolates are also available for purchase. Snowy Peaks is open daily 11-7 and has live music every Friday on the patio during the summer.
The Mustang Mountain Coaster is the newest addition to Estes Park. This alpine coaster has amazing views and lets you control the speed of your ride, fast or slow! Riders who are at least 3 years old can ride with an adult. A single trip is $20 per person and a three-pack trip is $35. Go on the three pack tour, it’s great! A video of the experience is available for $10.
While you’re here, come to the Lake Estes Marina and rent a boat, kayak or canoe to cruise the lake in comfort and style. You can also bring your own boat and launch it here for a small fee. Swimming and power sports are prohibited, but it makes for a more relaxed and relaxing time on the water. Also, we don’t want to scare the fish! Fishing is available from your boat, pier or land, but be sure to get a permit first. The port also rents bicycles and pedal boats for use on the Lake Estes Trail, and there are picnic tables and a pavilion nearby.
Rocky Mountain National Park • Grand Lake Chamber
From late May to early September, the Estes Park aerial tramway is open 9-6. The covid restrictions are now lifted and this tram is an amazing experience. You’ll run 5 minutes to the top with amazing views of the mountains and the city, but the fun doesn’t end when your ride is over! There is much to see and do at the top of the mountain. There is a gift shop, cafe and lots of mountain terrain to explore. The gift shop sells peanuts to feed the very friendly and chubby chipmunks around. They will come to you and some may even want to eat out of your hand!
Horseback Riding – Sombrero Stables offers horseback riding for ages 6 and up. Whether you choose a 30-minute, 1-hour or 2-hour tour, you’ll see amazing views from your trip.
MAIN STREET – A visit to Estes Park wouldn’t be complete without a stroll down the main strip, Elkhorn Avenue. Here you will find many clothing and souvenir shops with Estes Park items and gifts, restaurants, candy and ice cream shops and even some Christmas shops.
Estes Park Historic Theater – This historic theater is the oldest single-screen theater still in operation in the United States. You will be transported back in time as you watch new and classic movies of today. There is also a cafe for drinks and snacks.
Estes Park, Co: A Perfect Day In Town
Rapid Transit Rafting – Rafting tours from June through September are available from Estes Park for ages 7 and up. Half-day tours are available on Cache La Poudre and full-day tours are available on the Colorado River, including lunch.
Trout Haven Pond – This pond is regularly stocked with rainbow trout and is a fun way to test your fishing skills. Rods are available for rent and you pay for what you get. They also clean and pack your catch. No license required.
Coffee on the Rocks – Coffee, wine, beer and snacks are available at this cute little cafe. There is plenty of outdoor seating with a pond full of friendly ducks and geese and it’s really fun to feed them! Food cups are available for $1.
Green Jeep Tours – This tour company has several tours to offer! Safari tours, walking tours, brewery tours and Grand Lake tours are available. It’s a great way to explore Estes Park and the Rockies while taking in some fresh mountain air.
Exciting Things To Do In Estes Park With Kids
Estes Park Trolleys – This 3-hour tour is open May-October and takes you to some of the most spectacular natural wonders in the lower reaches of Rocky Mountain National Park.
YMCA of the Rockies – Inside the beautiful YMCA camp, you’ll find hiking trails, playgrounds, games, arts and crafts, and more family-friendly activities. Day permits are available for those staying off-site.
Golf – Whether you enjoy miniature golf or the real thing, Estes Park has several courses to suit your needs.
See Moose – Estes Park’s moose herds are world famous so be sure to take the time to drive around and look for them. In the summer they do
Fun Things To Do In Rocky Mountain National Park With Kids
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