Have you ever been to a place that just seemed so unreal? Or even something out of a story book? This is how I felt when I arrived to Estes Park, Colorado. This place easily turned into one of my most favorite places to go and tell others about. Growing up in Kansas, there was no mountains or beaches in short driving distance. To get to Estes Park from where I lived it was a 9 and a half hour drive. A drive that I would learn is well worth the patience to drive that far. My mom and I stayed the night in Denver and decided to change our itinerary and spend the rest of our time in Estes Park. When we arrived I was in shock at how absolutely beautiful it is there. We went in the first week in August and the weather was perfect. I will tell you my top 6 things to do in Estes Park, Colorado.
Top 5 Things to Do:
1.) Rocky Mountain National Park
This destination was my top favorite thing to do while in Estes Park. The park costs $30 to get into, but the price is well worth it. When we arrived into the park they handed us a map and my mom and I decided to just drive and see whatever we could. I went a way and it took us up Trail Ridge Road. This road is not for people who do not like drop offs, small turning areas and dirt road paths way up in the air. I enjoyed the drive and stopped frequently on the way up. When you get to the very top of the mountain there is a place to park with the best views and a cafe to eat at. This stopping point is very busy. We did not stop as there was no place to park. There are tons of trails to hike, waterfalls to see and lakes to sit around and enjoy the views. I highly recommend this place, just make sure to go for more than one day.
2.) Estes Park Aerial Tramway
My friend suggest this Tramway and I am so happy I went. The Tramway costs $14 per adult for round trip tickets. I believe it was well worth the cost for the views. At the top there is a place to eat, get drinks, shop and sit outside to enjoy the views. This place was my second favorite place we visited in Estes Park. I highly suggest going and seeing the sights from high above, everything is always better from the top right?
3.) Snowy Peaks Winery
While walking back from the aerial tramway, we stopped in at Snowy Peaks Winery. It is $6 for five tastings of your choosing. When I went I became obsessed with their pomegranate wine, it tasted amazing. I would definitely go back for more. If you have kids with you, they have a play station for the kids while you taste some wine or just look around. I highly suggest this place if you go to Estes Park. The staff is very friendly and knowledgeable and the place is neat and well kept.
4.) Take a stroll downtown
In downtown Estes Park there are tons of shopping places (most mom and pop shops), dining places, a library and you may get some frequent visits from local elks. We had the pleasure of seeing one on our second night in Estes Park. People were amazed by the Elk and the Elk just walked around. Eventually the police showed up to direct traffic because many people were stopping to take pictures. Locals say it is a usual sighting to see them in the downtown area. Another place to visit near downtown is the Stanley Hotel. The hotel is believed to be haunted, they offer tours and day visitors when you are not staying at the hotel. The hotel was featured in the movie The Shining. I highly suggest a visit to this hotel and to downtown Estes Park.
5.) Watch a sunset near Lake Estes
This will forever be a memory I frequently visit. My mom and I stayed near Lake Estes in a hotel and decided to go for a walk one night. When we went for a walk, the sun was setting over the mountains and over the water. This made for some of the most beautiful pictures I have ever taken and the most beautiful sights I have ever seen.
As you can see Estes Park, Colorado is a wonderful place to go. If you have never been I highly suggest going. I would definitely go back time and time again just to see the view of the mountains or the sunsets in the evenings. I only spent one day at Rocky Mountain National Park and I felt like I barely got to see any of it. I would highly suggest spending more than just a day in the park to see the sights. One big piece of advice when going to Colorado is the air is different there. You have to get used to breathing different there and make sure you stay hydrated. I did not swear there, also did not drink or eat much and almost passed out. I definitely regret that part of the trip, so make sure you eat and stay hydrated when spending time there.
If you have not done so yet, don’t forget to check out my gratitude challenge daily. Each day I write about something I am thankful for during the month of November, as the US holiday of Thanksgiving is rapidly approaching. What are you thankful for? Next week, stay tuned to learn about Half Moon Cay, The Bahamas. See you soon.