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Estes Park, Colorado sits at the base of Rocky Mountain National Park—a stunning setting for one of Colorado’s most charming towns. Situated off the well-trodden I-70 corridor, Estes Park transforms into a peaceful destination and outdoor recreation playground in winter without all the crowds. There are endless ways to enjoy Estes Park in winter; plan a whole weekend around exploring the region by staying in one of the cozy cabins or lodge rooms at YMCA of the Rockies – Estes Park Center, and then head out for a sledding, snowshoeing, ice skating, or indoor rock climbing adventure. We’ve put together a list of just eight of the ways to get away from it all this winter in Estes Park, Colorado to help you make the most of your season of snow.

1. Go snowshoeing in Rocky Mountain National Park.

Snowshoeing - Rocky Mountain National Park - YMCA of the Rockies - Estes Park Center
Snowshoeing in Rocky Mountain National Park. Photo courtesy of YMCA of the Rockies – Estes Park Center.

If you enjoy hiking, then snowshoeing is definitely going to be your next favorite winter activity. There’s no better way to immerse yourself in the winter wonderland that is Rocky Mountain National Park than with some snowshoes and an expert guide. Meet your guide at YMCA of the Rockies – Estes Park Center for a beautiful excursion into Colorado’s most popular national park where you’ll experience the beauty of the park and its varied terrain. If you want to venture out by yourself without a guide, YMCA of the Rockies – Estes Park Center offers affordable snowshoe rentals at the Sweet Memorial Program Building, $10 for adults ages 13 and up, and $5 for kids ages 12 and under. For more information, visit ymcarockies.org.

2. Go open air ice skating at picturesque Dorsey Lake.

Ice skating - Dorsey Lake - YMCA of the Rockies - Estes Park Center
Ice skating on Dorsey Lake, a beautiful open air lake in Estes Park, Colorado. Photo courtesy of YMCA of the Rockies – Estes Park Center.

Head to Dorsey Lake, a beautiful lake on the grounds of YMCA of the Rockies – Estes Park Center, to experience ice skating in the open air on a natural pond at the edge of Rocky Mountain National Park. If it’s wintertime nostalgia you’re after, grab your skates and a mug of hot cocoa because this is one spot you won’t want to miss. You can also choose to skate at the covered option at Upper Cookout Shelter, an area protected by an overhead pavilion. Ice skates are available for free for lodging guests and members of YMCA of the Rockies and for rent for visitors. For more information, visit ymcarockies.org.

3. Enjoy the wildlife at Rocky Mountain National Park.

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An elk enjoys the snow in Rocky Mountain National Park. Photo courtesy of YMCA of the Rockies – Estes Park Center.

Estes Park is famous for its elk. These large mammals roam the town and the surrounding mountains throughout Rocky Mountain National Park. Keep an eye out and your camera ready to capture these beautiful creatures in their natural habitat.

4. Try rock climbing at the brand new indoor climbing wall at YMCA of the Rockies – Estes Park Center.

Rock climbing - indoor rock wall - YMCA of the Rockies - Estes Park Center
Try rock climbing at the brand new indoor rock wall at the YMCA of the Rockies – Estes Park Center. Photo courtesy of YMCA of the Rockies – Estes Park Center.

Situated in the brand new Boone Family Mountain Center building, YMCA of the Rockies’ 25-foot indoor climbing wall is a thrilling way to challenge your strength and work on your climbing skills. For those who wish to stay closer to the ground, the Center also has a bouldering wall. A $10 fee will get you everything you need to climb, from gear rental to instruction to assistance with belaying. For more information, visit ymcarockies.org.

5. Embrace your inner child, and go sledding at Hidden Valley in Rocky Mountain National Park.

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Sledding at Hidden Valley in Rocky Mountain National Park. Photo Credit: Tereza_Venn (iStock).

Get ready to channel your inner child at this former ski hill off of Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park. It offers sledders an unparalleled experienced—high speed sledding, mountain views, and family fun all combine for an unforgettable family activity. Visitors can purchase or rent sleds or tubes from one of the gear shops in Estes Park.

6. Get craftsy at the Craft & Design Center at YMCA of the Rockies – Estes Park Center.

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Kids of all ages can enjoy the arts and crafts activities at the Craft & Design Center at YMCA of the Rockies – Estes Park Center. Photo Credit: Scott Pope, courtesy of YMCA of the Rockies – Estes Park Center.

YMCA of the Rockies – Estes Park Center’s Craft & Design Center is a crafter’s dream. From beading to tie-dying, from painted ceramics to leather and wood crafts, there’s truly something for everyone to enjoy. The Center is open seven days per week, and prices range from $5 to $85 per project. For more information, visit ymcarockies.org.

7. Celebrate the holiday season by taking the Yuletide Lights Driving Tour.

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Ring in the holiday season by taking a Yuletide Lights Driving Tour in Estes Park, Colorado. Photo Credit: aaron007 (iStock)

Estes Park residents and local businesses go all out for the holidays. In fact, there’s so much holiday cheer and decoration, there’s even a self-guided driving tour of all of the beautiful displays. Stop in town for a hot cocoa and some window shopping before heading out on your excursion. And don’t forget to turn up the volume on those Christmas carols!

8. Spend the weekend at YMCA of the Rockies – Estes Park Center.

YMCA of the Rockies - Estes Park Center
Spend a peaceful and relaxing weekend at YMCA of the Rockies – Estes Park Center this winter season. Photo courtesy of YMCA of the Rockies – Estes Park Center.

The YMCA of the Rockies – Estes Park Center is surrounded on three sides by Rocky Mountain National Park. It boasts stunning views, unlimited opportunity for outdoor recreation and family fun, and lodging options that range from hotel-style accommodations to quaint cabins and larger vacation rentals. If you’re looking for the ultimate winter getaway this season, head to YMCA of the Rockies for a truly unmatched experience.

Book your winter getaway at YMCA of the Rockies – Estes Park Center today!

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We are driven by our deep respect for our environment, and our passionate commitment to sustainable tourism and conservation. We believe in the right for everyone - from all backgrounds and cultures - to enjoy our natural world, and we believe that we must all do so responsibly. Learn More

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