Getaway Guide: Spend the Perfect Summer Weekend in Estes Park, Colorado
The kind of views you'll see on an excursion with Yellow Wood Guiding. Photo Credit: Jared Gricoskie, courtesy of Visit Estes Park.
Nestled at the base of the east entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park, Estes Park, Colorado is an iconic mountain destination. Estes Park boasts endless adventurous outdoor activities and plenty of exciting happenings around town. From shopping to fine dining, from hiking to scenic drives, get ready for a weekend full of adventure, fun, and smiles for the whole family. In partnership with Visit Estes Park, we’ve put together an awesome itinerary so that you can make the most of your weekend in Estes Park, Colorado.
Day 1: Sunrise Wildlife Tour, Hiking, and Cocktails
Wake up before dawn to go on a wildlife tour with Yellow Wood Guiding. You’re likely to spot a mamma moose and her baby, a pack of wild coyotes, a herd of elk, or even big horn sheep. Most of the rare sightings are found around dawn, but spotting these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat is well-worth the early alarm.
After your wildlife experience, stay in Rocky Mountain National Park and explore the park’s many hiking trails. We recommend that you speak with a ranger about which hikes are best suited for the experience you’re looking for. Some of our favorite trails begin at the Bear Lake Trailhead. From there, you can access Dream Lake, Nymph Lake, Lake Haiyaha, and amazing views of Longs Peak. Always take care to leave no trace in the park and leave the area better than you found it.
After a day in the park relax and grab a bite at one of downtown Estes Park’s many restaurants. Wash it all down with a local craft brew for that true Colorado experience. Whether you’re a true foodie or you’ve got the family in tow, there’s something for every taste bud in downtown Estes Park.
After a full day, you’ll be ready for a good night’s sleep. Estes Park offers a variety of places to stay, from cozy cabins to the infamous Stanley Hotel (pst! It’s said to be haunted!).
Day 2: Early Morning Paddleboarding, Adventure Park and Mountain Biking, Climbing, and Live Tunes
Rise and shine for another early day. The crisp morning mountain air can’t be beat when you’re paddling on the calm waters of Lake Estes. Visit the marina to rent a stand-up paddleboard to enjoy the lake and the amazing scenery, or if you’ve got a crew in tow, go for a pontoon boat so the whole family can relax and enjoy the views and the cool mountain air.
Because this is a “choose your own adventure” kind of town, your next activity begins at the Open Air Adventure Park. More than 30 challenge elements built more than 20 feet above the ground range in difficulty from easy to hard. This 90-minute experience will take you up jungle gym-like features, which allow you to climb, jump, balance and swing to your heart’s content.
If you’ve still got energy, head over to the Stanley Park Bike Park, a brand-new public course that offers awesome obstacles and jaw-dropping views of the iconic Longs Peak. If biking isn’t your thing, the park also has walking and skateboarding, and it’s horse and dog-friendly. And if you’re more into rocks than wheels, head to Performance Park for a climbing lesson. Set in a beautiful rock amphitheater, you can learn the basics of rock climbing with a guided instructor.
Even though you’ve already had a full weekend of outdoor fun, stick around for nightfall, where you can then sit back after a day of adventure and enjoy one of the many live music performances scheduled throughout the summer.