8 Epic Things to do in Estes Park
Estes Park is a place that is full of outdoor thrills, great dining experiences, and yummy craft beers. It is a place for a romantic couples getaway or a big family retreat. These eight things to do in Estes Park are sure to keep you busy and your experiences full while in the Rockies!
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1. Take a ride on the Estes Park Aerial Tramway
We won’t lie, we’re suckers for tourist traps. Sometimes they are that way for a reason right? Although the tram ride itself on the Estes Park Aerial Tramway is a bit underwhelming, the views from the top are breathtaking which makes it one of the top things to do in Estes Park!
Travel Tip: There are fewer crowds in the early morning or late afternoon. We went right at 9 am when it opened and there was still a line. However when we left the line was 5x as long!
Address: 420 E Riverside Dr, Estes Park
Hours: Sunday-Saturday, 9am-6pm
Cost: $12/pp round trip
2. Take a kayak out and relax on Lake Estes
Driving by Lake Estes you’ll laugh like we did because the lake itself might be the smallest one we’ve ever seen! However, this actually made the experience so much better because there aren’t any big boats disrupting the waters. We were able to get to the far side of the lake within 45 minutes and really enjoyed the mountain views at this top thing to do in Estes Park.
Hours: Sunday-Saturday, 9am-5pm
3. Visit the Stanley Hotel… if you dare
This haunted hotel is best known for its inspirational role in Stephen King’s novel, turned film, The Shining. It has been featured as one of America’s most haunted hotels and continues to still operate since it’s doors opened in 1909. You can’t help but hear Jack Nicholson eerily saying “heeeeeerrrrreeee’s Johnny!” when walking up to the Stanley. Visit just to see or stay the night if you’re really brave! If you’re a fan then you might also like these fun facts.
Travel Tip: You can visit the hotel itself for free but the Stanley also offers special tours.
Hours: Multiple tour times starting at 10 am most days
Cost: $20-25/adult $17/children (save $5 with AAA)
4. Rent a Jeep and go trailing
If you’re into exploring new places, thrilling adventures, and getting off the grid for a little while, a Backbone Adventures’ Jeep Rental is for you! We had a blast taking out a two-door Jeep Wrangler and exploring some of the off-roading trails near Estes Park. Our favorite being Storm Mountain, but overall, we strongly believe that this is one of the top things to do in Estes Park.
Travel Tip: Backbone Adventures also offers ATV, Harley Davidson Motorcycle, Dirt Bike, UTV, RAZOR, and Snowmobile rentals.
Hours: Sunday-Saturday, 9am-5pm (also the length of time you are able to use your Jeep)
5. Grab some grub at The Wapiti Pub
The Wapiti Pub prides themselves on how they “embody everything that is Colorado” and boy do they ring true to that tagline. Not only do they have terrific dining options that support local, they also have an AMAZING selection of Colorado craft beers and a nice sunny patio to relax on after a full day of hiking.
Hours: Sunday-Saturday, 11am-9pm Menu
6. Enjoy a sweet treat at Purple Mountain Taffy Company
Looking for something sweet to add to your list of things to do in Estes Park? Grab an ice cream and a few taffy flavors to go at Purple Mountain Taffy Company. We liked the huckleberry, salted caramel, lemon, banana, Mexican chocolate, and triple berry the best but the options are endless!
Address: 121 E Elkhorn Ave, Estes Park
Hours: Sunday-Saturday, 10am-6pm
Cost:$12.99/lb (about 60 taffy pieces or you can always get less)
7. Leisurely stroll and shop at Downtown Estes Park
Support local Estes Park businesses by shopping at some of the coolest shops you’ll find while in Colorado. There is a lengthy list of 300 places to buy handcrafted goods, clothing, jewelry, and outdoor gear. You can also find many different restaurants and pubs to get a light lunch or a cold drink.
Travel Tip: Parking can definitely be tricky! We had the most luck close to the Estes Park post office.
Address: 356 E. Elkhorn Ave, Estes Park (general location)
Hours: Monday-Saturday, 10am-8pm (most stores)
8. Visit Rocky Mountain National Park
Obviously, we saved the best thing to do in Estes Park for last! No trip to Estes Park is complete without visiting nearby Rocky Mountain National Park. With so much beauty around, you’re sure to want to spend a few days here. Be sure to find your way to Trail Ridge Road as well! How many jaw-dropping national parks have you been to?
Address: 1000 US Hwy 36, Estes Park
Hours: 24hrs/365 days a year
Cost: $20/vehicle day pass or $30/vehicle 7-day pass
Places to Stay in Estes Park
Whether you spend a weekend in Estes Park or a few weeks – there is something for everyone! Which of these things to do in Estes Park would make the top of your list?