While some of our native wildlife in Estes Park, Colorado retreat to their dens, another world wakes up when snow begins to blanket the valley. Guests can enjoy the pristine winter wonderland of Rocky Mountain National Park (just minutes from the village) before heading back to a milder climate in Estes Park for delicious cuisine and cozy lodging in the village. Only 90 minutes from Denver, Estes Park offers an authentic mountain experience with no resorts or crowded ski lifts in sight. Get back to true winter adventure with these top outdoor adventures:
A major outdoor attraction during the winter in Rocky Mountain National Park is ice climbing. Some of the best spots include Hidden Falls in the Wild Basin area or the Loch Vale Drainage, about 1.5 miles from the Glacier Gorge Trailhead. Seasoned climbers can make their way on their own, but for those just starting out we recommend hiring a guide to show you the ropes.
Right on Track
Exploring snowy trails on snowshoes is a pretty special experience. It's a great way to explore and easy enough that everyone can do it. Head out on your own with rented snowshoes from a local outfitter; try the Emerald Lake trail or Bierstadt Lake trail in Rocky Mountain National Park. Looking for a bit more guidance? Take a guided tour while learning about the winter ecology of the area, then when the snow is deep enough at lower elevations, hit the trails near Lily Lake for an excursion of your own.
Take to the Hills
Skiing is a great way to explore the vast open spaces surrounding the village of Estes Park. The clean runs at Hidden Valley area of Rocky Mountain National Park make skinning up and shredding down one of the best backcountry adventures in Colorado. Learn how to navigate the snowy conditions by taking an avalanche course to sharpen your downhill skills or hire a guide to take you backcountry skiing on the more technical runs of Rocky Mountain National Park.
Enclosed Jeep Tours
Want to explore the area while letting someone else do the work? Witness the splendor of a roaring (or sometimes icy) waterfall and beautiful mountain vistas from the comfort of an enclosed Jeep tour. You'll see plenty of wildlife including our famous herds of elk and unparalleled views along the way. Capture these memories forever on a photo safari gear toward the snap happy among you.
After a fun-filled day of exploring, head back to the village of Estes Park to kick your feet up for the night. Many of our cabins, lodges and condos offer a steamy respite from snow-filled days with fireplaces and hot tubs to relax in at night. Grab a piping hot cup of cocoa at a charming café or a cool Colorado craft beer at one of the mountain taverns. Fill up with a delicious meal at a local hot spot. Enjoy a steak in front of a roaring fire or dive into a family-style meal of excellent Italian food. The options are satisfying enough for even the biggest appetites!