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Claire Molle

Heidi Barfels




ESTES PARK, Colo., Dec. 20, 2023 – Locally known as “secret season”, one of the best times to visit Estes Park, the picturesque basecamp to Rocky Mountain National Park adventures, is throughout the winter months. From January through March, the destination hosts an array of fun and fascinating events and festivals, complementing a range of unforgettable experiences in the great outdoors. 




NEW EVENT: Estes Park Craft Beer Week 

Jan. 8-14

Kick off 2024 with a celebration of all things craft beer in Estes Park, CO! From special beer releases to exclusive discounts, Estes Park Craft Beer Week is the perfect way to experience all that the growing beer scene in Estes Park has to offer, including local favorites such as Lumpy Ridge Brewing Co., Avant Garde Aleworks, Estes Park Brewery and Rock Cut Brewing Company. For the ultimate Estes brew bash, join the Brewery Crawl from 6-8 pm on Jan. 12, traveling from brewery to brewery with a few extra special stops along the way.


NEW EVENT: First Peoples Festival 

Jan. 12-14, 2024

Estes Park has partnered with Nico Strange Owl, a member of the Northern Cheyenne Tribe of Montana, to celebrate Indigenous culture, art, music, language, oral traditions and much more during the inaugural First Peoples Festival. Shop cultural vendors from various tribal affiliations across the country, listen to live music performances, and enjoy traditional dances, singers, and drumming. Learn about the deep Indigenous connections to the Estes Valley and Rocky Mountain National Park and take part in cultural demonstrations and workshops. Events include:

  • Indigenous Inspired Dinner (Jan. 12): Enjoy a special Indigenous-inspired meal at Twin Owls Steakhouse, along with amazing performances, a participatory sweet grass offering and a blessing by a Northern Cheyenne Elder. Meet Indigenous demonstrators, educators and workshop teachers. Reservations required

  • Indigenous Vendor Market & Workshops (Jan. 13-14): Head to the Estes Park Events Complex, where vendors from tribes from all over the country will showcase traditional Acoma pottery, Iroquois beadwork and quillwork, Navajo jewelry, caribou antler art and much more.


Wine & Chocolate Festival

Feb. 3, 2024

At the Estes Park Events Complex, spend a winter’s day sampling sweets from the region’s finest chocolatiers, tasting pours from a variety of Colorado wineries and enjoying live music. ​All full-price tickets for the Wine & Chocolate Festival include 10 chocolate sampling tickets, complimentary pours, a souvenir wine glass and a tote bag. Designated driver tickets are also available.

Whiskey Warm Up

March 2, 2024

Bundle up and celebrate Estes Park’s acclaimed homegrown whiskey distilleries during Whiskey Warm Up 2024, presented by Elkins Colorado Whisky. Taking place outdoors at George Hix Riverside Plaza, attendees will sip and sample the finest selections of Colorado whiskeys, listen to live music, shop vendor booths, grab eats from food trucks and delight in whiskey-paired treats. 

  • Tip: Catch the free Whiskey Warm Up shuttle, which connects passengers to the event and stops at participating lodging sponsors.


Frozen Dead Guy Days

March 15-17, 2024

Following a frigidly fun first year in Estes Park, the quirky mountain town celebration known as Frozen Dead Guy Days will return, bigger and chillier than ever, in 2024. Taking place at the Estes Park Events Complex and The Stanley Hotel over St. Patrick’s Day Weekend, this delightfully macabre event promises a frosty fusion of entertainment, icy competitions and a celebration of the extraordinary tale that inspired it all. Discounted early bird tickets are on sale now at  

  • Good To Know: FDGD 2024 will also offer attendees the chance to be among the first to visit the new International Cryonics Museum. Housed in The Stanley Hotel’s historic Ice House, the attraction serves as Grandpa Bredo’s resting place and features fascinating exhibits about the science behind cryonics. For more information, go to



When venturing into Rocky Mountain National Park this winter, be sure to check their website in advance to get the latest road closures and safety information related to winter weather. Remember that it can get cold this time of year, with temperatures ranging between the 20s to the 40s. Don’t forget to bring good footwear, warm jackets, gloves and hats to protect you from the cold. 


Winter Wildlife

Winter is a great time to take a walk on Estes Park’s and RMNP’s wild side. Journey to Moraine Park and see elk, deer, and coyotes throughout the winter months. Birders may find a winter wonderland filled with white-tailed ptarmigan, dusky grouse, wild turkey, northern flicker, downy woodpecker, mountain chickadee, pygmy nuthatch and pygmy owl. Lake Estes is also a great place to spot bald eagles! Find more info about winter wildlife. 


Sledding at Hidden Valley 

No winter is complete without at least one or two sledding adventures. Head to RMNP’s Hidden Valley to zoom down a snow hill. No sled (or tube)? No problem. The playful can purchase or rent equipment from one of the outdoor gear or sporting goods shops in town. Be sure to check current sledding conditions in Hidden Valley online or with park staff upon entrance as it can be closed at times. 


Backcountry Skiing

Quickly becoming legendary for real steep and deep slopes, Rocky Mountain National Park offers backcountry skiers and splitboarders a variety of terrain, difficulty and altitudes – up to 14,000 feet! New to the backcountry? Sign up for safety courses and/or guided group excursions through Colorado Mountain School and Kent Mountain Adventures before venturing out. And avalanche safety awareness is vital — here are five reasons you should take an avalanche course


Ice Skating

As far as picture-perfect natural ice-skating spots go, the experience at YMCA of the Rockies’ mountain lakes can’t be beat. Generally frozen through early February, visitors can rent skates at Sweet Memorial Program Building and hit the ice – there’s no need to be a guest at the YMCA to participate. Or, enjoy the serene beauty of the snow-covered mountains gliding over a frozen pond at Trout Haven Resorts. Ice skates are available for rental or bring your own, and hot chocolate and coffee are served to warm you up when you get chilly.


Snowshoeing in RMNP

Take a walk in the snow. Kirks Mountain Adventures, Yellow Wood Guiding, KMAC Guides, FemmeTrek and The Estes Park Mountain Shop offer guided snowshoeing trips into Rocky Mountain National Park that range from 3 to 8 hours. No experience is necessary, and equipment is available at both locations. Always stay on the designated trails for the best views of glacier lakes and scenic mountains. Rocky Mountain National Park also offers a variety of winter programs, including ranger-led snowshoe walks.  


About Visit Estes Park

Visit Estes Park is the official Destination Marketing Organization for Estes Park, Colorado. A Destinations International (DI) accredited DMO, Visit Estes Park's mission is to drive sustainable year-round economic growth by encouraging visitor demand.

Estes Park, just 90 minutes from Denver, is the basecamp for Rocky Mountain

National Park offering outdoor experiences, activities, dining, shopping and an environment that is welcoming and approachable. Known for world-class adventure, resident wildlife and scenic beauty, Estes Park is Colorado’s quintessential mountain town. To learn more, go to