Claire Molle, Claire@visitestespark.com
Heidi Barfels, Heidi@visitestespark.com
ESTES PARK SHINES ALL WINTER LONG
From November through April, the gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park embraces the winter season with unforgettable events, festivals and experiences
ESTES PARK, Colo., Nov. 17, 2022 – Estes Park, located just 90 minutes from Denver in Colorado’s scenic Rocky Mountains, transforms into a picturesque winter wonderland each year. From November 2022 through April 2023, the town has an extraordinary lineup of twinkling lights, breathtaking sights and fun for everyone, in a setting only rivaled by a sparkling snow globe.
New this year, Estes Park’s “Beyond” program is extending signature events to new heights, encouraging guests to come for the festivities and stay to experience the local charm with special offerings. And holiday-season-fanatics must not miss Miracle on 7, the town’s new Christmas-themed Miracle Pop-Up Bar serving up an atmosphere of Yuletide cheer.
Additionally, each winter month will take on a theme in Estes Park, from adventure and romance, to snowshoeing and Sasquatch.
Winter Monthly “Themes”
November: Catch the Glow (Celebrate the lighting of town)
December: Holiday Festive (From ballet shows to Santa Visits; holiday cheer for all)
January: Snowshoeing (Join Estes’ guides for snowshoeing all season long)
February: Cozy Cabin Season (Grab a relaxing cabin, and head into the Wine & Chocolate Festival)
March: Breweries and Distilleries (Celebrate our delicious local craft beverages)
April: BigFoot Days (A whole month of all things BigFoot)
Below, discover some of the highlights:
10th Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony (Nov. 19)
Celebrate the start of the season with the ceremonial Tree Lighting in downtown Estes Park’s George Hix Riverside Plaza. Attendees will enjoy festive live music from Cowboy Brad, meet Santa and take photos with holiday characters. Kids can create holiday craft kits, meet up with llamas, ride on horse-drawn wagons, and delight in sipping hot cocoa and nibbling cookies. Mayor Wendy Koenig will flip the switch at 5:30 pm, leaving the trees glowing with holiday cheer. All activities are free of charge!
Estes Park Holiday Trail (Nov. 19-Dec. 31)
There’s just something special about Estes Park during the holidays. Downtown springs to life with twinkling lights. The local businesses deck their halls (and windows) with holiday cheer. And residents get in the spirit as well! Visitors can use this map to make sure they hit all the festive spots, making time to shop and enjoy sweet treats along the way.
Estes Park Miracle on 7 (Nov. 21-Dec. 31)
Hosted at Cousin Pat’s Pub & Grill, Miracle on 7 is Estes Park’s very own Christmas-themed pop-up cocktail bar. With Kitschy holiday decor, professionally-developed cocktails and the nostalgic energy of the best holiday party ever, Miracle on 7 is sure to get even the grouchiest grinch in the festive spirit.
Catch The Glow Parade (Nov. 25)
The Annual "Catch the Glow" Parade will brighten downtown Estes Park at 5:30 p.m., the day after Thanksgiving. Each year, Elkhorn Avenue fills with families excited to "Catch the Glow" of this whimsical holiday parade, after spending the afternoon visiting Santa and strolling through downtown. Good to know: Estes Transit provides free trolley service from 12 p.m. until 8 p.m. starting at the Estes Park Visitor Center (500 Big Thompson Ave.) with stops along Elkhorn Avenue.
At the Estes Park Events Complex, guests can discover new favorite Colorado wines while shopping retail and craft vendors to get started crossing names off their holiday gift lists. Each ticket purchase includes a commemorative wine glass, wine tote and unlimited tastings from Colorado wineries.
YMCA Holiday Magic in the Mountains (Nov. 26-Jan. 1)
YMCA of the Rockies – Estes Park Center is a big part of the Rocky Mountain holiday celebrations. The Holiday Magic in the Mountains event offers fun activities, including festive Santa visits, cookie decorating, the drive-through Christmas Village, gingerbread house-making, ice skating on the frozen pond and much more.
The Underground Strange Gifts Holiday Show (Nov. 26-Jan. 1)
Located in a mysterious theater beneath the original carriage house of The Stanley Hotel, the greatest magicians in the world perform at Aiden Sinclair’s Underground. For this special, holiday-themed show (suitable for ages 12 and up), the magic of the season comes to life with ghosts, gifts and the old traditions of spooky holiday stories.
The Nutcracker at The Stanley Hotel (Dec. 11-12)
The Boulder Ballet brings the timeless holiday ambiance of The Nutcracker to The Stanley Hotel’s Pavilion, a gorgeous 250-seat glass auditorium. Guests will sway along with the Waltz of the Flowers and enjoy the uplifting choreography and music on Clara’s magical journey through the Land of Sweets.
FemmeTrek Winter Snowshoeing and Hiking Tours (All Winter)
Led by women, for women, discover the incredible beauty of Rocky Mountain National Park on a snowshoe excursion. Even if you’re new to snowshoeing, your guide will show you how to use all the equipment so you’ll feel comfortable in no time. Snowshoeing adventures include snowshoes, trekking poles, and micro spikes as well as snacks and hot drinks.
Trout Haven Ice Skating Pond (Weather permitting)
Enjoy the serene beauty of the snow-covered mountains gliding over a frozen pond at Trout Haven Resorts. A large variety of ice skates are available for rental, or guests can bring their own. Hot chocolate and coffee are served to warm everyone up when they get chilly.
Wine & Chocolate Festival (Feb. 4)
Sample sweets from the region's finest chocolatiers, sample top-notch selections from a variety of wineries, and enjoy live music and a romantic weekend. All full-price tickets include 10 chocolate sampling tickets, complimentary pours, a souvenir wine glass, and a tote bag to help you carry home all your favorite bottles.
Whiskey Warm-Up (March 4)
The beloved Whiskey Warm Up returns to celebrate the homegrown whiskey distilleries of the Rocky Mountains. Sip and sample the finest selections of Centennial State whiskeys, listen to live music, peruse and purchase goods from area vendors, and delight in whiskey paired treats. The event is held outdoors at the beautiful George Hix Riverside Plaza — so dress for the weather!
BigFoot Days Festival and BBQ (April 14-15)
Celebrating all things Squatchy at this fun, irreverent annual event. The weekend begins on Friday with a Bigfoot BBQ (a ticketed dinner featuring Celebrity Guests), and concludes on Saturday with a free outdoor festival in Bond Park from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The fest features appearances and talks from Bigfoot experts, live music, outdoor-themed activities for the entire family, vendors, food trucks, a Bigfoot calling contest, area Bigfoot tours and much more.
Watch the snow fall cuddled up in a cozy cabin or charming lodge. Estes Park has several lodging options perfect for winter-lovers. For classic, cozy, Christmas charm, check out Castle Mountain Lodge and McGregor Mountain Lodge for their enticing holiday packages. For an experience kids will never forget, try the Old Fashioned Christmas package and venture into the backcountry to find your own Christmas tree! Santa has also been known to pop by for a meet and greet.
Media images can be downloaded through this link. Credit: Courtesy of Visit Estes Park. https://brandfolder.com/s/xhgf24vwsmxm99hz3n28jm8p
About Visit Estes Park
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, visit www.visitestespark.com.
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. In 2021, travelers to Estes Park spent $504.3 Million, generating $35 million in local and state tax revenues, reducing the tax burden for every resident household by $3,270.