To stay awhile

Estes is blessed with a big contingent of visitors who have come up for generations. In fact, about half of the Visit Estes Park staff first came here on vacation as a kid. And they all have one piece of advice--stay as long as you can. It’s the single best way to see more of the backcountry, find solitude, and experience this wondrous valley like a local. You can’t take those PTO days with you.

Rams Horn

To see wildlife

Perhaps nowhere in America is there such an abundance of megafauna so close to civilization. Just driving around town sometimes feels like a safari (no joke -- “elk jams” are a common event). See if you can spot each of our “mighty five” -- elk, mule deer, moose, bighorn sheep, and black bear. Of course, there are also marmots, Steller's jays, pikas, mink, bald eagles… you get the picture.


To play hooky

If you’re lucky enough to live in Colorado, you know that one of the best parts of living here is playing hooky here. Skip out midweek to beat the weekend rush (and the Front Range heat). If we were you, we’d hike early, maybe check out some waterfalls which will be stout this year after hefty snows this winter, and then hit an early happy hour, grab some dinner, and find a place to stargaze or watch the Big Thompson River flow. Then get a room and do it again tomorrow.


To see America’s highest rodeo

The Rooftop Rodeo is a popular stop on the rodeo circuit because of the cool nights and chance to compete at 7,500 feet on some of the game’s best livestock. It runs from July 5 to 10 (with the can’t-miss parade through downtown Estes), and if you’ve never seen a rodeo in person, there’s no better first-time than the Rooftop. 


To indulge in some old-school Americana

Go ahead. Get a box of salt water taffy and a T-shirt with an elk on it. Ride a go-kart. Hold hands and stroll the Riverwalk. Grab a bench and enjoy an ice cream cone. Say hi to someone new, who also came from far afield to enjoy the abundant, simple American vacation pleasures in Estes Park.

To get your race on

Estes has several races on the calendar from 5 milers to ultras. If you want to surprise yourself with how far you can run, try Estes Park's Backyard Ultra. 

half marathon

To take a hike (duh)

Hiking is the #1 activity around these parts. Naturally, RMNP sees the most attention and rightfully so. It’s not one of America’s most visited National Parks by accident; its trails lead to some of the most beautiful high-country wilderness in the World. But, hint-hint, nearby Roosevelt National Forest and Hermit Park have equally as good scenery and often fewer crowds, and you can take your dog with you.

Kruger Rock Hike

To try something new

From mountain biking area trails or the bike park to rock climbing to horseback riding to fly fishing to paddling to off-roading, Estes is a hub of adventure and the perfect place to further hone your craft--or start a new lifelong passion.

To see some music

Local legend “Cowboy Brad” plays weekly John Denver-esque shows at Bond Park as part of a series of outdoor summer concerts in Estes. Events like Friends of Folk and Snowygrass scream summer. And there’s a lively music scene around town at local hangs like the Rock Inn or every Tuesday night at the Estes Park Marina.

Cowboy Brad

To grab a cold one

What’s better than enjoying a crisp, citrusy beer or a salt-lined margarita on a charming patio after a long day of hiking? Estes Park has many rewarding watering holes, ranging from whiskey tastings to an upscale wine bar to lively events at breweries. 

Rock Cut Patio Beer