Editors Note: Christin Peper is many things, a rad adoptive dad to a young son and infant daughter, a self-proclaimed biked nerd, and one of the most well rounded technical freestyle mountain bike riders out there today. He visited Estes Park in July 2021, read on for how he spent his time.
"Estes Park has always been a place I've known about and wanted to visit, but was never at the top of my list for biking and family adventures. After a recent trip with my wife Cara, our son Jonas, and new baby daughter Magnolia I can say that Estes Park should be on everyone’s summer getaway list. We did so many things all week long it was hard to keep track of!
Our week kicked off at the Stanley Bike Park, which we found to be a blast for the entire family. Recent renovations included two new jump lines built by Flow Ride Concepts which they were generous enough to let me test out, the line was smooth and flowy and slightly downhill so it is great for progression and learning. There was also a concrete pump track, wood features, and lots of cool natural rock jibs. The park is accessible for a range of skill levels, so both Jonas and I were able to shred it up.
We heard you couldn’t visit Estes without checking out the trails in Rocky Mountain National Park, so we chose a 4-mile hike to Gem Lake. The trail was perfect for a journey with the little ones, and we were surrounded with stunning views and rock-formations the entire time. Jonas spent the whole hike collecting sticks, which he calls ‘snakes,’ and finding bugs to look at which he calls ‘itsy.’ Hiking with young kids can be challenging but Rocky Mountain National Park offers many options that are approachable and kid friendly.
After biking and hiking the next stop was obviously food, now that we had worked up an appetite! The town of Estes has tons of restaurant options for all tastes but our favorite spot was The Barrel. The Barrel is an open-air style lunch spot with food trucks and a built-in bar for craft beers and sodas. My favorite meal was the “Steak Tacos on Wheels” from “The Kitchen” food truck.
Last but not least is the town of Estes Park itself. Built around tourism and the national park, the town is absolutely filled with old fashioned ice cream and candy shops, rock stores, toy stores (which Jonas found right away), and so much more. Another great part of town is the riverwalk, which runs the full length of town right behind all of the restaurants and shops. It was a great place to cool off, check out the river, and we saw the biggest elk I’ve ever seen in my life!
Overall, our week in Estes Park could not have been more fun for our entire family. It was a great place to ride some new trails and features, watch Jonas continue to discover a love for time in nature, and to eat good food and take in the beautiful sights of a truly unique place in Colorado. We will be back - thank you Estes Park!"