It’s an honest question we in Estes Park hear frequently. The short answer is no, Estes Park does not close in the winter. Read on to get some clarification – and to find out why you should visit the town of Estes Park this winter.
Reason number one why Estes Park does not close in the winter: Estes Park is a town, not a park. While the word park is in the name, this instance of park refers to a mountainous upland valley, commonly used as such back when a lot of the places in Colorado were being named by European settlers. Estes was settled in one such upland valley (in part) by a guy named Joel Estes, hence the name Estes Park (Heet-ko'einoo' in Arapaho).
We admit a visit to the Estes area will reveal many uses of the word park, from Rocky Mountain National Park, to the nearby town of Allenspark, to the town’s excellent outdoor festival and market venue of Bond Park… it is confusing. Read more about the many meanings of the word park.
Okay, the above reason is the only reason Estes Park does not close in the winter. Towns don’t shut down seasonally, right? Well, some might, but Estes doesn’t – there is too much fun to be had, both outdoors and in. Backcountry guides are ready to teach you people-powered snow sports and restaurants, local craft beverage companies, bars and shops are open to serve you. Trail Ridge Road and Old Fall River Road in Rocky Mountain National Park are closed, but there are plenty of other roads open that lead to trailheads worth exploring, whether by snowshoe or as a quick stop on a beautiful winter drive.
Why you should visit Estes Park this winter
There are a lot of reasons to come in the winter, especially if you’re looking for a quieter, more peaceful wintertime vacation. Without a ski lift, around here folks take part in people-powered snow sports (backcountry skiing, snowboarding and ice climbing is something everyone should experience at least once!), watch wildlife and go on scenic drives. Families go sledding or hit the rock climbing gym.
But don’t take it from us – find out what the locals have to say.