Looking for things to do in Estes Park that won’t break the bank? Look no further.
The entrance fee to Rocky Mountain National Park is truly a bargain relative to other entertainment - $30 per car for a whole week vs. $40+ for a family to see a movie. And it's free if you have a 4th grader - see the details here. But if you're looking to get on the trails at zero cost, head to Roosevelt National Forest. The Lily Mountain Trail, just south of town and Crosier Mountain Trail to the north. Both are open to the public and allow hiking with your dogs.
Another great option is to explore the bike and pedestrian trails around town. Park at the Estes Park Visitor Center and walk or bike the Lake Estes Trail for beautiful views and an almost entirely level loop around the beautiful lake. Or check out the Knoll-Willows Open Space for sweeping views above the town of Estes Park toward the soaring peaks of the Continental Divide.
Learn all about the history, the wildlife and the people that make Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park so interesting. The Estes Park Museum is open year-round and the Historic Fall River Hydroplant Museum is open to the public in the summer months. Both are free to the public - donations appreciated. Learn more about the national park by visiting the Beaver Meadows Visitor Center, where guests can meet rangers, get a Junior Ranger book and view the national park film for free.
SOAK UP THE STARS
Peer deep into the night sky at the Estes Park Memorial Observatory where, for a voluntary donation, you make an appointment for a guide to explore the planets and stars with you through their powerful telescope. Or, take matters into your own hands. Grab some blankets and pillows and head out of town and into the national park or forest to get away from the lights where the majestic skies come alive right over your heads. Print some info on constellations, download a star app or find a book at the local book store. And don't forget to grab some sweet treats and hot cocoa before you leave town. Here are our favorite places to see the stars.
ART IN THE OPEN
From free galleries to public art, there is a lot to experience around Estes for no cost. None of the art galleries or art shops charge an entrance fee, so you can browse thousands of photos, paintings, pottery pieces, blown glass and more. Sometimes you can even see demonstrations or plein air painters in or near the shops. The public art downtown includes bronze sculptures of wildlife and historic figures, interactive pieces that make music and modern installments that pique curiosities.
Throughout the year Estes Park hosts a number of free events and festivals. In the summertime, Bond Park and Performance Park in downtown Estes come alive with concerts, arts, culture and more. Sing along with Cowboy Brad, catch a movie under the stars or picnic at an outdoor concert. Browse all of Estes Park's free events on our event calendar.
This one is admittedly dangerous. Stroll the downtown streets, or the Riverwalk and enjoy the sights and sounds of Estes Park. But be warned, you may be enticed to pop in and open up the wallet at one of Estes Park’s locally owned and operated shops. Here's our guide to retail in Estes Park, in case you're tempted.