Rocky Mountain National Park has enacted a timed-entry permit system in order to spread out incoming traffic. Now, we know these reservations can be hard to come by, but don't worry, we've got your back. There are still plenty of fun things to do around Estes Park and ways to get into the National Park, even if you don’t snag a permit. How about an evening or late afternoon adventure? Or, head to Hermit Park with your dog and experience all the hiking, biking, camping and horseback riding your heart desires. Want something more structured? Take a guided tour in the National Park.

Take A Sunset Tour

After 2 p.m, you don’t need a timed-entry permit to access most of the National Park excluding the Bear Lake corridor! For Bear Lake Road Corridor, entry will be permitted from 6 p.m. onwards without a timed entry permit. Remember, an entrance pass is always necessary when exploring any area of RMNP.  During the summer months, the extended daylight hours provide ample opportunity for exploration and enjoyment. Pack a picnic and a beverage to enjoy next to your favorite lookout, meadow or babbling brook. Drive up Trail Ridge Road (being sure to take time to enjoy each part) and catch the sunset at the top. There’s not much more magical than a sunset viewed from the alpine tundra. Many local species are more active around dusk so keep an eye out for wildlife.

dream lake

Go Guided

Sit back, relax, and let the experts handle the permitting process while you embark on a journey to learn new skills or discover hidden gems. Local Estes guides offer a wide range of services, ensuring you have the most exceptional experience in Rocky Mountain National Park. Discover captivating trails and secret spots under the guidance of seasoned professionals who possess a deep understanding of the park's historical and natural wonders. What's more, many guides are also skilled photographers, offering valuable tips to capture and share the beauty of your unforgettable experience. Looking for technical help? Outfitters in Estes offer fly fishing and rock climbing trips into the park with all the gear and knowledge you could need. Want to find a new spot? Hop on horseback or take a hiking tour.

femme trek coffee

Find a Different Trail

While the National Park is certainly worthy of its international acclaim, other trails around Estes Park offer rivaling views with sweeping vistas of the Continental Divide, overlooks of town and more. Plus, they offer new opportunities, like bringing your dog along for the hike or pedaling around on a mountain bike. Hermit Park, a county-owned recreation area, offers awesome hiking with your dog – Kruger Rock is a favorite that offers overlooks of Estes Park and a view of the dramatic RMNP peaks. Plus, some mountain biking trails built by and for riders. Limber Pine is the newest, offering a smattering of technical climbs and descents easily linked up to the Homestead Meadows loop. Crosier Mountain, just northeast of town, offers a bit of peak bagging whether you’re traveling on two legs, four legs or two wheels. The Lake Estes Trail may be paved, but offers a perfect 3.75-mile loop perfect for a walk, run or bicycle ride. Plus, the marina rents fishing gear, kayaks, SUPs and more to get you out on the water. The lake trail also connects to the Riverwalk, allowing an easy and beautiful stroll through Estes passing by shops and restaurants with the calming sound of the Big Thompson River to accompany you.

kruger rock hiking


Find a Place to Stay

With all this adventure you’ll need to make your base. There are plenty of lodging options in Estes that will pair perfectly with your dream vacation. 

the landing cabin