The Fourth of July is one of the busiest days in Estes Park, rightfully so. It’s a great idea. Seeing fireworks over the lake and celebrating America among the mountains is awesome. Get here early (the fireworks start at 9:30 pm over Lake Estes, and we suggest making a long weekend of it or staying the night before ). And if you get stuck in traffic, play those car games and bop along to our Estes Park 4th of July Spotify playlist. Here are some more tips for parking and navigating summer crowds.
Whether you like to be in the middle of the celebration as the life of the party or watching from above to soak it all in, we curated a list of some fun spots every kind of celebrator would enjoy the fireworks from.
For those who want to earn their fireworks…
Of course, let’s remember our hiking safety and pack those headlamps!
You don’t need to go all the way to Gem Lake to find the perfect viewing spot. We suggest you just start hiking until you find an overlook you can jam with (there are several).
This trail starts in downtown Estes, making it extremely accessible at only 1 mile and rewarding you with a good view of downtown and Lake Estes.
This trail starts a little bit outside of Estes, down highway 36 in Hermit Park. After hiking through fields and up and around a forested mountain, you’ll reach Kruger Rock after about 2 miles. You’ll get 360 views up there but the fireworks and town lights make it obvious to know which way to look. Your dog could even enjoy the fireworks (not too loud to spook a pup hopefully).
This 5.6 mile hike can be accessed off of Trail Ridge Road. The trail takes you through a steep forested area that eases you into the elevation change. The last half mile or so is the hardest park as you make your way to the peak where you will have panoramic views, one view being the fireworks over the lake.
This hike is for those who are not only committed to the fireworks but also the journey. With a roundtrip of 7.5 miles, it’s no walk in the park. The views at the top are breathtaking (literally) and you will not regret those firework views.
For those who want more than fireworks…
Located on South Saint Vrain, Lumpy not only guarantees you a view of the fireworks but also live music, food trucks and duh, beer until 11pm!
Warm the belly up with whiskey on the Elkins patio filled with yard games and yep, they also have a great view of the fireworks!
An Estes tradition, the Event Center Complex hosts their annual Big Bang Event, celebrating the fourth with music, food, craft beer & wine and once again, a great view of the fireworks from the grandstands. Grab your ticket here.
For those who want a front row seat…
Around the Lake
The Lake Estes trail is a little under 4 miles and is waiting for you to set up your camping chairs, look up and enjoy.
This lodge is located on the northeast side of the lake and hosts Fourth of July festivities with the grand finale being an up-close view of the fireworks from their Pavilion. Since space is limited, tickets are required for entrance and you can scoop yours by calling or emailing their front desk.
If fireworks aren’t your thing…
More than 100 vehicles, from “Steam-to-Electric” will be displayed at the Estes Park Events Complex, located at the Fairgrounds at Stanley Park. Along with steam and electric cars, other street rods, stock cars, muscle cars, sports cars, vintage and classic cars will be on display.
At 7 pm, the Estes Village Band tunes up for its annual patriotic concert featuring the works of John Philip Sousa and others at Performance Park Amphitheater. And it’s free!
If you are staying in lodging that surrounds the lake like Estes Lake Lodge, or any of the long list of lodging that line the lake on highway 34, you already have prime real estate for viewing the fireworks... and you already have a parking spot!
And lastly, let’s be safe. We really like our visitors and want you to have the best time you can. And great news, the Estes Park free shuttles have extended their evening service hours to help us get to that prime viewing spot! Check out the shuttles page or call 970-577-9900 for more information about that one! Oh, one more thing - have fun!