Surrounded by some of Colorado’s most majestic peaks, Estes Park is not your typical mountain town. A summer paradise nestled at the basecamp to Rocky Mountain National Park, its breathtaking scenery and abundance of outdoor activities make it the perfect destination for outdoor enthusiasts and families alike. Here are some of our favorite things to do in Estes Park in the summer.

Outdoor Adventures

Hiking and Mountain Biking

One of the top Estes Park summer activities is exploring the trails in and around Rocky Mountain National Park. First, snag your timed entry permit if the National Park is your activity of choice. Choose your own hiking adventure from more than 300 miles of trails where you’re rewarded with panoramic vistas of snow-capped peaks and meandering rivers. For those seeking a bit more adrenaline, take your mountain bike to Pierson Park and the rugged Crosier Mountain. 

hike summer

Rock Climbing

A rock climbing haven, Estes Park is known for its alpine lines, bolted sports climbs, and high-country bouldering 7,500 feet above sea level. To get the lay of the land, head to the Kent Mountain Adventure Center for guided climbing experiences or shop for gear at Estes Park Mountain Shop where there are over 4,500 square feet of indoor climbing terrain to try before you head outdoors. 

Fun on the Water


Estes Park is a mountain angler's dream. Lake Estes Marina is perfect for casting a line on Lake Estes during the summer. Or you can enjoy fly fishing excursions all year round. Kirks Fly Shop is a great local resource for permits, fishing gear, and local tips on where to catch trout or how to book a guide. 

Kayaking and Canoeing

Explore Lake Estes on your next kayak or and stand-up paddleboard adventure. Rent a kayak, SUP, or canoe at Lake Estes Marina and enjoy a peaceful paddle around an alpine lake while soaking up magnificent mountain views.

lake estes

Summer Events

Concerts and Festivals

Estes Park hosts a variety of summer concerts and events. Summer kicks off with Friends of Folk Festival in June held at the beautiful Performance Park. Don’t miss the rip-roarin' cowboy action at the Rooftop Rodeo in July at Stanley Park Fairgrounds, a week-long event filled with rodeo competitions and parades. The SnowyGrass Music Festival features Americana and bluegrass music in July. Catch the lively Estes Park Wine Festival in August, where you can taste the best of Colorado’s wineries. And finish off the summer at the family-friendly Longs Peak Scottish Irish Highland Festival celebrating all things Celtic with scotch-tasting, strongman contests, and highland dancing. 

friends of folk music

Free Things to Do in the Summer

Scenic Walks and Bike Rides

The Lake Estes Trail is a 3.8-mile loop around the lake, offering breathtaking views of the Rocky Mountains, perfect spots for fishing, and maybe even a glimpse of local wildlife like elk, deer, or a bald eagle. Whether you prefer a leisurely pace, a brisk jog, or a bike ride, this trail is one the whole family will enjoy. Or you can stroll around downtown Estes Park where boutiques and galleries offer a fun mixture of art, clothing, and antiques. 

Farmers Markets

A popular Estes Park summer event is the Estes Park Farmers Market. Held from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Thursday from June through September at the Estes Park Visitor Center parking lot, it’s a great community-led event to pick up some Colorado-grown and Colorado-made products from the heart of the Rockies.

Unique Things to Do


Estes Park’s clear, dark skies make it a perfect spot for stargazing. Join a stargazing event in Rocky Mountain National Park to learn about the constellations and enjoy the night sky at Bear Lake or Trail Ridge Road. Another recommendation is to visit the Estes Park Memorial Observatory with its 16-inch Ritchey-Chretien telescope that reveals the sparkling night sky with clarity. 

stars and milkyway seen from rocky mountain national park

The Stanley Hotel

No visit to Estes Park is complete without a trip to the beautifully restored Stanley Hotel. Famous for inspiring Stephen King’s "The Shining," the hotel offers a guided Night Tour, or you can just stop by to enjoy the gorgeous views of the Rocky Mountains or have a dram at their famous whiskey bar, the Vault. 


Summer Lodging

Estes Park’s lodging options are nothing short of diverse. Choose from bedding down in a mountain village cabin at The Estes Park Resort, spoiling yourself at luxury hotels like the Taharaa Mountain Lodge, or having memorable family vacations at the YMCA of the Rockies – Estes Park Center. For those who love the outdoors, there are excellent RV options at places like Elk Meadow Lodge / RV Resort and Spruce Lake RV Resort located close to local attractions and with the majestic Rocky Mountains as its backdrop. 

This summer, embrace your adventurous spirit and explore the beautiful mountain town of Estes Park, a destination that’s all about outdoor adventures, water fun, and unique local experiences.

Rams Horn