A perfect playground for kids of all ages, Estes Park, CO in the winter offers a variety of family-friendly activities to embrace the colder winter months. A mix of both outdoor adventure and indoor excitement, be sure to include these five experiences on your itinerary:
1. Snowshoeing is the perfect way to get families active together! No need to break the budget on gear kids will quickly outgrow, many outfitters in the village rent gear for all ages. Load up the car and head into Rocky Mountain National Park to take a short loop around the mostly-level Bear Lake Trail or for families with older children, snowshoe the 1.2 mile round-trip trail to the beautifully frozen Alberta Falls.
2. Get out on the ice. Whether ice fishing or ice skating, there is fun to be had all winter long. Your little ones will love the thrill of catching their own fish and the challenge of learning to skate on the pond.
3. Take a class through the Rocky Mountain Conservancy. They offer fun, family-oriented classes including guided educational snowshoe hikes specifically designed for families with kids, animal programs and much more. Classes start in January but continue throughout the summer and fall. See a complete class schedule on the RMC Website.
4. Sledding, a favorite winter pastime is offered at an unbeatable location within Rocky Mountain National Park at the Hidden Valley Snow Play Area. A former ski hill located off Trail Ridge Road just below and west of Many Parks Curve, it's the only place within Rocky Mountain National Park where sledding is allowed.
5. Warm-up hands and toes by climbing to the top of the indoor Epic Climbing Gym at the Estes Park Mountain Shop. The family-friendly gym offers 4,500 square feet of climbing terrain including a 600 square foot bouldering wall. With "no age limits in any direction" and trained staff on belay - it is an easy and safe way to try out the thrill of indoor rock climbing.
During a winter family getaway to Estes Park, opt for staying in a lodging property that has an indoor pool to keep the kiddos entertained once the sun goes down. Check out the YMCA of the Rockies, The Estes Park Resort, Murphy's River Lodge, Streamside on Fall River, Appenzell Inn or Rodeway Inn, which all offer fun indoor pools.
Check out Estes Park's newest winter family destination: the Estes Valley Community Center. Complete with an outdoor hot tub, leisure pool, lazy river and aqua climbing wall, not to mention a basketball court for those who don't want to swim, the community center is the perfect place to go on a cold day.