Stroll around Estes and you’ll soon notice the town has a thing for sculpture. Here’s the cool history behind each—and where to find them.
1. Samson the Elk
Location: Intersection of Highways 7 & 36
Samson was the unofficial mascot of Estes Park until his death in 1995. The distinctive seven-by-eight-point, 1000-pound bull was known by residents and guests and loved by all. This commemorative statue stands in his memory.
2. Bighorn sheep (sheep island)
Location: Intersection of Highways 34 & 36, locally known as Sheep Island. These powerful creatures are the symbol of Rocky Mountain National Park.
3. Green Apples
Location: Estes Valley Library
Created by Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame artist Herb Mignery, who resides in Estes. The scene depicted in this sculpture was inspired by his childhood, when he would ride along with his neighbor as he herded cows in for the evening milking, stopping in the orchard to pick green apples to snack on along the way.
4. Enos Mills and his dog, Scotch
Location: Bond Park
After a chance meeting with famous naturalist and mountain enthusiast John Muir, Mills was inspired to become a conservationist and went on to become known as the Father of Rocky Mountain National Park. He was also an activist, lecturer, writer, and Longs Peak lover – he ascended the 14,259-foot mountain 340 times. His dog, Scotch, followed him everywhere.
5. Voice in the Forest
Location: The Old Church Shops on Elkhorn
Victor Issa, the artist of this whimsical fairy worked on his craft out of The Old Church Shops for 15 years. When he moved out, the Shops owner couldn’t part with Voice, so she stayed. This is one of the few privately owned bronze sculptures in Estes Park.
6. Wishful Thinking (Cowboy in the River)
Location: Tregent Park, in Fall River west of the water wheel
This statue doubles as a fountain, depicting a cowboy dumping water out of his boot. Created by Shalah Perkins. Dedicated to and donated by Jong “Sunny” Lee.
7. 8. and 9: Mountain Lion, Eagle, Beaver Family
Location: George Hix Riverside Plaza
These animals are common to the area and add an artistic touch to this comfortable riverside plaza. Look closely for them, they are situated out of site and are easy to miss at first glance.
Location: George Hix Riverside Plaza
Created by George Walbye and commissioned by the Hix family to commemorate the dedication of the plaza to George Hix, who was a prominent businessman and community servant in Estes Park. Hix’s influence and foresight led to the creation of the plaza after the Lawn Lake dam broke in 1982, flooding much of downtown and the surrounding area. Hix’s love of horseback riding was the inspiration for the piece.
11. Estes Park Veterans Monument
Location: Just West of the Estes Park Visitor Center
A bald eagle, with wings spread wide and a keen stare, alights on a branch to give residents and guests a quiet place to reflect on and honor the brave women and men who served our country. Created by Colorado artist Daniel Glanz.
12. F.O. Stanley
Location: The Stanley Hotel
Founder of The Stanley Hotel and the Historic Fall River Hydroplant, perfecter of the dry photo plate and inventor of the Stanley Motor Carriage (a.k.a. the Stanley Steamer), Stanley, who suffered from tuberculosis, moved west at the urging of his doctor and ended up impacting this mountain town for generations to come.
Location: hidden along Elkhorn Avenue – scavenger hunt!
12 little pikas (think a cross between a rabbit and a mouse) hide in unexpected places along Elkhorn Avenue. The Town of Estes Park commissioned and placed them for a scavenger hunt as part of the town’s 2017 Centennial Celebration. Pick up a guide at the Estes Park Visitor Center for clues on where to find them, or find out more here.
The YMCA of the Rockies, located outside of town, is home to another of the privately-owned sculptures in Estes Park – 4 youths holding the iconic “YMCA” pose.