Estes Park Colorado - A Rocky Mountain Vacationland

Estes Park Colorado

Estes Park Colorado boarders Rocky Mountain National Park

Estes Park, Colorado, which lies at the east entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park, is the quintessential mountain town. It is an easy drive from Denver or Denver International Airport along scenic highways, rising from the front-range plains of Colorado to the majestic Rocky Mountains.

The Estes Valley was settled in the late 1800's at about the same time as Colorado statehood. Estes Park is named after one of the first settlers, Joel Estes, who came in 1859 for the gold-rush but stayed on with his family to try his hand at high-altitude ranching. F. O. Stanley arrived in 1903 to benefit from the clean mountain air as a "cure" for his tuberculosis. Once living in Estes Park, Stanley felt so much better that he built the famous and luxurious Stanley Hotel in 1909. Since rail travel was very prevalent along the Colorado plains, Stanley offered a "bus" service to get Hotel guests from the trains up to Estes Park. This was much easier for guests than navigating the twisty canyons with horse and carriage. The Stanley Hotel was the inspiration for Stephen King's "The Shining"

In 1982 a terrible flood cascaded out of Rocky Mountain Park, damaging much of downtown Estes Park. Though momentarily set-back, this gave the town a reason to redevelop the downtown area. Street lamps, benches, flowers and a pathway along part of the Big Thompson River were part of the improvements that are visible today.

What is there to do in Estes Park?

A vacation destination for many years, Estes Park, Colorado is one of the more popular spots as it abuts Rocky Mountain National Park. You will see that Estes Park still has a quaint character, not overly developed like some other mountain towns. And naturally, the primary draw to Estes Park is simply the outdoors and Rocky Mountain National Park with hiking, fishing and site seeing.

Various festivals are scheduled for the Spring, Summer and Fall months. There are also various concerts around town. Snow-shoeing and nordic skiing are popular in the winter, and horse-back riding and golf are also favorites in the summer.

Of course, there are many tourist oriented shops. You will find restaurant choices from affordable family fare to top gourmet dining experiences. And being a vacation resort town, there is quite a variety of cabins, hotels, and lodges, both close to town and scattered through out the area.