Get Out of FOCO: Day Trip to Estes Park, Colorado


DAY TRIP TO ESTES PARK, CO

Activities-

Rocky Mountain National Park:

Rocky Mountain National Park is one of Colorado’s most scenic areas, containing the highest paved road in the United States at 12,000 feet above sea level and over 350 miles of trails. It can be visited year-round and features stunning views with all four seasons. It is located just under 10 minutes East of the town of Estes Park and is just a short car ride away.

Once inside the park, there are several things to do, however, a day pass to get in the park is $20 per vehicle. As you enter the park, ask for a map to guide you around because signage within the park is limited.

One of the most visited and versatile areas of the park is Bear Lake. The lake is beautiful year round and is perfect for all day-travelers. Bear lake acts as both a destination in itself, and a trailhead. Visitors can choose to hang out down by the lake and have a picnic with Pikes Peak gleaming in the background, or, hike the 3.5 mile round trip hike up to Emerald lake. The hike is easy to moderate and passes by three beautiful lakes on the way up. At the top, you will find a glowing green-colored lake just under Flattop Mountain.

Travel time from Downtown Estes: 3.8 miles; 9 minute drive

 

Stanley Hotel: 

The Stanley Hotel is not only the most historical hotel in Estes Park, but also the most luxurious. “Listed on the National Register of Historic Places and a member of Historic Hotels of America, The Stanley Hotel is famous for its old world charm”. The hotel’s story began in 1903 when an east coast couple moved to Estes and started the luxurious hotel. The hotel became famous in the 1970’s when Stephen King’s movie, The Shining, was filmed at the hotel. Throughout the years the beautiful hotel has been known for its paranormal encounters and ghostly sightings, so much so, that the hotel offers guided ghost tours daily.

There are two types of tours the hotel offers-

  • The Stanley Tour: The price per person is $23.
    • A day tour that provides the history of the hotel and its founder
  • The Night Spirit Tour: The price per person is $28.
    • Introduces and explains the paranormal surrounding the 100+ year old hotel.

There is a military discount of $3 off tickets available for those who show proper military identification.

Both tours take about 90 minutes. Tours meet in the waiting area on the ground level of the hotel. Tickets can be purchased at the following link: http://www.stanleyhotel.com/tours.html

The hotel has $10 a day parking available for guests year round.

Travel Time from Downtown Estes: .8 miles; 4 minute drive or 17 minute walk

 

Estes Park Brewery:

If you are 21 and enjoy the craft brewery scene in Fort Collins, Estes Park Brewery would be a great stop for you on your trip to Estes Park. the local brewery features twelve beers on tap that are brewed right in their backyard. In addition to great craft beer, they also have a beer garden with a scenic overlook of the mountains that is beautiful year-round. Inside the brewery you will find video games and pool times to keep you busy while you sip your beer. If you can’t decide on one beer to enjoy while you’re there, ask the bartender about a flight. You can pick four of their beers and they will serve them to you in smaller serving so you can try them all! The Brewery is open from 11:00-8:00 on weekdays and until 9:00 on weekends so make sure you get there in time. They also have snacks and smaller plates if you need a snack to hold you over until dinner!

Menu: www.epbrewery.com/

Travel Time from Downtown Estes: .6 miles; 3 minute walk or 13 minute drive

 

Restaurants-

Ed’s Cantina & Grill:

If you aren’t in the mood for italian, Ed’s Cantina & Grill has a fun and exciting atmosphere and great mexican food. The restaurant is generally pretty busy and does not take reservation, however, it is located in the heart of Downtown Estes so if you do have to wait for a table you can walk around and enjoy the shops lining main street. Ed’s will text you when your table is ready so there is no need to hang out near the restaurant. Once seated, you will find that the restaurant is filled with exciting energy and I would recommend a margarita on the rocks to get started. Ed’s is a great place for people with dietary restrictions because they have a separate menu with gluten free items and a separate menu for vegans as well. In addition to authentic mexican food they feature an array of gourmet burgers as well. Ed’s is a great option for a fun environment that has delicious, cheaply priced food.

Menu: www.edscantina.com/menu

Travel Time from Estes: .1 mile; 5 minute or 1 minute drive (It is on the East side of E. Elkhorn Ave, which is the main street of Estes)

Mama Roses:

A very popular dining option in Downtown Estes Park is Mama Rose’s. Mama Rose’s is a quaint riverside Italian Cafe located in the heart of Estes. It is a popular Italian mainstay for Italian favorites like spaghetti & lasagna in a cozy riverside cottage setting. The Restaurant is located at 338 E Elkhorn Ave, Estes Park, CO 80517. This is a short 0.7 mile beautiful walk from the Stanley Hotel. It is a perfect dinner spot after a ghost tour at the hotel during the afternoon. The restaurant is open 11am-3pm, closed from 3-4pm, and reopens from 4pm-9pm, making it a perfect dinner option. This is one of few restaurants that take reservations in Estes, allowing you to plan ahead and not worry about a wait after a long day in the park and visiting the hotel! The best spot to sit, weather permitting, is the patio that wraps around the backside. It looks out over the river that trickles behind the restaurant is is  great place to enjoy fresh air and amazing delicious food.

Menu: https://mamarosesrestaurant.com/dinner/

Travel Time from Estes: .1 mile; 5 minute or 1 minute drive (Also located on E. Elkhorn Ave, right in the center of the main street of Estes)

 

 

 

Travel Information-

Travel time from Colorado State University in Fort Collins, CO to Estes Park, CO is about 1 hour and 20 minutes. There are 3 routes to get from CSU to Estes:

 

 

 

Weather Updates-

If you are planning on making a trip to Estes Park this weekend, the weather will be beautiful! Friday (03/02) has a forecasted high of 50℉, Saturday (03/03) also has a high of 50℉, and Sunday will be a little cooler with a high of 39℉. No precipitation has been forecasted for this weekend.

Average monthly temperatures in Estes are below:

Month: Average Temperature (°F):
January 28.5
February 30
March 35
April 40
May 48.5
June 57.5
July 63
August 61
September 54.5
October 45
November 35
December 29

 

Annual high temperature average: 57.2

Annual low temperature average: 30.7

 

Photo Credentials- 

Bear Lake: dayhikesneardenver.com

Stanley Hotel: time.com

Estes Park Brewery: epbrewery.com

Ed’s Cantina: estes-park.co

Mama Rose’s: youtube.com

All Maps: googlemaps.com