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Why Go To Estes Park

Located about 70 miles northwest of Denver and about 75 miles from the Denver International Airport, Estes Park, Colorado, sits at the base of Rocky Mountain National Park. Estes Park provides a great jumping-off point for adventurers who want to stay close to Colorado's outdoor attractions. The area was named Estes Park in 1864 by the owner and editor of the Rocky Mountain News, who decided on the name in honor of the successful gold miner Joel Estes, who lived there from 1860 to 1866. The famous Stanley Hotel opened in Estes Park in 1909. The hotel's construction transformed Estes Park into a luxury retreat town that would welcome  Pope St. John Paul II, Emperor Akihito of Japan and President George W. Bush. In 1982, a burst dam in Rocky Mountain National Park caused Estes Park to flood, so the town's current appearance differs a bit from historical photos.

Nowadays, Estes Park welcomes travelers from all walks of life who want to experience the American Rockies' wilderness while enjoying the comforts of a cozy town. Warm weather provides the ideal setting for hiking, biking, fly-fishing, riding the aerial tram and more. Meanwhile, snow brings cold-weather activities like snowshoeing, backcountry skiing and ice climbing. Whether travelers visit this Colorado town in search of adrenaline-pumping adventure sports or to unwind and breathe the mountain air, they don't leave disappointed after experiencing Estes Park.

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Best of Estes Park

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Estes Park Travel Tips

Best Months to Visit

The best time to visit Estes Park is from June to September. The four-month period of warm weather allows travelers to comfortably explore the area's offerings. Still, Estes' Parks natural wonders don't go into hibernation outside of this window; instead, winter snow makes roads significantly more difficult to navigate, and cold weather requires visitors to dress much warmer to maintain some degree of comfort. But even with the lower temperatures that typically hover around 40 degrees, winter still attracts adventurous travelers who want to test themselves against the powder snow of the Rockies.  

Weather in Estes Park

Switch to Celsius/MM
Average Temperature (°F)
36
18
36
17
44
23
51
28
60
35
74
45
80
50
76
48
69
41
56
33
44
25
35
18
Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec
Average Precipitation (in)
0.32
0.49
0.9
1.42
2.11
1.43
2.16
1.98
1.23
0.93
0.63
0.37
Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec
See details for When to Visit Estes Park

Data sourced from the National Climatic Data Center

What You Need to Know

  • Utilize the free seasonal shuttle The shuttle operates during the peak summer tourism season and whisks visitors to popular locations around Estes Park, including the Stanley Hotel and a visitor center for Rocky Mountain National Park. Find a shuttle map and timetable on the Estes Park government website.

  • Rent a car Shuttles get you around Estes Park, but renting a car gives you the ability to explore Rocky Mountain National Park and other areas at your own pace.

  • Consider multiple accommodation options Camping sites, cabins and vacation rentals all abound in and around Estes Park, complementing the region's hotels.

How to Save Money in Estes Park

  • Take advantage of fee-free days at Rocky Mountain National Park Plan your visit around one of the various annual free park days, when access to national parks is complimentary. Find a list of free days on the National Park Service website.

  • Limit restaurant meals Eating out in Estes Park proves expensive, so cooking your own food allows for a more flexible budget. When searching for accommodation options, consider places equipped with kitchens.

  • Avoid Elkhorn Avenue Candy and souvenir shops will rapidly drain any parent's wallet, so avoid Elkhorn Avenue if you're traveling with children.

Photos

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Mountain peaks and numerous lakes make up the picturesque Rocky Mountain National Park.

Brad McGinley Photography/Getty Images

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