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Kyla Duhamel/Flickr

Key Info

420 E Riverside Dr.

Price & Hours

$14 for adults; $12 for seniors 60 and older; $10 for children 6 to 11; free for children 5 and younger
9 a.m.-6 p.m. daily | May 25-Sept. 2.

Details

Natural Wonders, Hiking, Recreation, Sightseeing Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend

scorecard

  • 4.0Value
  • 4.5Facilities
  • 4.0Atmosphere

Designed and built by Robert Heron in 1955, the Estes Park Aerial Tramway whisks visitors to the peak of Prospect Mountain at an elevation of almost 9,000 feet. Heron also built the first double chair lift in the United States, and the Estes Park Aerial Tramway is still owned and operated by the Heron family today. Since its inaugural trip, the tramway has ferried more than 3 million people over the tree line and to the mountain's peak. 

Past visitors suggested waiting until you reach the top to shop for gifts, as the coffee and gift shop at the peak offer better memorabilia than the shop in downtown Estes Park. They also recommended you stroll along the hiking trail at the summit after grabbing your dose of caffeine. Even travelers with a self-professed fear of heights appreciated the stunning views available from the aerial tram.

The aerial tramway's base station is located in the southwest downtown area of Estes Park on Riverside Drive and is easily accessible from most of the town. The Estes Park Aerial Tramway costs $14 for adults, $12 for seniors 60 and older, and $10 for children 6 to 11 and is free for children 5 and younger. The tramway runs daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and operates from May 25 through Sept. 2. Additional information can be found on the Estes Park Aerial Tramway website.

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#1 Rocky Mountain National Park

Rocky Mountain National Park encompasses more than 250,000 acres and boasts 124 named mountain peaks. Subsequently, the massive park draws visitors interested in camping, biking, fishing and horseback riding, among other outdoor activities. If you're not an outdoorsy type, consider a scenic drive or a picnic to make the most of the outstanding views. Winter activities like cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and sledding keep a flow of travelers visiting the park during the chillier months. The park's wildlife, which includes elk, bighorn sheep and moose, roam the verdant forests and glittering lakes, guaranteeing that every trip to Rocky Mountain National Park will be memorable.

One of the park's biggest draws is its collection of approximately 355 miles of trails. Avid hikers recommend the difficult Sky Pond via Glacier Gorge Trail, which runs about 10 miles and becomes more rewarding as you climb upward. For a more manageable hike, visitors suggest the roughly 3-mile Emerald Lake Trail. If you choose to tackle this trail, plan to arrive early in the day to beat the daily crowds that descend on the trail. For first-time hikers, travelers recommend the 2-mile Dream Lake Trail, a scenic out-and-back route that will prove manageable for most fitness levels.

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