Lake Estes Marina#6 in Best Things To Do in Estes Park
Price & Hours
Whether you want to sunbathe on a pontoon or cast a line from a small boat or the shoreline, the Lake Estes Marina offers something for everyone. Those who'd prefer to stay on dry land can take advantage of bike rentals for $9 an hour or pedal cars for $23 an hour to traverse the paved, 3.75-mile loop around the lake, named the Lake Estes Trail.
Past visitors enjoyed cruising around the lake on their rented pontoon boats, which provide shade on particularly sunny days. The also appreciated that the marina sells fishing licenses and rents fishing equipment for $2 an hour or $10 a day. The most common disappointment amongst past travelers is the lake's size, which they say doesn't compare to the massive lakes in Rocky Mountain National Park.
Lake Estes is located east of downtown Estes Park, and the Lake Estes Marina sits on the northeast corner of the lake, just off of Big Thompson Avenue. The Lake Estes Marina is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. for rentals and welcomes customers from May to early October. The cost of boat rentals varies greatly: Ten-passenger pontoons cost $70 an hour, seven-passenger pontoons cost $60 an hour, fishing boats cost $50 an hour, paddle boats cost $35 an hour, and canoes, kayaks and stand-up paddleboards cost $25 an hour. (Half-hour rentals are also available at an increased rate.) Note that swimming in Lake Estes is not permitted. Visit the Estes Valley Recreation and Park District website for additional information on the Lake Estes Marina.
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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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