Downtown Estes Park

#3 in Best Things To Do in Rocky Mountain National Park
Downtown Estes Park  picture
Ronda Kimbrow Photography/Getty Images

Key Info

500 Big Thompson Ave.

Price & Hours

Free

Details

Shopping, Sightseeing, Free, Neighborhood/Area Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
4.6

scorecard

  • 5.0Value
  • 4.5Food Scene
  • 4.5Atmosphere

Estes Park is the gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park, and it is home base for many visitors. It contains a host of accommodations, ranging from inns and motels to hotels like the Stanley, which range in price. And the town is also filled with restaurants, bars and shops that line the main street, Elkhorn Avenue. Try Brownfield's for affordable souvenirs, such as T-shirts, blankets, key chains, and koozies. For bars, head to the traveler-approved Rock Cut Brewing Company or The Barrel beer garden. What's more, the town contains 75 restaurants that span cuisines, from the diner The Egg & I to the pizza place Antonio's Real New York Pizza & Deli, so visitors are sure to find some food to suit their fancy. 

The Big Thompson River also cuts through town, with an array of waterfront dining establishments and a Riverwalk that make for a charming way to enjoy a relaxing meal or a post-dinner stroll. For more information, visit Estes Park's tourism website

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More Best Things To Do in Rocky Mountain National Park

Trail Ridge Road1 of 6
Beaver Meadows Visitor Center2 of 6
Type
Time to Spend
#1 Trail Ridge Road

Horace Albright, director of the National Park Service between 1929 and 1933, once said about Trail Ridge Road, "It's hard to describe what a sensation this new road is going to make. You will have the whole sweep of the Rockies before you in all directions." Trail Ridge Road was a sensation when it debuted back in 1932 and it remains so today for the travelers that make the 48-mile drive from Estes Park to Grand Lake, rising above the tree line for 11 miles at an elevation of more than 12,000 feet. Visitors should keep that in mind when they're stopping at the lookout points that the road experiences temperatures that are 20 and even 30 degrees lower than both Estes Park and Grand Park. 

Most travelers call Trail Ridge Road a must-do while in Rocky Mountain National Park. One recent traveler, who said she spent a full day taking in the "stunning views" along Trail Ridge Road, saw elk, marmots and moose. Stopping at the pull-offs yields some spectacular photo ops, and some offer restrooms. 

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