Spend Time Outdoors in Estes Park

 The main draw to people who plan to visit Estes Park, Colorado, is the vast number of outdoor activities and attractions the area provides. As the gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park, it has numerous areas where you can spend hours enjoying the beauty of Colorado’s mountain range. As you are planning for your Colorado travel experience, be sure to plan some time outside.

As you take in the breathtaking sites, try to imagine this area 12,000 years ago. Yes, archaeological records show that humans have lived in the area for that amount of time. The first known people to live there were the Clovis. They were the first people to cross the Bering Strait land bridge from Asia into North America, and their remains have been found in Rocky Mountain National Park. The McKean people, one of the Paleo-Indian cultures, administered game drives there around 2,000 B.C. They funneled animals toward natural “traps,” then the hunters would descend upon them.

Many people made their way into the Estes Valley when gold was discovered in the state in 1849. Even though most of the gold was discovered farther south, one miner, Joel Estes, wandered into this area, and this is the man for whom the village was named. Estes, from Kentucky, struck gold in California. He became one of the rich prospectors. He and his wife and 13 children moved to what is now known as the Estes Valley.

So, as you wander through the area, try to realize the rich history it has to offer as well as the beauty you see.

Top Outdoor Things to Do in and Around Estes Park

The moment you arrive in Estes Park, you will feel the outdoors calling to you. As you plan the various things you will do on your trip, be sure to consider these popular areas.

Horseback Trail Ride
Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife during your horseback ride through the Estes Park mountains.

Rocky Mountain National Park

A trip to Estes Park is not complete without a visit (or two) to Rocky Mountain National Park (pictured above). This park is unique in that it contains the highest road in America, and it is laid out so that you can see some of its best views without having to hike, although hikes are abundant as well.

Simply driving through the park will give you some of the most breathtaking views imaginable, so do not think you have to avoid this if you are not particularly physically fit. For those who love to hike, try to grab a map before you leave to plan out your hikes.

Estes Park Outfitters

Horseback riding through the mountains is a popular activity here, and this is one of the most authentic experiences. Take a half-day ride into the mountains to a 1800s homestead on the back of a horse. You will be led by an authoritative guide.

Lake Estes
You can rent boats, bring your fishing gear, or pack a picnic for a day at the Lake Estes Marina.

The groups are limited to just a handful of people, so you have an intensely personal experience. Keep your eyes peeled during your ride for wildlife, which is abundant along these trails. The company also offers full-day high country horseback rides that take you well into the Rockies.

Lake Estes Marina

If you are ready to spend some time on the water, head to Lake Estes Marina. Here you can rent pontoon boats, kayaks, or canoes to take out on the water. Bring your fishing gear to try your hand at catching a few fish. Picnic facilities on shore allow you to make an entire day out of your visit.

Whatever you plan to do on your visit to Estes Park, you can be sure to enjoy plenty of scenic views and fun activities while you’re there.

If You Go

Estes Park is located fairly high in the mountains, so the winter snows may not melt until well into the spring or even summer, depending on the snowfall amounts. Plan your visit accordingly so you can experience all of the outdoor attractions you want. To see more about what there is to do in Estes Park, visit www.estesparkcvb.com.

Rocky Mountain National Park
1000 US 36

Estes Park Outfitters
5229 Little Valley Drive

Lake Estes Marina
1770 Big Thompson Ave.

Photos of Lake Estes, horseback trail ride, and Trail Ridge Road courtesy of Estes Park Convention & Visitors Bureau.