25 Best Things To Do in Estes Park, Colorado

Last Updated on March 16, 2023 by Nikki Jain

Estes Park is a picturesque mountain town in the beautiful state of Colorado. It is known to be a winter wonderland, averaging about eighty-two inches of snow every year. It has become an even better summer destination due to its proximity to the famous Rocky Mountain National Park. Whether you want to spend your days hiking in the mountains or curl up in a riverside cabin, this list of Estes Park attractions offers something for everyone during every season. Keep reading to discover the best things to do in Estes Park, Colorado.

Things To Do in Estes Park

Table of Contents [Show]

Affiliate links may be used in this post. I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you if you use my affiliate link.

1: Rocky Mountain National Park

Rocky Mountain National Park
Dreamstime/Brenda Denmark

One of the most visited national parks in the USA is Rocky Mountain National Park.

It is located just a few minutes from downtown Estes Park, the center of the park’s tourism. Rocky Mountain has tons to do, with hiking being the top runner.

In the winter, you can cross country ski, snow tube, and so much more. In the summer months, you can view wildlife, hike the trails or spend your night camping.

There is so much to do in this national park whether you want to drive through it or spend a few days out in nature.

The admission to this national park is a $25 national park fee per car that you can pay at the entry gate. Have a National Park Pass? If so, that gets you into the park for free!

Recommended Tours:

Address: 1000 Highway 36, Estes Park, CO 80517

2: Cross Country Skiing

Cross Country Skiing

Colorado is known for having enough snow to keep Cross-country skiing a top winter sport. It can also be a fantastic snowy workout!

Take your skis to Sprague Lake Glacier Basin Campground Loop when visiting Estes Park. This can be a popular cross country ski trail for beginners too.

It has a minimal elevation gain of 246 feet and remains relatively flat. The 2.7-mile loop brings you around the serene lake and into the lush forest.

Don't own any cross country skis? No problem, you can rent them at Estes Park Mountain Shop. Additional items such as gloves, hats, and other winter clothing are available to rent too.

Colorado weather can be very unpredictable and downright frigid sometimes. It stays mostly sunny between winter storms, but it is not uncommon to see sixty degrees one day. Then twenty degrees and blizzard conditions the next. Be sure to check the weather before heading out!

3: Kruger Rock Trail

Kruger Rock Trail
Flickr/Mike Thompson

Spend time in the great outdoors by hiking the Kruger Rock Trail, an easy option located only fifteen minutes southeast of Estes Park.

This four-mile hike has only 977 feet of elevation gain and is rated moderate. This trail is located in Hermit Park, a gorgeous location known for its pretty views.

There is a $9 park entry fee, so be sure to purchase your pass before entering the park.

Enjoying the scenery at the top makes it money worth spending. Take in the stunning 360 views of the Rocky Mountains, including the famous Longs Peak.

Address: Estes Park, CO 80517

4: Trail Ridge Road

Trail Ridge Road
Dreamstime/Paul Williams

Ready for a beautiful yet terrifying drive? Located in Rocky Mountain National Park, Trail Ridge Road will be your go-to destination.

It is a driving destination in the summer months, typically from May to June. This road is 12,183 feet in the air and is forty-eight miles long!

Due to the potential danger of the highway, it shuts down completely in the winter months. Plowing only up until the viewpoint section at Many Parks Curve.

When the windy road shuts down to cars, it opens up to cross-country skiers and snowshoers in the winter.

It is recommended to always check road conditions with Rocky Mountain National Park before starting your winter and summer adventure. Either way, it is a true bucket-list destination in Estes Park for adventurous travelers.

5: Estes Park Museum

Estes Park Museum

Let's head over to the town museum. Estes Park Museum helps you learn about the Native American tribes and homesteaders.

The museum details how Rocky Mountain National Park was formed, all the way back in 1915. Over time, the town has had a lot of hardship from wildfires to heavy floods.

Estes Park is a charming small town packed with a significant history and this museum is one of the best ways to learn the history of the area.

The best part is that the museum is free to visitors.

Estes Park Museum is one of the most educational things to do in Estes Park, so don’t forget to add it to your vacation list!

Address: 200 4th St, Estes Park, CO 80517

Visit Website

6: Take A Jeep Tour

Take A Jeep Tour

Let someone else do the driving during your vacation to Colorado! Estes Park’s Wildside 4x4 tours provide an adventurous option.

Join one of the 4x4 photography tours that cover a variety of gorgeous places. The Panoramic Photo Tour allows you to stop and take as many photographs as you’d like.

The tour ends at a private viewing tower that overlooks the Rocky Mountains. This is a great option for guests who would like to slow down and enjoy the ride.

The Not So Mellow Marshmallow Tour is an evening adventure. Enjoy the sunset over the mountain ranges, which will provide some bucket list photos.

The tour will end at a crackling campfire that sits on top of the mountain. Roast a marshmallow or two before heading back down to Estes Park!

7: Hidden Valley Snow Park

Hidden Valley Snow Park

Another hot spot located in Rocky Mountain National Park is the Hidden Valley Snow Park. It is located in the Hidden Valley Picnic Area in the park, which is only a short drive from Estes Park.

It was once known as a backcountry skiers paradise, mainly because it was a ski resort in the early 1950s.

Today you can enjoy the bunny hill from the old ski resort for both sledding and tubing. This can be a family fun day for the whole group. It is also used by people of all ages!

Channel your inner child and get a day of snow tubing on the books during the winter months in Estes Park. You can rent tubes or sleds from some of the mountain shops in town or purchase a cheap one at a local store.

If you visit the area in the summer, you can simply use the picnic area to enjoy a delicious lunch out in nature. Visitors can pick up snacks or sandwiches from downtown Estes Park before heading into the park for the day.

Try one of the popular day hikes in the area before working up an appetite. If visiting in the summer, be bear aware. That means packing up all of your food and leaving no scraps on the ground to attract these large beauties.

Address: Estes Park, CO 80517

8: Open Air Adventure Park

Open Air Adventure Park

Get your adrenaline rush at Open Air Adventure Park! This unique park offers 32 challenges that take place at 11 or 21 feet in the air.

They are recommended for every age, making it fun for the whole group. You even get to plan your own route, and the route typically lasts about 90 minutes.

If you don't want to play in the air, it is alright. You can also take advantage of their Axe Throwing. Rent a lane for thirty minutes and get all of your energy out with this fun activity.

Address: 490 Prospect Village Dr, Estes Park, CO 80517

9: Lily Mountain Trail

Lily Mountain Trail
Flickr/G. Lamar

Located just five miles south of Estes Park is the Lily Mountain Trail. This four-mile hike has an elevation gain of 1,180 feet, making it quite steep.

It is rated difficult but famous for its stunning wildflowers in late spring and early summer.

This trail is known for having a heavy incline and rugged terrain, so it is important to have some hiking experience when taking it on.

As long as you go slow and take your time, it could really be a fun activity for most! Snap some pictures of the wildflowers while enjoying your hiking experience.

10: The Stanley Hotel

The Stanley Hotel
Dreamstime/Derrick Neill

Did you know there is a spooky vibe to Estes park? Thanks to the historic Stanley hotel, of course.

The hotel became popular after Stephen King stayed overnight back in the 1970s. That stay ended up inspiring his first hardcover bestseller, The Shining.

If you are looking to get a bit terrified, you can stay in the main building at the hotel. Here some of the rooms are known for their paranormal activity, attracting ghost hunters to the area.

If you are daring, you can even request a "Spirited" room that has high reports of paranormal activity.

If you’re not looking to stay, just visit the hotel and take one of their day tours. Your guide will walk you through and explain all the ghostly events in this stunning hotel.

Address: 333 E Wonderview Ave, Estes Park, CO 80517

11: Longs Peak

Longs Peak
Dreamstime/Ronda Kimbrow

Colorado is famous for being the home of fifty-eight 14er hikes. A 14er is when the peak of a mountain is above 14,000 feet.

While some of these hikes are ranked as easy, others are rated as challenging. Longs Peak is one of those beasts rated as straight-up dangerous.

Over twenty thousand people come to Estes Park every year to try and climb Longs Peak but half of those climbers do not make it to the summit. That is why it is known as the most "tried and failed mountain in the state".

If you choose to hike this mountain or at least part of it, make sure you are 14er prepared which means extra hydration, food as well as layers.

The weather can change drastically in higher elevations and especially on larger mountains. Always check with the local rangers too, before heading out.

Luckily you can still marvel at the mountain from the base and even try some of the hikes on the Chasm Lake Trail.

Either way, Longs Peak is a staple in the Estes Park area. Visiting from afar is just as memorable as climbing to the top. This large mountain is one of the most amazing hidden gems in the US.

12: YMCA of the Rockies

YMCA of the Rockies

The YMCA of the Rockies has over thirty activities for you to enjoy. You can even take a guided hike into Rocky Mountain National Park if hiking on your own is not your scene.

In addition to hiking, they provide skiing, snowboarding, and even archery! If you want to stargaze at the vast Colorado sky, then sign up for one of their astronomy classes. This activity is one of the best things to do in Estes Park.

Traveling with your dog? You can take them to the dog park on the property as well. They will have plenty of areas to run around and get their energy out.

If relaxing is more your scene, then namaste all day at one of the guided yoga classes. Sometimes the classes are even held outside in the summer.

There is really something for everyone here. You can sign up for activities on the website here.

Address: 2515 Tunnel Rd, Estes Park, CO 80511

13: Stanley Park Bike Park

Stanley Park Bike Park

If mountain biking is your favorite hobby, then Estes Park has something for you! The Stanley Park Bike Park is a spot designed for mountain bikers and cyclists.

It features a 1.25 unpaved trail that is used for biking and running.

There is also a skills loop to practice jumping on dirt terrain. An ideal place to practice going over rocks and learning the basics of mountain biking.

All skill levels are welcome since the spots are rated from beginner to expert. It is a must-visit if you're a biker and thinking about what to do in Estes Park.

Address: 380 Community Dr, Estes Park, CO 80517

14: Lake Estes

Lake Estes

When you enter the town of Estes Park, you will quickly see the stunning Lake Estes.

This reservoir has a surface of 185 acres and has a shoreline of 4 miles. While you cannot swim in Lake Estes, you can do plenty of other things here!

Most visitors enjoy the picnic area while enjoying a mid-day cookout. There are sandy areas where you can throw down a blanket and layout. 

Get some exercise by walking around the lake, which is a four-mile loop and one of the top things to do in Estes Park.

Take in all the breathtaking views of the Rocky Mountains in the distance while enjoying your time at Lake Estes.

Address: 1770 Big Thompson Ave, Estes Park, CO 80517

15: Snowy Peaks Winery

Snowy Peaks Winery

Located on a side street in downtown Estes Park is a local favorite, Snowy Peaks Winery.

At this local gem, you can do a wine-tasting flight of Colorado wines while enjoying the mesmerizing views of the snow-capped mountain peaks.

Their wine list is extensive, offering many options for all palettes, including Merlot, Syrah, Viognier, and Riesling.

You can also come here to indulge in their gourmet cheese menu. They have an inside and outside seating area. Make sure to purchase some homemade jams and chocolates before leaving Estes Park.

Their tasting room is open seven days a week, all year long. So no need to plan this one around the seasons. Enjoy their patio in the summer or their heated tasting room in the winter.

Snowy Peaks Winery is one of the best places to visit in Estes Park; you’ll not be disappointed!

Address: 292 Moraine Ave, Estes Park, CO 80517

16: Wildlife Viewing

Wildlife Viewing

Getting a chance to view wildlife in Estes Park is a very common activity. Spotting Moose and Elk crossing the street can be a sometimes daily or weekly occurrence.

They are a town staple and are even on most of the logos in the area. Moose are commonly spotted in the national park, mainly on the west side.

But they have been migrating over to the east side near Estes Park over time. They are also out and about throughout the year, so there is no ideal season to time this. You can pretty much spot them when the cards are in your favor.

You can also head into Rocky Mountain National Park to spot other common critters. These include coyotes, beavers, raccoons, and even bears.

Remember, though, to not approach wildlife, no matter how friendly they seem. Driving around and spotting wildlife is one of the most popular things to do in Estes Park!

Recommended Tours:

17: Riverwalk

Dreamstime/Cynthia Mccrary

The Riverwalk in Downtown Estes Park is known for its endless dining and shopping options.

Enjoy one of the delicious restaurants that line the streets. Food options range from local elk burgers to BBQ and Cafes. The Wild Rose Food and Spirits and Cinnamon's Bakery are a few favorites. Yum!

Buy local when you are at the Riverwalk by taking advantage of one of the Estes Park Themed shops. You can purchase locally made fudge and candies or souvenirs to bring home.

This area is the gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park and can be a great addition when coming or going. The Riverwalk is truly a great foodie destination in Estes Park.

18: Estes Park Aerial Tramway

Estes Park Aerial Tramway
Flickr/Kyla Duhamel

Enjoy the majestic views of Estes Park from above by taking the Aerial Tramway. This short ride is only 3.5 minutes long to the top.

Note the tram is only available in the summer months, opening on Memorial Day Weekend. It is an affordable, quick trip that is only $16 per adult and $10 per child.

It is a great alternative to hiking for those who want the same 360 views but without all the work. This little tram packs a lot of history, too, since it was built back in 1955 during World War II.

Today it is one of the best sights in Estes Park!

Address: 420 E Riverside Dr, Estes Park, CO 80517

19: Horseback Riding

Horseback Riding
Dreamstime/Serge Novitsky

Also commonly known as Cowboy Country, Estes Park provides many different horseback riding options.

Sombrero Stables is a popular option for both visitors and locals. These stables were created all the way back in 1958 and are still going strong.

You can take a one or two-hour horseback ride through the beautiful rocky mountain landscapes.

The two-hour ride even brings you up in a more steep ride, with an elevation gain of 900 feet.

There is also a thirty-minute option for those that may be short on time or want to try out riding horses. You can review the rides and rates on their website and even book directly online.

20: Cabin Rentals

Cabin Rentals

If you want the true Colorado experience, you have to curl up in one of the rustic mountain cabins.

Luckily, Estes Park is home to plenty of gorgeous log cabins for you to rent. Some are set on the cascading river, while others are set out in remote areas.

The Inn on Fall River & Fall River Cabins has some of the top-rated cabins in the area! You can stargaze from your own private hot tub in select cabins.

They are close to downtown and Rocky Mountain National Park making it an excellent home base for your daily adventures.

Check availability in The Inn on Fall River & Fall River Cabins >>

21: Peak to Peak Scenic Byway

Peak to Peak Scenic Byway

One of the most scenic drives in Colorado is the famous Peak to Peak Scenic Byway.

This road starts in Estes Park and ends in Black Hawk, a famous Casino town. The drive takes an average of two hours, with stop-offs along the way.

You can enjoy the gorgeous lush green mountain views during the summer months but fall is really the prime time to go.

Visitors love to enjoy all of the bright yellow Aspens. It is a must-see for photographers and leaf peepers. It is a bucket list drive and tops the list of things to do around Estes Park.

Address: 72 CO-7, Estes Park, CO 80517

22: Mountain Blown Glass

Mountain Blown Glass

One of the most artistic places to visit in Estes Park is the family-owned and operated Mountain Blowing Glass.

This unique studio has been operating since the year 2000 and is known for creating one-of-a-kind glass pieces.

You can stop by the studio and watch the creation of glass making.

There is no charge to watch the demonstrations either! You can purchase a unique handmade item to bring home with you, though.

Address: 101 W Elkhorn Ave, Estes Park, CO 80517

23: Red Rose Rock Shop & Dick’s Rock Museum

Red Rose Rock Shop & Dick’s Rock Museum

Visit the Red Rose Rock Shop & Dick's Rock Museum in Estes Park. This quirky shop is located along the Big Thompson River.

You can browse their extensive collection of rocks, minerals, fossils, jewelry, and so much more.

The museum was created in 1964 by geologist Dick Siebenaler and is now considered a historical landmark.

Enjoy learning about the different rocks and fossils and purchase some to bring home with you. It is truly one of the most unique things to do in Estes Park.

Address: 490 Moraine Ave, Estes Park, CO 80517

Get ready for some family-friendly putt putt at Meadow Mini Golf. This cute course has flowers and mountain views for you to enjoy.

The mini-golf course is only open during the summer season, so plan accordingly if visiting outside the season.

It was formerly known as Tiny Town Mini-Golf Course and opened over 60 years ago. You can still enjoy the Alligator Hole and the famous windmill with the breathtaking views of Longs Peak in the distance during your game.

If you get the lucky hole in one, you will even receive a free round of golf.

Address: 840 Moraine Ave, Estes Park, CO 80517

25: Hermit Park Open Space

Hermit Park Open Space
Flickr/Brendan Bombaci

Located two miles southeast of Estes Park is Hermit Park Open Space, home to some of the best activities in the Estes Park area.

There are 1,362 acres of open space, which sits between seven and eight thousand feet in the area.

You can hike through the Ponderosa forest and meadows, a beautiful sight to see. This is a sought-after place for those looking to camp in the summer months.

But be sure to take advantage of one of their amazing hiking trails when visiting Estes Park.

Address: 17 Hermit Park Rd, Estes Park, CO 80517

Plan your trip to Estes Park soon!

Estes Park is the town that provides some of the most gorgeous Rocky Mountain views in the whole state of Colorado. Paired with its quaint and lively downtown area, it truly is a destination for all travelers. Getting out in the wilderness by taking on one of the many hiking trails or just relaxing in your remote cabin are just a few attractions in Estes Park. You can also visit the locals downtown, at their unique shops or delectable restaurants. The things to do in Estes Park are endless. With activities offered from the heart of summer to the dead of winter. This darling mountain town is waiting for you to visit!

Colorado Travel Guide

Explore Guide