Estes Park

Elk in Estes Park
Elk can be seen often on the edge of Estes Park and sometimes in town. | Photo by Jerry Miller /

By Sue Deans

Surrounded by peaks soaring to 14,000 feet, the town of Estes Park sits in one of Colorado’s most beautiful spots. It’s also next to Rocky Mountain National Park, a “must see” spot for visitors to Colorado.

Estes Park’s commercial areas are touristy but fun, hotels are plentiful, and sights include everything from souvenir shops to the town’s magnificent herd of elk.

With the national park to the west and the scenic Big Thompson Canyon to the east, Estes Park adjoins thousands of acres of wildland and trails for hiking, horseback riding, snowshoeing and cross country
skiing, depending on the season.

The “big five” of Colorado wildlife are plentiful, both in town at times and in the national park: elk, bighorn sheep, black bear, moose, and mule deer. Activities abound in all four seasons.

When asked what makes the town interesting, the Estes Park convention and visitors bureau cites “world-class hiking and climbing, fishing, golfing, sightseeing, wildlife watching, galleries, unique shopping, dining choices, lodging and events, romantic getaways, elopements and family reunions.”

Not to mention Rocky Mountain National Park out the back door, which attracts some 3 million tourists each year.

More Estes Park
Estes Park history

“Must-see” attractions
Big Thompson Canyon
Stanley Hotel
Rocky Mountain National Park

More attractions
Baldpate Inn
Enos Mills Cabin
Estes Park Museum
Historic Fall River Hydroplant
Lula W. Dorsey Museum
MacGregor Ranch and Museum
Stanley Museum
YMCA of the Rockies

Estes Park facts
Population: 5,858 (2010 Census).
Land area: 5.9 square miles.
County: Larimer (Fort Collins is county seat).
Altitude: 7,522 feet above sea level.
Climate: Cool summers, cold winters and low humidity, with abundant sunshine year-round. Annual precipitation of 16 inches, including average snowfall of 70 inches. Snow depth of 2 inches December to March. January averages: high 38, low 16. July averages: high 72, low 40. More weather >>