Skiing Near Estes Park

Skiing Near Estes Park

Estes Park is unique among famous Colorado mountain towns for not being a dedicated ski resort town. While many Colorado mountain towns are dependent on their nearby ski resorts, Estes Park winter activities are much more well-rounded.

Visitors can access nearby downhill skiing and cross country skiing in about an hour’s drive from our Estes Park vacation rentals or explore nearby backcountry skiing, snowshoeing, and sledding in Rocky Mountain National Park.

Alpine Skiing: Eldora Mountain

For downhill skiing, Eldora Mountain is the best option for visitors staying in Estes Park. Located near Nederland, Colorado this ski resort is about an hour and fifteen minutes south of Estes Park. If you’re looking to take a day trip, skiing at Eldora is a fantastic option that doesn’t require a long drive. Whether you are a first-timer or an advanced skier, Eldora offers an impressive variety of terrain for a relatively small resort.

Eldora offers 680 acres of skiing with 1,240 feet of lift-served vertical and averages about 300 inches of snow per year. The trails consist of 20% easy, 50% intermediate, and 30% advanced. It’s one of only a few Colorado resorts in the Front Range that is not accessed via the traffic-congested I-70. For more information on lift tickets, parking reservations, and policies, visit the Eldora website.

Cross Country Skiing: Eldora Ski Resort

Cross country skiing is more focused on fitness and can be a fun alternative to snowshoeing or winter hiking. If you don’t enjoy the fast speeds and steep downhills of alpine skiing, then cross country skiing is a great alternative. Eldora also offers cross country skiing in addition to its extensive network of lifts and downhill ski trails.

The Eldora Nordic Center offers a network of cross country ski trails located next to the main mountain of alpine ski trails. With over 40 kilometers of trails, this world-class facility offers one of the best nordic experiences in Colorado. Enjoy a wide variety of terrain including forests, alpine meadows, and stunning views of the surrounding mountains.

Backcountry Skiing: Rocky Mountain National Park

For expert skiers with extensive training and experience in backcountry skiing, winter in Rocky Mountain National Park offers a nearly endless wilderness full of skiing opportunities. One of the most popular areas to backcountry ski in Rocky Mountain National Park was once a ski resort. Hidden Valley Ski Area was located about 10 miles from Estes Park along Trail Ridge Road. The ski area operated from 1955 to 1991 before removing its lifts and closing down operations. However, the trails remain and make for an excellent place to earn your turns.

The Hidden Valley area of Rocky Mountain National Park is also frequented by families for sledding, tubing, and snowshoeing. There are also picnic tables near the parking area which make for a great day trip even if you decide not to take part in any winter activities. We’ve provided driving directions to Hidden Valley from Fall River Village, which is about a 25-minute drive up Trail Ridge Road as long as conditions permit.

Whatever your winter plans are in Estes Park, make sure to check out our Fall River Village resort condo rentals. Enjoy stunning views and a convenient location only minutes from the downtown area!

Summer 2020 in Estes Park

Summer 2020 in Estes Park

For summer 2020, many people are looking forward to getting out of the house and responsibly visiting the beautiful Rocky Mountains. After spending time indoors, there is a new appreciation for the simple things in life: breathing the fresh air, spending time outside, and taking in a scenic view.  As travel preferences shift, this is the perfect time to focus on more local vacations that can be reached by a quick road trip!

A Scenic Vacation within Driving Distance

Estes Park is the perfect vacation destination for those who live in Denver, Colorado Springs, Fort Collins, and other cities within driving distance. While things begin to return to normal, using your own car is one of the safest ways to travel. Additionally, having your own private vacation rental in Estes Park allows you to spend quality time with your loved ones while maintaining a safe distance from others.

Practice Social Distancing in the Rocky Mountains

Taking part in outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, and fishing are great ways to practice social distancing while on vacation. There are many trails, walkways, and scenic drives surrounding Estes Park. The area’s biggest attraction, Rocky Mountain National Park, began a phased reopening late May, and we’ve included more information below to help inform you of the new reservation system put into place. While this summer will be different due to large events being canceled, there are still many opportunities to relax and experience the great outdoors in Estes Park.

Rocky Mountain National Park

Rocky Mountain National began a phased reopening in late May and has instituted new policies and procedures to promote safe recreation for Summer 2020, including:

  • Requiring a mandatory reservation required to enter the park
  • Instituting a timed entry permit for all vehicles
  • Enacting an indefinite closure of some services and facilities

Entrance fees remain in place and are $25.00 per vehicle. You can find more information and make your reservation on the park’s website. The park is continuing to provide updates and revise their approach as the phased reopening continues to progress.

Vacation Rentals are the Preferred Choice for Travelers

While restrictions are lifted and life begins to gradually return to normal, it is still important to make sound decisions and choose Estes Park lodging that encourages social distancing. Our Estes Park vacation rentals offer a private retreat for you and your loved ones. You will be able to enjoy your own private kitchen to cook meals in and spend time with family. There are also many local restaurants that currently offer take out, some of which deliver directly to Fall River Village.

We’re excited to welcome all of our guests back to Fall River Village and look forward to a summer full of outdoor fun and relaxation!

Free Things to Do in Estes Park

Estes Park is an incredible and scenic destination. We’ve put together a list of some of our favorite free things to do, which make for great ways to spend time with family after a busy day exploring the area or after a delicious meal in downtown Estes Park. Experience all the area has to offer and stay at our conveniently located Estes Park vacation rentals, only a 5-minute walk from the downtown area!

Stop by the Estes Park Visitor Center

Just arrived in town or looking for more information? Then the Estes Park Visitor Center should be one of the first places you stop. You can find maps, up to date information, weather forecasts, and more from the local guides. The visitor center is centrally located on the river, right beside the riverwalk, and includes plenty of parking for cars and RVs.

Take a Stroll on the Estes Riverwalk

Located behind the many shops and restaurants along Elkhorn Avenue, the Riverwalk is a great place to unwind after exploring downtown, Estes Park. The walk begins at the George Hix riverside plaza and provides convenient access to the downtown area. You can take the riverwalk all the way to the visitor center, and if you keep going, it eventually leads to the scenic Lake Estes.

Visit Lake Estes

The Estes Riverwalk continues on from the Visitor Center and loops around Lake Estes, making for a great place to walk the dog, take an evening stroll, or ride your bike. First created in 1949 by the Olympus Dam on the Big Thompson River, Lake Estes is the primary source of drinking water for the town. This is an excellent place to watch wildlife, fish, and spend time relaxing with the family.

Play at the Dog Park

If you are staying in one of our pet friendly vacation rentals, then the Estes Park dog park should be high on your list. The park is situated on Lake Estes and provides a safely fenced-in area for your dog to run around and play. Outside the fence, there is also a small beach where you can walk your leashed dog and let them play in the water. This is a great place to visit in the evening before heading back to your rental.

See the Birch Ruins

Sometimes referred to as a local secret, this attraction is located within walking distance of downtown. The remains of a stone cabin on a hillside offer spectacular views of the area including the Stanley Hotel and the Rocky Mountains. The entrance to the area is located behind the police station and is a quick and easy walk. This makes for a great add-on if you’re already exploring downtown, Estes Park.

Attend the Events and Festivals 

Estes Park has many free events and festivals held throughout the year, with summer seeing something happening nearly every weekend. The majority of these events are either held in the downtown area or at the visitor center. While some of the events do require a ticket for paid entry, most allow you to walk around and enjoy the sights. For a full list of events, you can review the full calendar here.

Drive the Peak to Peak Scenic Byway

Everyone has heard of the famous Trail Ridge Road through Rocky Mountain National Park, but have you heard of the Peak to Peak Scenic Byway? The Peak to Peak is Colorado’s oldest scenic byway and was opened over 100 years ago in 1918. The road takes you south from Estes Park to I-70 and is one of the most beautiful drives in Colorado. While driving the entire way to I-70 will take about 3 hours, we recommend spending an hour or two enjoying the drive, especially in the fall when the leaves are stunning.

Winter in Rocky Mountain National Park

Winter in Rocky Mountain National Park

Rocky Mountain National Park is not only one of Colorado’s most popular destinations, but also one of the most visited National Parks in the United States. However, during the winter the crowds disappear and the park becomes more peaceful and serene.

If you’re looking for Estes Park vacation rentals near Rocky Moutain National Park, we have a wide selection of condos conveniently located near downtown!

Take a Scenic Drive to Many Parks Curve

While spending time in Estes Park during the winter is a must, a drive through the beautiful mountains of Rocky Mountain National Park is a highlight of our guest’s time in the area. Trail Ridge Road, the park’s main thoroughfare, is closed from November through May. However, weather permitting you can drive up to 8 miles on this road to some of the park’s most scenic overlooks including Many Parks Curve. 

This popular overlook offers stunning views of glacial valleys and treeless alpine peaks towering above the landscape. Take your time while driving in the park and soak up the stunning views! Stop at the many overlooks during your drive and be on the lookout for the park’s plentiful wildlife.

Go Sledding at the Former Hidden Valley Ski Resort

Did you know there used to be a ski resort in Rocky Mountain National Park? The former Hidden Valley Resort closed in 1991 when the park decided to not allow expansion of the resort. You can still see where the ski trails once were located at the Hidden Valley picnic area. The beginner slopes that end at the picnic area are perfect for sledding, with a gentle slope that’s fun but not too steep!

This is the only area of the park where sledding is allowed and you will need to bring your own sled or rent one in Estes Park. Keep in mind that metal runners are not allowed and the hill is not supervised by the park staff. The sledding hill is open from 10am to 4pm every day, as long as the road conditions allow for safe travel.

Spend a Day Hiking or Snowshoeing

If you’re looking for scenic hiking, we recommend visiting the section of the park accessible via Bear Lake Road. This area has many opportunities for hiking including three alpine lakes: Sprague Lake, Bierstadt Lake, and Bear Lake.  Each of these lakes is a relatively easy hike from the road and are among the most stunning locations in the park!

Make sure to bring snowshoes and prepare for freezing temperatures! Because the park receives so much snow during the winter, the best hikes are typically at lakes or at lower elevations that are more accessible. Enter the park at the Beaver Meadows entrance and turn onto Bear Lake Road. There are many pull-outs and trailheads to explore along the way.

Don’t want to leave the mountain vistas behind in the park? Stay in one of our mountain view townhome rentals!

Winter Things to Do in Estes Park

Top Winter Activities in Estes Park

Whether you enjoy winter outdoor activities or staying warm and cozy indoors, Estes Park offers something for everyone! While Estes Park is beautiful any time of year, winter has its own unique appeal as the town sparkles under fresh snow.

We’ve included our guest’s favorite things to do during their winter stay at our Estes Park vacation rentals

Visit Downtown Estes Park

During the winter, downtown Estes Park is a vibrant place to visit with many restaurants, shops, and art galleries. The town’s festive lights glitter in the evenings, creating a beautiful winter scene with the freshly fallen snow. We recommend walking through the downtown area, browsing the shops, stopping by the art galleries, and enjoying the atmosphere. Cap off your visit with a meal at one of the many restaurants in the downtown area. 

The majority of the downtown attractions are centered around Elkhorn Avenue. Stay close to the action and book one of our Estes Park condo rentals that are conveniently located only half a mile from the center of downtown!

Attend the Annual Estes Park Winter Festival

Held annually on the Saturday and Sunday of Martin Luther King Jr. weekend, the annual Estes Park Winter Festival is one of the top events in Estes Park during the winter. The festival has many activities the whole family will enjoy such as a silent disco, obstacle course, bounce houses, and more!

The event attracts many food vendors and is home to famous chili cookoff, so make sure to arrive hungry. After a day of enjoying the sights and all the festival has to offer, close out the day by enjoying a live concert from the selection of both local and nationally known musical artists.

Explore Rocky Mountain National Park

No visit to Estes Park is complete without a winter visit to Rocky Mountain National Park! The Park is practically in Estes Park’s backyard! Even though the Park is less crowded during the winter, it is arguably even more stunning than usual with snow-capped peaks and countless evergreen trees coated with fresh snow.

Keep in mind you can only drive about 8 miles along Trail Ridge Road since it is closed at higher elevations during the winter. There are endless possibilities for winter fun including sightseeing, snowshoeing, sledding, and more! Make sure to check the weather and be prepared for freezing temperatures before visiting the park.

Have you found a place to stay in Estes Park? If not, check our Estes Park vacation rentals that are conveniently located close to downtown and feature many amenities to make your stay as comfortable as possible!