Exploring Colorado – 2 : Estes Park

 

Estes Park is a beautiful town at the base of Rockies. Because of it’s proximity to the Rockies, it’s quite a popular tourist attraction.

Here’s what you need to know about Estes Park if you are planning a vacation:

 

Lodging: There are numerous cabins, hotels and condos available. We have always stayed there in a cabin by the river, with picnic areas, kids play area and close to both the downtown Estes Park and the entrance of RMNP.

 

Food Fun:   Food is another way to explore a new town. That’s why I’m  sharing our favorite food joints.

Indian : Nepal’s Cafe – decent Indian food

Italian : Mama Rose’s Restaurant ( clearly the best Italian in town )

Mexican : Peppers Mexican Grill , Ed’s Cantina

Chinese : China Garden ( Ambeince is ok, but good food )

Bakery: Notchtop Bakery – great vegetarian options for breakfast or brunch.

Ice Creams : Danish Cone Factory has lots of flavors.

Cookie Shop: Grandma’s Mountain Cookies. I bet you can’t resist their cookies.

Winery/ Breweries – Estes Park Brewery, Snowy Peak Winery

Popular  fast food chains are also there.

 

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Need to fuel up before going to the Rockies. This is @ Notchtop Bakery.

 

There is a Safeway in case you want to buy groceries ( you will need if you have a kitchenette and plan to cook). It’s always crowded though. So keep atleast 15 minutes extra for grocery/miscellaneous shopping.

 

Things to do:

 

Rocky Mountain National Park – It’s an easy 10 – 15 minutes drive to the entrance of the RMNP. You can do plenty of things there – hiking, picnics, bird watching, horse rides, scenic drives – just to name a few. Check this link to find some kid friendly hikes and other hikes too.

 

Fishing

 

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River by our cabin – so many options to have fun .

 

Hiking ( all levels )

Scenic Strolls : Around Lily Lake, The Knoll Path, Lake Estes Loop Trail, Downtown River walk

Watch wildlife : Don’t forget your binoculars.

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It’s not hard to spot these wild visitors. This one was spotted just minutes after we checked -in our cabin.

 

 

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Bird watching @ 6.00 am in Moraine Valley park in RMNP.

 

This is what we do in our 4-5 days of stay at Estes Park:

Rent a cabin with kitchenette – cooking by the riverside is like a dream come true.

Explore the RMNP in the morning and try to be back in Estes Park by 2.00  pm. Have lunch in downtown. Go back to cabin to rest ( we have small kids).

Enjoy evening tea/drinks by the river.

Head back to RMNP for scenic drives. Come back to the cabin. Cook dinner or walk to the downtown for dinner.

There is always a day or two when we skip going to RMNP in the evenings and walk around the town – to explore, to enrich our Rocky Mountains experience and just to admire the nature’s beauty !

We always walk from our cabin to the downtown. This gives us an opportunity for scenic strolls – our idea of  exploring the town is to take the walking route whenever possible. The area is quite stroller friendly too.

 

 

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Lazing around in Downtown Estes Park. Danish Cone factory is known for its shakes and ice creams.

 

 

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Don’t forget to try cookies at Grandma’s Mountain Cookies.

 

All the above recommendations are based on our personal liking. And we have been there thrice – there is a reason we go back to those restaurants every – single- time.

We don’t try to ‘cover as much’ as we can in a day- be it Estes Park or any other destination. We take it easy and do whatever sightseeing we can do in a day and always always save some time to explore new cafeterias, restaurants, bookstores. Usually we aim for one good hike ( 2-3 miles ) or two shorter ones.

Make sure you have good hiking/walking shoes, water and some snack bars to take along during day hikes.

Click here for more information on travel gear.

In case you missed , here’s my previous article on Exploring Colorado -1.

 

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4 Comments

  1. Pingback: 2015 – Year End Reflection – Polka Dots and Curry

  2. Colorado is such a beautiful place. Would love to go back there.

  3. Pingback: Exploring Colorado -1 : The Pikes Peak Region | Polka Dots and Curry

  4. Looks like a beautiful place.

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