Planning Your Summer Vacation: Top Things to Do in Estes Park

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You have the time off, marked your calendar and now it’s time to decide where to go and what to do once you’re there. Only 90-miles from Denver, Colorado, Estes Park has been a vacation choice for families, couples and single adventurers for decades. Why? Because it really does have something for everyone.

Rocky Mountain National Park

Enough wildlife, trails and wildlife to satisfy the most avid hikers, backpackers, mountain climbers and other adventure seekers. Prefer a paved road to a dirt path? Pile the family into your car and drive Trail Ridge Road, not only the highest paved through road in Colorado, but also the highest paved road in Colorado that crosses the continental divide. Take in incredible scenery as you climb to its peak elevation of 12,183 feet. Looking for wildlife? Elk, deer and bighorn sheep can be spotted escaping the summer heat.

Open Air Adventure Park

Located in the heart of Estes Park, these 90-minute adventures offer different levels of difficulty, attracting those who want an extreme experience as well as those who prefer a less challenging undertaking. Family owned and operated, Open Air Adventure Park includes activities incorporating 32 elements at 10 and 21 feet above ground: rope bridges, aerial tightropes, swinging log steps and moving platforms. Plot your course and join the fun.

Estes Park Ariel Tramway

Designed and built by Robert Heron, the tramway is still owned and operated by the Heron family. Opened to the public in July 1955, the ride to the summit of Prospect Mountain is quick and breathtakingly beautiful. Once there, enjoy the panoramic views of Longs Peak, the Continental Divide and the town of Estes Park. Stay a while and explore one of the hiking trails, browse in the gift shop and grab a quick snack before heading back down.

Peak-to-Peak Scenic Byway

Ready for another road trip? The Peak to Peak Highway, Colorado’s first scenic roadway designation, was established in 1918 and provides stunning views of the Front Range Mountains and an exceptional, close-up look at the Continental Divide. Interested in mining history…and, maybe, some ghosts? You will pass right by a few of Colorado's ghost towns. Caribou used to be a silver camp but is deserted now. Nederland, however, was established to supply Caribou, and is still very much alive. There are also many gold mines along Hwy 72 and 119. Pack a picnic and make it a day trip.

Lake Estes Marina

Spend some time at Lake Estes Marina where you can fish, boat and bike the trails around Lake Estes. No fishing license; no problem. The on-site store sells fishing licenses (rods and reels, too) along with supplies, snacks and souvenirs. The marina store rents kayaks, paddle boards, paddle boats, canoes, pontoon boats, bikes and pedal carts. Kick back and spend a day on the water.