For a quiet getaway, bring a good book and snuggle up next your fireplace with a hot mug of coffee or tea. Keep an eye outside your window for passing elk or deer. Drive up Fall River Road and look for bighorn sheep on the sunny, south-facing mountainsides. Go to the golf course to check for herds of elk "mowing" the fairways.
Active guests can go snowshoeing and crosscountry skiing in the lower valleys, winter mountaineering in the high country, downhill skiing at Eldora, sledding and tubing at Hidden Valley in Rocky Mountain National Park. Shops in town rent skis and snowshoes. We have a few sleds for guests to borrow. Read more on the Cross-country skiing and Snowshoe pages of RockyMountainNationalPark.com. The Park says: Explore Rocky During the Winter.
We're on the east side of the Continental Divide so there are trails suitable for hiking without snowshoes in the winter. The National Park lists these recommendations for winter hiking: Gem Lake, Sprague Lake, Lily Lake, Deer Mountain, Upper Beaver Meadows, Chasm Falls, Dream Lake, Cub Lake, The Pool. Check with park rangers for snow conditions. Read more on the Winter Hiking page of RockyMountainNationalPark.com.
Most shops in town stay open in the winter but have shorter hours. Shops that cater to summer tourists are more likely to be closed. There are a couple summer-only restaurants but most have winter hours.
Access roads to Estes Park from the east (US 34 and US 36) and south (CO 7) are kept open and provide winter guests with scenic drives to our high mountains. Arrive without crossing any high mountain passes or negotiating any switchbacks. Many Estes locals work in flatland cities and commute these roads every day, all year. Colorado has an online map of road conditions.
Notice the blue skies in most of our winter pictures! That's a typical winter day - blue sky and sunshine. The snow comes down, the sun comes out, the snow melts away. That's why you have to go up into the higher elevations of Rocky Mountain National Park to ski or snowshoe. The Western Regional Climate Center says the average high/low/snow in Estes Park in December is 40°/18°/8", January is 38°/16°/6", February is 40°/17°/10", March is 44°/20°/13".