Parents, grandparents and kids enjoy a wide variety of activities during visits Here are a few suggestions for a family vacation:
National Park activities
Rocky Mountain National Park rangers and naturalists conduct numerous popular summer programs for children and families. Campfire talks, ranger-led daytime and full moon hikes, programs and videos at the Beaver Meadows Visitor Center, ranger talks at the Fall River Visitor Center, the Junior Ranger program and naturalist talks. In the wintertime there's an evening program at headquarters every Satruday and guided snowshoe treks at certain times in the Park.
Paved walkways for strolling, rolling
Start at at our covered bridge and take the RiverWalk into town, around Lake Estes, and even up Fish Creek. The paved walk is level and easy to navigate by foot, wheelchair, skates, scooter or bicycle. It's accessible for all ages all year round.
In Rocky Mountain National Park the paved Bear Lake and Sprague Lake trails have little gain in altitude and are favorites for families with strollers or wheelchairs.
The surprize of finding a wild native in your yard is a special treat for all ages. This can happen any time of the year but spring, fall and winter are easiest times for spotting wildlife. Elk, deer and bighorn sheep are the most numerous.
Imagine the excitement of reeling in a trout and eating it for supper! A truely fresh trout is the ultimate taste treat. We stock our section of Fall river but a fishing license is required for those 16 and older. Licenses aren't required at the popular private summertime trout ponds — pay by the inch for the fish you catch — and a good catch is a sure thing!
What could be more fun on a warm inviting afternoon than a family picnic. Eat on your deck or patio, at our RiverFront area, or go to one of the many picnic areas in Rocky Mountain National Park, Roosevelt National Forest or the south shore of Lake Estes. Pack your own basket or stop at a local deli and have them prepare one for you.
Rocky Mountain National Park and Roosevelt National Forest offer hundreds of miles of hiking trails from easy to extreme. Follow the game trails up our mountainside to connect with the Park's Deer Mountain Trail. Take the summer/fall shuttle to access the Park's Bear Lake, Moraine Park trails. Drive to Wild Basin or McGraw Ranch for free access to Park trails.
Step back in time
MacGregor Ranch, just 2 miles from Caste Mountain Lodge, still raises cattle like they did in 1873 and has a museum. The Holzworth Ranch on the west side of Rocky Mountain National Park also gives a look into the old days. Estes Park has a History Museum with interesting programs. Look closely at some of the town shops – some of the original log structures are still in use!
Estes Park liveries have well-trained horses and experienced wranglers to take your family on a trail ride in the Park or Forest during the spring, summer and fall seasons. Pony rides around the corral are a thrill for the youngest children. One stable stays open through most of the winter, too.
Choose an easy float trip for younger children or a whitewater run for older adventurers. Either way, it's a wonderful, memorable time together on the water!
Our snow-melt lakes are too cold for swimming but the Estes Park Aquatic Center welcomes visitors. There are free-swim hours as well as programs and classes for children and adults all year round. The pool at the YMCA of the Rockies is open to the public after Labor Day to before Memorial Day. Summer months are restricted to members or guests of the YMCA.
The new narrow snowshoes make snowshoe treks a whole-family activity for a crisp, sunny winter day. Go with a ranger on a scheduled tour or visit your favorite trails on your own. Rentals are available in town.
For a leisurely tour of Lake Estes, rent a foot-powered paddle boat at the summer marina. Or plan a floating picnic on a pontoon boat, also available at the marina. Sailboards are fun and colorful gliding across the water — bring wet suits to protect against the cold water.
The RiverWalk and Lake Estes trails are accessible for all ages all year round. They're paved, level and easy to navigate by bicycle. Many types of bicycles are available for rent in town during the summer months, including tandems, 4-wheelers and mountain bikes. Downhill tours in the Park are also available.
Ambitious climbers will enjoy routes in the National Park or tours with the climbing school. Budding climbers can try their skill at the indoor climbing wall in town.
Miniature golf is great summer recreation for families. Enjoy the game and the beauty of the surrounding mountains at the same time.
Sledding areas at Bear Lake and Hidden Valley in the Park are popular gathering spots for families visiting in the winter. Even when we're snow-free at the town elevation, these higher spots in the Park can have good sledding snow. Hidden Valley has a warming house. Both have restroom facilities.
Go carts whizzing around the courses bring out the Indianapolis 500 driver in all of us. Go cart tracks in town are great summer fun for the entire family, although Mom or Dad may have to ride with the smaller children.
Ride the summer cable tramway to the top of Prospect Mountain to take in the breathtaking view. At the top, you will find a short hiking trail, photographic points and a snack shop for that mountain top picnic.
Bowling is available seven days a week, and offers fun for the entire family.
Check the Estes calendar for special events like the annual Teddy Bear Picnic and Highlands Festival that are especially fun for kids and parents.
Numerous activities such as horse shows, festivals, the wool market and the famous Roof Top Rodeo are scheduled at the Fairgrounds through the summer months.
Rent a movie in town at one of the kiosks and watch it "at home" on the DVD/VCR player in your cottage or room. Estes has a modern three-screen cinema that's open all year and an historic movie house open during the summer months.