Tucked in the folds of the Rocky Mountains and anchored by the stunning Grand Lake, this town is lined with locally owned shops, restaurants, bed and breakfasts and hotels. You won’t find major grocery stores here, although you can drive 25 minutes to Granby and shop at the enormous City Market. What you will find is an old-fashioned charm combined with recreational opportunities like relaxing at the beach, paddle boarding, paddle boating and kayaking on Grand Lake and visiting the park.
The Wildwood Inn is 4 miles west of Estes Park, for those lovers who want to get a little further away from it all. Situated on seven acres right on Fall River and adjacent to Rocky Mountain National Park, the inn is surrounded with majestic mountain views, river views and abundant wildlife. All the cabins, suites and vacation homes feature fireplaces, fabulous views, luxurious down bedding and high-thread-count linens. This is a great place to get away with that special someone in luxury, surrounded by natural beauty.
We saw the park on a tour that traveled the totality of the park along Trail Ridge Road from Grand Lake entrance at the west to Estes Park at the east. It was 40 miles of nature at its best. We entered and exited in the Montane zone where ponderosa pine dominate below 9,000 feet. We reached the alpine zone above 11,400 where it is too extreme for trees to grow. Here are my favorite first-hand experiences:
Spa – This list would not be complete without a mention of our fantastic spas, many of which offer couples packages! On the River Massage has a romantic couples massage at either 60 or 90 minutes or a fun DIY package where you can enjoy a massage and learn the art of massage and techniques the therapists use so you can use them at home! Riverpointe Spa also has spa packages whether you want a hot stone massage or a massage and a facial.
Cow Creek Trail follows Cow Creek, with its many beaver ponds, extending past the Bridal Falls turnoff as the Dark Mountain trail, then joining the Black Canyon trail to intersect the Lawn Lake trail shortly below the lake. North Boundary Trail connects to the Lost Lake trail system. North Fork Trail begins outside of the park in the Comanche Peak Wilderness before reaching the park boundary and ending at Lost Lake. Stormy Peaks Trail connects Colorado State University's Pingree Park campus in the Comanche Peak Wilderness and the North Fork Trail inside the park.
However the split for the trail for Andrew's Glacier was non-existent.... there was no trail. I broke trail through the snow headed to the glacier... very slow going, often sinking up to thighs with my snow shoes on. Due to the wind pattern east sides of the hills and knolls are very powdery and you sink. Stopped about .75 miles from the base of the glacier. Would have taken at least an hour to go that far. Lots of snow.
There is also plenty for you to explore in the surrounding areas. If you head south, you’ll reach Red Rocks Park, which is known for its red rock formations. Head east, and you’ll find yourself in Denver, where you can experience a taste of the city, complete with shopping and dining options. Head west, and you’ll be in the Rocky Mountains, with options to ski.
The Romantic Cottage is located 3 miles from Estes Park along the River in the Big Thompson Canyon. This unit was remodeled and a 14x16 foot bedroom added and completed in Jan 2012 with vaulted ceiling and log walls. . New gas fireplace, deck over looking the River, Living room area with love seat and now has a full kitchen with a gas range and kitchen table and chairs. Private Outdoor Hot Tub. Sleeps 2.