Biking – Always a popular activity in Estes Park, biking can be a great way to stay active during your honeymoon or our excuse to have an extra piece of cake during the reception! If you’re not up for a challenging trail, we recommend the Lake Estes Loop that winds 3.75 miles around the lake or head further out to Devil’s Gulch Loop that offers wonderful views during your ride.
As much fun as the wedding will be, there are numerous recreational opportunities available in and around the hotel to entertain your friends and family. Your guests will enjoy the short walk along the rushing Big Thompson River to the charming shops in downtown Estes Park, or a relaxing stroll along the shore of nearby Lake Estes. You will also find a wide variety of amenities right at the hotel to entertain young and old alike, including our heated indoor swimming pool and hot tub, complimentary game room featuring pool table, air hockey, foosball and more, our outdoor fire pits where you can roast S’mores, and complimentary bike rentals. Tours of Rocky Mountain National Park also leave right from the hotel in our 15-passenger convertible bus (yes, you read that correctly!) designed to give you the ultimate panoramic mountain viewing experience. Private tours are accepted if you would like to reserve the bus for your wedding party.
Colorado is overflowing with things to do: world-class skiing, mountain biking, paddling, hiking, ATVing, hot-air ballooning and rock climbing… and that’s just the start of it. If you visit Colorado wanting an adventure, you won’t be disappointed. Of course, Colorado also offers great mountain music, sensational local breweries, gourmet cuisine, and outstanding art and culture. Be sure to book a Colorado vacation rental or Colorado cabin rental, for much-needed relaxation after your jam-packed itinerary.
The Fern Lake trail passes Arch Rock formations, The Pool, and the cascading water of Fern Falls. Two backcountry campsites are located near the lake, and two more are closer to the trailhead. Odessa Lake has two approaches: one is along the Flattop trail from Bear Lake while the other is from the Fern Lake trailhead, along which are Fern Creek, The Pool, Fern Falls, and Fern Lake itself. One backcountry campsite is available. Other lakes are Jewel Lake, Mills Lake, Black Lake, Blue Lake, Lake of Glass, and Spruce Lake.
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.
If you and your partner are looking to get off the grid after months of wedding planning, then head to these cabins located on the banks of Bear Creek. Walk or relax near the creek and share the view with wildlife who live on the land. Have complimentary breakfast brought to you as you lounge in a comfy chair along the water, or spend some time in the hot tub right on the creek to unwind. For dinner, enjoy pizza from the brick oven on the patio and socialize with other couples.
Originally built in 1936 (and with various renovations over the years), the Alpine Visitor Centre (open seasonably) is well worth a visit as part of your Rocky Mountain National Park experience. There’s an informative museum, large gift shop, café, and wonderfully panoramic views. There are also restrooms and staff on hand to answer any questions you might have.
We started at Beaver Meadows Visitor Center and scored some hats at a great price. The park rangers were really nice and provided maps and advice on where to hike. Then it was off to Sheep Lakes. Not much to see here unless you get to see some of the big horn sheep that live in the area. No such luck for us this time around, but it was fun to see photos and read about those who had made an appearance in the days prior to our arrival.
Many hikers want to experience the thrill of camping in the wild, which is what backcountry camping in Rocky Mountain National Park is like. Backcountry permits are necessary and may be obtained at the Backcountry Offices. Near Estes Park, the Backcountry Office is located at the Beaver Meadows Visitor Center. Many backcountry campsites dot the park, including special sites for groups of more than seven people. Campers are asked to take responsibility for their sites, such as practicing proper Leave No Trace techniques and taking appropriate wildlife protection measures. More information on these tips plus suggestions for how to plan a backcountry camping trip may be found at the official Rocky Mountain National Park Backcountry Webpage.
Region 5, known for waterfalls and backcountry, is south of Estes Park and contains Longs Peak—the park's iconic fourteener—and the Wild Basin area. Other peaks and passes include Lily Mountain, Estes Cone, Twin Sisters, Boulder-Grand Pass, and Granite Pass. Eugenia Mine operated about the late-19th to early-20th century, with some old equipment and a log cabin remaining. Sites and trails include Boulder Field, Wild Basin Trail, and Homer Rouse Memorial Trail.
Features: The Holzwarth Historic Site, or Never Summer Ranch as it’s sometimes called, has a variety of cabins built in the early 1900s. This dude ranch has been preserved by the Nature Conservancy ever since the 1970s, and it retains much of its same rustic look. You can read more about the Holzwarth Historic Site at Rocky Mountain Hiking Trails’ Holzwarth Historic Site Trail page. It’s just over an hour drive to get from Rams Horn Village to the Holzwarth Historic Site.
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, The Baldpate Inn has been enchanting Rocky Mountain travelers for more than 100 years. It’s nestled among the aspen and evergreen trees right beside Rocky Mountain National Park and began as a lodging destination almost right away when homesteaders Gordon and Ethel Mace moved in and built a handful of small cabins on their land. In addition to location and history, the inn boasts the world’s largest key collection and a photograph collection that includes signed portraits of presidents, celebrities, writers, inventors and more.
Riverwood on Fall River: Nestled among 300 year old pines along the scenic Fall River, Riverwood provides the perfect setting for your vacation or getaway to Estes Park. Our contemporary floor plans are among the largest in Estes Park with 1,2 & 3 bedroom condos that range in size from 1,100 to 1,400 square feet. Decorated in contemporary, tasteful decors, each condominium features high vaulted ceilings, full kitchens, washer & dryer, king beds, private 2 person Jacuzzi tubs and dramatic panoramic windows with views of Castle Mountain and Old Man Mountain. From your deck you can enjoy the sights and sounds of Fall River while watching a variety of wildlife including elk, deer and big horn sheep! You can also fish for trout from our 600 feet of private river frontage. Riverwood is located just minutes from Rocky Mountain National Park…yet also convenient to Estes Park shopping, dining and its variety of year-round activities, festivals and cultural events. You can take the Fall River hike/bike trail and walk to all downtown attractions. Come and enjoy a wonderful stay at Riverwood on Fall River.
We ended up doing Sprague Lake, which is a nice, leisurely walk along a paved path by the lake. It was a beautiful view. I only wish it wasn't so cloudy that day. Next, we drove to the Copeland Falls trail, which is a 0.3 hike from the trailhead of Wild Basin. But to the falls and back is a bit over two miles. Barely anyone was on the trail, which was nice but also creepy at the same time.
Marissa is a writer for 303 Magazine’s Travel, Lifestyle + Culture Desk. She grew up in Canada, but spent her adult life navigating South Carolina as a Canadian transplant. She secretly enjoys the cold weather in Colorado, but complains about it anyway. In her free time, you can find her bothering her friends to go out, watching comedy shows or driving long distances to see something cool she read about online. All wit and charm is 85% her parents and 15% something she learned in middle school from the 8th graders on her bus. Follow her on Twitter @marissajkozma
Highlights of our trip were stopping and eating lunch at Hidden Valley, where we saw a bull Elk up close grazing. Hiking the beautiful Bear Lake, Nymph Lake and then on to the breathtaking Dream Lake. Fly fishing in Moraine Park on the Big Thompson River, with Elk surrounding us. Seeing a Moose for the first time at Forest Canyon. Seeing two Big Horn sheep at Sheeps Lake.
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After a day exploring countless winding trails and finding adventure together, kick back, relax and enjoy each other’s company in your own, comfy cabin. Nothing feels quite as cozy as playing card games and laughing while snuggled up next to a crackling fireplace. Forget the noise of the city and let the sounds of the mountains serenade you in one of these serene abodes.
My greatest passion in life is spending time in the Great Outdoors. I am passionate to the point that I chose the Spring Mountains National Recreation Area (Mount Charleston) as my Landmark Review #1,000. My passion for the Great Outdoors created the "Vegas is Sun City Hiking List" that shares over 100 hiking spots close to Las Vegas. Several of these hiking spots are hundreds of miles downriver from the Colorado River that very river that originates in the Rocky Mountain National Park.
The park may be accessed through Estes Park or via the western entrance at Grand Lake. Trail Ridge Road, also known as U.S. Route 34, connects the eastern and western sides of the park. The park has a total of five visitor centers. The Alpine Visitor Center is located in the tundra environment along Trail Ridge Road, while Beaver Meadows and Fall River are both near Estes Park, with Kawuneeche in the Grand Lake area, and the Moraine Park Discovery Center near the Beaver Meadows entrance and visitor center.
Among the agencies left unfunded by the budget impasse between Congress and President Donald Trump is the Interior Department, which includes the National Park Service. The partial shutdown started Dec. 22 when Congress rejected Trump’s demand that $5.7 billion for a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border be included in a bill funding nine departments and several agencies. Hundreds of thousands of workers have been furloughed or are working with no pay because they’re considered essential.
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Skiiers: Have everything taken care of for you so that all you have to worry about is the snow. This cabin is just outside of Crested Butte, which was named Best Ski Town in North America by Powder Magazine. A free shuttle can get you to the base and you can store all of your skiing and outdoor equipment at the cabin. Check out that front porch swing with an amazing view of the mountains!