The Landing at Estes Park opened very recently in 2015, but before it was a lodge, it was the home of 83-year-old Joyce and her husband for 45 years. Many of the existing structures were built by hand by the couple when they were young. Today, owners Jay and Jen pay homage to the history and the love built into The Landing and renovated it to be one of the town’s best mountain retreats. Offering suites, villas, cabins and the River Ranch Vacation Home, there is something for everyone at this old-world inn.
Rocky Mountain National Park, established in 1915, is a living showcase of the grandeur of the Rocky Mountains. Located outside Estes Park, Colorado, Rocky Mountain is a great family vacation destination, offering outdoor experiences for all—from easy nature hikes around crystal clear mountain lakes to daring rock scrambles up waterfalls and mountains.
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.
The complex interactions of elevation, slope, exposure and regional-scale air masses determine the climate within the park, which is noted for its extreme weather patterns. A "collision of air masses" from several directions produces some of the key weather events in the region. When cold arctic air from the north meets warm moist air from the Gulf of Mexico at the Front Range, "intense, very wet snowfalls with total snow depth measured in the feet" accumulate in the park.
Horace Albright, director of the National Park Service between 1929 and 1933, once said about Trail Ridge Road, "It's hard to describe what a sensation this new road is going to make. You will have the whole sweep of the Rockies before you in all directions." Trail Ridge Road was a sensation when it debuted back in 1932 and it remains so today for the travelers that make the 48-mile drive from Estes Park to Grand Lake, rising above the tree line for 11 miles at an elevation of nearly 11,500 feet. Visitors should keep that in mind when they're stopping at the lookout points that the road experiences temperatures that are 20 and even 30 degrees lower than both Estes Park and Grand Park.
YMCA of the Rockies offers an experience every family should enjoy at least once. On the grounds of the Estes Park Center, there are hotel-style lodge rooms, cabins and vacation homes. And, when you’re looking for activities, the challenge will be choosing from the long list of options. The lineup includes archery, disc golf, challenge courses, horseback riding, mini golf, roller skating and ice skating, zip lining, yoga, outdoor arts programs and more. For a complete list of activities, click here.
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
Features: Take a quick hike around Lake Irene. Lake Irene is one of the highest lakes in the park; it’s just below the continental divide. This secluded little lake is surrounded by pine trees, and the trail is fairly flat along its entire length. However, once again, since this lake is at elevation, it can be a bit winding—you’ll notice that the trees don’t grow quite so high around the lake since you’ll be near tree line. Take note, the parking lot is the highest point on this hike, so be prepared for the uphill jaunt back to your car! Halfway through the trail, you can also visit an overlook on the trail that displays a vista of Lake Irene and a nearby meadow (this portion of the trail is not part of the length calculation above). It’s about an hour drive from the resort to the Lake Irene Picnic Area.
The park is home to some 2,000 to 3,000 elk in summer, and between 800 and 1,000 elk spend the winter within its boundaries. Because of lack of predation, the National Park Service culls around 50 elk each winter. Overgrazing by elk has become a major problem in the park's riparian areas, so much so that the NPS fences them out of many critical wetland habitats to let willows and aspens grow. The program seems to be working, as the deciduous wetland plants thrive within the fencing. Many people think the elk herd is too large, but are reluctant to reintroduce predators because of its proximity to large human populations and ranches.
Reserved through Airbnb, Little Red Treehouse is exactly what it sounds like. Custom-built by owner and founder Leam Blackwood and sitting amongst the trees in Lyons, Colorado, this charming home offers huge views, a deck-top private shower, a balcony breakfast nook, an efficiency kitchen with both heat and electricity, stunning lodge design, and a unique treehouse experience you’ll never forget.