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.
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.
Region 4 is the heart of the park with easy road and trail access, great views, and lake hikes including the most popular trails. Flattop Mountain is a tundra hike and the easiest hike to the Continental Divide in the park. Crossing over Flattop Mountain, the hike to Hallett Peak passes through three climate zones, traversing the ridge that supports Tyndall Glacier and finally ascending to the summit of Hallett Peak.
Estes Park has long billed itself as "The Gateway to the Rockies." This little town has a lot of charm of its own. For the many people who feel that the best part of the Rockies is the view, Estes Park is the best of both worlds. It is the perfect romantic getaway for those who would rather avoid the mountain roads and bone-chilling temperatures of Vail and Aspen during the winter.
Colorado has one of the most diverse plant and animal environments of the United States, partially due to the dramatic temperature differences arising from varying elevation levels and topography. In dry climates, the average temperature drops 5.4 degrees Fahrenheit with every 1,000 foot increase in elevation (9.8 degrees Celsius per 1,000 meters). Most of Colorado is semi-arid with the mountains receiving the greatest amount of precipitation in the state.
Glacier Basin: Located on Bear Lake Road, approximately six miles south of the Beaver Meadows Entrance Satation, this 150 site campground provide easy access to many areas of the East side of the park. Reservations are available for this popular summer-only campground which offers a shuttle stop, tent & RV (35 feet) spots and on-site Ranger-led evening programs.
If you are going into the Park backcountry overnight, you will need a backcountry permit, available free at park headquarters, or the Kawuneeche Visitor Center. Some areas are closed to overnight camping, and the danger of avalanches frequently exists, so plan your trip carefully, checking with park rangers for the latest Information on the areas In which you plan to travel.
We stayed at the Stanley Hotel, the most famous of all the lodging options in Estes Park, and the place that originally put this location on the map. Once the summer residence of the Stanley Family, it’s been open since 1909, and is today a major tourist attraction in its own right – not least because Stephen King stayed here once, and got his inspiration for horror novel The Shining during his stay.
A gourmet breakfast is included in the price of suites and cabins. A great room and sunny family room offer games, piano, movie library, trail guides and maps. The warmth of knotty pine walls, wood floors, a big sandstone fireplace and family heirlooms transport you back to a simpler era. Let us pamper you for your romantic getaway, elopement or any occasion when you chose Estes Park.
A number of Wedding Packages are available, which include table and chair setup, bartender, cake cutting, dance floor, ivory or black linens, champagne/cider toast, complimentary use of centerpieces, and a pre-wedding tasting for two. Additional accessories are also available. Other wedding services like florists, musicians, DJs, photographers and more can be found locally right here in Estes Park, making coordination and set-up a breeze. If you need assistance finding a florist, baker, photographer, etc, we would be more than happy to introduce you to some of the excellent wedding vendors here in town.