Estes Park is one of the largest tourist destinations in the Rocky Mountains. The busiest time of the year in Estes is the summertime, and that is because of the hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park, homemade taffy, and beautiful, sunny weather. However, what many tourists don’t realize is that wintertime in Estes is one of the best times to visit. There are a wide variety of winter activities in Estes that are guaranteed to make your next getaway unforgettable.
Just because Estes doesn’t have its own ski resort, doesn’t mean that you can’t have an amazing, active winter vacation there. There is plenty of snow fun to be had in Estes. The snow accumulation in Rocky Mountain National Park leaves open space for skiing, snowshoeing, sledding, and simply playing in the snow. Although the Hidden Valley Ski Area stopped working in 1991, the area is still open for experienced skiers and snowboarders willing to put in extra effort. There is no longer a ski lift, so those wanting to ski and snowboard have to get themselves to the top. Depending on the conditions, you can either skin up, snowshoe, or backpack up to the top. The Hidden Valley Area presents approximately 1,200 acres of skiable, untracked snow.
Directly below the former runs are areas for sledding and downhill sliding. Bring your sleds, inner tubes, saucers, and any other kind of sledding gear for a great day in the snow. The park service has contoured these hills to enhance the safety of the sledding there. Generally, the sledding area in Rocky Mountain National Park is open until late April. Sleds and other gear can be rented in town.
If you feel like exploring the winter terrain, you can go snowshoeing or winter hiking. In Estes, there are organized snowshoe treks with local organizations like The Rocky Mountain Conservancy. If you feel like exploring on your own, get a pass to Rocky Mountain National Park and head up to Bear Lake, or another RMNP trail. They are about 25-45 minutes past the town of Estes Park, and these hikes provide flat, easy trails perfect for a snowshoe expedition.
In Estes, fishing season is never over. Even though the weather is no longer warm, that doesn’t mean that you have to stop fishing! One of the largest winter attractions, due to the fact that the Big Thompson River continues to flow and flies continue to hatch into February, is winter fly fishing! In the winter, you can still enjoy beautiful views as you fly fish for a lovely trout. In addition to winter fly fishing, most of the wildlife in Estes Park are easy to spot. This is because during the summer, there are more people around, and the animals hide. Local photographers and tour operators in Estes can help you know where to go to see the best winter wildlife.
A newer activity that can be done all year round is called fatbiking. This activity may look a little bit silly, due to the bike’s over sized tires, but allows participants to ride a bike on any terrain—including snow! Fatbiking is a growing winter activity, calling for moderately packed snow on trails and one-tracks. Fatbikes are available for rent in town.
If the cold weather has you down, but you still want to bask in the beautiful views of The Rocky Mountains, schedule a bus tour of Rocky Mountain National Park. You’ll love seeing the gorgeous mountains, dusted with snow, from the comfort of a heated bus.
When people think of Estes Park, generally they think about saltwater taffy. However, it has evolved to be a place of sophistication and luxury, that many tourists overlook amongst all the taffy goodness. There are two luxury wineries in town. One is called Snowy Peaks and is open all year round. Not to mention it’s kid-friendly. They will serve your kids locally-made juices so that they can join in on the fun. They also have a kids play area so that you can sit back and relax, while your kids have fun. In addition, this winery has a list of live music and other events to complete your experience.
Love to climb but feel limited by the cold weather? Estes Park has an indoor rock climbing gym that will help you warm your hands and toes. This climbing gym is located at the Estes Park Mountain Shop, and has over 4,500 square feet of climbing space. This includes a 600 square foot climbing wall. If you’ve never tried climbing before, this family-friendly gym offers lessons and trained staff ons belay.
Estes Park is one of the best places to visit for a winter wonderland vacation. When planning your winter getaway, in addition to planning out those winter activities in Estes, you’ll want to make sure you have a beautiful place to stay. Rams Horn Village Resort is an award-winning resort in Estes with extravagant cabins for guests’ stay. We know you love being outdoors, otherwise you wouldn’t be coming to the beautiful Estes Park for your vacation. However, just because you love being outside doesn’t mean you should sacrifice luxurious comfort in where you stay. Learn more about Rams Horn Village Resort and reserve your cabin for this winter today.