1. Explore the charming Estes Park
Nestled right outside of Rocky Mountain National Park, Estes Park is a gorgeous city with a lot to offer – hiking, biking, rock climbing, horse back riding, and so much more! Wether you are starting your day off with brunch at Claire’s before checking out the local shops or rewarding yourself after a long day’s hike with homemade ice cream at Munchin’ House, make sure to spend some time in this vibrant city!
With outdoor fun around every corner, it’s hard to figure out where to start. Visit Estes Park Visitor Center for tours, activities, and trail info!
2. Visit the spooky Stanley Hotel
Famous for its appearance in the classic horror film, The Shining, the Stanley Hotel is not to be missed. Originally built in 1909, this historic hotel is open to all visitors looking to explore its beautiful grounds. If you manage to steal a few minutes away from the kids [possibly while they run around in the hotel’s mini hedge maze], you can try one of over a thousand international whiskeys that are offered at the hotel’s Cascade Whiskey Bar. If you have the time, take the historical day tour [ages 5+] or if you dare, the spooky Night Spirt Tour [ages 10+].
3. Search for locals
Local elk that is! There is a local herd that wanders Estes Park and chances are, with a little bit of patience, you are bound to cross paths with them!
4. Stroll around Sprague Lake [wheelchair + stroller friendly!]
This easily accessible trail around Sprague Lake is complete with a fishing pier and picturesque views of the Continental Divide. For tiny tots, it’s the perfect place to stretch their legs while they search for trout in the lake’s crisp, clear waters. Sprague Lake is an ideal spot for the entire family – complete with restrooms, picnic tables, and grills!
5. Picnic at Moraine Park Discovery Center [check website for hours]
Although we were unable to tour the center ourselves, the surrounding area was gorgeous and it is highly rated amongst fellow travelers. Once you check out the museum’s interactive exhibits and gift shop, hit one of the many trails nearby for some outdoor fun!
6. Feeling adventurous? Trek your way to a number of gorgeous lakes all in one day!
In one day, you can discover four beautiful lakes. Just a short drive from Sprague Lake, you will reach the Bear Lake Trailhead Parking Lot. From there, you can decide just how far you want to go! Bear Lake is located right at the trailhead and you can choose to hike its short loop or head straight out to the other three lakes along the trail- Nymph Lake, Dream Lake, and Emerald Lake.
Bear Lake – 0.6 mile wheelchair/stroller accessible loop
Nymph Lake – 1 mile roundtrip
Dream Lake – 2.2 miles roundtrip
Emerald Lake – 3.6 miles roundtrip
Trail Map for more details!
We only hiked to Dream Lake, and I would rate the trail difficulty as easy with high rewards. We encountered several families along the way with children of all ages.
For more info and ideas, check out Visit Estes Park!