Estes Park in the Front Range of the Rockies is a mid-sized community surrounded by natural splendor, and it occupies the doorstep of Colorado's most famous national park. Among the most photographed locations in the west, Rocky Mountain National Park includes over 400 square miles of beautiful mountain lakes, meadows, and peaks. The park is a rare wilderness area in that it is accessible to outdoor enthusiasts of any level. There is much to explore by car. The drive over Trail Ridge Road, the highest continuous highway in America, is perhaps the pinnacle. Hiking can range from a leisurely boardwalk stroll past a waterfall to the a day-hike summit of Long's Peak. Wildlife viewing opportunities abound. 100+ herds of elk are commonly seen near the roads, and this is the place to visit if you ever wanted to hear an elk bugle. If you are lucky, you might even see Bighorn Sheep running along a path. With its prime position at the east entrance, Estes Park is a natural embarkation point for visitors from east of the mountains. To the east, the Big Thompson River Canyon provides an idyllic setting for sightseers and crystal-clear waters for trout fisherman.
While the surrounding territory is the prime attraction, Estes Park itself is a pleasant place to spend the day. A full range of dining, lodging, and entertainment options are available in town. If you like sweets, the salt-water taffy is a special treat for visitors and locals alike. The buffalo burger is another favorite, offered by many restaurants to those looking for a healthy (and tasty) alternative to the traditional American favorite. Shops and art galleries are abundant on the main thoroughfares. Local attractions include the sprawling Stanley Hotel, which inspired Stephen King's novel The Shining, and several museums on pioneer and western history. Street sculptures, fun annual events, and western-themed decoration bring additional color and character to this cheerful town. Parks surround Lake Estes, for a great place to relax during the afternoon, and the town maintains an extensive system of walking trails through both neighborhoods and commercial areas.
Estes Park is in north central Colorado, just west of the Denver/Fort Collins metro corridor.