You can come and explore Estes Park all year round . It all depends on what you are looking for. The busiest months are July and August until you find yourself in hellish traffic jams in the middle of nature. Visitors even find it difficult to park for hiking! The quietest months are June , when everything is in bloom, and September and October for tranquility and beautiful colors.
Estes Park Rockies Rocky Mountain National Park
At the beginning of November , it is the change of season . We can then go from 20 degrees to 0 degrees with snow. This is what we experienced! Access to certain high altitude roads is then blocked but we reassure you, the park is gigantic and you will necessarily find your happiness there. You ca n’t ski in Estes Park . On the other hand, you can fully enjoy the joys of winter by practicing a whole host of gentle activities . More information on the Visit Estes Park website . You will also find all the news of the village and the park live.
1. Estes Park Rocky Mountains winter snow
Good to know: To access Rocky Mountain National Park, you will have to pay $25 per vehicle for 24 hours unless you opt like us for the $80 America the Beautiful card which then allows you to access all the national parks. from the United States for 1 year. We told you about it in detail in this complete article: road trip in the American West . This card is very quickly profitable because the entrance to national parks in the United States varies between 20 and 30$. To buy it is very simple. Just ask for it at the entrance to any US national park.
2. The most beautiful lakes in Estes Park
The most beautiful lakes to discover on a hike are located south of Rocky Mountain National Park . A magnificent hike accessible to all of at least 2 hours round trip allows you to contemplate 4 lakes at once : Bear lake, Nymph lake, Dream lake and Emerald lake. What we love is that each lake offers its own enchanting setting and its own breathtaking panorama of the surrounding mountains. And wild animals are never far away!
Estes Park Rockies lake trail
The most popular lake is the Bear lake because it is located near the parking lot. Then, the further you go, the fewer people you meet. However, the trail is easy . It’s the drop, although not that big, that must repel a lot of visitors.
Estes Park Rockies Bear lake sunrise
A few minutes walk later, we come across the Dream lake . It is more and more beautiful and there is more and more snow!
Remember to take water, snacks, sunscreen and occasional items with you. The weather can change quickly in the mountains, as in the Alps .
FYI, the Sprague lake located not far by car is very nice too. This is where we take you under the snow at the end of the video.
Lily lake is only a few minutes drive from Estes Park. The practical side is that the car park is located directly around the lake. The pontoon that you see as soon as you arrive facing the lake is really nice.
A small very bucolic hike then allows you to go around the lake . Brave or not to hike, just on the left, you will be able to fall with a little luck on elks ( mooses ) which are used to hanging out in the tall nearby grass.
The Gem lake hike is an easy 5 km return trail that climbs well with an elevation gain of 320 m in a setting of granite and fir trees and leads to a high altitude lake, Gem Lake. Again, no entry fees.
The scenery is sublime the whole way through and what views of the plateau and snow capped peaks of the Rocky Mountains. After 1 hour of climbing , we are rewarded by the beauty of the Gem lake. The lake is not huge but it is so bucolic! It looks like a cartoon setting . Great for picnicking once you arrive.
3. Horseback riding in Estes Park
Exploring Estes Park on horseback is a must-do activity in the Rockies. We chose a 1-hour scenic ride in the mountains, but other formulas exist of course.
We chose to test a horseback ride with Sombrero Stables in the eastern part of Estes Park . This horseback ride is ideal for beginners .