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Estes Park/RMNP + Colorado Springs with 3 Generations

Austin, Texas
7 posts
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Estes Park/RMNP + Colorado Springs with 3 Generations


We are flying into Denver on a Monday, renting a car and driving to Estes Park where we have rented a house for our group of ten (5 kids- 10, 10, 8, 7, 5.5; 4 parents, and one healthy and active Grandma). We will be in Estes Park area until Saturday (5 nights).

We don't have any hard and concrete plans for particular days, but here are things on our list to do:)

*Bear Lake/Emerald Lake hike

*Gem Lake hike

*drive Trail Ridge Rd

*horseback riding tour (short one)

*rent bikes for a bike ride

*Estes Park Aerial Tramway

*YMCA of the Rockies

*Stanley Hotel Ghost Tour (adults only : ))

It looks like weather may not be the absolute best this week. I am wondering if we should bring ponchos with us? Are we going to be stuck inside and unable to do much? Is the altitude gonna make us sick? Are there any other MUST see items for Estes Park?

Then, we move onto Colorado Springs for 3 nights. I think we have plenty to do while there!

*Cheyenne Zoo

*Manitou Cliff Dwellings

*Garden of the Gods

*Cave of the Winds

*Pikes Peak Cog Railway

We open to suggestions and recommendations!

TIA, Lisa

Windsor, Colorado
Destination Expert
for Estes Park, Rocky Mountain National Park
Level Contributor
10,620 posts
129 reviews
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1. Re: Estes Park/RMNP + Colorado Springs with 3 Generations

It is rare to have a day in Estes Park and RMNP when the sun does not shine most of the day. Afternoon thundershowers are very common in RMNP. They usually blow through quickly and you can get back out for activities afterwards. Unlike in Texas, it will not be muggy and sticky after the showers. The clouds and showers will drop the temps by 10 to 15 degrees which can be chilly in the mountains. Plan longer hikes and horseback rides and your trip to drive and explore Trail Ridge Road for early in the day. The only day local forecasters are predicting extended periods of rain so far is Tuesday into Wednesday. NOAA weather is generally more accurate. Here are the links for Estes Park and for the Bear Lake area of RMNP.



Some indoor options if needed

Estes Park Museum

Ranger Programs in RMNP Visitor Centers - in particular the Moraine Park Visitor Center is Junior Ranger Headquarters. The kids can all earn Junior Ranger Badges so pick up the age appropriate free booklets. Check the park newspaper and this link for ranger programs.


Indoor Climbing Wall at Estes Park Mountain Shop

Estes Park Aquatic Center has an indoor pool visitors can use.

Bowling at Chippers Lanes

There are 2 movie theaters in Estes Park.

Add Lily Ridge (not just the lake), Sprague Lake and Alberta Falls to your easy hiking list. Remember Trail Ridge Road is way more than just a drive. See my reply #5 at this link (I gave it to you earlier) for short trails along Trail Ridge Road. The timeline in the first question in Top Questions over to your right will also help you plan your Trail Ridge Road day.


Windsor, Colorado
Destination Expert
for Estes Park, Rocky Mountain National Park
Level Contributor
10,620 posts
129 reviews
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2. Re: Estes Park/RMNP + Colorado Springs with 3 Generations

From DIA, drive through Boulder and Boulder Canyon to Nederland to join the Peak to Peak Scenic Byway to Estes Park. AVOID the E-470 toll road or the rental car agency will hit you with a daily surcharge plus the toll. Here is the route.


This route also avoids highway 36 between Lyons and Estes Park which is closed for construction Monday, August 4 through Friday, August 8.

Pearl Street Mall (pedestrian) in Boulder is a great place to stroll, grab a bite to eat and often times be entertained by street performers after a plane ride.

The kids (all of you) will love the Carousel of Happiness in Nederland.


It is about a 2 1/4 hour long drive over Trail Ridge Road to Kremmling but as a group you might really enjoy a half day family friendly float trip on the Upper Colorado River. Several companies offer this trip. In Estes Park, Rapid Transit Rafting will shuttle you to the river. You can drive yourself and raft with AVA or make arrangements to meet up with Red Tail Rafting in Kremmling. Even the 5 year old can do this trip.




3. Re: Estes Park/RMNP + Colorado Springs with 3 Generations

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