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Old 12-27-2019, 08:42 PM   #1
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Estes Park Ideas

Hi all,

We're looking to take a trip to Colorado and spend some time in and around Estes Park in late May. For those that have been there, can you help me with ideas on what we should see/do and where we should possibly stay. My wife and I have two 14-year old daughters and a 5-year old son. Full hookups is a must for our fiver.

Thanks for the help!
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Old 12-27-2019, 09:24 PM   #2
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Hi all,



We're looking to take a trip to Colorado and spend some time in and around Estes Park in late May. For those that have been there, can you help me with ideas on what we should see/do and where we should possibly stay. My wife and I have two 14-year old daughters and a 5-year old son. Full hookups is a must for our fiver.



Thanks for the help!


Itís a nice place , I stayed at Marys Lake Campground in a ⛺️ ... check it out
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Old 12-27-2019, 09:31 PM   #3
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Hi all,

We're looking to take a trip to Colorado and spend some time in and around Estes Park in late May. For those that have been there, can you help me with ideas on what we should see/do and where we should possibly stay. My wife and I have two 14-year old daughters and a 5-year old son. Full hookups is a must for our fiver.

Thanks for the help!

The DW and I have been out there several times, Mary's on the lake is a good camp ground right outside of Estes Park with spacious/full hook up sites. You can drive over the rocky mountains and go to Grand Lake, a lot of old stores there and good food, there are a lot of scenic pull offs to stop at and a souvenir store and restaurant at the top of the pass, the continental divide is up there as well. Estes Park has a lot of stores to walk thru. There is a small town called devils gulch, not much there but it is pretty scenic to get there and there is a small country store there that has some of the best cinnamon rolls. There is alot of small national forest around that area if you like to hike, if you go to them at the least take bear spray, the DW, Tanner the golden retriever and I go chased by a black bear. The lake at Mary's on the lake is not a lake you can go swim in, it is a reservoir for mountain run. So much more to see up there, you can also take "old fall river road" to get tho the top of the pass where the souvenir store is located, you can also walk up a flight of stairs that will take you to 12,500 feet and look over the mountain. I can go on and on bit I will let some other members post as well.
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Old 12-28-2019, 10:45 AM   #4
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We have been there several times Rocky Mountain National Park is a great place to visit. On our last visit we hired a local guide to explore the back country of RMNP. This did involve some hiking and can be some what challenging, but we were in out 60's when we did this hike. We checked with the Estes Park chamber of commerce for local guide services. We than went on line and read reviews picking out 5 start guide. The last time we were there was in 2011, we stated at Elk Meadow Lodge & RV Park in Estes park with full hook-ups.

Here our a couple of pic from RMNP that is off of the beaten path.
One turned side ways I don't know why?
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Old 12-28-2019, 12:59 PM   #5
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Great suggestions - thanks a bunch. It looks like there's 3 different roads into Estes Park from the East. Is there a preferred route if you're pulling a fiver?
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Old 12-28-2019, 01:49 PM   #6
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34 off of I25 is the most scenic but also not the most advantageous for a 5th wheeler tow. To me, 66 off I25 to 36 is the way I would go into Estes with your rig. Spruce Lake RV Park (SLRVP)/ Dunraven Inn for Italian/Smoken Dave's near SLRVP for excellent BBQ-burger fare and Fun City/Estes Park Ride-A-Kart/ horseback riding rental for the kids. Estes Park 18 hole golf course for the golfer ( a very nice course indeed). There is also a 9 hole course in Estes. There is Lake Estes for rental boat/shore fishing and such. I think The Big Thompson would be to high and fast for fly fishing during your stay. As mentioned, a myriad of shops to shop till you drop. An abundance of Elk to see. RMNP speaks for itself. Have fun and seek out other offerings not mentioned thus far.
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Old 12-28-2019, 02:06 PM   #7
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Full hookups generally means power, water, and sewer. If you truly need full hookups, you'll be limited. Estes Park at Mary's Lake and Estes Park at East Portal are your only options for public cgs. You'll be into it $65/night, which is egregious in my book.

There are private places, like KOA and Jellystone. But, I can't comment on those.

Nothing is available in the RMNP. You could go to the west side and stay at Stillwater, near Granby, and have power. There are a couple of other options over there for USFS campgrounds with power.

You could go a bit further south to Golden Gate Canyon State Park. You'll have power and a dump station, but no water or sewer at your site. You'd also be an hour or more away from Estes Park ... but closer to Golden, Idaho Springs, and other mountain towns to explore.
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Old 12-29-2019, 09:03 AM   #8
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In Estes Park, stay at Elk Meadow. Good location and big pull through sites. But it's wall to wall people, as is anywhere in Estes Park.

The Grand Lake side of the park is much quieter, less traffic. Winding River is very good with full hookup sites. It's "rustic" so you won't find paved roads and concrete pads... but they do have horseback rides, atv rentals, ice cream, lots of elk, and nice people.
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Old 02-06-2020, 01:16 PM   #9
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May is less crowded but can be cold and snowy.
RMNP is loved to death. Plenty of great places in Nat Forests nearby.
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Old 02-06-2020, 01:27 PM   #10
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We spent 4 nights in the park at Moraine Park Campground. No hookups but right in the action and no waiting in line to get into the park.
Loved it.
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Old 02-06-2020, 01:40 PM   #11
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The Estes KOA is decent, but very tight spots. Wildside and other group tours are nice. Some of the shorter hikes near Bear Lake would work with a 5 yr old. We've also done the ATV rental
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Old 02-06-2020, 02:55 PM   #12
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I can't comment about any of the campsites with hook ups, but there are 3 reserve- able campgrounds on the Estes side in RMNP, all primitive, but you better reserve now. They fill up fast.

There is a lot of hiking, and wildlife watching. Generally by May the roads are clear and trails are clearing. The higher you go, the more likely you are to encounter snow. It's a good idea to bring gear for wet trails if you plan to hike.

The goal of the park is always to get Trail Ridge Road- which is the high road through the park to Grand Lake- open by Memorial day, most of the time it opens right around that 3 day weekend.

The drive south down highway 7 has pretty scenery. You can see an old stone church, Enos Mills cabin, and some views of Longs Peak-probably the closest views- unless you are hiking the trails toward it. Further south is the Indian Peaks Wilderness, Brainard Lake area, and it is also beautiful. You will encounter snow there. In fact the campground there doesn't open until late June.
Hope you enjoy your trip!
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Old 03-26-2020, 12:08 PM   #13
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Respectfully, the best advice I can give you about Estes Park, is to avoid it.
It is the one place in Colorado I would drive around. Way too many tourists.
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Old 03-26-2020, 02:17 PM   #14
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Respectfully, the best advice I can give you about Estes Park, is to avoid it.
It is the one place in Colorado I would drive around. Way too many tourists.
Nobody goes there anymore. Itís always too crowded.
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Old 03-26-2020, 02:27 PM   #15
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Nobody goes there anymore. Itís always too crowded.
If nobody goes there anymore how can it be crowded?
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Old 03-26-2020, 02:35 PM   #16
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If nobody goes there anymore how can it be crowded?
Crowded with people that haven't been there and didn't know about the crowding.
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Old 03-26-2020, 04:52 PM   #17
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If nobody goes there anymore how can it be crowded?
Iím not sure. Ask Yogi Berra.
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Old 03-26-2020, 05:02 PM   #18
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Estes Park used to be a nice, little quiet mountain town adjacent to RMNP. Not any more. We were there 2 summers ago, took 1/2 hour just to get through the guard shack. Place was super crowded and if you were not at a trailhead or destination by 7, or 8 a.m., forget it. Traffic was so bad in the park that the rangers had set up flashing signs, with a ranger, letting one car in when one car came out of various locations. One ranger told me that they were the 2nd busiest park in the NP system. Estes Park itself is an absolute zoo, but, if you like crowds - have at. Not the place I remember and too many people for me.
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Old 03-26-2020, 05:06 PM   #19
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Iím not sure. Ask Yogi Berra.
Yep... one of Yogi's alleged famous statements!
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