Estes Park is the gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado. The town is beautiful, well worth a day’s visit if you’re in the area. There’s a lovely downtown shopping area, right on the Big Thompson River. You can grab a sandwich or an ice cream and sit by the river, enjoying a gorgeous Colorado Mountain Summer Day. Estes Park is also the home of The Stanley Hotel, a place that inspired Stephen King in The Shining, and was featured in the TV movie. In this photo, you can see The Stanley Hotel in the background.
It’s a very small town, with only about 6000 residents. At the height of tourist season, they probably have more tourists than residents! One of the largest Scottish Festivals is held in Estes Park, Longs Peak Scottish Irish Highland Festival. This year it’s being held Sept 4-7.
Many people passing through Estes Park end up heading up Trail Ridge Road, which is “the highest paved continuous highway in the United States.” It crosses through Rocky Mountain National Park and over the Continental Divide, reaching an elevation of over 12,000ft. There’s a museum/gift shop along the road that (IMO) you can pretty much pass up, unless you need to go to the bathroom, but there’s a great short trail that starts there that makes for a nice little exercise break.
When I lived in Colorado I got the chance to go up to Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park a couple of times. It’s a beautiful area, with lots of activities, including rafting, camping, hiking, climbing, shopping, golfing, and even wine tours and tastings. But I would advise not getting quite this close to the wildlife – they can turn dangerous very quickly.