Want to experience the glorious surroundings of Estes Park and the Rocky Mountain National Park? Discover the best places to stay in Estes Park with this comprehensive guide.
Not only is Estes Park the gateway to the Rocky Mountain National Park, it’s one of the jewels in Colorado’s crown in its own right. So much so that more than 4.5 million people visit the area annually.
What’s not to love? Boasting a mix of outdoor pursuits, outstanding luxury, great cuisine and breathtaking views, Estes Park has you covered.
While downtown Estes Park is a haven for fans of independent retailers, fans of water sports, road trips, winter sports, climbing and hiking are equally well catered for too.
Yet, don’t feel that you have to get out and about to enjoy your visit to Estes Park, if you need somewhere quiet to simply sit back and relax in natural, unspoilt surroundings, then you won’t go wrong with the stunning views of the Rocky Mountains.
So, if you’re wondering where to stay in Estes Park, sit back, grab a cuppa and let me do the hard work for you with my guide to the best areas and hotels in Estes Park to help you plan the rustic US vacation of your dreams.
Best Places to Stay in Estes Park: At a Glance
|Best Estes Park Hotel – Top Picks
|Best Overall Hotel
|Best Hotel for Relaxation
|Evergreens on Fall River
|Best Hotel for Outdoor Adventurers
|Best Hotel for Budgets
|Blue Door Inn
Where to Stay in Estes Park
If you’re planning a trip to the Rocky Mountain National Park and are wondering where to stay in Estes Park, there are five areas I strongly recommend.
If you want to stay close to downtown Estes Park, with its rich selection of eateries, drinking hotspots and range of 200+ independent retailers, then the Eastern and Western sides of town are where you want to be searching.
If, like me, getting active on water is your thing, then Olympus Heights on Lakes Estes is the perfect spot, combining lakeside locations with breathtaking mountain views. Meanwhile, I also loved exploring Beaver Point, the perfect access point to the Rocky Mountain National Park and its endless supply of hiking trails.
Of course, sometimes we just need to get away from it all and become one with nature. Heading into the stunning riverside forest of the Fall River Estates will help you recharge your batteries.
Eastern Estes Park: Best Place to Stay for Downtown Estes Park
Eastern Estes Park is the most convenient location for people wanting easy access to the shops and restaurants of downtown Estes Park while being close to the Rocky Mountain National Park and Lake Estes.
Eastern Estes Park Highlights
The stunning Stanley Hotel that inspired the Stephen King novel and Jack Nicholson film The Shining has a wonderfully haunted history visitors can explore at leisure.
Estes Park Museum
The Estes Park Museum is free of charge. It features plenty of local history dating back to 1864, from chronicling the Rocky Mountain National Park homesteaders to the area’s long history of brushes with fires and floods.
The charms of Lake Estes are within easy reach of the Eastern side of the town. You can hike, swim, picnic, fish and enjoy a romantic boating trip. The lake is also home to the Olympus Dam, completed in 1949.
Peak to Peak Highway
Anyone wanting to experience what I consider to be Colorado’s best road trip can head along the Peak to Peak Highway and take plenty of ‘“grammable” shots all year round.
Suggested Hotels in Eastern Estes Park
Blue Door Inn
The Blue Door Inn is an independently-owned motel that offers luxury at affordable prices at the foot of the Rocky Mountain National Park. With most rooms providing astonishing views of the mountains, this is the perfect option for visitors to Estes Park on a budget.
If lodging in Estes Park appeals to you, Discovery Lodge and its beautiful, airy, pine-decorated rooms with sweeping views of the National Park are perfect. With a pool and private pool, bicycle rental and easy access to outdoor pursuits, including cross-country skiing, hiking and biking trails, hunting and kayaking, to name a few.
If it’s luxury you’re looking for, Hotel Estes is the place to choose in Eastern Estes Park. Each room comes carpeted and full of luscious soft furnishings, providing a sumptuous, comfy space in charming, rustic surroundings.
Olympus Heights: The Best Place to Stay in Estes Park for Enjoying Lake Estes
Olympus Heights is the perfect location if you’re into waterside views and want to be within walking distance of a beautiful mountain lake. Rent your fishing, boating and kayaking gear from the marina, rest on the beach, or visit the Estes Park Resort to chill and be waited on hand and foot!
Olympus Heights Highlights
Estes Park Ride-A-Kart
From cascade arcades to batting cages, mini golf to go-karts, bumper karts and bumper boats, not to mention a miniature railroad and X-treme trampolines, Estes Park Ride-A-Kart is the one-stop shop for every conceivable outdoor activity, whatever your age.
Estes Park Memorial Observatory
Committed to helping with the scientific education of local children in Estes Park, the Estes Park Memorial Observatory is a community-owned resource that hosts educational lectures alongside private and group astronomical viewings.
Lake Estes Marina
Lake Estes Marina is the beating heart of Lake Estes. You can indulge your inner water baby by grabbing a boating or fishing licence for your stay or renting a kit to get active on the water. You can even chill by grabbing a shelter rental to relax and enjoy the view.
Suggested Hotels in Olympus Heights
Estes Park Resort
Situated on the banks of Lake Estes, Estes Park Resort caters to every taste. With sumptuous spacious suites and luxury log-built lodges, this hotel and spa is the ideal spot to take in the stunning surroundings of Lake Estes while recharging your batteries.
Newly renovated between 2020 and 2022, the Columbine Inn offers a range of rooms, suites and studios, some with patios and each with incredibly comfy beds that will coax you into a deep sleep after a day on the water or exploring the mountains.
Western Estes Park: The Best Place to Stay Without a Car
The Western side of Estes Park is the best area for anyone travelling to Estes Park without a car. With more than 200 independent retailers, bars and restaurants within walking distance of the area’s downtown area, you won’t go hungry or thirsty and are still within easy reach of the Rocky Mountains National Park.
Western Estes Park Highlights
Open Air Adventure Park
One of Colorado’s leading outdoor adventure centres, Open Air Adventure Park offers the adventurer in you the chance to throw axes (at a target, not each other!), kayak tours and 32 unique aerial challenges that will offer plenty of thrills and spills.
Estes Park Riverwalk
The Estes Park Riverwalk follows the Big Thompson River and Fall River through downtown Estes Park, providing an enchanting cocktail of babbling brooks and gorgeous sites. The walk offers a brilliant range of shops, restaurants, bars and coffee shops along the way; I found this one of the most delightful ways to enjoy Estes Park’s many charms.
Suggested Hotels in Western Estes Park
The Historic Crags Lodge
Nestled in among the lush green forestry on the North side of Prospect Mountain, the Historic Crags Lodge provides comfort alongside stunning views of the National Park, an outdoor pool, hot tub and easy access to Estes Park’s many attractions.
Silver Moon Lodge
Sitting in amongst woodland along the side of Fall River, Silver Moon Lodge blends seamlessly into its surroundings. Designed with warm wooden tones, Silver Moon Lodge has it all: comfort, relaxation and incredible views.
Fall River Estates: The Best Place to Stay for an Off-Grid Break
Anyone wanting to get away from the hustle and bustle of downtown Estes Park will love the peace offered by Fall River Estates. The rural, riverside settings make for the perfect location for a romantic getaway, a solo trip to recharge or even a big family reunion in the area’s naturally secluded landscape. Fall River Estates is the ideal getaway for those with a car and seeking a change of pace.
Fall River Estates Highlights
Rocky Mountain National Park
One of the main entrances to the Rocky Mountain National Park, which offers more than 400 square miles of spectacular national parkland, including peerless mountain ranges, green meadows and towering snow-capped mountain peaks, is in the Fall River Estates.
Use it as your base to explore the 300-plus miles of hiking trails and find some incredible wildlife viewing spots to give your Instagram feed a viral boost.
Suggested Hotels in Fall River Estates
Evergreens on Fall River
Located at the gateway to the National Park, Evergreens on Fall River offers a range of gorgeous wooden riverfront cabins and a secluded vacation home for the perfect peaceful getaway for anyone wanting to reconnect with nature.
Fawn Valley Inn
Offering a range of one, two and three-bedroom condos and cabins that come with jet tubs and hot tubs, each with unique river and mountain views, Fawn Valley Inn is an eight-and-a-half acre site sat on the banks of Fall River just a mile from the National Park.
Timber Creek Chalets
If traditional rustic log cabins and chalets are your thing – and I adore them – Timber Creek Chalets has you covered.
Set inside natural woodland, some cabins and chalets have personal hot tubs, while others come with kitchenettes and gas grills. Within walking distance of the national park, this is a haven from the maelstrom of everyday life.
Beaver Point: The Best Place to Stay for Exploring Rocky Mountain National Park
Beaver Point makes a brilliant base camp to explore and trek through Rocky Mountain National Park. Colorado’s best-known trails take in Longs Peak, Sky Pond and Emerald Lake. If you’re comfortable on horseback you will adore the bridle paths throughout the ranges.
The more adventurous among you will love the range of mountain adventures within easy reach, including rock climbing.
Beaver Point Highlights
Jump onto horseback at Jackson’s Stables, where visitors of all ages can enjoy guided horseback trails throughout the stunning landscape of Beaver Point and the Rocky Mountains National Park safely and at a leisurely pace.
Beaver Meadows Visitor Center
Located on Route 36, Beaver Meadows Visitor Center sits inside the Rocky Mountains National Park and is home to the Rocky Mountain Conservancy Nature Store. Open all year round, the visitor center is ideal for planning hikes, trails and adventures.
Suggested Hotels in Beaver Point
Rams Horn Village Resort
Rams Horn Village Resort is an award-winning resort featuring top-of-the-range rural cabins stacked with all mod-cons to provide peerless comfort and a home-from-home atmosphere. Some properties come with private pools, while incredible views of the mountains come as standard.
The Landing at Estes Park
Sited next to the main entrance of the Rocky Mountains National Park, The Landing at Estes Park offers uniquely designed simple luxury, unmissable traditional Rockies hospitality and incredible access to all the natural features of the park on its doorstep.
Where to Stay in Estes Park: Frequently Asked Questions
Eastern Estes Park is the best area to stay in Estes Park. The eastern side of town provides the perfect balance of being near all the amenities of downtown Estes Park, yet with all the attractions of Lake Estes, the Rocky Mountains National Park and the Peak to Peak Highway within easy reach by car.
However, those wanting a quieter retreat will find their sweet spot at Olympus Heights or Fall River Estates.
Unless you’re staying in downtown Estes Park, a car is essential to be able to get around Estes Park and make the most of the surrounding area’s many charms.
Practical Tips to Consider Before Booking Your Estes Park Accommodation
- Estes Park and Rocky Mountains National Park are home to some of the most stunning wildlife in Colorado. You’ll often see elk patrolling down the streets in downtown Estes Park, while chipmunks and bears are also regularly seen. Keep your distance, pay wildlife the utmost respect. If you have pets, please keep them on their leads as you explore the area.
- Downtown Estes Park is 2,293 metres above sea level, meaning altitude sickness is a potential problem. Stay hydrated, keep alcohol intake to a minimum and exercise moderately for the first few days to help you acclimatise.
- Although there is plenty to do all year round, with the area providing one of Colorado’s best areas for cross-country skiers during the winter, June to October is the best time to visit Estes Park to be able to take advantage of everything it has to offer.
- During the summer, mountain passes such as the Trail Ridge Road are passable, offering visitors some of the most fantastic views imaginable.
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