Thousands of yogis are descending on Estes Park this month for the annual Yoga Journal Conference, though that’s certainly not the only reason to go. Here are seven more – and some breathtaking photos – to make the mountain town your next weekend getaway.
Rocky Mountain National Park: Estes borders this preserve of spectacular wilderness -- 400-plus square miles of it. Take a scenic drive, viewing remarkably majestic peaks -- 60 of which are over 12,000 feet. Hike, bike, fish or engage in any number of outdoor activities as you get in touch with nature.
Follow Highway 36 from Estes into the park; 970-586-1206
Riverwalk at The Village: Wander near Estes’ shopping district via the Riverwalk, a serene -- and romantic, if you’re so inclined -- walk at the edge of Fall River. Stop along the way at The Village’s eclectic boutiques, local sweet shops and cafes. The walk begins at the Visitors Bureau.
Estes’ CVB, 500 Big Thompson Ave. Estes Park; 970-577-9900
Fun City: For outdoor family entertainment, trek to Fun City where you can bump (cars and boats) and slide (massive and multicolored) your way through an afternoon. Shoot a round of mini golf, race a go-kart, tackle a climbing wall or bungee on a trampoline with your little ones. Activities are priced a la carte, but value cards are available.
455 Prospect Village Drive, Estes Park; 970-586.2828
The Stanley: If you know nothing else about Estes, you probably are aware of The Stanley Hotel, Stephen King’s inspiration for his hair-standing-on-the-back-of-your-neck novel The Shining. Get into the spirit and sign up for one of their ghost tours.
333 Wonderview Ave., Estes Park; 970-586-3371
Trail Ridge Road: With sweeping landscapes, Trail Ridge Road is the highest continuous highway in the U.S., running between Estes Park and Grand Lake. Expect wide breathtaking spanses before you at the numerous pullouts during your drive as eleven miles of the trip will be well above the tree line at 11,500 feet or higher.
1000 U.S. Hwy. 36, Estes Park; 970-586-1206
Estes Park Museum: If you’d like a little past with your present , check out the Estes Park Museum where local history is preserved and temporary exhibits -- along with one permanent -- gives insight to the area and its residents of days past.
Times vary per season; free
200 Fourth St., Estes Park; 970-586-6256
Lake Estes Marina & Trail: Rent a kayak -- or pontoon if you’re with a group -- and view Long’s Peak from the middle of gorgeous Lake Estes . Or, if you’d rather keep your feet on solid ground, access the 3.75-mile Lake Estes Trail skirting the shore from the marina.
1770 Big Thompson Ave., Estes Park; 970-586-2011
All photos courtesy of Estes Park CVB.