Estes Park Journals

Estes Park - Rocky Mountain Wonderland

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A February 2005 trip to Estes Park by Shaken_Bake

The Woodlands on Fall River Road Photo, Estes Park, Colorado More Photos
Quote: Estes Park, the gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park, is a bustling town devoted to tourists who come to see the incredible mountain vistas. Some people may find the concentration of souvenir shops to be a turn-off, but there’s so much more to Estes than just the three-block shopping area.

Estes Park - Rocky Mountain Wonderland

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Overview

Estes Park Photo, Estes Park, Colorado
Quote:
Without a doubt, Rocky Mountain National Park is the raison d'etre for the town of Estes Park. The entrances to the park are only a few miles away from the center of town. Estes provides the logistics for the throngs of tourists who come to see some of the most beautiful scenery on earth; there are a myriad of dining and lodging options, as well as the requisite kitschy souvenir shops (not that there's anything wrong with a Colorado refrigerator magnet or an "I Heard the Elk Bugle" t-shirt!) Estes is a great place to take the family, with lots to do when you’re not visiting the park. There are places to go horseback riding, pond trout fishing, paddleboat rental, and a great go-cart and giant ...Read More
The Woodlands on Fall River Road Photo, Estes Park, Colorado
Quote:
The Woodlands is a fairly new condo-like lodge with 16 one- and two-bedroom suites. The units are immaculately clean and modern. They are all equipped with a fully-stocked full-size kitchen, wood fireplace, balcony or patio, gas grill, and TV/VCR (a large selection of free movies are available at the front desk!). There is a small outdoor hot tub near the front desk, although I've seldom seen many guests using it. A small bundle of wood is provided upon check-in, with additional bundles available at the front desk for about $2.50. I would advise stocking up because it burns quickly and there's nothing like a wood fire to provide the perfect ambiance for a relaxing evening! One of the best r...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on May 13, 2005

The Woodlands on Fall River Road
1888 Fall River Road
Estes Park, Colorado
(800) 721-2279

Romantic Riversong Inn

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Hotel

Romantic Riversong Inn Photo, Estes Park, Colorado
Quote:
"Romantic" is the key word here--this is truly a great B&B for small weddings and honeymooners and certainly perfect for a couple to get away in any season! Riversong is a ten-room inn in an exquisite location, away from the center of Estes Park at the foot of Rocky Mountain National Park. Each room has a different décor, with evocative names such as "Indian Paintbrush," "Meadow Bright," and "Wood Nymph." All the rooms have romance-inspiring amenities such as jetted tubs, wood fireplaces, thick, cozy bathrobes, and very comfortable furnishings. There are often elk and deer who visit the grounds, even a bear or two have come calling! The owner, Gary, is licensed to perform weddings, either on-sit...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on May 16, 2005

Romantic Riversong Inn
1765 Lower Broadview Road
Estes Park, Colorado 80517
(970) 586-4666

Twin Owls Steakhouse

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Restaurant | "Twin Owls Steakhouse, Estes Park"

Quote:
For our first anniversary dinner, we chose the upscale Twin Owls Steakhouse. It is a popular restaurant in Estes, and is part of the Black Canyon Inn not far from the center of town on MacGregor Avenue. I love the location, which is perfectly described on their website. "The original log building, which now houses the restaurant, was built in 1927 as the private home of the Stacey family. This rustic, yet romantic, log building features a floor to ceiling moss rock fireplace, a high beamed ceiling, balcony off of the loft and the original oak floors." We were seated near the fireplace, which gave off a cozy feel on that cold February evening. The atmosphere is elegant and subdued without be...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on May 16, 2005

Twin Owls Steakhouse
800 MacGregor Avenue
Estes Park, Colorado 80517
970-586-9344

Nicky's Motor Lodge

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Restaurant | "Nicky's Steakhouse, Estes Park"

Quote:
Nicky’s is what I call a dependable restaurant. We’ve eaten there often because it’s close to downtown Estes, and on the way home from Rocky Mountain National Park. The food isn’t gourmet, but it’s always been good. The menu is quite extensive and there are both casual and more elegant dining options. The prices are mid-range, but generally it’s a good value for the money. The Garden Room at Nicky’s, in the front of the building, is casual and family-friendly. The menu ranges from steak and seafood to sandwiches and salads. Nicky’s Steakhouse is the "white tablecloth" section, with a lovely view of Fall River and a large stone fireplace. The menu is a predictable mix of steaks, chicken, a...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on May 17, 2005

Nicky's Motor Lodge
1350 Fall River Road
Estes Park, Colorado 80517
970-586-5376

Mountain Home Cafe

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Restaurant

Quote:
This restaurant is known as where the locals go for breakfast and lunch. It's in the strip mall next to Safeway, so it doesn't have the benefit of a central location of many other popular establishments, although plenty of free parking is a draw! The decor is mom-and-pop diner, with crafts and photographs on the wall and unremarkable tables and booths in a brightly lit space. They also have a small outdoor patio that overlooks the parking lot for warm-weather dining. They serve breakfast and lunch all day until 2:30pm (no dinner service). We arrived around 10am on a snowy Columbus Day Monday and were surprised at the crowd; the hostess explained that because they never usually have such traf...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on October 13, 2005

Mountain Home Cafe
453 E. Wonderview
Estes Park, Colorado 80517
970/586-6624

Sweet Basilico Café

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Restaurant

Quote:
This is a tiny gem of a restaurant located front and center as you enter Estes Park. It only has about a dozen tables in a small room, but the food more than makes up for any lack of luxurious surroundings! The food here is Italian home-style. The portions are generous and the ingredients are fresh and very tasty. For such a small place, the menu is long and contains all the traditional Italian favorites: pasta, chicken and veal, antipasto, and desserts. The prices are very reasonable, about $11 to $18. They have a limited but well-priced wine list, either by the bottle or glass. I tried the chicken Florentine, which consisted of two pieces of breaded chicken breast topped with ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 13, 2005

Sweet Basilico Café
401 E. Elkhorn Ave.
Estes Park, Colorado 80517
(970) 586-3899

Rocky Mountain National Park

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Attraction | "Hiking to The Loch in RMNP"

Rocky Mountain National Park Photo, Estes Park, Colorado
Quote:
One of the best things about RMNP is the abundance of great hiking trails of all different difficulties; everyone can enjoy the awesome vistas without having to be a mountain-climber! I may not be the fittest woman to go on a hike, but I want to view more than what one can see at the scenic overlooks in the park. My research pointed to a hike to The Loch, a lake 2.7 miles from the Glacier Gorge Trailhead. The elevation gain is 940 feet, which indicates a moderate uphill climb. The description of the hike specified incredible views, which made me eager to try it! The weather was perfect for early October, with brilliant skies and warm sun. It was crowded on the trail, particularly to the first la...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on May 17, 2005

Rocky Mountain National Park
1000 U.S. Highway 36
Estes Park, Colorado 80517
(970) 586-1206

Bear Lake

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Attraction | "Snowshoe Tour of Bear Lake, RMNP"

Bear Lake Photo, Estes Park, Colorado
Quote:
Snowshoeing is an incredibly fun winter sport that requires absolutely no advance training, and the equipment is very cheap to rent ($10/day). The saying goes, "If you can walk, you can snowshoe; if you snowshoe 50 yards, you’re an expert!" Basically, if you’re in shape enough to hike a few miles, you can certainly enjoy snowshoeing. I was thrilled to discover that the park rangers lead a free beginner’s snowshoe tour on winter weekends at Bear Lake, a very popular hiking destination in Rocky Mountain National Park. You do need to call a week in advance to make a reservation due to the popularity of the tour. As my husband and I were driving towards Bear Lake in late February, we were a litt...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on May 17, 2005

Bear Lake
Rocky Mountain National Park
Estes Park, Colorado

Estes Park Brewery

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Restaurant

Estes Park Brewery Photo, Estes Park, Colorado
Quote:
I’m married to a Canadian (the best man in North America, eh?), a beer-loving Canadian. Therefore, on our first visit to Estes Park, he was delighted to find that there is a brewpub in wilds of the Rocky Mountains. We’ve established a tradition that it is always our first stop upon arriving in town. Estes Park Brewery is in a large white building that is hard to miss driving up Moraine Avenue, just past the go-cart park! The restaurant and bar are upstairs in a large, open room. Along one side of the room are windows that overlook the brewery room below, with huge metal tanks to hold the different beers. The menu is composed of basic bar food, such as burgers, pizza, and appetizers. They a...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on May 17, 2005

Estes Park Brewery
470 Prospect Village Drive
Estes Park, Colorado 80517
(970) 586.5421