No Rocky Mountain vacation is complete without a visit to Estes Park, Colorado. This town of approximately 6,000 is located 90 miles northwest of Denver and serves as the eastern entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park. The main industry of Estes Park is tourism, and is aided by the splendor of the neighboring national park. People from all over the world visit Estes Park on their Rocky Mountain vacations.
Estes Park offers a wide variety of activities. There are many local gift and souvenir shops, and most offer a selection of jewelry handcrafted by local artists. There are also several art galleries, a historical museum, and a couple of spas. A wide variety of restaurants offers everything from coffee and bagels to wild game, so you are certain to find something for everyone in your family.
Being outdoors is the best way to enjoy your Rocky Mountain vacation, and Estes Park has lots of outdoor activities to choose from. Besides camping, hiking, and fishing, you might want to try rock climbing, Alpine mountain climbing, horseback riding, mountain biking, or river rafting. If you are a bit less adventurous, try golfing or bird watching. A scenic drive through Rocky Mountain National Park is a perfect way to view wildlife.
Finding a place to stay on your Rocky Mountain vacation is easy. In addition to chain hotels and motels, there are lots of cabins, lodges, and bed and breakfast inns to choose from. If you prefer camping, there are several campgrounds in or near town, as well as in Rocky Mountain National Park and in nearby Roosevelt National Forest.
Undoubtedly the most famous and most recognizable building in Estes Park is the Stanley Hotel. It was built by F.O. Stanley, the co-inventor of the Stanley Steamer automobile. He originally came to Estes Park in the summer of 1903 to recover from tuberculosis. He decided to stay in the area and opened his hotel in 1909. The elegant Stanley Hotel hosted many famous guests over the years, including John Phillip Sousa, Theodore Roosevelt, the Emperor of Japan, and countless giants of business and industry, as well as many Hollywood film stars.
The Stanley Hotel experienced renewed popularity after being featured as the Overlook Hotel in the Stanley Kubrick film, The Shining. The original story was written by Stephen King after he stayed at the hotel and experienced encounters with some of the ghosts who are believed to haunt the Stanley Hotel. The haunting of the hotel has been investigated by the television programs Ghost Hunters and Most Haunted. For those who want a truly unforgettable Rocky Mountain vacation might want to reserve room 217, where Stephen King was inspired to write The Shining, or try room 418, one of the most haunted rooms in the hotel.
No matter how you want to relax on your Rocky Mountain vacation, a visit to Estes Park, Colorado can provide you with a wide variety of activities to choose from. From outdoor fun to fine dining to ghostly encounters, you are sure to find something to make your vacation one to remember for a lifetime.