On our four previous visits to Rocky Mountain National Park, we stayed one or more nights in the adjacent town of Estes Park. This time, we didn’t, as we were able to get reservations at Moraine Park Campground in the park for the duration of our planned visit. As a result, we actually spent less time in Estes Park than any other visit – other than traveling through town and stops for fuel and groceries, just a short visit before and after lunch on September 15th, followed by an afternoon alpine hike back in the park. It was an nice stroll along the street and into some of the shops – and much less crowded than our last visit on Labor Day weekend, 2009.
This image is from a photo Karen snapped of me
while I was taking a picture of the Wishful Thinkin’
sculpture of the cowboy pouring water out of
Estes Park, a town of just under 6,000 permanent residents, is a popular summer resort in the Front Range of the Colorado Rockies, though there are plenty of recreational opportunities during the rest of the year. Located at 7,522 feet above sea level, the town is at the east entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park. Tourism has been a primary business for the town for most of its history. Lodging includes The Stanley Hotel, inspiration for the setting of Stephen King’s novel The Shining. (We stayed in the hotel during our 2001 visit.)
The word “park” used in place names in the Colorado Rockies often refers to a valley or meadow. Estes Park, then, originally referred to the valley and was named after town founder Joel Estes.
The town experienced severe damage in July 1982 from flooding resulting from the failure of Lawn Lake Dam.
Additional information on the Lawn Lake Dam Failure, July 15, 1982:
Blog posts from this visit to
Rocky Mountain National Park:
Rocky Mountain National Park
- National Park Service– Rocky Mountain National Park
- Convention and Visitors Bureau
- Town of Estes Park
- Trail Gazette (newspaper)
- Stanley Hotel