Estes Park, Colorado, is an incredible place to visit. This beautiful town is located in the Rocky Mountains at the eastern entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park. Estes Park is known for the famous Stanley Hotel, which was featured in the Move, “The Shining.” But there are many more things to do in Estes Park after you visit the hotel.
Rocky Mountain National Park
Estes Park is the gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park, which could be the most beautiful place to visit in the United States. The view of the mountains is breathtaking, with more than 100 mountain peaks of over 11,000 feet, with Longs Peak at 14,259 feet.
More than 3 million people visit Rocky Mountain National Park each summer. Many of these visitors are there to climb the mountains, especially Longs Peak. You don’t have to be a mountain climber to enjoy the breathtaking scenery of the Rocky Mountains. The Estes Park Aerial Tramway is one of the best ways to enjoy the view.
Estes Park Aerial Tramway
With all the things to do in Estes Park, the Estes Park Aerial Tramway is one of the most enjoyable. It was built in 1955 and is one of the world’s oldest tramways currently operating. The tramway is one of the few European-style tramways running in the United States today.
The Estes Park Aerial Tramway climbs 1,600 feet up Prospect Mountain. The two cherry red tramway cars can carry eight people at a time, and the ride to the top of the mountain takes just under three minutes.
Once you get to the summit of Prospect Mountain, you will have an amazing view of Estes Park, Longs Peak, and the Continental Divide. You can take a picnic basket and spend the entire day at the top of the mountain. There is an observation deck, snack bar, gift shop and several trails meet at the summit. Tickets are valid for a round trip.
The tramway was first opened by Robert Heron and is still owned and operated today by the Heron Family. They employ a group of dedicated operators and mechanics to keep the tramway running each season.
Interestingly, the Estes Park Tramway was not the first project for Robert Heron. In 1945, he and his brother Webb built the first chairlift at Aspen Mountain and the world’s first double, triple, and quad chairlifts at the Berthoud Pass ski area in Colorado.
How to Get to Estes Park
Estes Park, Colorado, is located 69 miles northwest of Denver on US Highway 36 (The Denver/Boulder Turnpike) going through Boulder. You can also drive north on Interstate 25 to Loveland and then west on US Highway 34 (The Big Thompson Canyon.)
The Estes Park Aerial Tramway runs daily from Memorial Day until Labor Day and on weekends from September 7 – September 26, 9 am to 6 pm. Keep these dates in mind if on your trip to Estes Park this is on your list of things to do as they do not run year-round. They recommend early mornings or late afternoons for better photography, better weather, and fewer crowds.