Estes Park is famed as the gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park, which in 2019, saw 4.6 million visitors. The Colorado mountain town serves as a basecamp for many outdoor enthusiasts but also draws those looking for relaxation at the many great places to stay in Estes Park.
I’m a Colorado local who recently wrote a guide on the best things to do in Estes Park. If you’re not sure where to stay in Estes Park, start by building your itinerary. Then, you can choose your lodging based on the locations of your preferred activities.
Eastern Estes Park is close to just about all key attractions. The same applies to the western side of town, which more so encompasses downtown Estes Park. Olympus Heights is best for fun on Lake Estes, while Beaver Point is ideal for Rocky Mountain Nat’l Park access. And Fall River Estates? Head there for peaceful seclusion and natural beauty.
Table of Contents
- Best Places to Stay in Estes Park
- 5 Best Neighborhoods & Areas to Stay in Estes Park
- Tips for Staying in Estes Park
- FAQs About Where to Stay in Estes Park
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Best Places to Stay in Estes Park
Just looking for a quick answer on the best places to stay in Estes Park? Here are my top picks:
- 🏆 Best Overall Hotel – Rams Horn Village Resort
- ✨ Best Luxury Hotel – The Landing at Estes Park
- 👪 Best for Families – Hotel Estes
- 💑 Best for Couples – StoneBrook Resort
- 👔 Best for Business – Silver Moon Inn
- 🛎️ Best Boutique – The Historic Crags Lodge
- 🚣♂️ Best Near Lake Estes – The Estes Park Resort
- 💵 Best Budget – The Maxwell Inn
Ok, let’s do a deep dive into the best areas and neighborhoods in Estes Park:
5 Best Neighborhoods & Areas to Stay in Estes Park
You’ll find most hotels in central Estes Park, which I’ve broken up into eastern and western regions. Olympus Heights provides lake access, while Beaver Point offers endless outdoor adventures. Fall River Estates is in a more secluded location, great for a romantic getaway.
Eastern Estes Park
Of all the places to stay in Estes Park, the eastern side of town is arguably the most convenient location. It provides easy access to key attractions like Rocky Mountain Nat’l Park, Lake Estes, and downtown shops and restaurants.
If driving up from the Peak to Peak Scenic Byway, consider lodging at Saddle & Surrey Motel found along the route. Blue Door Inn is another budget-friendly stay, and Hotel Estes is a great mid-tier choice. For a luxurious Estes Park accommodation, check out Discovery Lodge, The Ridgeline Hotel, and the iconic Stanley Hotel.
Pros of Staying in Eastern Estes Park:
- Accessibility to many attractions in Estes Park, CO
- Luxurious lodging, cheap hotels, and everything in between
- Lots of great restaurants and bars
Cons of Staying in Eastern Estes Park:
- Highly trafficked; may be noisier than other areas
- Not as walkable as the western side of town
📚 Eastern Estes Park Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for Accessibility
- ✨ Best Hotels – Blue Door Inn • Discovery Lodge • Hotel Estes
- 🏠 Apartments – Browse Top Rentals in Estes Park
- 🍽️ Where to Eat – SEASONED – An American Bistro ($$$), The Egg of Estes ($$), The Post Chicken & Beer ($$)
- 🍸 Where to Drink – The Whiskey Bar at Cascades Restaurant, Avant Garde Aleworks
- 🎟️ Top Attractions – The Stanley Hotel, Estes Park Museum, Peak to Peak Scenic Byway
Western Estes Park
If visiting Estes Park without a vehicle, the western side of downtown Estes Park will be your best place to stay. Here, more than 200 independently-owned establishments are within walking distance from several hotels.
These include The Maxwell Inn, great for cost-conscious travelers, and the mid-tier Silver Moon Inn. Tucked back, the Historic Crags Lodge by Diamond Resorts isn’t as walkable but is still very close to downtown amenities. Other nearby attractions include the family-friendly Open Air Adventure Park and the Estes Park Aerial Tramway.
Whether admiring the area from above or exploring each downtown shop, you’ll quickly learn why Estes Park is one of Colorado’s best mountain towns.
Pros of Staying in Western Estes Park:
- Walking distance to hundreds of shops and restaurants
- Hotel options for every budget
Cons of Staying in Western Estes Park:
- Can be crowded, especially during peak season
- Parking is more limited than in other areas
📚 Western Estes Park Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for Downtown Charm
- ✨ Best Hotels – Silver Moon Inn • The Maxwell Inn • The Historic Crags Lodge
- 🏠 Apartments – Browse Top Rentals in Estes Park
- 🍽️ Where to Eat – Big Horn Restaurant ($$), Sweet Basilico Cafe ($$), Penelope’s Old Time Burgers ($$)
- 🍸 Where to Drink – Snowy Peaks Winery, THE BARREL – Estes Park
- 🎟️ Top Attractions – Estes Park Aerial Tramway, Open Air Adventure Park, Estes Park Riverwalk
Who needs a pool when you have a beautiful mountain lake outside your hotel? Lake Estes is a popular summer destination for fishing, boating, and paddle sports. Rent your gear from the marina or simply lounge on the beach — or the sun deck at The Estes Park Resort!
Other waterfront properties include Murphy’s Resort and the Estes Lake Lodge. And while the Rocky Mountain Hotel & Conference Center and Columbine Inn aren’t directly on the water, they’re great budget choices nearby.
Pros of Staying in the Olympus Heights Neighborhood:
- Nearby water activities and gear rentals
- Waterfront views at select hotels
- Lodging at all price points
Cons of Staying in the Olympus Heights Neighborhood:
- Not very many dining options
- Greater distance from Rocky Mountain Nat’l Park than other areas
📚 Olympus Heights Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for Lakewide Fun
- ✨ Best Hotels – The Estes Park Resort • Columbine Inn • Murphy’s Resort
- 🏠 Apartments – Browse Top Rentals in Olympus Heights
- 🍽️ Where to Eat – Hunters Chop House ($$), Antonio’s Real New York Pizza ($$)
- 🍸 Where to Drink – Dunraven at The Estes Park Resort
- 🎟️ Top Attractions – Lake Estes Marina, Estes Park Ride-A-Kart, Estes Park Memorial Observatory
Trekking through Rocky Mountain National Park is one of the best things to do in Colorado, and Beaver Point makes a great basecamp to do so. You’ll find some of Colorado’s most iconic hikes nearby, including Emerald Lake, Sky Pond, and Longs Peak. Horseback riding, rock climbing, and more mountain adventures are also just minutes away.
From the grand Rams Horn Village Resort to budget hotel accommodations at the Alpine Trail Ridge Inn, anyone can stay at Beaver Point. Some of the best lodging is found within the YMCA properties. Cozy cabins, curious wildlife, and mountain views create a classic Colorado experience.
Pros of Staying in the Beaver Point Neighborhood:
- Hiking trails, horseback riding, and more nearby recreation
- You’ll find some of Estes Park’s top-rated, most popular hotels here
Cons of Staying in the Beaver Point Neighborhood:
- You’ll likely need a rental car to get around
- Dining options are limited
📚 Beaver Point Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for Outdoor Activities
- ✨ Best Hotels – Rams Horn Village Resort • The Landing at Estes Park • Alpine Trail Ridge Inn
- 🏠 Apartments – Browse Top Rentals in Beaver Point
- 🍽️ Where to Eat – WayFinder Restaurant ($$), Smokin’ Dave’s BBQ & Brew ($$), Scratch Deli & Bakery ($$)
- 🍸 Where to Drink – Bird & Jim, The Rock Inn Mountain Tavern
- 🎟️ Top Attractions – Rocky Mountain Nat’l Park, Jackson’s Stables
Fall River Estates
Tucked away from downtown’s hustle, Fall River Estates hotels are in a tranquil setting with river views. Those seeking a romantic getaway will love this neighborhood, as several accommodations are adult-only. These include Deer Crest Resort and StoneBrook Resort. Though all ages are permitted, couples shouldn’t overlook the lovely Della Terra Mountain Chateau either.
Families, especially those attending a reunion, will love Fall River Estates, too. Fawn Valley Inn and Timber Creek Chalets by Rocky Mountain Resorts are great choices for privacy and ample space. The cottages include an outdoor pool, private hot tub, fitness center, and plenty of free parking.
Though nearby amenities are lacking, Rocky Mountain Nat’l Park is right up the road. The Fall River entrance is much less busy than Beaver Meadows and provides perfect access to Trail Ridge Road, one of the best road trips in Colorado.
Pros of Staying in the Fall River Estates Neighborhood:
- Ideal for both romantic getaways and family reunions
- Less crowded and quieter than other areas
Cons of Staying in the Fall River Estates Neighborhood:
- No walkable amenities; you’ll need a rental car
- Very few places to eat and drink
📚 Fall River Estates Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for Relaxing Getaways
- ✨ Best Hotels – Fawn Valley Inn • Timber Creek Chalets • StoneBrook Resort
- 🏠 Apartments – Browse Top Rentals in Fall River
- 🍽️ Where to Eat – Trailhead Restaurant ($$), Nicky’s Steakhouse Restaurant ($$), Cinnamon’s Bakery ($)
- 🍸 Where to Drink – Loft Bar at Della Terra Mountain Chateau
- 🎟️ Top Attractions – Rocky Mountain National Park
Tips for Staying in Estes Park
Book a Rental Car
While western Estes Park, CO is highly walkable, many of the town’s attractions are best accessed with a vehicle. It’s worth the added expense. But, that doesn’t mean a rental car has to be expensive! Book with our preferred partner, Discover Cars, to compare agencies and get the most affordable rate.
Take a Trip to Rocky Mountain National Park
In my opinion, it would be a major miss to not visit Rocky Mountain Nat’l Park when in Estes Park. Even if you’re not the outdoorsy type, take a drive up Trail Ridge Road to admire mountain views. And if you are the outdoorsy type, well, you’re in for a real treat.
Respect the Wildlife
It probably comes as no surprise that wildlife abounds in the Rocky Mountains. But even in downtown Estes Park, you’ll likely run into the resident elk herd. Whether you spot them, a mama bear, or a friendly, chubby chipmunk, please respect the wildlife. Keep your distance, never feed them, and always have your pets on a leash.
Consider the Altitude
Estes Park, CO is set at 7,522 feet above sea level, which puts many travelers at risk of altitude sickness. In my video on common mistakes made by Colorado visitors, I share a few tips on how to avoid these symptoms. These include staying hydrated, limiting alcohol, and sticking to moderate exercise for a couple of days. Trust me, you don’t want to start your trip with Longs Peak, one of Colorado’s 14ers!
Known When to Visit
Choosing the best time to visit Colorado largely depends on your itinerary. But according to our local writer Laura, June through October are ideal months due to weather. Also, mountain passes like Trail Ridge Road are accessible in the summertime. However, if you’re visiting to cross-country ski and soak in an outdoor hot tub, then come during the winter months — namely March, in my opinion.
FAQs About Where to Stay in Estes Park
Is Estes Park safe?
Estes Park is safe according to BestPlaces, which finds violent crime and property crime to be below both the state and national averages. However, it’s important to note that Rocky Mountain National Park can be especially dangerous. This is namely due to natural occurrences and features such as lighting, cliff exposure, and wildlife.
Is there a downtown in Estes Park?
There is a downtown in Estes Park. It contains more than 200 independently-owned retailers and restaurants. The best way to experience this area is via the Riverwalk or by staying in one of the downtown hotels in Estes Park.
How many days do you need in Estes Park?
In my opinion, you need at least two days in Estes Park. Though Estes Park is one of the best day trips from Denver, a weekend getaway allows you to explore both the National Park and the downtown area.
Is it better to stay in Estes Park or Grand Lake?
In my opinion, it’s better to stay in Estes Park over Grand Lake. Though beautiful with many great things to do, Grand Lake isn’t as plentiful when it comes to dining and cultural attractions. It’s also not nearly as accessible to metropolitan areas.
Is Breckenridge or Estes Park better?
In my opinion, Estes Park is better than Breckenridge in the summer months. Boating on the lake, hiking in the National Park, and more warm-weather activities are abundant in Estes Park. On the other hand, Breckenridge is preferred in the winter, as it’s home to one of the best ski resorts in Colorado.
With so many stellar hotels in Estes Park, it’s hard to choose just one for your vacation. But with your itinerary and this guide, hopefully, you now have a better idea of where to stay in Estes Park. Check out my guide to what to do in Estes Park or see our Colorado library for more travel insights and have a fabulous trip!
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