Estes Park is a close community to Rocky Mountain National Park and its old-fashioned serenity is quite refreshing. In 1917 the town was officially established but Estes has had travelers come through long before 1917. There are records from 12,000 years ago of remains from the Clovis Culture, the individuals who crossed the Bering Strait land bridge connecting Asia and North America. Then about 2,000 year later various Indian cultures like the Paleo Indians would hunt the land with ingenious hunting traps. About 10,000 years ago more tribes found Estes Valley. The Ute and the Arapaho would summer in Estes and then cross the continental divide over to Grand Lake area for the winter time. There are still marked trails in Rocky Mountain National Park.
More and more people came to Estes to explore. The head of the Yellowstone Expedition Major Stephen H. Long came through and Longs Peak in the park is named after him. Then gold was discovered not long after the Major came. Miners came and with them Joel Estes. After he struck rich in California he wanted to keep going and found the Estes Valley and he moved his family there. Early tourism of Estes brought many different kinds of people who wanted to invest in the town and entrepreneurs created businesses. The Rocky Mountain News was created by William Byers who christened the place Estes Park. People started realizing farming was pretty much impossible people started building and ranching.
Then in 1903 F. O. Stanley was on a mission to find a cure for his tuberculosis and heard about Estes Park. He headed west and made Estes his home and his livelihood. Stanley did many things like building the extravagant Stanley Hotel. He is also credited to have to invent the Stanley Steamer with his brother and developing a photographic process. Stanley made Estes a huge travel spot and started his own shuttle services along the Big Thompson River. Another determined man by the name of Enos Mills dedicated his time to preserving the area known as Rocky Mountain National Park and accomplished his task in 1915.
Emerald Lake Trail- Photo by Yours Truly
The Sights and Need to Know
Over the next 100 years, Estes Park has had millions of people come to visit. The sights will stop you in your tracks to gaze upon the beauty of the Rockies. The National Park is one of the nation’s top parks. The Trailhead Road is highly suggested to travelers. Start in Estes Park and you will drive all the way to the top and down the other side to Grand Lake. Along the way, you will see mighty Elk and other wildlife, waterfalls, mountain peaks, glaciers and so many wildflowers you won’t be able to count them all.
Not only do you get these amazing sights but for the thrill seeker, there are many activities to partake in. Such as ATV’s, mountain biking, whitewater rafting, fishing, climbing, world-class hiking, horseback riding, snowshoeing, and skiing. For the history buffs, you can schedule a tour and learn all about the history of Estes Park. If you are more interested in relaxing Estes has many spa and massage centers to indulge yourself. The things to do in Estes are really endless. Looking into lodging at one of the many resorts or rent a cabin for the whole family.