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Old 01-19-2011, 09:14 AM
 
19 posts, read 26,099 times
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Default Loveland and Estes Park

I am a hispanic male, being considered for a job in Estes Park Paying about 95k. No kids, mid 50s with wife. We are very excited and hope to be moving to Co from NM. Question I have is how is the comute from Loveland to Estes Park? what are the good and bad about living at either place? thanks for your time.
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Old 01-19-2011, 09:45 AM
 
Location: Arvada, CO
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Either place is more than fine.

Estes - semi-resorty small-town, with the beautiful RMNP as its backyard and the hotel from Dumb & Dumber

Loveland - the stable, average town that every town in America wishes it could be.

Last edited by Mike from back east; 01-19-2011 at 11:05 AM..
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Old 01-19-2011, 10:53 AM
 
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Loveland is much more of a conventional town when compared to the touristy environment of Estes Park, where the Elk will eat your lawn and garden. If the job is in Estes Park, best to live nearby, you won't have to go very far outside of town to find a nice place.

Check the local MLS site for properties in Estes Park.

Check the national MLS site too, which shows 216 properties, zip 80517.

We always recommend that people rent for a year to figure out what they really like and want before taking the plunge.


Elk lounging around on the lawns in the town.
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Last edited by Mike from back east; 01-19-2011 at 02:03 PM..
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Old 01-19-2011, 01:11 PM
 
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Wink Loveland versus Estes Park

Loveland and Estes Park are roughly 25 miles distant, but worlds apart. They are quite different in any number of respects.

If close to the mountains, as a front range town Loveland is not in them but on the flat plains. It is appreciably larger than Estes Park and more diversified, whereas the business of Estes Park is primarily tourism. Those favoring the amenities of a larger town would choose Loveland, also in its proximity to all the other areas along the front range, but find nearby Ft. Collins to the north a better choice in most every respect.

Estes Park, on the other hand, is very much in the mountains, adjacent to Rocky Mountain National Park, and enjoys one of the most gorgeous locations in the world. If living there, one will never want for a beautiful vista, in any direction. That might be compromised at times with some ugly building, although in whole Estes Park resemble a small, quaint, mountain village. Certain aspects of the town are quite beautiful, Christmas lights along Elkhorn Avenue come to mind, and otherwise with rose-colored glasses it doesn't require much imagination to see beauty everywhere. If strictly in beauty, Estes Park hands down.

There are, however, some compromises to living in such a place. Since it is in the mountains, one should appreciate the more rigorous demands of such a life. Loveland will prove warmer in winter, with less snow, if perhaps hotter than one may prefer come summer. But in comparison Estes Park isn't all that much less intemperate. Being in the rain shadow of the high peaks of RMNP to the west, it doesn't usually receive all that much snow. Lovers of winter activities should know that they will have to venture into nearby RMNP to find enough snow more usually. But it can get windy during the winter at times, and THAT you will notice. Then also, with an elevation appreciably higher than Loveland, it will see spring just that much later, fall that much sooner, with such things just a fact of mountain life.

For being a relatively small town Estes Park still offers a wide range of amenities in restaurants, shops and the ordinary aspects of life. Many of them are geared towards the tourist trade, with more than a few closed come winter, but tourism also allows this town to offer far more services than would exist otherwise. But Walmart and all the many more options exist along the front range.

But a relatively short, and lovely, drive, but surely that only in context. You'll find US34 between Estes Park and Loveland well maintained, and not really that many days in a year when it is somewhat difficult due snow. But although more than a few do this, it would nevertheless prove a tiring commute. If working in Estes Park, this alone should be a serious consideration, with life much easier if living there, simply due the long commute elsewhere.

One reason not to live in Estes Park would be the high cost of real estate. It is nowhere as outrageous as a place such as Aspen, but still higher than front range locals such as Loveland. If the biggest house for the least money is one's sole consideration, they should not live in Estes Park. But there is also the adage that one gets what they pay for, with some reason to see why.

Another possibly more compelling reason not to live in Estes Park would be the many tourists that overrun it, primarily in summer. They town is focused on this, and will do practically anything to bring in as many tourists as possible all year round. Really, it is an unholy religion they have with this. So, be prepared. Rocky Mountain National Park is the main draw for most visitors, although at times it seems the better part are packed in and along the shops of Elkhorn Avenue, with the resultant revenue the town's prime focus. At the inception of RMNP in 1915 it saw 31,000 visitors; today, RMNP welcomes about 3,000,000. Do the math. Or witness the difference in shopping at the local Safeway in January versus July.

If obviously other considerations, the more important is where you and yours feel most at home. If but a few miles apart as the crow flies, these really are two distinct places. Just a brief visit should easily convince one of that. By most rational accounting Loveland, save the commute, would be the more conventional and easier place to live. But if one loves nature and the wild, Estes Park is hard to beat. Some may lament elk visiting their yard to graze, but there are few places in this world where one may be so lucky. How one views that could also determine how they view the mountains, and whether belonging. At last, the easiest choice is in following your heart.
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Old 01-20-2011, 06:44 AM
 
Location: Colorado Springs
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Idunn View Post

Loveland and Estes Park are roughly 25 miles distant, but worlds apart. They are quite different in any number of respects....
I'll just re-emphasize a couple of points.

1. The drive through Thompson Canyon is truly beautiful, but it's through a deep canyon, so the road is not straight and level. I love that drive...but I'd hate to do it day after day after day.

2. Keep in mind the elevation. Remember, Estes Park is at about 7,500 feet (while Loveland is at less than 5,000 feet). 7,500 feet is not for everyone.

3. Estes Park is lovely. But, what kind of shopping opportunities do you want in everyday life? Estes Park is a touristy town, not what the average suburbanite wants to face everyday.

You are talking about two very different life styles. Which one really suits you and your family?
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Old 01-20-2011, 09:44 AM
 
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This is very helpful information, thank you, is the commute what 30-45 minutes? at this point were leaining more towards living in Loveland, although we do have family in Longmont, looks like the comute from Longmont is longer but which road is better?
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Old 01-20-2011, 01:59 PM
 
Location: Colorado
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Six of one, half a dozen of the other. The problem with commuting up from Longmont is that you have to go thro Lyons to get onto Hwy 36 to Estes and that little town can get enormously congested with traffic, especially in the Summer. On the other hand, the drive after Lyons is shorter and less twisty than Hwy 34 from Loveland. (It really depends on what side of town you live on.) Both roads are single lanes except for sections where there are passing lanes. And you will have issues with trucks and/or people who just don't know how to drive on a mountain road.

Another problem with living in Estes itself is the lack of regular shopping. There is no Target and just one large supermarket (Safeway). Just something to consider.
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Old 01-20-2011, 03:19 PM
 
Location: Colorado Springs
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stiffyman View Post
This is very helpful information, thank you, is the commute what 30-45 minutes? at this point were leaining more towards living in Loveland, although we do have family in Longmont, looks like the comute from Longmont is longer but which road is better?
Having traveled both roads, I think the road to Longmont would be far more problematic, though I have only driven it in the summer and autumn. It is quite a ways further, and I have to admit I'm much more attracted to Loveland than Longmont.
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Old 01-20-2011, 08:27 PM
ndk
 
Location: Estes Park
68 posts, read 153,707 times
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For some of us, the lack of regular shopping is a benefit.

Don't underestimate the wind that Idunn aluded to earlier. Estes Valley(and even moreso Allenspark) is perfectly positioned to catch adiabatic winds coming down off the Front Range on a routine basis. As I type, we've got constant 30mph winds gusting up to 75mph in downtown Estes, and that's not uncommon.

Many, many employees of shops up here make the commute from Loveland in particular daily. Actually, some of the park rangers do too, which was a little disappointing for me. Living in Drake and Glen Haven is also very common, and I'd encourage you to check those intermediate options out too.
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Old 01-21-2011, 02:07 AM
 
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Wink Highways 34 & 36

In practice you should probably figure 45 minutes to an hour door to door, whether it is from Loveland or Longmont. There would be a sizable variance depending where in town you live. In example, if on the east side of Loveland it will prove less than fun driving through traffic and the many stop lights simply to break free at the west side. If Longmont, it would help to have ready access to CO 66. Either way, figure on a long commute to Estes Park, with most all of it mountain driving.

In my estimation US 34 is a more beautiful route than US 36, however as largely canyon it will retain snow longer than US 36, which tends to get more sun. However snow should not be much of a problem most of the time. Traffic will. There is a fair amount of traffic into Estes Park throughout the year, particularly with summer tourism. As a guess, US 34 may see more traffic on a daily basis, US 36 more on weekends and in the summer. With either there are only a few places to pass, but more usually traffic flows at the speed limit, or above. If behind the wrong vehicle, then a whole lot slower.

In summer and busy weekends one should also expect some traffic congestion in Estes Park itself. Not as much an issue if local and working around it. However on entering from either US 34 or US 36 there can be long lines of cars waiting at the principle four-way light. This somewhat minor by city standards, but a distinct contrast to the relatively empty streets of winter.

As far as commutes go, one could do a lot worse than either of these roads; both are beautiful drives. However a short commute within Estes Park would be a whole lot better. Many overlook the importance of place. Many would also dearly love to live in Estes Park, or at least think they would. As of course in practice every place has its positives and negatives. In visiting you will see that Loveland and Longmont share more in common than either with Estes Park. Ones life will be different in any of the three. The commute into Estes Park would only be worth it if in the end somewhere else feels more like home.
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