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Old 12-15-2011, 07:09 PM
 
58 posts, read 149,769 times
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I am currently looking at different options for a family vacation this coming summer (2012). Our kids will be 4 and 5 yrs old at that time and I am currently interested in the Rocky Mountain National Park and/or Estes Park areas. We will either be camping in a tent or in a 5th wheel.

I would love to have input (from either locals or people who've vacationed!) as to which might be a great campground / location / area to stay - particularly with 2 young kids!!
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Old 12-16-2011, 02:52 PM
 
2,253 posts, read 5,834,746 times
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Wink RMNP camping options

The suggestion you contact Rocky Mountain National Park fairly soon to inquire about campground reservations.

Some formal campgrounds (like one any fifth-wheel will fit into, rather than well off in the woods and up the mountain side), tend to fill up and more or less remain that way all summer. Aspenglen, near the north Park entrance, comes to mind as a place displaying a full sign seemingly as a permanent feature. According to the Park website, it will accommodate a total of 30 feet of vehicle and trailer. 40 feet if one opts for the ever popular Moraine Park Campground. With either of these campgrounds one might maybe squeeze in unannounced in a vacancy, but if timing has anything to do with the trip, then best to have a reservation. All the more as another option towards Bear Lake, the Glacier Basin campgrounds, will be closed for the summer of 2012, due RMNP building a new and totally unwarranted road. While there, you can complain about that.

No idea how any of this is going to sit with the kids, although perhaps old enough to enjoy some of the many fine hiking options in the area. With the more accessible, a good deal of company as well. Check also, if interested, or when there, as RMNP offers a number of different nature-themed ranger talks during the summer. If that soon becomes boring, remember that Estes Park is directly adjacent to RMNP, more or less entwined with it, and you can always easily decamp to bumper cars or any of a variety of other arcades and amusements Estes Park is more than happy to indulge its 3,000,000 annual visitors in. Most of them, by the way, come and gone during the summer. That figure might be a little high, as the number of RMNP visitors, with some of them perhaps only opting to visit the far Grand Lake side. But surely more than balanced out by the many who only get as far as the shops along Elkhorn Avenue before satiated and returning to Loveland or somewhere.

If interested, there are a good number of motels in residence within Estes Park. Some lodging is decidedly more pretentious and costly, such as at the iconic Stanley Hotel, with its superb views, swimming pool in summer included. The rivers are invariably somewhat cold, btw. But most lodging, if fine, is more the style of the indifferent chain motel, and of course charging a premium in summer, since in Estes Park. If shopping carefully, one can find a perfectly nice place, and even private cabin if so desired, and in some more rare circumstance even a location next the river, and walk directly into the Park. Most anywhere else, even if all close, you'll be driving into and out of the Park. If a busy summer weekend or similar period, then head to the north entrance unless wishing a longer, if scenic, wait to get past the main entrance.

RMNP is an absolutely fantastic place, if troubled. Not helped at all by some of the policies of the NPS. But in a vacation consider the map and in relation to what you'd like to do, and the RMNP staff will surely prove helpful to any tourist asking.
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Old 12-23-2011, 01:19 AM
 
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
20,774 posts, read 37,441,293 times
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1st choice is in the park, if available

I would see if there are a few RV sites available at the YMCA Camp, or stay at a Church Camp where it is relatively quiet, spacious, and nice playground for kids + plenty of helpful staff, willing to lend a hand with kids and needs.. In summer, I tend to avoid the town of Estes and hub-bub of activities in traditional RV spots within the commercial area.

While we camped alot w/ and w/o kids, I will have to admit, once we started using private guest home directories our vacation experiences improved dramatically. Kids loved staying in homes with other kids all over the world (~$10 - $20 / night for entire family, including at least one meal, usually more). I have seen several listings in Estes for 'older-folks' stays, but it has been a LONG time since we traveled with kids. We started with a 'homeschool' guest home directory, and quickly added other directories as we found out about them.

How long will you be staying?, you might also check into Hermit Park (now a county owned / managed facility) near Estes ~ 10 min SE. Our kids LOVED staying in the old 'original' log cabins, when the park was own by Hewlett Packard. (Free for employees). Snow blowing through the logs added to the adventure. (not in summer... you usually have to go to WY to get snow in summer, at least at cabin locations... Trail Ridge (RMNP) can get snow in summer, it was a frequent bike trip for me when living in the area.

Last edited by StealthRabbit; 12-23-2011 at 01:30 AM..
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Old 12-23-2011, 08:16 AM
 
1,742 posts, read 2,618,652 times
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Salida or Buena Vista. The Arkansas river from the numbers to Cotopaxi rocks. Great rafting, fishing, hiking and camping. Check it out. RP
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Old 12-23-2011, 08:45 AM
 
Location: Bend Or.
1,126 posts, read 2,345,223 times
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IDUNN and stealthrabbit both have nailed it. solid advice.
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Old 12-24-2011, 10:48 AM
 
Location: Colorado Springs, Co.
6 posts, read 7,361 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by misdyl View Post
I am currently looking at different options for a family vacation this coming summer (2012). Our kids will be 4 and 5 yrs old at that time and I am currently interested in the Rocky Mountain National Park and/or Estes Park areas. We will either be camping in a tent or in a 5th wheel.

I would love to have input (from either locals or people who've vacationed!) as to which might be a great campground / location / area to stay - particularly with 2 young kids!!
I live in COS so my wife and I go to RMNP frequently. Both the Estes Park and Grand Lake side of RMNP are great. The Durango, Pagosa Springs, Lake Vallicito areas are also beautiful but they are a longer drive from Colorado Springs.
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