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Old 08-10-2018, 08:08 PM
 
Location: Scottsdale
1,102 posts, read 540,967 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jonwb View Post
My wife and I are driving up to Estes Park for 4 hrs on a Monday (8/20) as part of our Colorado vacation. We'll have the morning or afternoon.. either is available. We want to avoid the touristy sections and just park, walk around and enjoy the best views and water areas before driving back to Fort Collins. Maybe we'd need to drive further towards RMNP? Not sure

Could someone give us some information as to when would be the best time to go.. and where in the park we could achieve this?

Thanks for the suggestions
I would recommend Estes Cone. You park by the Ranger Station near the Longs Peak trailhead but branch off to a smaller, cone-shaped peak - hence "Estes Cone". It's got a great view of the area and is far safer for a newcoming tourist compared to the formidable Longs Peak. It's about a 10k round trip. It goes up a shallow hillside, down into a mini-valley, then back up through switchbacks. Near the cone it gets steep but not for long. You can see the cairns going up. The view is awesome.

It is high altitude to 11,000 feet. It's not as bad as Longs Peak but can still be rigorous for a tourist. I scheduled a 14er hike for next month coming from Phoenix. I am preparing by doing rigorous local hikes, bike rides, and treadmill running. As I get closer to the expedition date, I will try to acclimatize in nearby Flagstaff with larger hikes (which has its own mountain exceededing 12,000 feet). I should be prepared by early September. It takes time to prepare coming from lower elevation but can be done.
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Old 08-11-2018, 10:12 AM
 
3,462 posts, read 1,701,157 times
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The area around Estes Park is definitely worth seeing. Forget Bear Lake. You can't even drive there in your vehicle if you aren't in the park by 7 a.m., and maybe not even then. When we were at RMNP the last weekend in June, we got to the northern Rt 34 entrance by 7 in the morning and there was no line and the gate was unmanned. Free entrance. We did Trail Ridge all the way across the park and back in 2 hrs, stopping at most of the overlooks. We're at the park a lot, so this was just a quickie before heading back to Denver after staying in Estes Park overnight.

Another option for good scenery is to take Rt 7 south from Rt 36 in Estes Park. You actually go into some of the park, but there is no entrance. It's not far to some beautiful scenery and you miss the craziness of the town. Stop at Lily Lake or Marys Lake, or maybe continue south to the Saint Malo Chapel. It's a beautiful sight. This is one of our favorite drives and is very peaceful.
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Old 08-13-2018, 10:19 AM
 
Location: Denver CO
21,016 posts, read 11,641,475 times
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We were in Estes Park a couple of weeks ago and did a tour in the park with a naturalist through the Rocky Mountain Conservancy. It was totally awesome and highly recommended. Unfortunately they don't have anything scheduled for 8/20 but figured I'd share the info for anyone else who might read this thread (or for the OP if they get a chance to come back again)

https://rmconservancy.org/events/
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