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Top 20 Things to Do in Winter in Estes Park, Colorado

Feb 27, 2022 | 0 comments

Contrary to what many believe, Estes Park, Colorado is open year-round and there are many things to do in winter as well as every other season! From family fun, to adult only activities, this list has ideas for any traveler visiting the area during our snowiest months. So grab a pen and write down your favorites from our list of top 20 things to do in winter in Estes Park and the Rocky Mountain National Park. Enjoy!

Related: What to Pack for Winter in Estes Park, Colorado

Snowshoe Hike Rocky Mountain National Park - Top 15 Things to Do in Winter in Estes Park, Colorado | Explore Estes Park

Snowshoe Hike in Rocky Mountain National Park

The Rocky Mountain National Park is absolutely magical when it’s blanketed in snow. To truly marvel at the beauty, rent some snowshoes or micro-spikes (depending on the trail conditions) at the Estes Park Mountain Shop before heading into the park. Although some trails close due to winter conditions, many trails stay open year round. Just be sure you have the proper vehicle and tires to drive on the icy roads.

Check the road conditions of Rocky Mountain National Park here.

Click here to see snowshoe rental pricing from the Estes Park Mountain Shop.

Winter Souvenir Sticker - I Trekked Across a Frozen Lake

Go Sledding - Top 15 Things to Do in Winter in Estes Park, Colorado | Explore Estes Park

Go Sledding in Rocky Mountain National Park

Sledding within the Rocky Mountain National Park is bound to bring a smile to your face whether you’re a child or an adult! Buy or rent a sled in Estes Park and head to the only area you are able to sled in the National Park, the Hidden Valley Snow Play Area just off of Trail Ridge Road. Remember to “leave no trace” and only sled in the appropriate areas within the park.

★ Book a Winter Tour with Explore Estes & add a sled rental!

Click here to see sled rental pricing from the Estes Park Mountain Shop.

Top 15 Things to Do in Winter in Estes Park, Colorado | Explore Estes Park

Ice Skate on a Frozen Lake

While there aren’t any man-made ice skating rinks in Estes Park, we have something much better. You can ice skate on top of frozen lakes at either the YMCA of the Rockies, or if you’re feeling adventurous, you can hike with your ice skates to skate beneath the mountains in Rocky Mountain National Park. (We highly recommend Dream Lake!) Be sure to call the National Park for lake conditions to make sure they’re safe for ice skating!

Click here to see ice skate rental pricing from the Estes Park Mountain Shop.

Winter Tour Rocky Mountain National Park - Top 15 Things to Do in Winter in Estes Park, Colorado | Explore Estes Park

Tour the Rocky Mountain National Park

If you’re unsure about driving on the icy and snowy roads yourself, you can always hop on a tour to safely experience the Rocky Mountain National Park in a winter wonderland! Estes Park has an abundance of tour companies that offer group or private tours, just choose your favorite and sit back to enjoy the ride.

★ Book a Private Winter Tour with Explore Estes!

Ice Fishing - Top 15 Things to Do in Winter in Estes Park, Colorado | Explore Estes Park

Go Ice Fishing on a Frozen Lake

If you enjoy fishing, you can still enjoy this relaxing sport year-round with some fly fishing or even ice fishing in the Rocky Mountain National Park! Ice fishing is allowed on all open-fishing lakes and ponds in the National Park. (We recommend Sprague Lake!) And don’t forget your hand-auger to break through the ice!

Read the Rocky Mountain National Park Fishing Information and Regulations Guide here.

Backcountry Skiing - Top 15 Things to Do in Winter in Estes Park, Colorado | Explore Estes Park

Ski, Splitboard, or Go Ice Climbing in the Backcountry

If you’re looking for more adventure and are experienced in winter sports, you can grab your skis, splitboard, or ice axes and head into the backcountry of the Rocky Mountain National Park. Make sure you have all of the proper equipment to stay safe in the backcountry with frequently changing winter conditions.

Read about winter recreation in the Rocky Mountain National Park here.

Avalanche Safety Course - Top 15 Things to Do in Winter in Estes Park, Colorado | Explore Estes Park

Take an Avalanche Safety Course

If you plan on heading into the backcountry during the winter, be sure that you’re “avalanche aware” and have the proper education to head into these dangerously snowy areas. The Kent Mountain Adventure Center (KMAC) has plenty of avalanche courses to keep you safe!

Book an ICAR Companion Rescue Course with the Kent Mountain Adventure Center here.

Rock Climbing - Top 20 Things to Do in Winter in Estes Park, Colorado | Explore Estes Park

Go Rock Climbing

If you want some adventure, but prefer to stay warm indoors, why not try some indoor rock climbing? The Estes Park Mountain Shop has everything you need to try your hand at some rock climbing for all ages!

Check the rates for indoor rock climbing at the Estes Park Mountain Shop here.

20 things to do winter estes park explore estes 2

Photo by the Visit Estes Park

Go Swimming

For some more indoor fun, head to the Estes Valley Community Center to check out all of the amazing amenities they have to offer! One great activity for the whole family is their indoor swimming pool! After your done taking a dip, you can dry off in their extremely cleanly locker rooms.

Check the Estes Valley Community Center’s schedule for open swimming here.

Mustang Mountain Coaster - Top 15 Things to Do in Winter in Estes Park, Colorado | Explore Estes Park

Photo by the Mustang Mountain Coaster

Ride the Mustang Mountain Coaster

The newest attraction in Estes Park is an awesome experience and it’s open year-round! The Mustang Mountain Coaster is tucked away in the mountains in Estes Park. Their gravity mountain coaster offers a quick thrilling ride down the mountain. An experience that’s not to be missed!

Buy your mountain coaster passes online here.

Top 15 Things to Do in Winter in Estes Park, Colorado | Explore Estes Park

Photo by the Stanley Hotel

Grab a Drink

After spending a cold winter’s day in the mountains, what better way to warm up than with an adult beverage? Estes Park has everything from small breweries to distilleries and even a local winery. Or, stop at a bar for a wider variety of drinks. (We recommend The Whisky Bar within the Stanley Hotel!)

Related: Top Restaurants & Best Places to Eat in Estes Park, Colorado

Bowling - Top 20 Things to Do in Winter in Estes Park, Colorado | Explore Estes Park

Go Bowling

If you’re looking for something else to do while you also grab a drink, head to our local bowling alley, The Bull Pin! Previously, Chippers, the Bull Pin is now under new ownership and has been updating this spot to be the “ultimate hangout” with an arcade and even karaoke each Thursday night!

Reserve a bowling lane at The Bull Pin here.

Top 15 Things to Do in Winter in Estes Park, Colorado | Explore Estes Park

Watch the Winter Wildlife

While the wildlife can be more elusive during the winter, we regularly stumble across beautiful creatures around town. Take a stroll around Lake Estes to view the ducks and geese (maybe you’ll catch a rare sighting of our Trumpeter swans!) or drive around town in the neighborhoods to see a herd of elk bathing in the winter sun.

Tour Stanley Hotel - Top 15 Things to Do in Winter in Estes Park, Colorado | Explore Estes Park

Photo by the Stanley Hotel

Tour the Stanley Hotel

When visiting Estes Park in any season, you can’t miss a trip to the historic Stanley Hotel! Winter is an especially fun time of year to visit the Stanley to get a similar feeling of the setting written in Stephen King’s, The Shining, which was inspired by King’s experiences of his stay at the Stanley Hotel in 1974. Be sure to hop on a tour of the Stanley for their history tour during the day or their spooky ghost tour at night!

Book your Stanley Hotel Day History Tour here.

Book your Stanley Hotel Night Ghost Tour here.

Historic Park Theater - Top 20 Things to Do in Winter in Estes Park, Colorado | Explore Estes Park

Photo by Brett Levin

Watch a Movie at Our Historic Theater

If you’re interested in history, you can’t miss watching a movie in the oldest single house motion picture theater in the United States that is still in operation. At the Historic Park Theater, you can watch anything from classics to modern new flicks during their release. But beware for spooky encounters as this theater is also said to be haunted…

Check showtimes and grab tickets for the Historic Park Theater here.

Shop Downtown - Top 15 Things to Do in Winter in Estes Park, Colorado | Explore Estes Park

Photo by Visit Estes Park

Go Shopping in Downtown Estes Park

What is a vacation without some shopping? While only a few shops close for the winter season, the downtown area within Estes Park has a perfect strip of souvenir shopping, art galleries, and more. Don’t forget to grab some delicious taffy!

Ceramic Painting - Top 20 Things to Do in Winter in Estes Park, Colorado | Explore Estes Park

Ceramic Painting

Just down the road from the main shopping area is a great spot to get the creative juices flowing. Visit the Creativity Cabin for a fun ceramic painting experience where you can create your own special souvenir to take home with you!

Book an appointment at the Creativity Cabin here.

Hot Cocoa -Top 15 Things to Do in Winter in Estes Park, Colorado | Explore Estes Park

Grab Some Hot Cocoa

You can’t properly enjoy a snowy day without some delicious hot cocoa! Grab a cup of hot chocolate from a local spot that has been in Estes Park for 20 years, Kind Coffee! Be sure to try their delicious Mexican Hot Chocolate!

Related: Top Restaurants & Best Places to Eat in Estes Park, Colorado

Top 15 Things to Do in Winter in Estes Park Colorado the view

Dinner with a View

Make a reservation for sunset at a restaurant literally named, The View, for a perfect end to your day of exploring Estes Park. The View is located within the Historic Crags Lodge which rests atop a mountain overlooking Estes Park . Take in the beautiful skies as you watch the sun set over a snowy Estes Park.

Click here to see The View Restaurant menu.

Relax in a Hot Tub - Top 15 Things to Do in Winter in Estes Park, Colorado | Explore Estes Park

Photo by Fawn Valley Inn

Relax in a Private Hot Tub

To make sure you have the perfect winter in Estes Park, be sure to book a cabin with a private hot tub! If you’re lucky, you’ll get to experience a quiet snowfall while relaxing with some bubbles. Rocky Mountain Resorts has you covered as they manage multiple places of accommodation with private hot tubs in multiple units.

Click here to see the list of cabins in Estes Park with a private hot tub.

Related: Top 15 Romantic Things to Do in Estes Park, Colorado


We hope we’ve helped you create the perfect itinerary with our list of our favorite 20 things to do in winter in Estes Park! Are there any winter activities that we missed? Or have you tried any of our recommendations before? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

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