• Photo: Kwiktor | Dreamstime.com

Estes Park

The vast scenery on the U.S. 36 approach to Estes Park gives little hint of the grandeur to come, but if ever there was a classic picture-postcard Rockies view, Estes Park has it. The town sits at an altitude of more than 7,500 feet, at the foot of a stunning backdrop of 14,259-foot Longs Peak, the majestic Stanley Hotel, and surrounding mountains. The town is family-oriented and very kitschy, with lots of stores selling Western-theme trinkets, sweets, and regional toys for the kids. Many of the small businesses and hotels lining the roads are mom-and-pop outfits that have been passed down through several generations. Estes Park is also the most popular gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park (aka RMNP, home of the world-famous Trail Ridge Road), which is a few miles down the road.

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