Estes Park, Colorado sits 7,522 feet above seal level and visiting this little town packs quite the experience. The Stanley Hotel was first on our stop. Many people know this hotel because of Stephen King’s The Shining. The movie wasn’t actually filmed here although Stephen King has said this hotel provided some of the inspiration behind his haunted tale. When you are coming over the mountain and crest the top of the road entering Estes Park, you will see the hotel almost immediately in the distance. The hotel is nestled nicely between towering mountains and the views coming into this charming town are beautiful. Lake Estes below and the Rocky mountains all around, you will want to pull over immediately and take a few pictures to remember this when you get home.
The Stanley Hotel is classic and elegant and not overly crowded. We only planned to stay for a short time before heading into the Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP) but we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to stop by for a moment. We walked the grounds, took in the sites and listened in on a tour that was happening about some of the other historical facts about the hotel. We can thank Mr. Freelan Oscar Stanley and his friendship with Enos Mills for the creation of the RMNP. These two were relentless in advocating for the creation and preservation of this park for future generations.
We only had one day to spend in the RMNP. I was hoping we could hike and explore, but driving the park and just seeing all we could take up more time than I had planned for. There is roughly 355 miles of trails that are maintained for hiking within Rocky Mountain National Park. When we come back we will plan more time for hiking than we did this visit. We drove as high as we could on the Trail Ridge Road. We were there in early October and the road was already closed towards the top because of snow. One good thing about going in October, the Elk are in the rut and boy are they vocal. What a show they put on for us. It was fascinating to watch.
If you only have one day like we did, see all you can. We drove as much of the park as we could and saw as many overlooks and wildlife as we could squeeze into one day.