It’s that time of year where we put the kids back in school, we start to cover up the tanned skin and we search the back of the closet for our favorite sweater or flannel. I had my first UGG siting a few days ago here in Colorado and I thought, what a better time than now to share a fully accessible travel weekend to enjoy the beautiful state of Colorado during the prettiest time of year? So here you go, I hope you enjoy and please comment if you’ve been to Estes Park or decide to give it a try!
Day 1 (Friday)
Arrive in Estes Park and visit downtown for local shopping, art galleries, river walk, local libations and dinner.
Day 2 (Saturday)
Wake up and grab breakfast before taking a scenic drive with your rented van or book a guided tour and leave the driving to someone else. After the drive, enjoy one of the festival days and don’t worry there’s a handicap accessible shuttle to take you around town for free (call ahead to reserve the accessible shuttle 970-586-4920).
Day 3 (Sunday)
Take a hike along a paved trail and enjoy more of the festivities before heading home.
From DIA guests can rent an accessible vehicle or can schedule for an accessible shuttle to take you to your hotel in Estes Park.
Direction from DIA: Exit the airport on Pena Blvd to A) Tower Road, north to 120th street, west to I-25, north to CO 66, west to Lyons, Colorado and US 36 west to Estes Park; or B) toll road E-470 northwest to I-25, north to CO 66, to Estes Park as above. Toll charge for a two axle vehicle is $3.50 each way.
Accessible Vehicle Rental
Besides the big companies like Enterprise and Hertz there are a few Colorado local options that we recommend:
Where to Stay
Estes Park offers 49 hotels, B&B’s and Motels with accessible rooms.
AUTUMN GOLD FESTIVAL
SEPTEMBER 21 & 22, 2019
Aspens turn to a golden hue. The sounds of elk bugles reverberate throughout the air. It's a perfect season for one of Estes Park's late-autumn traditions when a series of bands herald Autumn Gold - a Festival of Bands, Brats & Beer, celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2019!
SEPTEMBER 28-29, 2019
The haunting call of the bull elk fills the Estes Valley during the early days of fall. The call begins with deep, resonant tones that rise rapidly to a high-pitched squeal before dropping to a series of grunts. What is this strange sound and what does it mean?
PUMPKINS & PILSNERS FESTIVAL
OCTOBER 12, 2019
This free fall festival has activities and entertainment for all ages. The perfect place to pick your pumpkins with live music and craft beer for the adults, as well as games, crafts and a bounce house for the little ones. Bring the whole family and plan a fall weekend getaway around this fun event!
Enjoy throughout the Day: Various Food Trucks, Beer Tent, Free Face Painting, Free Pony Rides, Lawn Games, Pumpkin Patch, and MORE!
This incredible event is a fundraiser for the local non-profit organization, Families for Estes.
FALL BACK BEER FEST
NOVEMBER 2, 2019
Get ready to turn the clocks back at Estes Park’s craft beer event of the year!
Brewers from 30+ Colorado craft breweries pour unlimited and talk all-things-brewing in the heart of the Rockies. Beer enthusiasts, from novice to expert, take part in live brewing demos, chat with hop farmers and yeast laboratories, and so much more!
Festivals information courtesy of Visitestespark.com: https://www.visitestespark.com/events-calendar/fall-events/
Peak to Peak Sceanic Byway
Leading south out of the Estes Park valley, a portion of the Peak to Peak Scenic Byway (aka Colorado Highway 7) crests at charming Lily Lake and offers tremendous views of Mount Meeker, Longs Peak and Twin Sisters. You'll pass the stone building of Saint Catherine of Siena Chapel, circa 1935. Locals also refer to it as St. Malo Church or Chapel on the Rock. The road borders Rocky Mountain National Park, past its Wild Basin Entrance and through Allenspark, where Highway 7 cuts east. Although the route veers off the Peak to Peak, eventually connecting with Highway 36 in Lyons, it shows the diverse scenery of the area-from massive rock walls and delicate sandstone spires to bubbling rivers and mountain meadows dotted with elk or deer-before dropping into mountain-fringed Estes Park.
TRAIL RIDGE ROAD - ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK
The bulk of Trail Ridge Road, the highest continuous paved road in the United States, lies within the bounds of Rocky Mountain National Park, but it begins in Estes Park. Pick up Hwy. 36 (aka Moraine Avenue) and follow it west into the national park past Beaver Meadows Visitor Center. You'll pass Deer Mountain and the intersection with Bear Lake Road. At Deer Ridge Junction, pick up Hwy. 34. The route climbs from 7,800 feet to more than 12,000 feet at its highest point. It passes through a variety of habitat, from mountain meadows and woodlands to well above treeline into the alpine tundra. You can turn around at the Alpine Visitor Center or transform the scenic drive into a day-long road trip to Grand Lake, and back. Or, use Trail Ridge road to connect to the three other central scenic byways in the area and complete a 360 mile loop of Northern Colorado.
Because of the elevation gain, Trail Ridge Road is open from Memorial Day until late-September to mid-November, depending on snowfall. Please check the Trail Ridge hotline at 970-586-1222 970-586-1222 for current updates.
Scenic drives courtesy of Visitestespark.com: https://www.visitestespark.com/things-to-do/scenic-drives/
Accessible Hiking Trails
TUNDRA COMMUNITIES TRAIL: .5 MILES ROUNDTRIP; PAVED
Found north of Rock Cut on Trail Ridge Road, this paved walk is accessible only when the road is open (typically Memorial Day through mid-October). It meanders out-and-back across the tundra, gaining little elevation. Sweeping vistas of the Continental Divide, including Longs Peak and the Never Summers, extend in every direction. You truly feel like you're on top of the world. Guests should note that the air is thinner since the trail sits at 12,110 feet.
Download the full visitor’s guide hereESTES PARK VISITOR CENTER500 Big Thompson AvenueEstes Park, CO 80517(970) 577-9900 / (800) 443-7837VISIT ESTES PARK BUSINESS OFFICEPO Box 4426Estes Park, CO 80517(970) 586-0500