Is spending time in nature, getting out on a hike, riding horse through high altitude mountains combined with staying at cabins with access to best restaurants and culture, your style of romantic vacation ? Romantic things to do in Estes Park is one of the right choices for you.
Romantic Things to Do in Estes Park
Well, what is romantic for someone is fairly subjective based on the taste and adventure level. For me and my husband it’s taking a hike into the deep wilderness in search of beauty and absolute silence. That’s when we really connect with each other.
Based on my experience in Estes Park CO and what I found interesting romantic things to do in Estes Park, here are my top picks, in no particular order.
Couples Massage at Estes Park
Imagine a 78 miles of roaring Big Thompson river that cuts through Estes Park, originating from Rocky Mountain National Park. You have a massage table set up next to the river with the sound of the running water lulling you mind. After a great massage session, chocolate and champaign wait at the resort. Now, don’t tell me that’s not romantic enough for anyone’s taste.
This is the exact service that’s awaiting you at Estes Park CO at it’s several spa resorts. Here is the list as of summer 2019.
- Affinity Massage And Wellness Center
- Estes Park Massage
- Riverspointe Spa
- Elements of Touch Wellness Spa & River Retreat
- Estes Park Massage Express
- Hands Down Best In Town Therapeutic Massage LLC
- On the River Massage & Healing
- Wildwood Inn
- Seeing hands massage
- Reverie Beauty and Bodywork
Visit Art Galleries
Estes Park village is sprinkled with several art galleries and studios. Beyond just visiting the studios, if you happen to be in town during one of the major art events, I highly recommend contributing to the local economy by grabbing you a small or big piece of work by a local artist that will come along with you for the rest of your life.
- May: During the Memorial Day weekend visit the Art Market in Bond Park that features art and crafts.
- June: Join the Art Walk as you take a walking tour of the downtown galleries and studios.
- August: Feed to the artist in your by joining the Plein Air Rockies event of painting outdoor.
- September: During the Labor Day weekend, Art Market again at Bond Park
- Monthly: First Friday Art Groove, is an art event to encourage visitors to stop at the galleries and studios to appreciate and potentially buy a piece of art work.
Park Theatre at Estes Park
Park theatre at Estes Park is running a strong 100+ years and boasts itself as the oldest single house theatre in the entire America. How can you not stop by at such a historic place when in town.
What more ? You can catch a live theatre shows and operas or watch a mid night movie. Even better, grab a movie themed lunch or dinner at the Park theatre cafe.
Or perhaps get married at this historic building in Estes Park that can host over 200 people.
If none of these please you, at least go take a picture in front of this theatre. It’s well worth the visit.
Learn to Make Wool As a Couple
May be you can impress your loved one with the new skill of making wool and knitting a hat or socks with it as a special occasion gift. If such a thing fancy you, consider taking a class at the local wool making class in Estes Park.
Wine and Dine at Estes Park
Where do I even start ? I think it’s only fair to dedicate a full article on best Estes Park restaurants and bars.
Or you hit one of the several restaurant bars for a fine dining experience. Oh, if you are in town, try the Elk burger at The Wapiti Pub or one of the several other restaurants in the area.
If you are a vegetarian the city got your needs covered with an amazing Indian and Nepalese restaurant called Nepal’s Cafe, with lunch buffet. The restaurant is not an exclusive vegetarian place. But, they have a variety of vegetarian options to fill a full plate without compromising on the taste.
Treat Yourself to Best Ice Cream at Estes Park
The sweetest side of Estes Park doesn’t stop at the mountain peaks or the roaring Big Thompson river. Non-dairy, Vegan, Non-Fat Yogurt, Home made Ice Cream Flavors, the choices are unlimited at Estes Park.
Walking along the river with a heap of chocolate ice cream in sugar cone on a hot summer afternoon in Estes Park is probably one of the most well spent and relaxing yet romantic thing to do in Estes Park in my opinion. At this point, I wonder, anyone can find it romantic if you are a solo traveler.
Estes Park Wine & Chocolate Festival
If you are visiting Estes Park in the winter, you should plan your trip around the Wine and Chocolate Festival at Estes Park that happens in February.
The tickets get sold out. So do plan well ahead as the tickets go on sale in November.
Gosh…I can’t imagine anything better to keep me warm and cozy on a winter weekend than a Wine and Chocolate Festival. One of my favorite things to do on all my travels is to taste the local hot chocolate, even if it’s summer time 🙂
Whisky Warm Up in Estes Park
Estes Park knows how to make the best of all the seasons and weather patterns. In the month of March, one afternoon, you dress as warmly as you can and get to the outdoor Whiskey festival for which you bought the tickets for well in advance. Sip a variety of Whiskeys from local distilleries, learn how to taste and smell the perfect whiskey flavors and browse the collection from local vendors.
Rocky Mountain Craft Spirits Festival
What is romance for you ? Wine, Whisky or is it the Craft Sprit ? Estes Park got you covered. This festival happens in October timeframe just in time for the best fall colors in Estes Park. Gosh…the fall colors here make me want to move to Estes Park in Autumn season.
Live Music Estes Park
Do you have nocturnal tendencies and live music while you grab a bite or a drink smoothes you ? Estes Park has a really vibrant live music scene at night as several bars and lounges come alive. Local bands dominate the music scene at Estes Park. Be it Jazz, rock, blues, Irish music, bluegrass or karaoke, your night is guaranteed to be filled with soul touching music as you bar hop around.
Perhaps you have a decent voice and wouldn’t mind experimenting your vocal skills in front of an audience. Find that bar with a open mic for the night to impress your date.
Even a coffee shop in the evening might have a musician playing guitar and singing as your caffeinated self gets ready for the night.
Stargazing in Estes Park
As the sun goes down, keep your eyes tuned to the sky as the night start falling. As Estes Park is so far away from major cities, there is very little light pollution thus resulting in stunning show case of the milky way.
Here are the few ways to experience Night Sky in Estes Park:
- Just step out of your hotel room and look up
- Camp at one of the several campgrounds in Estes Park or Rocky Mountain National Park and peek out through your tent as you please.
- Estes Park Memorial Observatory
Every month one day is a Open House at Estes Park Memorial Observatory, free for all, this volunteer run program is educational and fun way to observe the open skies.
However, throughout the year, one can book private viewing aka romantic night sky for the night. Advance booking is recommended, but they might have last minute openings as well.
- Rocky Mountain Night Sky with Ranger
At the Rocky Mountain National Park, the ranger led program at night includes viewing the stars. It’s a free event and you just have to bundle up for the cold nights (even in the summer) and show up. For the schedule and programs, check out NPS website.
Sunrise at Sprague Lake
After a night out of live music, stargazing and camping, aren’t you up for waking up really early to watch the sun raise with a dramatic sky lighting ? Well, I admit I am not at all a morning person. So, it takes a lot for me to go watch a sunrise. Thanks to the husband, at least at the vacations, we pull off a sunrise or two.
Sunrise at Sprague lake is one of a kind in the region. Approximately 20 minutes drive from Estes Park downtown, Sprague Lake is accessible by car. Grab that early morning coffee from your hotel room, wrap yourself up with a thick blanket for two and sit around in your car trunk facing the lake as the Sun God shows up in style.
Scenic Viewpoints in Estes Park Area
That was a packed weekend with alcohol, massage, movie night, live music, stargazing followed by sunrise. To keep the day light, I highly recommend hitting the scenic viewpoints for admiring the beauty of the area and the Rocky Mountain National Park.
Drive the Trail Ridge Road at Rocky Mountain National Park, a 50 mile road trip that goes up in elevation to the maximum of 12,000 ft.
Camping At The Billion Star Room
Camping at Estes Park is one of a kind. The billion star room in your tent will leave you breathless for the starry night view, lack of oxygen at 7522 ft of altitude. Even a hot summer day will wind down as a cold and likely windy night that requires a warm sleeping bag in your tent.
Oh that campfire, strumming the guitar to your favorite song with marshmallow and hot chocolate at a wallet friendly budget is an unbeatable experience.
Waterfall Hikes Near Estes Park
Rocky Mountain National Park is after all a stone throw away from Estes Park, where waterfalls come alive in the summer as the snow melt. Even if you don’t want to walk for more than a few minutes, there is a waterfall for you at RMNP (Rocky Mountain National Park). Here are some of the waterfalls you can hike at RMNP.
- Adams Falls – 0.3 miles – Elev. Gain 79 ft
Cascade Falls – 3.5 miles – Elev. Gain 300 ft
Bridal Veil Falls – 3.2 miles – Elev. Gain 1060 ft
Fern Falls – 2.5 miles – Elev. Gain 645 ft
Alberta Falls – 0.6 miles – Elev. Gain 160 ft
Calypso Cascades – 1.8 miles – Elev. Gain 700 ft
Copeland Falls – 0.3 miles – Elev. Gain 15 ft
Ouzel Falls – 2.7 miles – Elev. Gain 950 ft
Trio Falls – 7.3 miles – Elev. Gain 2800 ft
Timberline Falls – 4 miles – Elev. Gain 1210 ft
Granite Falls – 5.2 miles – Elev. Gain 1046 ft
I am sure I missed a few more waterfall hikes. But the point here is to make a point that waterfall hike can be a fun couple thing to do.
One of the best possible activities for a relaxing afternoon at Estes Park or even at Rocky Mountain National Park is to pack lunch and / or snacks and head out to one of my favorite spots for a picnic with a mountain backdrop.
- Lake Estes
- One of the several meadows in Rocky Mountain National Park.
- Big Meadow at the west side of Rocky Mountain National Park where the gushing river wind through the middle of the meadow while the wild elk are grazing around.
Full Moon Hike at Rocky Mountain National Park
If you happen to visit Rocky Mountain National Park in the winter, the ranger led Full Moon hikes are a must do. An advance reservation is required as these do get filled out. Depending on the snow situation, if might either be a hike or a snowshoeing trip.
The ranger will give you the snowshoes, you don’t have to have them with you when you show up.
In summer, basically you can hit any trail at your own risk on a full moon night. I would recommend going with a group or as a part of meetup hikes to be on a safer side.
Either way, full moon is not to be wasted at Rocky Mountain National Park.
If you want to keep your date active and adventurous, how about chasing the geocaches at one of the 49 locations in Rocky Mountain National Park ?
The best part about looking for these geocaches is that you get to explore some of the off the beaten path trails and viewpoints as you maneuver your way to the target.
A sample 2018 brochure for the Geocachin fun in the park.
Float on a Boat for Two
Lake Estes is where you want to be floating around to get a stunning 360 degree view of the Estes Park valley surrounded by the mountains and gushing Big Thompson river.
Or rent a kayak to tackle the Poudre River just outside of Fort Collins.
Take a thrill ride on the class III or IV river for a day of whitewater rafting. You can take a breathtaking trip down Upper Colorado River or the tackle the continuous Class II to III rapids at Poudre River, known for the wild and scenic at best Colorado river. Thrill is guaranteed !
Rent a Tandem Bike
Rent a Tandem bike at a local bike shop and hit the trail. Mind it you are biking at an altitude, you might want to go slow. After all, slowness is better to appreciate the beauty of the park.
One of the easy biking path in downtown is the Lake Estes perimeter. However, all roads in Rocky Mountain National Park, including the Trail Ridge Road are biker friendly. However, Trail Ridge Road biking is certainly not for the beginner or leisure bikers as the climb on these roads is pretty serious.
Here is a list of biking routes in the park.
Did I mention Big Thompson River ? Fly fishing is one of the most popular activities in Estes Park and summer draws hundreds of people just for this purpose alone.
There are several shops that sell and rent out everything needed for a day of fishing in the river. Or you can also arrange to go on a fishing tour if its the first time and would prefer to have some instructions.
Open Air Adventure Park
Open Air Adventure park is a great place to burn off some energy as you and your partner jump around at the tree top. Strapped to the harness, there are several levels of ropes to walk on. One of the safest ways to try out rope walking and a great adventure.
Multi-day Backpacking at Rocky Mountain National Park
Backpacking is another great way to tune in with the nature as you two are far away from all the technology and distractions to get to know each other better or spend more time together to deepen the relationship.
Rocky Mountain National Park backpacking options starting from just a one night out in the backcountry campsite to multi-day backpacking trips.
Here is a list of all the potential backpacking options at Rocky Mountain National Park.
If going by yourself is not an option for you, consider taking one of the organized trips such as the REI.com one.
Propose at Rocky Mountain National Park
Rocky Mountain National Park or the Estes Park village are probably one of the best scenic places to propose to your partner. Imagine taking a hike to 12000 ft from alpine visitor center that literally takes your breath away. As the sunsets over the mountain, you get the pop the question. I am sure your partner’s heart will melt as the summer snow.
Get Married at Rocky Mountain National Park or Estes Park
Rocky Mountain and Estes Park are a popular wedding destinations and popular wedding photography locations. Several resorts and national park itself rent out spaces for wedding ceremonies.
For a complete list of wedding locations at the Rocky Mountain National Park (requires permit), check out the NPS website.
This completes my round up of all the romantic things to do in Estes Park from my perspective. By no means, this is an exhaustive list.
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If you are traveling to Estes Park as a family and would like to keep your young kids busy, learn about things to do in Estes Park with kids.