Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Summer Vacation 2015: Estes Park

Last week my family and I embarked on our summer vacation to Estes Park, Colorado. Estes is right outside of Rocky Mountain National Park so it's a great spot for enjoying nature and yet not having to rough it.

Our first stop for the trip was at Bear Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park. It's a short walk from the parking lot to the lake and a short hike to go completely around the lake (.5 mile) and it's a beautiful view.

My sister and I enjoyed the view from the benches they had all around the lake. We got to the lake around 8 am. It was the perfect time to go because the park didn't have too many visitors yet, it was cool out, and the mountains were perfectly reflected in the water.

From Bear Lake we hiked up to Bierstadt Lake. A park ranger suggested the trail to us as an "easy" hike. I was out of breath a little on the hike up the mountain, but my sister who has asthma did not do very well on this trail so we had to make a few (a lot of) stops along the 2 mile hike. There was a lot of nice views along the trail and the lake was pretty, too.

We also spent some time going on mountain drives around the park and hiked to Nymph Lake on a separate day. That trail was pretty steep for me, but I loved the challenge and thought the lake was so beautiful once we got there. 

And all of this has just been about our adventures in Rocky Mountain National Park. We also managed to have a little fun outside of hiking and mountain drives in the park. We went golf-karting and mini-golfing in Estes Park and enjoyed a few walks around the downtown area.

I enjoyed shopping in the downtown area. My favorite shop was Miller's Indian Village where I bought a little purse from Guatemala (or at least that's what it said) and a heart-shaped dream catcher (which I love). There's also tons of candy and ice cream shops downtown. Everything looked so good, I could never choose what to get. My mom got one of the candy apples and it was to die for.

My favorite restaurant was also in the downtown area. It's called Grubsteak and they had the best burgers. You can get almost any burger as a vegetarian burger. I got a guacamole and jack veggie burger and it was the most delicious meal I had the whole trip. The restaurant also has yak, elk, and buffalo burgers. My family tried the elk and buffalo burgers and their favorite was the buffalo. I would definitely recommend eating at Grubsteak if you're in Estes.


  1. We were just in Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park in May and I did several posts on it as well. I wish we would have eaten at Grubsteak. We didn't try that one. My husband loved the Big Horn Restaurant so much, we ate there twice. It is fun to see your pictures, because when we were there, there was still a lot of snow on the ground. What a difference a month makes!

    1. It really does make a difference! There was only a little bit of snow left on the ground in shady spots when we were there. We didn't try the Big Horn Restaurant, but maybe we'll have to next time.

  2. Courtney, Rocky Mountain National Park is one of my absolute most beautiful places to visit. I haven't spent much time in Estes Park (other than driving through) but my inlaws had a place in Grand Lake and we would spend a week there every year and hike through the park. Colorado is such a beautiful state and it looks like you had an amazing vacation. Thanks so much for sharing your vacation at Dream. Create. Inspire. Link. Take care, Tara