Tag Archives: Estes Park

Snowshoeing On Stage in Estes Park This Weekend

Snowshoeing and other winter pleasures celebrated this weekend

Estes Park, eastern gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park, and the park itself are the place to go for snowshoeing immersion this weekend. And what a weekend it promises to be. The town and the park got some accumulation from yesterday’s snowstorm that deposited 5 inches of fluff on my back deck down in Boulder, and another storm this afternoon and evening promises an additional 5 to 11 inches. Should be ideal for snowshoeing and snowplay this weekend.

The fouth annual  Estes Park Winter Festival takes place from Friday, January 13 to Monday, January 16. It kicks off on Friday with the Ceilidh Irish Barn Dances. Festival events include wine and microbrew tastings in a heated tent, an elaborate ice castle, children’s activities, a chili cook-off, music, special sales, art shows, restaurant specials, horsedrawn carriage rides, hot air balloon glow and more. The schedule and prices (all reasonable or FREE) are more comprehensive than we have room for, but click here for details, call 970-577-9900 or 800-44-ESTES.

This family-friendly festival partners with the 18th Annual Winter Trails Day held Saturday, January 14 at the Glacier parking lot in Rocky Mountain National Park. Martin Luther King, Jr. Weekend happens to be a FREE day in all FREE demo snowshoes and tours try them out. Winter Trails Day elsewhere last Saturday (I went to the one Echo Lake), but RMNP is the site of a bonus event. The fine folks from REI’s Denver Flagship organized the event (and brought snowshoes from their rental fleet), and Alpine Rescue Team volunteers led short, complimentary snowshoe walks along the lakeshore. The Alpine Rescue folks used the opportunity to caution backcountry neophytes on winter safety in the outdoors.

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Free Entry to National Parks This Weekend

Free park entry for all — plus Winter Trails Day in Rocky Mountain National Park on Saturday

I bought my first annual National Parks pass shortly after moving to Colorado in 1988, and I have not bee pass-less (pass-free?) since then. The two east entrances to Rocky Mountain National Park are less than an hour from my door, and it is a favorite year-round excursion for me, my husband, various various and visitors. We go there to hike, to ski-tour, to snowshoe, to see wildlife, to sightsee and very occasionally to backpack.

We won’t need our pass this weekend,  because all 394 units administered by the National Park Service, of which 5b (including RMNP) are designated National Parks. That means you can grab your snowshoes, if you are in the north country (or even some parts of the South, given recent weather patterns), and “test-drive” the nearest park, gratis.

Coloradans have a special bonus, with Winter Trails Day with its opportunity to try out snowshoes for free and join snowshoe walks without paying the normal entry fee. Most other Winter Trails Days around the country took place last weekend, but the Estes Park/RMNP day is Saturday, January 15, 10:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. again, based at the summer shuttle Bear Lake shuttle parking lot along the Bear Lake Road. Snowshoe makers are lending equipment, the Estes Park Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring the event and REI staffers are adding their expertise.