Encompassed by the Rocky Mountains, Estes Park in Colorado is a prominent getaway destination for outdoor adventurers. Enjoy days filled with exciting activities like whitewater rafting, fly fishing, hiking through the Rockies, and admiring the mountains from horseback. Ranging from high-end resorts and lodges to rustic cabins hidden in the woods, Estes Park vacation rentals offer a stunning mountain “home away from home” for any type of traveler. Check out a few of the most noteworthy spots in and around Estes Park.

1. Downtown Estes Park

Estes Park
Source: Flickr/Kyla Duhamel

A condo or mountain cabin in this central town area creates the perfect home base for your Estes Park adventures. Take the Estes Park Aerial Tramway to the top of Prospect Mountain, or explore the cafes, boutiques, and art galleries that line downtown. You can also stop at a restaurant along the Riverwalk, enjoy a day of family fun at an amusement park, or try your luck on the beautiful golf courses. Just don’t be surprised if an elk herd passes by your vacation rental.

2. Estes Park East

Source: Pixabay/KWANSOON

The Estes Park Town region quickly turns into pine wilderness as you drive East. Here, you find secluded vacation rentals amidst the rocky landscape, many overlooking Fall River. During the day, book a rafting trip with the family, or book a wildlife tour through the Rockies to spot some bighorn sheep. In the evening, come home to your rental to enjoy the Alpine glow of sunset from your porch.

3. Lake Estes

Lake Estes
Source: Flickr/Joel Tonyan

This area just west of downtown boasts cottages and condos with views of beautiful Lake Estes. Head to Lake Estes Marina to board a speedboat, sailboat, or fishing boat for a day on the water, or try some fly fishing along Big Thompson River. You can also enjoy a picnic at Marina Pavilion and walk or bike the paved walkway surrounding entire lake.

4. Estes Park South

 Yield
Source: Flickr/Kent Kanouse

Inns and cottages in this spacious part of Estes Park rest at the foot of Prospect Mountain, but staying here means more than just beautiful mountain views. Take the trail to Estes Park Lookout just a short distance north, or experience zip lines and other adrenaline-pumping aerial adventures for the whole family at Open Air Adventure Park. You can also stop along Big Thompson River or Trout Haven Fishing Pond for your catch of the day. Of course, you still just step away from the candy shops and souvenir stores of downtown Estes Park.

5. McGregor Mountain Area

Mcgregror Mountain Area
Source: Flickr/Christopher Carter

Farther east of Estes Park, you find a treasure trove of resorts and lodges tucked in the mountains along Fall River Road. While staying here, walk down to Fall River for a day of fly fishing, and stow your rods in your rental. In the evening, enjoy grilling out on your porch under the shadow of Castle Mountain and other nearby peaks.

6. Estes Park North

Road in Estes Park
Source: Flickr/BrownZelip

Offering plenty of wide open space, this part of townhouses farm homes, horse pastures, and country cottages overlooking the valley. Staying here provides easy access to Lumpy Ridge Trailhead, which brings you to Estes Park Lookout. You can also drive down to Lake Estes to take a boat out on the water, or you can drive further north to the Cow Creek Trailhead to see the wildflowers blooming in the spring and fall.

7. Rocky Mountain National Park

House in the Wilderness
Source: Flickr/Photo Phlend

Accessible via the winding mountain roads snaking through the Rockies surrounding Estes Park, a vacation rental in the remote mountain wilderness is well worth the extra effort. Cook out in front of a log-sided cabin with views of the surrounding peaks and forests, including Twin Sisters Peak, Deer Mountain, and Emerald Mountain. Take some time to hike the surrounding trails or cross-country ski to various lookouts.

8. Grand Lake

Sunrise in Grand Lake
Source: Flickr/Don Graham

Situated 20 miles southeast of Estes Park, Grand Lake is a quiet residential community accessible by Trail Ridge Road. After a day trip to Estes Park, enjoy views of Grand Lake and Shadow Mountain Lake from your own porch or balcony. Be sure to explore the hiking trails along the East and North inlets. Cross-country skiing is a favorite winter activity, but sailing and boating the lakes are a popular option in the summer.

9. Lyons

Source: Pixabay/Blogteufel

Located at the edge of the Rockies 20 miles southwest of Estes Park, this mountain town offers views of Indian Lookout Mountain, Steamboat Mountain, and Dowe Flats from your window. Check out the cafes and gift shops in the downtown area, and enjoy some fly fishing along St. Vrain Creek. Explore the Lyons Redstone Museum for a taste of local history before kicking back at a local BBQ or grill. From here, you can drive a few miles north to Loveland to ski the slopes during the winter or book a hot air balloon ride during the summer.

10. Glen Haven

Along the River
Source: Flickr/Jim Belford

Hidden along the mountain roads north of Estes Park, this tiny community is characterized by cool mountain creeks and an old-fashioned general store. This is a great place to find remote cabins in the Rockies where you can reconnect with nature, and fishing enthusiasts can fly fish for trout on West Creek or North Fork Big Thompson River.