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Kids Love Estes!

Kids Love Estes!

Natural Zoo

Estes Park is the ideal place to teach children to respect wildlife, keep a safe distance, and not to feed that cute chipmunk begging at the picnic table.

Kids should learn not to pick the wildflowers (it’s illegal) and resist the temptation to load their pockets with pretty rocks.

Family Fun

Energetic kids (and adults) will get an adrenaline rush at Estes Park Ride-A-Kart with bumper boats, two miniature golf courses, go-karts, batting cages, extreme bungee trampoline, bumper kars, water wars, arcade, and Casey’s Train for the little ones. 970-586-6495, RideAKart.com.

Dangle From A Rope

Introduce kids to rock climbing in the safety of an indoor gym at the Estes Park Mountain Shop, one of the nation’s best small climbing gyms with 4,500 square feet of climbing terrain. Future climbers age five and over are welcome. Open daily 8am-8pm. 970-586-6548, EstesParkMountainShop.com.

Get Them Hooked

Kids love to fish! Pick up gear and licenses (ages 16-64) at Estes Park Mountain Shop, 970-586-6548, EstesParkMountainShop.com or True Value Hardware, 970-586-3496, EstesTrueValue.com.

Try the “Y”

YMCA of the Rockies offers activities for everyone’s idea of adventure. Try the three-sided outdoor climbing wall or two-story indoor climbing wall, indoor swimming pool, guided hikes, mini-golf, disc golf, craft and design center, and much more. The Y also offers an American Camping Association accredited kids’ day camp facilitated by trained counselors. If you’re not staying on-grounds in YMCA lodging or are not a member of YMCA of the Rockies, purchase a day pass at the Boone Family Mountain Center, Sweet Memorial Program Building, or the Administration Building. $29 for adults, $14 for children (6-12), and five and under are free. 970-586-3341, YMCARockies.org.

Become a Junior Ranger

As part of its educational support, the Rocky Mountain Conservancy partners with Rocky Mountain National Park to create stewardship among young park visitors through the Junior Ranger program.

Visitors can pick up a free Junior Ranger activity booklet at any visitor center, discover Rocky, and earn their badge.

Activity books are offered to kids ages five and under, 6-8, and nine and up. By earning a badge, Junior Rangers learn about wildlife and plants and discover why we need to protect our national parks!

During the 2023 summer season, the Junior Ranger Headquarters is located at Hidden Valley. It’s a great place just for kids, and it’s free to participate.
Visit Rocky’s website at NPS.gov/ROMO to find out when programs will be offered at the Junior Ranger Headquarters this summer.

Support the Junior Ranger program by donating to the Rocky Mountain Conservancy Next Generation Fund at RMConservancy.org/Donate.

Paved Path Around The Lake

Lake Estes has a paved path that circles the lake. There are access points in several locations.

The south side, next to US Hwy 36, has picnic tables great for a meal outside. There is a $5 per day parking fee for this area.

A good option is to park in the parking garage and walk the path near the golf course. Birds love this area. This can be a good out-and-back walk.

Estes Park Mountain Shop rents strollers and jogging strollers. 970-586-6548, EstesParkMountainShop.com.

The four-mile paved bike path around Lake Estes is perfect for a family bike ride (watch for other users and dog walkers).

On the south shores along US Hwy 36, the path branches under the highway to the south and through Stanley Park, past the dog park and the ball fields for another .7 miles.

Estes Park Mountain Shop rents kid’s trailers. They are located right off the path so there is easy access.

Bike Park

The bike park at Stanley Park includes a half mile of skills loops ranging from beginner to advanced incorporating both man-made and natural riding features.

There are also pump tracks consisting of dirt and paved sections that cover about a third of a mile.

A perimeter track around Stanley Park connects the courses. Runners, dog walkers, and snowshoers enjoy this park. Proper safety equipment is required. Open sunrise to sunset, located at 380 Community Drive next to the dog park.

Storytimes And Discussions

Join the Estes Valley Library for stories, songs, puppets, activities, and movement. Great for ages 0-6 and their families. Offered year-round on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 10:30am.

Baby storytimes are Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 10am.

For teens and ‘tweens, the library offers a fun discussion group on which you like best–the book or the movie. These are the last Saturday of each month in the afternoons. Snacks and drinks provided.

These events are all free. Visit EstesValleyLibrary.org for more details and events.

Storybook Trail at Stanley Park

Enjoy an outdoor stroll while reading aloud from pages of a children’s picture book (posted on large signs) along the path located near the Stanley Park Playground (Community Drive and Manford Avenue). Sponsored by Estes Valley Library and the Estes Valley Recreation & Park District.

Family-Friendly Hikes

Get the kiddos interested in hiking on some beautiful and kid-friendly hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park.

Sprague Lake is a great option as the lake has an easy trail around it for  exploring and seeing wild birds. There are picnic tables near the parking lot.

Bear Lake is extremely popular and a nice hike as well.

Lily Lake, on CO Hwy 7, is another easy option. This trail is flat and well maintained with amazing views.

From May 26 through Oct. 22, you must have a reserved timed entry for Rocky.

Hiking with Braggin’ Rights - Trail Tags

A long-time tradition is to collect trail tags for completed hikes. This will get kids motivated to earn their tags.

Trail tags, the small cloth patches sewn on backpacks, hats, or even made into quilts, tell a story of adventures.

The tags are color-coded for the length of the hike. The green-bordered trail tags speak of short, easy walks of less than five miles round-trip.

Patches with red borders are for more strenuous hikes of 5-10 miles. Things get more serious with the blue-lined patches that denote hikes of 10-15 miles.

Patches rimmed in gold are hikes of more than 15 miles to far-flung lakes and mountain peaks. Earn a gold trail tag for Thunder Lake, Keyhole, or Longs Peak, and the locals take notice.

Virtually every hike in Rocky Mountain National Park has a trail tag.

It’s a great way to remember vacation fun and the perfect motivator to return and earn more.

Get Tagged

Stop by Estes Park Mountain Shop and Village Store at National Park Village for your tags. They cost about $1.50 each.

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