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How to Book a Hotel in Estes Park
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Hotels of Estes Park
A hotel in Estes Park is an establishment that provides lodging paid on a short-term basis. Facilities provided may range from a basic bed and storage for clothing, to luxury features like en-suite bathrooms. Larger in Estes Park hotels may provide additional guest facilities such as a swimming pool, business centre, childcare, conference facilities and social function services. Hotel rooms in Estes Park are usually numbered (or named in some smaller hotels and B&Bs) to allow guests to identify their room. Some Estes Park hotels offer meals as part of a room and board arrangement. Hotel operations vary in size, function, and cost. Most Estes Park hotels and major hospitality companies that operate hotels in Estes Park have set widely accepted industry standards to classify hotel types. General categories include the following:
Upscale luxury hotels in Estes Park
An upscale full service hotel facility in Estes Park that offers luxury amenities, full service accommodations, on-site full service restaurant(s), and the highest level of personalized and professional service. Luxury Estes Park hotels are normally classified with at least a Four Diamond or Five Diamond status or a Four or Five Star rating depending on classification standards.
Full service hotels in Estes Park
Full service Estes Park hotels often contain upscale full-service facilities with a large volume of full service accommodations, on-site full service restaurant(s), and a variety of on-site amenities such as swimming pools, a health club, children's activities, ballrooms, on-site conference facilities, etc.
Historic inns and boutique hotels in Estes Park
Boutique hotels of Estes Park are smaller independent non-branded hotels that often contain upscale facilities of varying size in unique or intimate settings with full service accommodations. Estes Park boutique hotels are generally 100 rooms or less. Some historic inns and boutique hotels in Estes Park may be classified as luxury hotels.
Focused or select service hotels in Estes Park
Small to medium-sized hotel establishments that offer a limited amount of on-site amenities that only cater and market to a specific demographic of Estes Park travelers, such as the single business traveler. Most Estes Park focused or select service hotels may still offer full service accommodations but may lack leisure amenities such as an on-site restaurant or a swimming pool.
Economy and limited service hotels in Estes Park
Small to medium-sized Estes Park hotel establishments that offer a very limited amount of on-site amenities and often only offer basic accommodations with little to no services, these facilities normally only cater and market to a specific demographic of travelers, such as the budget-minded Estes Park traveler seeking a "no frills" accommodation. Limited service Estes Park hotels often lack an on-site restaurant but in return may offer a limited complimentary food and beverage amenity such as on-site continental breakfast service.
Guest houses and B&Bs in Estes Park
A bed and breakfast in Estes Park is a small lodging establishment that offers overnight accommodation and inclusive breakfast. Usually, Estes Park bed and breakfasts are private homes or family homes offering accommodations. The typical Estes Park B&B has between 4 and 11 rooms, with 6 being the average. Generally, guests are accommodated in private bedrooms with private bathrooms, or in a suite of rooms including an en suite bathroom. Some homes have private bedrooms with a bathroom which is shared with other guests. Breakfast is served in the bedroom, a dining room, or the host's kitchen. Often the owners of guest house themselves prepare the breakfast and clean the rooms.
Hostels in Estes Park
Estes Park hostels provide budget-oriented, sociable accommodation where guests can rent a bed, usually a bunk bed, in a dormitory and share a bathroom, lounge, and sometimes a kitchen. Rooms can be mixed or single-sex, although private rooms may also be available. Hostels are often cheaper for both the operator and occupants; many Estes Park hostels have long-term residents whom they employ as desk agents or housekeeping staff in exchange for experience or discounted accommodation.
Apartment hotels, extended stay hotels in Estes Park
Extended stay hotels are small to medium-sized Estes Park hotels that offer longer term full service accommodations compared to a traditional hotel. Extended stay hotels may offer non-traditional pricing methods such as a weekly rate that cater towards travelers in need of short-term accommodations for an extended period of time. Similar to limited and select service hotels, on-site amenities are normally limited and most extended stay hotels in Estes Park lack an on-site restaurant.
Timeshare and destination clubs in Estes Park
Estes Park timeshare and destination clubs are a form of property ownership also referred to as a vacation ownership involving the purchase and ownership of an individual unit of accommodation for seasonal usage during a specified period of time. Timeshare resorts in Estes Park often offer amenities similar that of a Full service hotel with on-site restaurant(s), swimming pools, recreation grounds, and other leisure-oriented amenities. Destination clubs of Estes Park on the other hand may offer more exclusive private accommodations such as private houses in a neighborhood-style setting.
Motels in Estes Park
A Estes Park motel is a small-sized low-rise lodging establishment similar to that of a limited service hotel, but with direct access to individual rooms from the car park. Common during the 1950s and 1960s, motels were often located adjacent to a major road, where they were built on inexpensive land at the edge of towns or along stretches of highways. They are still useful in less populated areas of Estes Park for driving travelers, but the more populated an area becomes the more hotels fill the need. Many of Estes Park motels which remain in operation have joined national franchise chains, rebranding themselves as hotels, inns or lodges.
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The Town of Estes Park/ˈɛstɪs/ is a statutory town in Larimer County, Colorado, United States. A popular summer resort and the location of the headquarters for Rocky Mountain National Park, Estes Park lies along the Big Thompson River. Estes Park had a population of 5,858 at the 2010 census. Landmarks include the Stanley Hotel. The town overlooks Lake Estes and Olympus Dam.
Estes Park, Colorado: Early history
Before Europeans came to the Estes Park valley, the Arapaho Indians lived there in the summertime and called the valley "the Circle." When three elderly Arapahoes visited Estes Park in 1914, they pointed out sites they remembered from their younger days. A photograph at the Estes Park Museum identified the touring party as Shep Husted, guide; Gun Griswold, a 73-year-old judge; Sherman Sage, a 63-year-old chief of police; Tom Crispin, 38-year-old reservation resident and interpreter; Oliver W. Toll, recorder; and David Robert Hawkins, a Princeton student.
In the 1850s, the Arapaho had spent summers camped around Mary's Lake, where their rock fireplaces, tipi sites, and dance rings were still visible. They also recalled building eagle traps atop Long's Peak to get the war feathers coveted by all tribes. They remembered their routes to and from the valley in detail, naming trails and landmarks. They pointed out the site of their buffalo trap, and described the use of dogs to pack meat out of the valley. Their recollections included a battle with Apaches in the 1850s, and fights with Utes who came to the area to hunt bighorn sheep, so all three of those tribes used the valley's resources.
Whites probably came into the Estes Park valley before the 1850s as trappers, but did not stay long. The town is named after Missouri native Joel Estes, who founded the community in 1859. Estes moved his family there in 1863. One of Estes' early visitors was William Byers, a newspaper editor who wrote of his ascent of Long's Peak in 1864, publicizing the area as a pristine wilderness.
Griff Evans and his family came to Estes Park in 1867 to act as caretakers for the former Estes ranch. Recognizing the potential for tourism, he began building cabins to accommodate travelers. Soon it was known as the first dude ranch in Estes Park, with guides for hunting, fishing, and mountaineering.
Lord Dunraven (1841-1926), the famous Irish nobleman, politician and journalist, in later life. His ancestral seat was Adare Manor.
Albert Bierstadt was commissioned by the Earl of Dunraven to make a painting of the Estes Park and Longs Peak area in 1876 for $15,000. The painting, originally displayed in Dunraven Castle, is now in the collection of the Denver Art Museum.
The 4th Earl of Dunraven and Mount-Earl, a young Anglo-Irish peer, arrived in late December 1872 under the guidance of Texas Jack Omohundro, subsequently made numerous visits, and decided to take over the valley for his own private hunting preserve. Lord Dunraven's 'land grab' didn't work, but he controlled 6,000 acres before he changed tactics and opened the area's first resort, the Estes Park Hotel, which was destroyed by fire in 1911.
In 1873, Englishwoman Isabella Bird, the daughter of an Anglican minister, came to the United States. Landing at San Francisco, she came overland to Colorado, where she borrowed a horse and set out to explore the Rocky Mountains with a guide, the notorious James Nugent, aka 'Rocky Mountain Jim'. She wrote a memoir of their travels, including the breathtaking ascent of Long's Peak, where she was literally hauled up the steep pitches "like a bale of goods."
On June 19th 1874 Rocky Mountain Jim and neighbor Griff Evans (see above) had an argument. Having had bitter history with each other, Nugent and Evans hated each other and were deep personal rivals when it came to tour guiding tourists. The argument escalated until Evans blasted Jim in the head with his rifle shotgun. Evans then traveled to Fort Collins to file an assault charge against Nugent, but he was arrested and tried for first degree murder when Jim Nugent died on September 9th 1874 of the bullet wound. Evans was put on trial, but the case was soon dismissed due to the lack of witnesses to the shooting. On August 9th 1875, the Loveland court-house acquitted Evans of any charges in the case.
William Henry Jackson photographed Estes Park in 1873.
Alex and Clara (Heeney) MacGregor arrived soon after and homesteaded at the foot of Lumpy Ridge. The MacGregor Ranch has been preserved as a historic site. In 1874, MacGregor incorporated a company to build a new toll road from Lyons, Colorado to Estes Park. The road became what is today U.S. Highway 36. Before that time, however, the "road" was only a trail fit for pack horses. The improved road brought more visitors into Estes Park; some of them became full-time residents and built new hotels to accommodate the growing number of travelers.
In 1884, Enos Mills (1870-1922) left Kansas and came to Estes Park, where his relative Elkanah Lamb lived. That move proved significant for Estes Park because Mills became a naturalist and conservationist who devoted his life after 1909 to preserving nearly a thousand square miles of Colorado as Rocky Mountain National Park. He succeeded and the park was dedicated in 1915.
Enos Mills' younger brother Joe Mills (1880-1935) came to Estes Park in 1889. He wrote a series of articles about his youthful experiences for Boys Life and were later published as a book. After some years as a college athletics coach, he and his wife returned to Estes Park and built a hotel called The Crags on the north side of Prospect Mountain, overlooking the village. They ran that business in the summer while he continued his coaching career in winters at University of Colorado in Boulder.
Many early visitors came to Estes Park in search of better health. The Rocky Mountain West especially attracted those with pulmonary diseases, and in Estes Park some resorts catered to them, providing staff physicians for their care.
Estes Park, Colorado: Later history
Main Street, 1912
In 1903, a new road was opened from Loveland through the Big Thompson River canyon to Estes Park, increasing access to the valley. In 1907, three Loveland men established the first auto stage line from Loveland to Estes Park with three five-passenger touring Stanley Steamers. The following year, Mr. Stanley built nine-passenger steam busses and opened a bus line between Lyons and Estes Park.
By 1912, Estes Park had its own seasonal newspaper, the Estes Park Trail, which provided advertising for the local hotels and other businesses. It was a year-round weekly by 1921. In 1949, Olympus Dam was finished, creating Lake Estes, giving the town it's main source of drinking water.
Today, Estes Park's outskirts include The Stanley Hotel, built in 1909. An example of Edwardian opulence, the building had Stephen King as a guest, inspiring him to change the locale for his novel The Shining from an amusement park to the Stanley's fictional stand-in, the Overlook Hotel. Olympus Dam, on the outskirts of the town, is the dam that creates Lake Estes, a lake which is the site for boating and swimming in Estes Park. There are some hotels on the shore, including the Estes Park Resort.
Land was still being homesteaded in the area in 1914, when Katherine Garetson (1877-1963) filed on land near the base of Long's Peak. She built a cabin and started a business known as the Big Owl Tea Place. She proved up on her homestead claim in 1915, and left a memoir of her years there.
In 1916 the Estes Valley Library was founded by the Estes Park Women's Club. It originally formed part of the old schoolhouse and contained only 262 printed works.
Estes Park was also the site of the organization of the Credit Union National Association, an important milestone in the history of American credit unions.
Trail Ridge Road, the highest continuous highway in the United States, runs from Estes Park westward through Rocky Mountain National Park, reaching Grand Lake over the continental divide.
The town suffered severe damage in July 1982 from flooding caused by the failure of Lawn Lake Dam. The flood's alluvial fan can still be seen on Fall River Road. The downtown area was extensively renovated after the flood, and a river walk was added between the main street, Elkhorn Avenue, and the Big Thompson River.
Estes Park, Colorado: Geography
Estes Park sits at an elevation of 7,522 feet (2,293 m) on the front range of the Rocky Mountains at the eastern entrance of the Rocky Mountain National Park. Its location is / 40.372856; -105.519136. Its north, south and east extremities border the Roosevelt National Forest. Lumpy Ridge lies immediately north of Estes Park.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 5.9 square miles (15 km), of which 5.8 square miles (15 km) is land and 0.1 square miles (0.26 km) (0.85%) is water.
Estes Park, Colorado: Climate
Estes Park's humidity is typically low. Winter temperatures can drop to well below zero.
Climate data for Estes Park, Colorado
Record high °F (°C)
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Estes Park, Colorado: Demographics
U.S. Decennial Census
Estes Park entrance sign
Estes Park city center
The historic Stanley Hotel, which opened in 1909.
In August 1900, Estes Park had a population of 218 in 63 households. Many (73) were born in Colorado. Eighteen were born in other countries: Canada (4), England (4), Germany (4), Finland (3), and one each from the Netherlands, Scotland, and Ireland. Eighty had been born in midwestern states, and thirty from states in the northeast.
As of the census of 2010, 5,858 people, 2,796 households, and 1,565 families resided in the town of Estes Park. The population density was 929.5 inhabitants per square mile (358.9/km). There were 4,107 housing units at an average density of 570.6 per square mile (220.3/km). The racial makeup of the town was 91.0% White, 0.3% African American, 0.5% Native American, 1.2% Asian, 2% Pacific Islander, 5.5% from other races, and 1.4% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 14% of the population.
There were 2,541 households out of which 20.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.3% were married couples living together, 6.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 38.4% were non-families. 31.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.11 and the average family size was 2.61.
In the town, the population was spread out with 17.6% under the age of 18, 5.8% from 18 to 24, 26.6% from 25 to 44, 29.4% from 45 to 64, and 20.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 45 years. For every 100 females there were 92.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.7 males.
The median income for a household in the town was $43,262, and the median income for a family was $55,667. Males had a median income of $31,573 versus $20,767 for females. The per capita income for the town was $30,499. About 3.2% of families and 4.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 4.6% of those under age 18 and 0.8% of those age 65 or over.
Three million tourists visit Rocky Mountain National Park each year; most use Estes Park as their base.
Estes Park, Colorado: Historic ski areas
Estes Park was home to a number of now defunct ski areas:
Leydman Hill Jump
Old Man Mountain
Estes Park vicinity was also the home of other resorts and tourist attractions.
Estes Park, Colorado: Major flooding events
Estes Park, Colorado: Flood of 1982
Main article: Lawn Lake Dam
The town flooded in 1982 and suffered extensive damage due to the failure, "after years of disrepair and neglect", of an earthen dam several miles upstream.
Estes Park, Colorado: Flood of 2013
Main article: 2013 Colorado floods
Both U.S. Highway 36 and U.S. Highway 34, the major routes into town, were severely damaged. Hundreds of Estes Park residents were also isolated by the destruction of sections of Fish Creek Road and all nine crossings across Fish Creek. Damaged sewer lines dumped raw sewage down the creek and into the Big Thompson River.
Estes Park, Colorado: Transportation
The main airport serving Estes Park is Denver International Airport, located 75 miles southeast.
Estes Park, Colorado: Highways
US 34 is an east-west highway that runs from Granby, Colorado to Berwyn, Illinois. In Colorado, it connects Estes Park to Loveland, Interstate 25, Greeley and Interstate 76.
US 36 begins at the nearby Rocky Mountain National Park, running to Uhrichsville, Ohio, passing through Kansas, Missouri, Illinois and Indiana. It connects Estes Park to Boulder, and Interstates 25 and 76, both near Denver.
State Highway 7 begins at the junction of US 36 and N St. Vrain Avenue in Estes Park and runs to Boulder, Lafayette and Brighton. Its northwestern segment is part of the Peak-to-Peak Scenic Byway.
Estes Park, Colorado: Sister city
Estes Park's official sister city is Monteverde, Costa Rica.
Estes Park, Colorado: Notable people
Tommy Caldwell, rock climber.
Wendy Koenig, graduate of Estes Park High School, competed for the United States at the 1972 and 1976 summer Olympics.
Loren Shriver Astronaut, commander on STS mission that launched the Hubble Telescope.
Justin E. Smith, sheriff of Larimer County since 2011; former Estes Park resident.
William Ellery Sweet, 23rd Governor of Colorado, built a summer home in Estes Park in 1912, now used as a residence by his descendants.
Estes Park, Colorado: See also
Rocky Mountain National Park
Fort Collins-Loveland Metropolitan Statistical Area
Front Range Urban Corridor
Estes Park, Colorado: References
"2014 U.S. Gazetteer Files: Places". United States Census Bureau. July 1, 2014. Retrieved January 6, 2015.
"Active Colorado Municipalities". State of Colorado, Department of Local Affairs. Archived from the original on 2010-11-23. Retrieved 2007-09-01.
"Colorado Municipal Incorporations". State of Colorado, Department of Personnel & Administration, Colorado State Archives. 2004-12-01. Retrieved 2007-09-02.
"Shep Husted, Arapaho Tour".
Clement Yore, "Estes Park Region was Formerly the Playground of the Arapaho Indians," Estes Park Trail, January 27, 1922, p. 7 and February 3, 1922, pp. 7-8. An account of unidentified Indians raiding white ranches for horses is given in Abner Sprague, "Roads and Trails," Estes Park Trail, December 8, 1922, p. 3.
"Profile for Estes Park, Colorado, CO". ePodunk. Retrieved 2012-10-07.
"Estes Park Colorado". Estes Park Colorado. Retrieved 2012-10-07.
William Byers, "Ascent of Long's Peak," Rocky Mountain News, September 23, 1864, p. 2, quoted in James H. Pickering, "This Blue Hollow": Estes Park, the Early Years, 1859-1915 (Boulder, Colo: University Press of Colorado, 1999), chapter 1.
Betty D. Freudenburg, Facing the Frontier: The Story of the MacGregor Ranch(Estes Park, Colo.: Rocky Mountain Nature Association, 2005), p. 61.
Freudenburg pp. 61-67.
Isabella Bird, A Lady's Life in the Rocky Mountains (Sausalito, Calif.: Comstock, 1980), Letter 7, p. 87.
USGS photo in Freudenburg, p. 56.
Freudenburg, chapter 7.
Pickering, "This Blue Hollow": Estes Park, the Early Years, 1859-1915, pp. 220-235.
A Mountain Boyhood (New York: J.H. Sears, 1926, republished 1988 by University of Nebraska Press), introduction.
Pickering, This Blue Hollow, 127-128.
"First Auto Stage Line to Estes Park Established Spring of 1907," Estes Park Trail, January 5, 1923, p. 1.