72 Hours in Estes Park, Colorado

| Day 1

Wake up nice and early and grab your morning coffee at one of the numerous (local) coffee shops in town. Our first choice is Kind Coffee — a great café that focuses on being environmentally conscious, incredibly friendly, and delicious. Stop in for their freshly roasted beans, a yummy bagel or breakfast burrito and then head outside to sit in the sun and listen to the river roar by.

| Day 2

Have a nice lazy morning before stepping out for some breakfast. Our recommendation is Big Horn Restaurant, a town staple that is the perfect fill-up spot before a big day on the trail (their biscuits and gravy are quite tasty).

Pierson Park

The first is Pierson Park, a nice wide trail that goes uphill for a while (though never too steeply). You will pass some creeks and aspen groves, before reaching a T in the trail. Go right (the left leads to private property) then head uphill a bit more until you reach the top. Turn around and be amazed at the awesome views of Mt. Meeker behind you. This trail then keeps going for a long time (eventually leading you back to Estes Park ~13 miles later). If you have the stamina and the gumption, we recommend heading out about 5 miles until you reach a massive landslide on the left side of the mountain. This is a clear remnant of the flood that hit Estes Park back in 2013. While jeeps can no longer pass this section, there are single-track trails that make their way across. This trail/forest road is an awesome spot for running, mountain biking, and hiking and is dog friendly (no leash laws even). Note: Pierson Park and Johnny Park below are both relatively popular jeep roads so always stay aware, especially if you have a dog.

Johnny Park Road

Or you can go down the road a bit farther and eventually get to Johnny Park Road — a popular spot for ATVs, but also another awesome spot for hiking and mountain biking. No matter what form of transportation you choose, make sure to bring your camera because this is THE SPOT for awesome wildflowers of every color: yellow, poppy, navy, lavender, white, plum, and even a couple of mixes (we found one that was bright blue and purple). The trail itself is also really pretty with great views of nearby Mt. Meeker and Longs Peak (a 14er), aspens, pine trees, and even a good chance of seeing some animals like moose and elk. And like Pierson Park, this is also dog friendly.

| Day 3

No trip to Estes Park is complete without stopping in and grabbing some delicious donuts? Yes, donuts. On your way out of town, towards Rocky Mountain National Park this time, you will see a DinoMart on your left. While it is a gas station, it is also the new home for Donut Haus, a town staple that people travel all over for (no joke, we once met a lady there that had driven up from Nebraska for the donuts… crazy!).

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Backroad Packers

Backroad Packers

Two adventurers creating in-depth travel guides to inspire you to slow down and get off the beaten path more.