Attractions and Museums

Rainy-Day Escapes near Rocky Mountain National Park

Foul weather keeping you off the trails? Don’t hole up in a hotel: Hop in the car and head to one of the region’s top five indoor sights.

1. Buffalo Bill Museum & Grave

William F. Cody was famous for his frontier exploits and especially his popular Wild West shows. You can learn more about the man behind the myth, and see artifacts from his performances and contemporaries (including a bow and arrows that belonged to Sitting Bull) at this museum on Lookout Mountain in Golden, which is 25 minutes south of Boulder on CO 93. Info:

2. Chapel on the Rock

This striking stone structure on CO 7 south of Estes Park is a much-photographed landmark, as are Longs Peak and Mt. Meeker, which loom to the west. The stained glass windows are especially beautiful.

3. Cripple Creek District Museum

Three buildings in this famous mining town house exhibits documenting the region’s gold rush history, plus memorabilia from local mines. A reproduction assay office (where gold was weighed and priced) and apartments give a taste of Victorian-era life. Feeling lucky? Try one of the nearby casinos.

4. Denver Museum of Nature & Science

It’s a solid two-hour drive from Estes Park, but this world-class museum features an IMAX theater, planetarium, dinosaur area, wildlife from around the world, Native American cultural displays, and excellent interactive exhibits.

5. Local Breweries

Among the tours available within 90 minutes of Estes Park are Coors, Oskar Blues, Left Hand, Avery, Grand Lake, and New Belgium. Fort Collins (just an hour east of Estes Park) has the best pints-per-hour ratio, with 9 breweries featured on its Foam on the Range tour.