When you visit Rocky Mountain National Park, you’ll find a YMCA to stay at and do fantastic family activities near both the east side and west side of the park. Choose between the YMCA of the Rockies Estes Park Center on the Rocky Mountain National Park’s east side or YMCA of the Rockies Snow Mountain Ranch on the west side in Tabernash, Colo., in Grand County for a fun-filled vacation. Both locations offer a ton of activities that make it easy to unplug and connect with those you are with.
1. Get Active
Why go: The Boone Family Mountain Center at the Estes Park location houses all adventure activities, including an indoor climbing wall and bouldering wall.
Tip: At Snow Mountain Ranch, hike the 2-mile round-trip Waterfall Trail, an easy trail that enables you to reach the top of the waterfall.
2. Get Air
Why go: Both locations offer indoor and outdoor rock climbing walls, which are really fun. At Snow Mountain Ranch, older kids ages 8 and up and adults should check out the Forest Zip Line where you climb a 35-foot pole or ladder to ride a 600-foot-long zip line. Participants must weigh under 250 pounds.
Then enjoy summer tubing down a long white slide. Guests staying at Snow Mountain Ranch can reserve their time slot one week in advance online. If you’re just visiting for the day, you can reserve your spot the day of in the Programs Building. To find out what spots are available, it’s recommended you call the Program Department the morning of your visit to check on open times at 970-887-2152, ext. 4135.
At the Estes Park location, try out your skills in archery and axe throwing.
For kids: At Snow Mountain Ranch, younger kids can swing on the mini-zipline built for children to ride it unassisted with a soft landing the whole stretch. It’s part of the Spruce Saddle Adventure Zone.
3. Crafts and Books Galore
Why go: Whether you are a Pinterest fanatic who is constantly crafty or have not picked up a paintbrush since high school art class, you’ll lose track of time creating leather, jewelry and wood pieces, painting ceramics and making sand designs.Crafts always take longer than you think, so avoid going at the end of the day just before the studio closes.
Tip: If you’re looking for some more indoor time, both locations have libraries with books you can check out, along with special programs. The Estes Park location has particularly robust library programming from poetry reading nights to guest authors.
4. Saddle Up
Why go: At both locations, you can go on trail rides. From the Estes Park location, you can go on a trail ride right into Rocky Mountain National Park during the summer and fall months. You can also do a wagon ride. At Snow Mountain Ranch, you’ll ride on trails through the YMCA’s gorgeous ranch with Snow Mountain Stables, which operates year-round.
Tip: The Estes Park location does not offer horse-related activities in winter, but you can take a snowy wagon ride to a warm fire and drink hot chocolate at the Snow Mountain Ranch location. You can also reserve a spot to go dog sledding in the winter at Snow Mountain Ranch. It’s a popular activity, so book way in advance. New in 2021-22, intermediate Nordic skiers can learn to skijour with the huskies who are part of the sled dog team at Snow Mountain Ranch. During your 45-minute class that will take place on a Monday, you’ll learn basic commands as the dogs guide you.
5. Stay Awhile
Why go: Both YMCA locations offer lodges and cabins for overnight stays, which are great for unplugging and reconnecting with the family and friends with whom you are visiting the area. Enjoy breathtaking views of Rocky Mountain National Park right from your room, where elk have been known to wander right up to your window. Rooms in the main lodges start at $79, or opt to stay in a private cabin on the property, starting at $99. Cabins range from 2 to 5 bedrooms, and retreat cabins that can sleep up to 72 guests in 16 bedrooms.
Tip: When you stay at the YMCA locations, you get a Stay Pass wristband, which gives you free access to most activities.
2021 NOTE: YMCA of the Rockies is following the orders and guidelines of its local communities in order to keep all guest and staff healthy and safe. Because the guidelines change, some of the programs and services could change also. Guests can visit the What to Expect pages for each location to learn the latest about what activities are available and any current restrictions.
For More Information:
YMCA Estes Park Center
2515 Tunnel Road, Estes Park, CO 80511
YMCA Snow Mountain Ranch
1101 County Road 53, Granby, CO 80446