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Boulder Brook Blog

Time Travel – Historic Estes Park

Historical markers, buildings, trails and stories of early inhabitants, visitors and ancestors can be found throughout Rocky Mountain National Park and Estes Park. Here are a few family friendly ideas for real time travel:


Baldpate Inn – With Longs Peak in the backdrop, the Baldpate Inn is home to the world’s largest key collection (over 20,000 keys with examples from The Pentagon, Westminster Abby, Mozart’s wine cellar, Frankenstein’s castle)  a remarkable Photograph Collection (Teddy Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Lana Turner, Wild Bill Cody, Jack London, Tetrazinni) and a world of history spanning 103 years.  The dining room features a daily fresh salad buffet, complemented by delicious homemade soups, breads, and pies.  The Baldpate offers fun family events including live Radio Plays at the Key-thedral Theater and weekly “Summer Enchanted Evenings” each Wednesday at 7pm.



Set at the base of “Old Man Mountain” Elkhorn Lodge is the oldest hotel in Estes Park and is home to the first Estes Park school house (1886), Church (1890) and the original stage terminal – the Coach House.  The ‘old main lodge’ dates back to 1871 and is still in use as the oldest continually occupied structure in Estes Park.  Prior to receiving its first guests in 1874, the property consisted of an old lodge and a barn.  In addition to casual, delicious family dining at Cheezy Lees (pizza, soup & salad bar, gourmet bakery) Elkhorn Lodge is also home to Ranahan Ranch – a classic dude ranch with access to wonderful trails and spectacular views.    Elkhorn Lodge boasts ghosts!  Unexplained phenomena at the Elkhorn Lodge dates back to when the property was still a cattle ranch in the early 1870’s.  Throughout the years, both visitors and staff members have reported encounters with “permanent” residents. Schedule a ride at or book your tour at



The inspiration for Stephen King’s famous haunted hotel, The Stanley proudly shares its historic “permanent” residents in a variety of activities including historical and Ghost Tours and Ghost Hunts.    The hotel itself is the brainchild of F.O. Stanley, who, in 1909, purchased 140 acres of land and designed a luxurious hotel for vacationing Easterners.  To foster tourism, F.O. Stanley built the road between Lyons and Estes Park and utilized specially built Stanley Steamer Busses to transport visitors and guests to and from the train station.  He also designed a power plant for the hotel, a manor house, casino building, tennis courts, a 9-hole golf course, trap shooting range and an airfield for small planes. The Stanleys were also responsible for the establishment of the first bank, and sewer, power, and water company in Estes Park. (Visitors can tour the hydraulic power plant on Old Fall River Road. ) An inventive family, the brothers established the first commercial violin manufacturing company; invented a home generator for gas lighting, and pioneered work in the development of early x-ray equipment.  In addition to ghosts, tours and history, The Stanley features a the beautiful Cascades Restaurant and a Whiskey Bar for “people watching.”


Need more?  Visit Estes Park Museum  take a free Downtown Historical Walking tour or best yet, come stay with us and check out the Heritage Festival  (August 23-24) where you’ll get to ride in a Stanley Steamer or an antique draft horse-drawn wagon, learn about our hearty pioneer settlers, and help build a long cabin – you know – time travel.



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Old Fall River Road – Closed To All Uses For Flood Damage Repairs

Old Fall River Road is a historic, 9.4-mile winding, narrow historic dirt road built between 1913 and 1920 that traverses Mount Chapin’s south face to the Alpine Visitor Center.


Both the road and the Alluvial Fan bridge sustained significant damages during the September 2013 flood. On Monday, July 28, Old Fall River Road in Rocky Mountain National Park will close to all uses including pedestrians and hikers, as major repair work begins.


The closure area on Old Fall River Road will extend from the road west of the Lawn Lake Trailhead parking area to the Alpine Visitor Center.  This closure includes the Alluvial Fan and the east and west Alluvial Fan parking areas.  The closure extends 200 feet from the center line to both sides of the road corridor.  This closure does not include the Fall River waterway and bank.  Areas affected by this closure may be adjusted as construction work proceeds.


Repair work from flood damages has been completed in many areas of the park.  Work is ongoing on some backcountry bridges and trails.  For more detailed information and updates about flood impacts in Rocky Mountain National Park please visit the park’s website, or call the park’s Information Office at (970) 586-1206.

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Amazing Tours – Gorgeous, Educational, Fun!

Why drive? when there is a brilliant resource providing a unique opportunity to learn from experienced, Park-endorsed naturalists right across the street from Boulder Brook! Rocky Mountain Conservancy Field Institute, the non-profit partner of Rocky Mountain National Park, provides daily tours to Bear Lake, Grand Lake, and Top-of-the-World Alpine Visitor Center.  Full day course registration includes Lunch and Park Entrance fees are always included.


If you are here on Tuesday, take a Grand Lake Safari!  Rocky Mountain National Park contains breathtaking scenery, ample wildlife viewing, and opportunities to connect with the past as you travel across Trail Ridge Road, the scenic and awe-inspiring by-way across the Continental Divide. Your guide provides a unique overview of the Park’s history, flora, fauna, and geology while traversing the breathtaking Trail Ridge Road landscapes from the comfort of a 14-passenger bus or 12-passenger van. Many photo-ops, and pull-off stops along the wayincluding the Alluvial Fan, Rainbow Curve, Alpine Visitor Center, Milner Pass (Continental Divide), Holzwarth Historic Site, and the historic town of Grand Lake. Both lunch and admission into Rocky Mountain National Park are included. Registration: Adults $85 Children 12 and under $55.  TIME: 8am-5pm


If you are here on Wednesday or Thursday take a Journey to the Top of Trail Ridge Road – the premier attraction of RMNP. The nation’s highest continuous paved highway meanders through various life zones on its way through the Park and over one of the largest, most pristine stretches of alpine tundra in the lower 48 states. Guides provide a unique overview of the Park’s history, flora, fauna, and geology as you view landscapes from the comfort of a 14-passenger bus or 12-passenger van. Great photo-ops, wildlife viewing, not much walking. Visit  the Alluvial Fan, Rainbow Curve, Milner Pass (Continental Divide), and the Alpine Visitor Center. Both lunch and admission into Rocky Mountain National Park are included in the registration fee. No driving needed! Take the free shuttle from Boulder Brook to the Fall River Visitor Center. Registration: Adults $65 Children 12 and under $35. TIME: 9am-3:30pm



If you are here on Thursday, Escape to Bear Lake! Enjoy a spectacular view of a high mountain lake with Continental Divide peaks as the scenic backdrop. Your guide provides interesting cultural and natural history and leads a short, gentle walk through the subalpine terrain. The driving portion of this tour provides both an overview of the Bear Lake corridor (including the geology of Moraine Park and the natural history of the subalpine life zone) and a chance to view wildlife (Moose!) along the shores of Sprague Lake. Take the free shuttle from Boulder Brook to the Beaver Meadows Visitor Center. Adults $40 Children 12 and under $20 Time: 8am-12noon


Pick up a flyer at check-in or visit to sign up for one of these great tours and many other wonderful natural adventures!

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Look, Use the Zoom, Please Don’t Touch

It’s that time again – wild babies are everywhere!  As wonderful as calves and fawns and pups and kits are, Colorado Division of Wildlife (CDW) reminds us not to approach, touch or handle young animals as they are best cared for by their parents.


It seems strange to us that animal “infants” are left alone by their mothers but it is to their advantage and for their benefit. Young elk and deer and moose, for example, carry no scent, blend well in to their surroundings, and learn to stay still, silent and safe while their mothers forage and gain the nutrition they need to recover from birthing and produce milk for the young ones to nurse.


From now through mid-summer, visitors are likely to see young animals that appear alone in the forest, in backyards, on or near trails or along the sides of roads.  Rest assured, they have not been abandoned. If you seen a baby, move away quickly. Never get between a mom and her offspring.  If you are a parent, you understand why. An Elk cow will know you are close and both see and smell you long before you see her. The same holds true for Deer and Moose mothers, so do not approach or attempt to get the baby animal to move.  They are safe and secure right where they are and mom is probably a lot closer than you may realize.


CDW reminds us also to keep our pets leashed and/or under control.  As much as we love them and as domesticated as they are at home, in the woods, dogs and cats are natural predators. Canines and Felines acting on their natural instincts will find young animals, birds and bird eggs, and can attack, kill, or even frighten a babe to death.


Last but not least, we are reminded to never, ever feed wildlife. We are very fortunate that our area is abundant with plenty of natural food available to support our wildlife community. We are not helping when we feed peanuts to the Picas or seeds to the chipmunks.  We are, in fact, damaging them and hurting their chances of survival through the coming winter.


As much we would love to touch, to feel, to get close and ooh and aah over babies of any species, it is up to us to honor our wildlife, to be respectful and considerate of their needs, personal space, and natural processes.  Remember we live in their backyard. Keep to a safe distance. Look. Don’t approach or touch. Never Feed.  Be calm. Be quiet. Be respectful. Be safe, and ensure the safety of your little ones. Use the Zoom. You’ll still have a wonderful wildlife viewing experience and everything around you will benefit by your good manners.

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New Historic Downtown Estes Park Walking Tour

Beginning on Monday, June 23, and continuing throughout the summer on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Fridays from 8:30am to 10am the newly formed Downtown Docent Corps reveal the hidden past of Estes Park in Historic Downtown Walking Tours.


Tours start and end at the Northeast corner of Bond Park (Who was Cornelius Bond?) next to the Enos Mills (?) sculpture.  Get the answers to these and many other questions along with fun surprises and historical imagery for only $8 per person cash, check, or charge on the day of the tour. Space limited to 12 people per tour on a first come first served basis.


Proudly sponsored by the Estes Park Museum. Located at 200 Fourth Street; Open Monday through Saturday from 10am to 5pm and Sunday from 1pm to 5pm. Free admission. For more information please call 970-586-6256 or visit


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RMNP Discovery Days

Every Tuesday, beginning on June 24 continuing through August 12 from 9am to 1pm Education Rangers at the Moraine Park Discovery Center explore a unique park theme through hands-on activities, crafts, games, and stories. Weekly themes include birds, predators of the park, geology, tracking, orienteering, and much more.


The Discovery Center is also the headquarters of the RMNP Junior Ranger Program and is located on Bear Lake Road in Rocky Mountain National Park.


Free program for the whole family. For more information about Rocky Mountain National Park please contact the park’s Information Office at (970) 586-1206.

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101 Years Young – The Historic Park Theatre

Sometimes it’s nice just to sit and relax and be entertained.


Giving new meaning to the term “Dinner and a Movie” The Historic Park Theatre offers a lovely selection of Café Sandwiches, salads, and desserts as well as a full bar so you can enjoy your meal during the movie.  Who needs popcorn when you can have a “Rocky Turkey Rueben” and an icy brew (though there’s still popcorn, too!)


The oldest operating movie theatre in the US has been freshly outfitted with a new Screen, 2D and 3D Projection and Dolby Digital Sound.  Enjoy the old fashioned cinema surroundings and the technology of today.


For titles and times or more information please visit:

Historic Park Theatre is located at 130 Moraine Ave., Estes Park, CO 80517 Ph: 970-586-8904

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Come Visit Boulder Brook

Nestled next to the rambling waters of Fall River, Boulder Brook is ideally located to take advantage of the unique shopping of downtown Estes Park or the rugged splendor of the Rocky Mountain National more