Dreaming of Travel: YMCA of the Rockies, Estes Park

Published on May 16, 2022 - Updated on May 16, 2022

If you've ever watched Dirty Dancing and wondered if there was a real-life modern-day "Kellerman's" then the YMCA of the Rockies at Estes Park is for you. You will be wowed by the family camp feel when you check in at the main lodge and take in the scenery. The landscape is pristine.

YMCA Estes Park

The YMCA is located so close to Rocky Mountain National Park you can hike into it from the property. The schedule is packed, taking full advantage of the YMCA property amenities. Yet, you'll never feel pressured to do anything more than you want. Best of all you don't have to be a YMCA member to enjoy this stunning Colorado property.

Where to Stay?

Cabin at YMCA Estes Park

The YMCA of the Rockies at Estes Park has a variety of lodging options, so you are bound to find one that works for your family and budget. There are 214 private cabins on the property of varying sizes (from 2 to 5 bedrooms) that are available to rent. They all have fully stocked kitchens, and linens and towels are provided. Some cabins are even pet-friendly.

YMCA Estes Park Lodge

We tend to opt for the hotel-style lodge rooms, due to their proximity to the activities. It's best to call to book as the room types vary and the staff is happy to discuss room options with you. Our kids are partial to the bunk rooms and we like to have a balcony for post-bed-time sunset watching.

Where to Play?

Roller Skating at YMCA of the Rockies

Look no further than the YMCA of the Rockies for a plethora of activities. Included in your stay are mini-golf, the indoor pool, disc golf, a small library, roller skating, and gym games. There are playgrounds on the property as well as sand volleyball courts.

YMCA Paint Your Own Pottery

A small fee is charged for other activities like painting your own pottery, completing arts and crafts activities, archery, horseback riding, and ax throwing.

Gym Games at YMCA of the Rockies

Each week the resort has a full schedule of rotating seasonal activities like astronomy, yoga, scavenger hunts, guided hikes, and organized games. (We love playing parachute games!)

Parachute Games at YMCA of the Rockies

All of these activities are on top of the hiking and biking trails on the property and beyond. Head into the nature center and one of the staff members will help you plan out a hiking adventure perfect for your family. You can rent gear like baby carriers and hiking poles, or sign up for a guided hike. You can even hike right into Rocky Mountain National Park from the YMCA of the Rockies property! While you are there the kids can learn all about the flora and fauna of the area thanks to some very well-stocked touch tables!

Nature Center at YMCA of the Rockies

The entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park is just a mile up the road from the YMCA, so you can also use the property as your lodging and spend your days in the National Park. Our favorite hike with kids is Alluvial Fan, a 0.2-mile hike complete with a waterfall and boulders for kids to climb.

Alluvial Fan Hike at RMNP

Where to Eat?

Once again the YMCA of the Rockies has you covered.

Food at YMCA Estes Park

On property, The Aspen Dining Room has cafeteria-style dining available for every meal, every day, year-round. You can purchase a meal plan with your stay, or pay as you go with set pricing per meal. Meanwhile, the Historic Pine Room offers sit-down family-friendly full-service dining during the summer.

The town of Estes Park is a 9 min drive from the YMCA of the Rockies, so there are plenty of off-property dining options as well. We love to pick up pizza from Antonio's Real New York Pizza. Be warned that The Mega Don (a 26" pizza) feeds a crowd but may barely fit in your car. Smokin' Dave's BBQ is another favorite.

For breakfast order a day ahead and pick up from Cinnamon's Bakery. Everything is amazing but they sell out almost as soon as they open. (This is our favorite for the day we leave town.) Less planning is required for The Donut Haus, but it's no less tasty!

Have you been to the YMCA of the Rockies at Estes Park or Rocky Mountain National Park? What were your favorite spots and activities? Let us know in the comments below and don't forget to tag us in your Instagram photos @gethappyly!

Looking to read up on more national parks? Check out our articles on Petrified National Forest, White Sands National Park, Theodore Roosevelt National Park, and Saguaro National Park!

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Thoughtfully captured by:
Elizabeth Newcamp
Elizabeth Newcamp grew up in Atlanta, GA, went to school in South Bend, IN, and as a military spouse has called Washington D.C., California, Texas, Colorado, Alabama, Florida, and The Netherlands home. She has a JD from Emory University. She writes the Homeschool and Travel Blog, Dutch, Dutch, Goose! and co-hosts Slate's parenting podcast Mom and Dad are Fighting. Elizabeth is an avid traveler, having been to over 30 countries and all 50 US States, where she has laughed, cried and more than once thought about kicking the travel habit until her three kids are grown. She is actively engaged in her community, enjoys the outdoors, and has a passion for engaging her children within the world around them.
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