13 Best Places to Stay Near Rocky Mountain National Park
K.C. was a featured writer for Yahoo! Travel before joining trips to discover in 2013. She is the author of Best Travel Guide for First Time Visitors to Ireland, an Amazon bestseller every year between 2013 and 2016. She has been a featured expert on Newsweek, Travel + Leisure, Travelocity, among others.
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If you’re planning a trip to Rocky Mountain National Park, you should know that the vast majority of accommodations are located in Estes Park near its eastern entrance, about an hour’s drive from the city of Boulder. Here you’ll find everything from cabins nestled along a river in the forest to hotels and campgrounds. In and around the towns of Grand Lake and Granby to the west, within an hour’s drive of the Alpine Visitor center near the highest point on Trail Ridge Road that runs through the park, you’ll find a few more options, including mom ‘n pop-style hotels, rustic cabins and a luxurious ranch stay. Vacation rentals throughout the region are popular too, many of which come with full kitchens and luxurious perks.
The Stanley is the most famous hotel in Estes Park, a historic landmark that was opened by Oscar Stanley, the inventor of the Stanley Steamer automobile, in 1909. But most know it as the hotel that inspired author Stephen King to write his novel The Shining. It makes a great base for exploring the park while getting a glimpse of the past, a time when guests would often pull up in their own Stanley-designed cars. Some have even reported paranormal activities with Mr. Stanley and his wife both said to linger here. Beyond that, the Parlour Spa offers massage and other pampering treatments and there are multiple dining options, including fine dining with live piano music at Cascades Restaurant.
One of the most popular cabin rentals in Estes Park, this three-bedroom cabin was built in 1928, but it’s filled with modern luxuries. The original craftsmanship is beautiful and has been well-maintained despite being nearly a century old. It’s located just outside of the park’s eastern entrance and offers breathtaking views from inside and out, with lots of large windows where you can watch for elk, deer, wild turkey, and even the occasional bear. You’ll have a soothing hot tub, horseshoes, and a picnic table to enjoy outdoors and indoors, a well-equipped kitchen, a TV with a DVD player and DVD library, a fireplace, and laundry facilities.
Convenient to downtown and the park, The Maxwell Inn offers classic rooms with lots of wood and stone accents along with amenities like free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs with DVD players, beds with high-end mattresses, microwaves, minifridges, coffeemakers, and bathrooms with heated floors. Guests also enjoy a complimentary breakfast every morning of the stay and access to the property’s picnic area with BBQ grills, an outdoor hot tub, and a fire pit for gathering under the stars. During the warmer months, weekly outdoor movie nights are hosted too.
This magnificent lakefront cabin sits on Grand Lake, just a short drive from the national park’s western entrance. It sleeps up to six in three bedrooms and provides an ideal base for those who want to explore the park and enjoy swimming, boating, and fishing right out their door. In the spring, summer, and fall, the owner even provides a complimentary canoe, paddle boat, paddleboard, and a kayak. You’ll have a fully equipped kitchen, washer/dryer, Wi-Fi and a TV too.
A value hotel jam-packed with amenities, the Blue Door Inn boasts a magnificent backdrop with unobstructed mountain views. Downtown is a short walk away, while the park’s entrance can be reached within a 10-minute drive. Watch for wildlife with many animals regularly sighted here and enjoy a complimentary breakfast with homemade bread. The grounds include an outdoor pool and a BBQ area for grilling when you don’t feel like cooking out. Rooms are accessed by exterior corridors, and all come with mountain views, Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs, Keurig coffeemakers, microwaves, and minifridges. Some of the higher-end options have perks like whirlpool tubs, fireplaces, and balconies.
Lemon Lodge is a two-bedroom cabin only two blocks from the center of Grand Lake, a little over 20 minutes to the park’s western entrance. It’s nestled among the pines and has a trout stream in the back that flows into Grand Lake. Inside you’ll have a full kitchen with a dishwasher and a Keurig coffeemaker, a gas stove where you can enjoy the warmth and views of the lake, and large windows on three sides providing mountain, lake, and stream views. Watch for moose and foxes that occasionally wander by too.
Located in Granby on the west side of the park, C Lazy U Ranch is an approximately 45-minute drive away, provided you visit during the warmer months, as the road to access it is closed during the winter due to snow. It offers an ideal stay for those who want to experience the park and ranch life, with all-inclusive rates covering activities for all ages, including horseback riding. There are programs for kids and teens, while the delicious meals are focused on classic ranch fare, including aged western beef and Rocky Mountain trout. Accommodation is in spacious luxury cabins with complimentary hot beverages and snacks, iPod docking stations, and minifridges. Some include whirlpool tubs and fireplaces.
Set along the Big Thompson River, The Landing at Estes Park is just outside the main entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park and boasts a panoramic view of Longs Peak along with private fishing access. Lodging is in suites, villas and cabins, many of which have private balconies or patios, for relaxing with the sounds of the river in a spectacularly beautiful setting. All include kitchenettes with coffeemakers and flat-screen satellite TVs. Along the riverbank, you’ll find Adirondack chairs and there’s also a fire pit for marshmallow roasting.
If you’re looking for a private space with the comforts of home, “Lumpy Ridge Retreat” is an ideal Airbnb rental that sits among massive boulders surrounded by incredible views with the highlight of Long’s Peak. It’s close to the Gem Lake/Lumpy Ridge trailhead in the national park, and after a day of hiking, come back and relax in one of four outdoor living spaces, including a furnished gazebo that’s built right into the boulders and has a patio dining set and a grill. You’ll have your own open-air hot tub for relaxing under the stars too. The cabin itself has three bedrooms, accommodating up to six, a full kitchen, Smart TVs, a DVD player, and a video library. In the master bedroom, you’ll find a king-size bed, a TV, a gas fireplace, and a private deck. The en-suite bathroom has a jetted tub too.
Set along the banks of Fall River just 1.5 miles from the national park and three miles from Estes Park, The Evergreens On Fall River offers cabin accommodation that will immerse you in the beauty of nature. When you aren’t out exploring, you can relax in a hammock, swing beneath a gazebo, go fishing or soak in the outdoor hot tub. Choose from one- and two-bedroom cabins, all of which come with well-equipped kitchens and a dining area, a living room with a cozy gas fireplace and a private deck with a river view. Some also include a jetted tub for two.
Filled with historic character, this 1940s cabin has retained its charms from yesteryear but it’s been remodeled to provide all the modern essentials. It’s so close to Rocky Mountain National Park that you won’t have to get behind the wheel once you arrive as you can hike right in. Up to six guests can enjoy the tranquil setting, with the cabin featuring two bedrooms, a gorgeous mountain view, a full kitchen, TV, Wi-Fi, a cozy fireplace and laundry facilities.
This Airbnb cabin rental is part of a duplex and accommodates up to four, just a few miles from the park’s western entrance, with the shops and eateries downtown only minutes from the door. It’s nestled in the woods providing a tranquil alpine setting that comes complete with complimentary snowshoes in the winter and your own private hot tub. Inside, you’ll have a queen-size bed and a queen sleeper sofa along with a cozy wood-burning fireplace, cable TV with a DVD player and access to free DVD rentals. A kitchenette for making basic meals and a propane BBQ grill is included too.
The historic Rapids Lodge has been in operation for more than a century. It sits along the Tonahutu River in Grand Lake, the closest town to the western entrance of the park during the warmer months when Trail Ridge Road is open, about a 20-minute drive away. Guests enjoy comfortable lodge-style rooms within walking distance to the lake and downtown, all of which include satellite TVs and Wi-Fi. There are rustic riverfront cabins with patios that have BBQ grills along with condos that include separate bedrooms and kitchens. For more space, there is one two-bedroom unit that comes with river views, a fireplace, and a kitchenette. A tasty in-house restaurant is available on the property too.