Estes-Park.com Blog

Restaurant of the Month - Notchtop Cafe

Looking for a great place for breakfast or lunch?  Look no further.  One of the local's favorites, The Notchtop Bakery & Cafe, is a great place to go in Estes Park for a made-from-scratch delicious meal.  

 

Notchtop Cafe exterior Notchtop Cafe interior

 

Notchtop Bakery & Cafe has easy parking, and from inside you can see the peaks of the Continental Divide in Rocky Mountain National Park in the background.  They have excellent service and free WiFi.  They specialize in using the most naturally grown, local, and fresh ingredients available and they make everything from scratch, including their hamburgers and sausages.  They are also able to accomodate those of you with food allergies or special diets - they have lots of vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options on their menu.  One of the dishes we chose was their Veggie Scramble with a side of fresh fruit.  As you can tell from the "after" picture, we thought it was delicious!

 

Notchtop Cafe Veggie Scramble Notchtop Cafe veggie scramble after

 

They even have a coffee club for those of you who like to return often - you can leave your own mug.  Try a flavored latte with a bakery treat for a morning snack!

 

                                       Notchtop Cafe Mugs

 

Notchtop Bakery & Cafe is open from 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.  You can give them a call at 970-586-0272 or visit their website for a look at the menu.

Snowshoeing in Rocky Mountain National Park

Tired of waiting in line for a ski lift?  Tired of the crowds and the $25 hotdogs?  Prefer a pristine backcountry winter experience?  It's time to try snowshoeing in Rocky Mountain National Park.

While snowshoeing may still be a sleeper-sport, it is one of the fastest growing sports in the U.S. and can be enjoyed by just about anyone.  We always say - if you can walk, you can snowshoe.

Snowshoeing in Rocky Mountain National Park

Today's snowshoes no longer look like large wooden tennis rackets.  They're smaller, lighter, and much easier to put on.

Rocky Mountain National Park has great snowshoeing and offers snowshoeing destinations for all ability levels.

What to Wear :  Wear warm layers preferably with a nylon pant and jacket.  Be sure to have warm gloves, a hat,  sunglasses, good hiking boots or winter boots and warm socks.  Bring a thermos of hot chocolate, tea or coffee, something yummy.

Easy destination :  Nymph Lake

Go to Bear Lake Parking Area.  Be sure to put your snowshoes on at the shelter.  If it's a windy day, don't be deterred.  As soon as you get going and get into the trees the world will be a wonderful place.

Just beyond the shelter and kios, take the Emerald Lake Trail 1/2 mile to little Nymph Lake.  On arrival, look to the right.  At the other end of the lake you'll see a trail marker.  To the right of that marker is a fire trail which will take you back to Bear Lake where you can exit back to the parking lot or make a trip around the lake.

Moderate Destination :  Emerald Lake

Follow the above directions to Nymph Lake.  At the lake you have two choices.  The winter route turns left into the trees and eventually climbs steeply up to Dream Lake.  Follow the tracks.  Or, you can go right to a marker where you'll see the main trail to the left the continues from Nymph to Dream Lake.  It's fun to take the winter trail up and the main trail down.

At Dream Lake, continue across the lake or to the right of the lake and pick up the track that heads to Emerald Lake.

This is a fun area with several beautiful destinations in a short distance.  Remember, snowshoeing is more difficult than hiking.  An easy hiking trip is a moderate snowshoe trip.

We highly recommend a guided trip.  Going with a guide enables you to snowshoe off-trail on the way down which is the best of what snowshoeing has to offer.  You'll be hooked.