Estes Park is one of the most beautiful places in the US to run - runners get to see the beauty of Rocky Mountain National Park as they race anywhere from the shorter distances, to 5Ks, 10Ks, Half Marathons, or Marathons! It is also the location of the highest paved marathon route in the US with an average elevation of 7,785 feet above sea level. Breathing the fresh mountain air and smelling the pine trees as you run is just one of the benefits of racing on these high-altitude courses!
*picture provided by the Estes Park Marathon & Half Marathon races
Throughout the year beginning in January and ending in December, you can participate in several different races ... And even the kids and dogs can join in for some of them! In addition, to help you train, the Estes Park Running Club sponsors a free 5K weekly community run every Tuesday evening, starting at the Stanley Hotel. Warm up and registration is at 5:30 pm, and the run begins at 6 pm. The Estes Park Running Club is a non-profit, 501c(4) organization which provides fundraising for local youth programs.
- January 24th is the Frost Giant 5K & 10K is organized by the Estes Valley Recreation and Park District website. It is a fundraiser for their youth programs.
- May 7th is the Duck Waddle 5K. This 5K race is part of the Duck Race Festival, which is a fundraiser for local non-profit organizations in the area. The Estes Park Running Club organizes the foot race and is one of the non-profit organizations that will be a benefactor for the Duck Race.
- June 11th is the Elkhorn Dash Fun Run - a one miler. This is a pre-race for the Estes Park Marathon and Half Marathon weekend. This one-miler is a sprint down main street, Elkhorn Avenue. All abilities and friendly dogs are welcome!
- June 18-19th is the 13th annual Estes Park Marathon & Half Marathon, recommended by RUNNER'S WORLD magazine as a must do! Saturday is the KIDS, KIDS, KIDS: RUN, BIKE, FUN! festival at Bond Park. On the Sunday, the 19th, is a race distance for the entire family - 5K, 10K, Half Marathon, Full Marathon, or 5-person Marathon Relay (fundraiser for American Cancer Society). Courses follow boundary line of Rocky Mountain National Park and voted most scenic by Colorado Runner. Organized by the Estes Park Running Club.
- July 30th is the Rocky Mountain Half Marathon. On Saturday, the 29th, there will be a 5K race after the expo. This race is organized by Vacation Races. For more information and to register, go to the Rocky Mountain Half Marathon website. The course does not go into RMNP. It closely mimics the established Estes Park Half Marathon course, instead.
- September 4th (Labor Day Weekend) is the Fall Classic Marathon which is a marathon that starts at the Estes Park Visitor Center and ends at the Fountains in Loveland. There is also a half marathon which goes from Estes Park to Drake. There is also a 10K, however it does not start in Estes Park. For more information and to register, go the the Loveland Marathon website.
- September 24th is the Running of the Bulls, a 3.75 mile run/walk around Lake Estes. The proceeds benefit Partners Mentoring Youth. This race is a dog-friendly, stroller-friendly race and they also offer a FREE one-mile kids' fun run. Registration will open in July.
- September 28th - October 1st is the Annual Estes Park Trail Ascent Trail Running Conference which culminates on October 2nd with the Estes Trail Ascent Race. The race distance is just under 6 miles and has an elevation gain of 1,877' over that distance (it starts at 8,500' and the highest point of the race is at 9,085'). For more information and to register go to the Estes Park Marathon page.
- October 1st is the Rut Run 5K. It is a fun and scenic race that features the fall season in Estes Park, CO. Organized by the Estes Park Running Club.
- November 24th is the Turkey Trot 5K Run/Walk. This will be the YMCA's 9th annual Turkey Trot. They accept a free will donation which will support their summer day camp scholarship program. Dogs are welcome but must be on a six-foot leash at all times.
- December 10th is the Dasher 5K Fun Run. Get out your best holiday outfit and come out for some fun! If the kids can't do the 5K, prior to the 5K there is a 400 meter dash just for them! This race is organized by the Estes Park Running Club.
*picture provided by Estes Park Marathon & Half Marathon Races
Have you ever wanted to learn how to do technical mountaineering or rock climbing in a national park? In the past Rocky Mountain National Park has only allowed one company to offer their services to learn how to rock and ice climb, and learn how to survive avalanches. However this will be changing in 2016. Rocky Mountain National Park has just implemented a new strategy as to who provides technical mountaineering within the park to allow for more consumer choice in pricing, styles of learning, as well as program orientation.
The six companies that have been chosen to offer their services in the park are:
- American Alpine Institute from Bellingham, Washington : In RMNP, American Alpine Institute will be running Long's Peak ascents, guided rock climbs and offering mountaineering courses.
- Colorado Mountain School from Estes Park, Colorado : In the winter, Colorado Mountain School offers ice climbing, ski mountaineering, and avalanche training. They also offer rock climbing, mountaineering, and guide training. Click here for more information on their offerings within Rocky Mountain National Park.
- Colorado Wilderness Rides and Guides from Boulder, Colorado : Colorado Wilderness Rides and Guides will be offering the following in RMNP - Winter activities, Hiking, Backpacking, Photography Tours, Road Bicycling, Fly Fishing, Peak Ascents (including Longs Peak), and Sightseeing.
- Kent Mountain Adventure Center from Estes Park, Colorado : Currently in the winter KMAC offers snowshoeing and skiing tours. They also offer rock climbing, hiking and trek tours, as well as cliff camping experiences. With their new authorization to work in Rocky Mountain National Park, KMAC is expanding their offering in RMNP to include alpine rock and ice climbing, avalanche education, ski mountaineering, and more.
- Jackson Hole Mountain Guides from Jackson, Wyoming : Jackson Hole Mountain Guides offers the following types of classes: Avalanche education, ice climbing, rock climbing, kids and teens classes and camps, and backcountry skiing and mountaineering.
- San Juan Mountain Guides from Ouray, Colorado : San Juan Mountain Guides offers: Ski mountaineering, backcountry skiing, avalanche education, ice climbing, alpine climbing, rock climbing, trekking, expeditions and canyoneering.