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Photo Credit: © 2019 James Frank

When to Come

Every Season, Every Reason, Always Estes!

Summer is the prime season for visiting Estes Park!

Native Americans discovered this valley ten thousand years ago and spent summers here to enjoy the wonderful wildlife and weather.

This summer migration continues today in the form of summer vacationers visiting Rocky Mountain National Park, one of the top five visited National Parks in America.

The mountain weather is practically perfect, with sunny mornings, afternoon thundershowers, and cool, clear nights.  The daily average temperatures are in the 70’s, and cool mountain nights make for comfortable sleeping.  Afternoon thundershowers spring up over the peaks, but the Estes skies are predominantly sunny.

There is not a single month of the year which is historically snow-free. On the other hand, there is not a single month in which we do not have picnic lunches on sunny decks!

What to wear at this time of year? Layers, layers, layers.  Sunny days, you’ll be in short sleeve shirts. Mornings and evenings outdoors, you’ll add a sweatshirt or light jacket. For trips into the National Park forget the sandals, take a sweatshirt, rain jacket, windbreaker.  A cap and sunglasses are good too.

Beautiful wildflowers bloom in the alpine tundra regions of the Park, and snow can stick around in shaded areas well into summer.

Nearly all Park roads open on Memorial Day for summer, with Old Fall River Road opening in July.

Come and join us for the perfect summer holiday in the mountains!

Fall is absolutely wonderful!  It’s becoming known as a favorite time to visit Rocky Mountain National Park.

The aspen leaves turn golden, the elk bugle in the meadows (and golf courses), the bighorn sheep butt heads on the mountain slopes, the sky is bright blue, the air is crisp and fall festivals are found around town.

The kids are back in school and the summer crowds have thinned.   Wildlife viewing is all around.

Fall brings clear blue skies and crisp air punctuated with occasional snows.  Aspen start turning in late August at higher elevations and the golden leaves work their way down to lower elevations in October.

The peak of the gold rush in our mountains is usually in late September. Daylight and elevation set the timing of the color season. Rain, snow, cold and wind affect the intensity of color.

The elk rut runs from mid-September to mid-October, although some bugles may be heard in late August and late October.

Bighorn sheep stage their head-butting contests in October and November.

Average daily temperatures range from mid-70’s in August to mid-50’s in October.  The weather can vary a lot!

Elk watchers may want a coat, hat, and gloves for dusk and evening elk bugle concerts.

Old Fall River Road closes in early October, and Trail Ridge Road usually closes in mid-October depending on the weather.

Holidays are festive in Estes!

Families give Mom a break from cooking with a Thanksgiving feast at a local restaurant, then stay for the weekend to enjoy the magical lights of the Catch the Glow parade through town on the day after Thanksgiving.

Estes Park features Christmas shopping specials and New Year’s celebrations.

Average daily highs in November are in the mid-50’s and high 40’s in December, with freezes at night.

Remember that if you hear about “snow in the high country,” Estes Park is often in blue skies and sunny weather when the west corridor of I-70 may be getting a large snowstorm, so always call to check on the latest conditions or view our live webcam or weather page for up-to-date information.

Winter is a prime wildlife watching season with tracks visible in the snow.  Many animals move to the lower elevation of town for winter food. Elk like the golf course; Deer, the bushes in Estes backyards.

Come to Estes in winter to experience memorable winter activities.  Enjoy snowshoeing, skiing, sledding, winter hiking, birding, quiet evenings by a fire, blue skies, sunshine and quiet.

For an unforgettable experience, join a Ranger for a Full Moon Walk on snowshoes!

Winter days are usually sunny, but cold temperatures, high winds, and ice and snow define winter in the Park. Our biggest snow months are March and April.  Average daily high temperatures are in the 30’s December through February, and in the 40’s in March.

Skiing and snowshoeing conditions are usually best in January, February, and March.  Bear Lake Road and other major paved roads remain open weather permitting.

Higher elevations in Rocky Mountain National Park get more snow and are colder. The Park is open all year but Trail Ridge Road over the continental divide closes for winter.  The Grand Lake side of the Park gets more snowfall than Estes Park, and Grand Lake is known for its snowmobiling and cross-country skiing.

Spring brings our biggest snows, mild temperatures, wildflowers, new fawns, elk calves, bighorn lambs.

Runoff fills the rivers, bull elk and buck deer drop their antlers, and new green grass brings big horn sheep  to graze next to the roadsides.  It’s a time of renewal!

Spring vacationers in March enjoy downhill skiing, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, horseback riding, hiking.

It’s a beautiful time of the year with average daily high temperatures in the 50’s in April and May.

March and April are our biggest snow months. Not the cold winter snows but the big, wet spring snow.  Expect some snow and ice on most if not all trails.

Sunny days, you could be in shirt sleeves, sweatshirt or jacket. Snow boots could come in handy, especially in March and April. A warm coat will be good for evenings. Rain gear or a simple poncho will help you enjoy afternoon showers in May and June.


Bring a jacket for hikes on top of the Continental Divide along Trail Ridge Road – you’ll be at 12,000 ft elevation!

Yearly Average Temperatures in Estes Park and on top of Trail Ridge Road

Month by Month – When is the Best Time to Visit RMNP?

What to expect in Rocky Mountain National Park each month of the year.