Plan an incredible, active family vacation in the mountains at the YMCA of the Rockies in Estes Park.
This sprawling campus, backing up to the Rocky Mountain National Park and only a few minutes from quaint downtown Estes Park, makes it effortless to entertain the family. Located on more than 800 acres of mountain land, complete with hiking trails, running paths and on-campus fishing, this property offers an endless line of activities, both indoor and out, year-round.
Here are a few reasons why you should consider the YMCA of the Rockies in Estes Park for your next family trip.
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Stay in a Private Cabin
There are various different room styles at the YMCA of the Rockies, but the best way to go is to book a private cabin. (No need to be a member of the Y to enjoy this property.)
A two-bedroom cabin is ideal for families, because your kids have their own room, the grown-ups have their own space and there's a shared living room (complete with a fire place) and a full kitchen — convenient for picky eaters and to store snacks and leftovers to keep everyone fed throughout the day.
Want to further simplify your trip? Buy a pass to the cafeteria and you don't need to live campus your whole trip. The food here is typical cafeteria
For families with furry members, some cabins also allow pets. In fact, the YMCA is especially dog-friendly and well-behaved dogs are welcome in any of the buildings (of course, not the cafeteria). The miles of trails will be the best walk your dog has ever been on. Make sure you keep them on leash.
Note: You won't find televisions in the cabins, but you will find board games, puzzles and free wifi, if you absolutely must go on the grid. But why would you, when an infinite adventure awaits outside your door?
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Hike the Mountains
The YMCA of the Rockies boasts miles of trails that you can access right from your cabin door. Cabins back up to a thick forest of trees, so while you're a quick walking distance to the cafeteria, craft center, mini golf course and the center of all of the fun, you still feel like you're isolated out in nature.
Find trails for hikers of all levels, from beginners to more advanced athletes.
Although we love the Rocky Mountain National Park, this gives you a taste of nature without having to pay the extra entrance fee and fight for parking, at some of the more popular trailheads. The park traffic can be really tough, especially during busy seasons. The winter tends to be calmer, and some roads shut down due to weather conditions.
Another way to enjoy walking in the outdoors is on the YMCA's rock-lined meditation labyrinth. This is designed to encourage relaxation and contemplation.
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The new Craft & Design Center is a must-do. Located right in the heart of the campus, this building has a long list of crafty activities you can do for an additional fee, starting as low as $5.
Paint pottery, piggy banks and statues of unicorns. Make jewelry with thousands of beads, create tie-dye shirts, paint silk, fuse glass, make baskets and explore the wood and leather crafts.
This is a fun way to pass the time on chillier days. Make a Christmas tree ornament to bring home and hang on your tree to remember this vacation.
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Get outside and get active. There are tons of options at the YMCA of the Rockies, included for free in your stay.
Play mini golf (two different courses for different levels), basketball, tennis and even basketball. Go fishing or fly fishing when the weather is nice. When it's chill, go ice skating.
There are also campfires, challenge courses, disc golf, horseback riding, nature tours, guided hikes, multiple playgrounds — even tetherball.
You could spend a week here and still not make it through all of the activities on site.Continue to 5 of 6 below.
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You can also find plenty of adventure indoors at the YMCA of the Rockies. There's an indoor lap pool for swimmers and great meditation and yoga classes. The basketball and indoor volleyball court is huge, and next door is an old-school-style skating rink that plays fun oldies.
There's also a rock-climbing wall, library, museum and a game room with just about everything you could imagine: pool, shuffleboard, ping pong, foosball, board games, puzzles, marble football and more.
Upstairs in the same building, you can find oversized checkers board and more board games, as well as a cozy fireplace and hang out area. Some kid classes are held here, like a little session about bugs or a lesson on animals in the area (and how to identify their scat — the little ones get a kick out of that).
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Celebrate a Special Occasion
Due to the size of the property, family reunions, youth camps, church events and weddings are popular here.
You can also plan your visit around special occasions in Estes Park. Early October, there's an annual Elk Fest, celebrating the elk breeding season. You can expect to see a lot of elk and hear their unique calls.
Later in October is typically the Fall Fest, with pumpkin activities and crafts in the YMCA's craft center. You can also roast S'mores around the crackling campfire.
Thanksgiving week is another popular time of year to take the family to the Y. In honor of the holiday, the YMCA organizes S'mores roasting, a "turkey trot" run, flag football games, a holiday movie, family kickball and a turkey feather scavenger hunt. This is all in addition to the regular activities on site.
Christmas is another lovely time to plan a family vacation. Around Christmas, the YMCA becomes a peaceful retreat for families looking to escape the busy ski towns. Go ice skating on a natural pond, horseback riding in the show and on adventurous snowshoe treks.