In 1859 Gold was discovered in California many people started finding their way to the Estes Valley. Most of the gold mining was not actually here one miner whom the Estes Park is named after did: Joel Estes. Joel Estes was born in Kentucky and made his fortune mining in California, discovered the Estes Valley in 1859. One year later he moved out his family with 13 children and cattle to settle in a wonderful meadow area to live from 1860 to 1866.
The Owner of the Rocky Mountain News visited the area in 1864 and named it Estes Park in honor of Joel Estes. Joel Estes decided that the short growing season and altitude made it hard to raise cattle so he sold his homestead. Estes sold to Griff Evans who made the homestead into a dude ranch. The Earl of Dunraven was one of his first guests at the ranch and loved the area so much he tried to buy up the entire valley to make into his own private hunting grounds and resort. Dunravens actions where not taking lightly by ranchers and mountain men who aimed to stop Dunraven.
Even with the short growing season and altitude cattle ranches began showing up in the 1870s. People like Alexander Q. MacGregor who had herds of Aberdeen Angus opened MacGregor Ranch which still operates today as a working ranch. Another settler was W. E James who built Elkhorn Lodge and actually used to catch hundreds of trout a day for Denver to supplement his income with a "Fish Ranch".
The most famous visitor and future resident was F. O. Stanley who came as visitor to Elkhorn Lodge. He came to Estes Park in 1903 looking for a cure to tuberculosis and found that the Rocky Mountain was so helpful he decided to settle here. Stanley is the co-inventor with his brother for inventing the Stanley Steamer automobile. He decided on making a Estes a luxury travel stop so become the Stanley Hotel which cost more than half a million dollars to create. This made Estes Park booming area resort with bus trips up the Big Thompson Canyon daily.
Stanleys dream of seeing Estes Park as a resort destination is still alive today with millions of visitors enjoying Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park.
Estes Park Altitude: 7,522 feet above sea level
Estes Park's Climate:
Estes wonderful dry climate attracts many of its visitors each summer from hot, humid areas from the lower elevations. The very low humidity makes the summer days seem rather cool to those from other areas of the high humidity. Our cool evenings can get under 50 in the summer making ideal sleeping temperature for those escaping the heat. Almost every day is sunny (300 days of sunshine per year) except for the frequent afternoon showers in summer which arise quickly and go just as fast. Winters are rather mild, with highs in the 40s and lows in the 20s. With plenty of sunlight snow seldom stays on the ground for more than a few days. The town of Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park are easily accessible all year round with mild winters make for year around enjoyment.
Things to do:
Estes Park offers many different things to do for all types of people. Estes has fun for all ages with horseback riding, fly-fishing, bike riding, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, golf, shopping, tours and the hotel that inspired "The Shining". Your backyard is Rocky Mountain National Park offering world class hiking, climbing, fishing and wildlife viewing of all types. Once you see what others know youll want to start your own homestead.
Estes Park Town Video
Photo Courtesy of Estes Park News