by Amanda Geronikos
It is nearly impossible to describe YMCA of the Rockies and how special it truly is for families. It’s not your local YMCA — it’s a full-fledge resort just outside of Rocky Mountain National Park, with endless activities (including its own museum), family-friendly lodging, dining options and good old-fashioned fun.
In fact, the resort advises guests to leave their iPads and iPods at home — it’s all about disconnecting at YMCA of the Rockies. Think of it as a summer camp for families.
There’s no need to leave this destination resort once you arrive (excursions to Rocky Mountain National Park can be arranged onsite), but if you and the kids decide to venture out on your own, downtown Estes Park is just a few minutes away, offering restaurants (including a brewery), shops and an old movie theater.
Our Editor Loves
- Endless outdoor activities
- Feeling of being at summer camp
- Views of Rocky Mountain National Park
- Horse Back Riding
- Children Programs
- Family Room 5+
- Free Wi-Fi
- Game Room
- Onsite Dining
Rooms & Rates
Lodge Rooms come in three variations: Wind River (sleeps five; balcony or patio), Alpen Inn (sleeps six; balcony), and Eastside Lodges (sleeps six). All rooms feature kitchenettes.
Cabins and Vacation Homes
Families can rent cabins or vacation homes with two, three or four bedrooms and full kitchens; two-bedroom units sleep five, three-bedroom lodges sleep seven, and four-bedroom homes accommodate 10. Most of the cabins and vacation homes also have fireplaces.
Stayed in one of the hotel type lodges. Toilet was broken upon arrival. Room just ok. Meals are very basic. For the price I would have appreciated a real dessert, not an ice cream bar. Had to ask for more fruit to be placed out. Meal time is not early enough to be able to eat before excursions. Location is great. The view was amazing.
I have waited several months to post this review, to allow the management at the YMCA to respond and they have failed to reach out to me. We have been faithful customers of both the YMCA of the Rockies and the YMCA at Snow Mountain Ranch for many years. Unfortunately, our last trip to the YMCA of the Rockies was the third strike and we will not return.
This last October we decided to rent one of the larger cabins that can accommodate 22 people, after years of staying in the lodge rooms, or renting the 2 bedrooms cabins. We were so excited for all the families we go with to stay under 1 roof.
When we arrived there were several things we observed. The bathroom floors were not clean. The carpet had not been vacuumed. There was crushed candy on the floor in the family room and hair bands on the bedroom floor. As the children were exploring the house, my son opened a closet door where he found a mouse trap and a pile of approximately a dozen dead and decomposing mice. A few minutes later we saw several live mice running through the house.
We called the front desk and asked if someone could come to vacuum and to remove the dead and live mice. After waiting around for several hours, the cleaning crew was a no show. We then went to the front desk and requested that the manager call us and send a cleaning crew. Once again, no response. After a third request, 2 individuals arrived at the house.
The first guy said, "Welcome to the Great Outdoors." I was not pleased with this response. Yes, we were in the mountains, but when you spend $600/night, I don't expect to sleep with live mice and decomposing mice carcasses. He removed the dead mice and said he would come back with traps for the live mice. Surprise...he never came back!
The next guy came to re-vacuum. After vacuuming the ENTIRE upstairs AND downstairs, he said, "this thing doesn't work very well, does it? I'll be back with a new vacuum and try again." Guess what??? He never came back!
After our experience I completed the survey and shared my concerns via email. I was told that my experience would be shared with the management team and they would get back to me. I am still waiting.
I am so sad that the conditions the last 3 trips have been disgusting and unsanitary. We look forward to visiting the YMCA every October and we will not be going back!
The resort offers specialty camps for all ages and interests, such as a Dragons, Fairies & Princess Camp for little ones, and backpacking programs for teens. Daytime programs are also offered for non-guests in the event parents would like a day to hike by themselves.
The hotel has a full schedule of programming, including guided excursions to Rocky Mountain National Park, seminars and holiday events.
In addition to its multitude of camps and programming, YMCA of the Rockies offers countless activities onsite, including the following:
- Horseback riding
- Swimming (pool)
- Spa treatments
Lula W. Dorsey Museum
Learn about the history of YMCA of the Rockies at this small museum onsite. The museum has been open since 1979, but the resort's history spans more than a century, once operating as a summer school for men. The museum is free to enter.
The resort has its own chapel, where services are hosted throughout the week. Some people also marry at the chapel onsite!
Aspen Dining Room
The Aspen Dining Room offers an all-you-can-eat buffet for breakfast, lunch and dinner, with a salad bar and desserts included. Children 5 and under eat free. Situated in a cafeteria-style setting, the restaurant is open 7 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., closing briefly between meals.
Pine Room Restaurant
Open in the summer, Pine Room Restaurant is the resort's fine dining option. On Sundays, you can enjoy a lavish brunch, and on weekdays, prime rib is offered.
Rustic CafÃ© serves soups, salads, sandwiches, and coffees -- perfect to grab and go for a picnic lunch at the resort or in Rocky Mountain National Park.
Y's Guy Pizza
This pizza joint serves delicious pies and salads in the summer months. Eat in or take back to your cabin or room.
Planning & Tips
All About the Extras
Complimentary Wi-Fi is provided at the resort; it may be spotty in some of the lodges, but works well in most of the communal spaces.
Up to two pets are welcome in most accommodations for a nominal nightly charge.
The Art of Smart Timing
YMCA of the Rockies and Estes Park, Colorado are most popular during the summertime, when you can take advantage of all of the outdoor activities -- particularly at the resort.
The closest airport to Estes Park is Denver International Airport, about 1.5 hours away. You'll likely lose cell service when driving through Roosevelt National Forest, but don't worry about getting lost -- there's only one main road into Estes Park. Once you reach the town, you'll have service again.
You'll want a car to get around this resort, which seems to go on, and on, and on! Plenty of free parking is available.