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
Find the Best Price for Your Stay
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.
Came here withe a retreat of around 300 of us, our second night we had to cut short as more than 60 of us came down with food poisoning. No fun to say the least. The food itself was horrible, I am sure the eggs they had were from powder as well. Seems it was some beef mixture that did it for our group.
Went to a conference this weekend. We stayed in the Blessing Cabin. There were only 13 of us so we had lots of space. The house was clean, had a gas fireplace, 2 refrigerators, dishwashers, stoves and microwaves and 4 large bathrooms. You need to take all food items and paper goods. The hiking around the property was wonderful. There are tons of cabins--all sizes. It even snowed while there. So pretty!
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.