Area Attractions and History
McGregor Mountain Lodge is located four miles from downtown Estes Park, Colorado. It is one half mile from the Fall River Entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park. This is a very convenient location because you will be close to hundreds of miles of hiking trails and only five minutes from the wonderful shops, restaurants, and other attractions in Estes Park.
Rocky Mountain National Park is the main attraction. It is a special place with easy access to hiking, wildlife watching, and fishing. It provides some of the most scenic roads in the entire country. It is a wonderful place to visit anytime throughout the year.
Visit us in the summer to take advantage of our great mountain weather. July and August are great times to see the abundant wildflower displays at higher altitudes within the National Park. With the arrival of September, the prime wildlife viewing times begin. The Elk will be moving to lower elevations, and the fall rut will soon begin as bulls will be bugling and challenging other males trying to keep their large harems intact.
The winter months in and around “Rocky” are truly special and the terrain turns into a winter wonderland. Wildlife is thick at lower elevations and the summer crowds are gone. In addition, some of the best snowshoeing and cross country skiing in the nation is only minutes away.
When the spring thaw comes around, and the temperatures begin to warm, the National Park sheds its winter coat and explodes to life. Flowers begin to bloom around Estes Park, the rivers begin running strong and all of the animals begin having their babies. No matter what time of year you choose to visit us, world class hiking, climbing, snowshoeing, fishing and wildlife watching awaits!
Rocky Mountain National Park was established on January 26, 1915 by President Woodrow Wilson. It now covers an area of over 415 square miles. The first pioneer and advocate of creating a national park was Enos Mills. He came to the Longs Peak area when he was only 14. Mills first proposed creating the nations tenth national park in 1909. He proclaimed that, “In years to come when I am asleep beneath the pines, thousands of families will find rest and hope in this park.”
In the following years, Enos used his diverse talents and abundant energy to travel throughout the country trying to win support for what would become Rocky Mountain National Park. His original proposal was for a much larger park that stretched from Pikes Peak, North to the Wyoming border. Local support was almost unanimous, but mining, logging and general agricultural interests adamantly opposed this super-park. Thus, the smaller version of the proposed park was approved by President Wilson.
In addition to Rocky Mountain National Park, you can spend time exploring the shops and restaurants in the town of Estes Park, Colorado. There are a variety of specialty, boutique, and souvenir shops that cater to a wide variety of interests. If you need any gear for your exploration of the National Park, you can stop by one of the many gear shops, such as the Estes Park Mountain Shop or the Warming House. Here you can get all of the supplies you need. Additionally, you can dine on anything from a Big Mac, to great barbeque at the Hunters Smokehouse, to Mexican food at Casa Grande, to delicious grilled Wapiti (Elk) at the Twin Owls Steakhouse, and anything in between.
The Estes Valley was first visited by Joel Estes while on a hunting trip in 1859. He did not see too much evidence of the many Native Americans that had been visiting the valley for thousands of years before him. Feeling confident that the area was settled, he decided to take advantage of the abundant grazing land and moved into two log cabins with his wife, Patsy.
According to the Town of Estes Park’s website: “Soon others came to trap, prospect, hunt, and view the scenery. In 1864, William Byers, then editor of the Rocky Mountain News , named the area in honor of his hosts, the Estes family. Nine years later, Isabella Bird, a traveler from the British Isles, wrote glowingly of her trip to Estes Park in letters later reprinted as A Lady’s Life in the Rocky Mountains . The Irish Earl of Dunraven visited the Estes valley and bought land for a private hunting preserve. He also built a hotel in 1877 which catered primarily to visitors from Europe. This soon became the first well-publicized resort hotel in the area.
After the land was surveyed in 1874, settlers appeared in greater numbers. Graceful and rustic lodges soon dotted the mountain sides. Ranching and tourism provided a livelihood for most of the 200 citizens recorded in the 1900 census. Back then, the mail arrived daily by stage coach during the summer months. The town’s first long distance telephone connection had also been established. The downtown area was platted in 1905. Businessman F. O. Stanley, “The Grand Old Man of Estes Park,” funded road improvements, helped organize a bank, sold electricity, and donated property for the growing town. His stately Stanley Hotel, which opened in 1909, still stands watch over Estes Park.
The town was incorporated in 1917, just two years after Rocky Mountain National Park was established. Since that time, the Estes Park area has continued to grow. The town served as construction headquarters for the Colorado-Big Thompson Reclamation Project, which transports irrigation water from the western side of the Continental Divide to the Eastern plains. The area has weathered two large floods: the Big Thompson Flood of 1976, and the Lawn Lake Flood of 1982. Cleanup efforts from the Lawn Lake Flood spurred a period of urban renewal and earned the town the nickname, “Gutsiest Little Town in Colorado.”
With both the National Park and the town of Estes Park so near to McGregor Mountain Lodge, you have enough to keep you exploring the surrounding mountains and town for years to come!