Estes Park has four true seasons, and each one requires different clothing and different precautions. Weather in the mountains is incredibly variable — we can have 60 degree days in the dead of winter, and snow flurries as early as September.

It may surprise you, but winter snowpack in the Estes Valley is quite mild. We have a storm once every week to ten days, and the snow usually lasts for a day or two and then blows away or melts. Of course, sometimes we get hit with week long storms that leave feet and feet of snow behind, but these happen once or twice a year. 

Once in the National Park at 8,500 feet and above, there’s quite a bit of winter snowpack. All winter hikes will require microspikes and/or snowshoes.

ALTITUDE: Also note that we are at a high, high elevation, and it’s extremely easy to get dehydrated. Town is at 7,500 feet and most of our favorite hikes are in the 8,500 to 10,500 foot range. You will likely feel this severely during your first days here. The easiest way to avoid headaches, dehydration and altitude sickness is drink a LOT of water. Keep in mind your alcohol tolerance will be dramatically diminished at elevation. 

RENTAL CARS: Weather is extremely unpredictable here, so you will need a vehicle that’s adequate for mountain travel from October to May. That means 4WD, AWD or 2WD plus snow tires.

SUMMER: Summers are nice, with highs in the mid-70s and lows in the 50s. Many homes here are older cabins and aren’t as well insulated as what you may expect. Thankfully, the mountain air blows down from the high peaks each night to cool things off. We open windows and turn on fans, and our homes cool really fast.

Be sure to bring shorts as well as pants, insulation layers and rain gear. Nearly every day of the summer we get brief afternoon thunderstorms from 3PM to 5PM that last about half an hour. The sky will be clear one minute, completely ominous a few minutes later, and perfect again 20 minutes after that. Don’t get trapped above treeline after 2PM due to lightning. It seems that every year, people get struck.

FALL: Highs average in the mid to high 50s, and overnight lows are just above freezing. Pack long pants, jackets and long sleeves, plus a few lighter layers for the warmer days. The weather in the early fall is the most stable, and it rarely rains. We’ll start seeing bi-weekly snow storms toward the end of October, but usually blows away and melts in a day or two. 

WINTER: We call this season WIND-ter, and for good reason. It is extremely windy. When the 30-mph winds combine with highs averaging in the 40s and overnight lows in the low 20s, things can feel a little nippy. Pack for cold.

SPRING: Generally the same as fall, but with more unpredictable and unstable weather. It’s much more likely to rain, snow or hail in the spring than the fall. 


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