The Best in Estes Park: A Cinnamon Roll Showdown

In January our family went to Estes Park on a mission to find the best chili in town. We had so much fun seeking out our favorite flavors, we decided to do another food adventure in May. This time we were craving our favorite breakfast treat – cinnamon rolls!

how we chose which cinnamon rolls to taste test

Unfortunately, we were somewhat limited on how many cinnamon rolls we could try during our trip to Estes Park. We decided since we were in town for a week we would taste a new cinnamon roll every other day. That means we tried rolls from four different restaurants. We chose the restaurants based on trip advisor, yelp reviews, and our own prior experience. Our cinnamon roll showdown contenders were Scratch Deli, Notchtop Bakery & Cafe, Trailhead Restaurant, and Cinnamon’s Bakery.

We judged based on appearance/presentation, taste and texture of the roll itself, and taste of the icing.

scratch deli & Bakery

Scratch Deli is one of our favorite lunch spots in Estes Park. The deli is inside a small space, so we always take our sandwiches to-go. This was our first time ordering anything sweet off their menu. The cinnamon rolls were very good. You could tell the dough was made fresh. The icing wasn’t overly sweet – even a little tangy. By the time we got home, we had to warm the rolls up a little bit in the microwave to get the full ooey-gooey effect.

notchtop Bakery and Cafe

One thing we noticed about all the cinnamon rolls we tried in Estes Park – they are generous in serving size! Every time we ordered, we split two rolls between our family of four and usually had some left over. The cinnamon rolls at Notchtop were delicious. The texture of the roll at Notchtop stood out among the others.

trailhead restaurant

This was the only cinnamon roll that we ate at the restaurant, so it had the advantage of being the warmest roll we tasted. Our girls (ages 3 and 5) both voted this as their top choice. I think they especially appreciate the sweetness of the frosting. We loved sitting on the back deck with views of Deer Mountain. Trailhead was the first restaurant we’ve been to for months because of COVID-19, which makes the memory even sweeter.

Cinnamon’s Bakery

Locals and visitors alike flock to Cinnamon’s Bakery for their fresh rolls. Considering how much we love cinnamon rolls, it’s surprising that this was our first visit to Cinnamon’s Bakery. This place is so popular, that my husband patiently waited in line outside and texted me, ‘should have camped’. Thankfully, the line moved quickly and he secured the rolls before they sold out.

And the winners are…

Best Roll – Notchtop
Kids Favorite – Trailhead
Best All Around – Cinnamon’s (but if they are sold out, head on over to Scratch and order some amazing sandwiches to go along with your rolls)

That’s our opinion, but we’d love to hear what you think!

estes Park restaurant News

We keep a list of our favorite places to eat and drink in Estes Park on our website. During our last trip, we noticed several location changes in town and wanted to share here:

The Dunraven Inn moved to a new location at the Estes Park Resort on Lake Estes. Dunraven has been our go-to date night spot, so we are eager to visit their new location. They are expanding service to include breakfast and lunch. You can read more here.

Twin Owls Steakhouse is moving to Taharaa Mountain Lodge. Several years ago we went to Twin Owls Steakhouse for an anniversary dinner. We are thrilled to see the change of location because it’s close to our old condo at Mary’s Lake Lodge. The views over there are unbelievable, especially around sunset.

Over the winter, The Other Side restaurant became Wayfinder. I took a look at their menu, and there are several items I’m eager to try.

I know there were many people (including us) who were sad to see Donut Haus closing last summer. The good news is the popular donuts will now be available at Tiny Town Sinclair (860 Moraine Ave).

7 Romantic Things To Do in Estes Park, Colorado

I hope everyone had a great Valentine’s Day! Inspired by all the LOVE, this week I’m sharing the most romantic things to do in Estes Park, Colorado.

  1. Linger over breakfast. Typically I eat toast for breakfast, that’s the opposite of romantic! Sitting down to a full service breakfast with a couple cups of coffee is a luxury. There are a lot of places to eat breakfast in Estes Park. A couple of my favorites are Notchtop Bakery & Cafe and Trailhead Restaurant.
  2. Play Outside. There is something very romantic about activities that are playful or adventurous. During the winter months you can grab a sled and ride in Rocky Mountain National Park’s Hidden Valley. Or, you can rent snowshoes and explore the trails you love all covered in bright, white snow. If you are planning a romantic trip in the summer, you could rent a boat at Lake Estes marina or go on a horseback ride with your favorite partner.
  3. Browse Unique Shops. Downtown Estes Park has plenty of shopping. Date-worthy destinations include historic Macdonald Bookshop – I think the fireplace adds to the charm. There are also several art galleries in downtown Estes Park. My favorite is Images of Rocky Mountain National Park.
  4. Wine Tasting. Estes Park is home to Snowy Peaks Winery. They offer tastings of local wine and often host live music.
  5. Sunset. When the sun goes down over the mountains, the sky turns brilliant shades of pink and yellow. Savor these magical moments with a romantic drive through Rocky Mountain National Park.
  6. Romantic Night on the Town. The Dunraven Inn in Estes Park offers home-made Italian food and a cozy atmosphere. It’s a unique, locally owned restaurant. There is a tradition to hang $1 bills on the walls in the bar area and a collection of Mona Lisa themed art work is displayed throughout the restaurant.
  7. Get Cozy. Estes Park has a lot of wonderful places to stay while you visit. If you choose to stay at Solitude Cabins, we hope you take time to relax by the stone fireplace and watch the snow falling down outside. We would love for you to visit our cabin and enjoy a memorable weekend with your loved ones. If you would like more suggestions for your itinerary while in Estes Park, I would love to help!