Our Adventure on The Estes Park Aerial Tramway

Iconic red trams go up and down Prospect Mountain over Estes Park, Colorado. According to their website, the Estes Park Aerial Tramway was built by Robert Heron who gained experience during World War II and studied tramway design in Europe. The Estes Park tramway opened to the public in 1955 and has safely carried over 3 million people! The tramway is still owned by the Heron family.

Our Trip on The Estes Park Aerial Tramway

The lines can get long for this popular attraction. The website suggests going in early morning or late afternoon. Our line wasn’t bad because we went early in the season, but according to some reviewers on Travel Advisor, getting there before the doors open is optimal. The 2017 tramway schedule is: 9 am to 6 pm from May 27th through September 4th.

lines for estes park aerial tramway

The tickets are $14 for each adult. Our kids are both under 5, so they rode free. It’s hard to guess how children will react to heights, crowded spaces and strangers. I was a little nervous but mostly excited when we boarded our tram with a few fellow visitors. The kiddos both did great. The windows were open which was nice for airflow. I held on extra tight to them and let bigger kids and adults stand closer to the windows. The ride was fast and smooth.

views from estes park tramway

At the top we enjoyed sweeping views from the platform, looking around the small souvenir shop, sipping our drinks and sharing cookies at the Tram Top Coffee Shop and hiking around the family-friendly trails a bit.

prospect mountain estes park aerial tramway

chipmunks estes park aerial tramway

The coffee shop stays open until 5 pm, but peanuts are sold until 5:30 pm. Chipmunks are friendly up on Prospect Mountain and I’ve read they may eat peanuts right from your hands. I’m sure our toddler would love that!

tram top coffee shop

hiking estes park aerial tramway

On the way back down the mountain there was a misting rain so the windows to the tram were shut. If weather gets bad the trams shut down until it clears to ensure rider safety, so make sure to pay attention to the weather forecast.

kid friendly activities Estes Park, Colorado CO

The Estes Park Tramway is located at 420 Riverside Drive in Estes Park, CO. You can learn more about the history, pricing and even wedding information at http://www.estestram.com.

A Trail Less Traveled – The Glacier Creek Trail in Rocky Mountain National Park

Rocky Mountain National Park is a popular vacation destination. The month of July is especially busy. According to an article in the Coloradoan, a record 912,507 people visited the park in July 2016.

In my last post I mentioned that crowds were one of my least favorite parts of our July trip to Rocky Mountain National Park. One of the solutions for us was finding less popular trails. One morning we woke up a little late and couldn’t find parking at Bear Lake, Glacier Gorge, Bierstadt or even the Park and Ride. I’m glad we didn’t give up looking, because we eventually found a spot near Sprague Lake.

We decided to give it a go and hike from Sprague Lake to the Glacier Gorge trailhead via the Glacier Creek Trail. If you are in the parking lot and looking towards the lake, you will find the trailhead to your right. From here, head uphill and follow signs leading to Bear Lake.

The further we hiked, the prettier this trail became. Two miles in we discovered a little lake covered in lily pads blooming with yellow flowers. My daughter nicknamed it Minnie Mouse Lake.

Lake on Glacier Creek Trail in Rocky Mountain National Park

We also passed over a wooden bridge with a roaring mountain stream classified as a ‘loud waterfall’ by our toddler.

Roaring Mountain Stream in Rocky Mountain National Park

We turned around 2.8 miles into our hike. If we continued we would have made it to Bear Lake or Alberta Falls in less than a mile. The return hike was even more enjoyable because it was a downhill slope.

Trail Signs Rocky Mountain National Park

We really enjoyed our hike and will keep this less trafficked trail in mind for days when the park is busy!

If you are looking for another less crowded hike, I also recommend checking out Hollowell Park.

Hiking with Kids Rocky Mountain National Park

Hiking Gear Highlight – Hiking Boots: The dusty first section of this hike inspired me to ditch my running shoes and buy new hiking boots with good wool hiking socks. In downtown Estes Park I noticed a sale sign on the window of Plum Creek Shoe Station. The selection of boots and customer service was amazing. I was given options in my price range that fit the hikes we go on. I’m so glad I bought from a local shop so I could ask questions rather than buying online. Having good hiking boots and socks that fit makes a world of difference!

Festive Family November To-do List

Wow! The month of October was packed full of fun and memorable events.  Not only did we get to cheer on our boys in blue to their first championship in 30 years by going to the longest ever game 1 of the World Series,  I think we completed nearly every item on my ‘festive family to-do list’:

  • We celebrated our German heritage by going to Oktoberfest in Hermann, MO with a great group of friends. Hermann is a beautiful, quaint town by the Missouri River. We appreciated having a baby sitter so we could enjoy the wineries.
  • There are so many great pumpkin patches in the Kansas City area, it was hard to decide which to go to. We finally chose a fundraiser pumpkin patch at Holy Cross Catholic Church in Overland Park, KS. Cecy loved riding in the red wagon with our pumpkins and we loved that our money went to a good cause.
  • I made a pumpkin pie
  • We hosted a Halloween brunch for Cecy’s first birthday which is coming up in November. We invited a few of my best friends who also have little girls. The girls ate pumpkin pancakes, danced to Monster Mash and looked adorable in their Halloween costumes. I think we might make this an annual tradition!

First time trick or treating
First time trick or treating

  • We enjoyed autumn leaves while hiking in Colorado. Cecy also enjoyed stomping on the leaves (she is walking now!) at Leawood City Park in Leawood, KS. We were excited to find this park because the playground was built for toddlers.
  • We missed the parade but enjoyed the festive atmosphere at BearFest Village for Missouri State University’s homecoming.
  • We made a family photo book and I love how it turned out. I bought the personalized book from Lakeshore Learning.

Enjoying October Outdoors
Enjoying October Outdoors

I don’t see how we can beat the fun we had in October, buy we will try. My festive family to-do list this month includes:

  • Visiting Central Park in New York
  • Celebrating Cecy’s first birthday
  • Partaking in Wild Turkey Wednesday
  • Baking something with cranberries
  • Focus on gratitude
  • #OptOutside Black Friday