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Stanley Hotel and Estes Park

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A day trip away

Article and photo by Liz Jurkowski

Picture of the Stanley Hotel

Built in 1909, The Stanley Hotel sits atop a hill just outside scenic Estes Park.

For a breathtaking day away from home, head northwest a bit, to Estes Park. Known as the Gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park, many of us have driven through it to get to the many hiking trails, lakes, wildlife, and scenery of the Park’s land. Others make their way to the picturesque town near the holiday season, to see a quaint Colorado village all decorated for Christmas.

But the next time you head west on Highway 34 from Loveland or on Highway 36 from Boulder, make sure to stop in town, as well as at the historic Stanley Hotel. Built in 1909 when Freelan Oscar Stanley’s doctor told him to move to Colorado for the fresh air, The Stanley Hotel is listed as one of the Historic Hotels of America by the National Trust For Historic Preservation.

Originally, the hotel had eleven buildings on 160 acres. Today, the hotel maintains many of the original buildings on its remaining property of 55 acres.

Made famous by the role that The Stanley played in Stephen King’s novel “The Shining,” many people visit the hotel to see King’s inspiration for the book. Others visit for the daily ghost tour, while some simply come to wander the grounds and to sit and take in the views from the porch.

Options for food include a casual lunch in the bar restaurant or the very formal dining room is open for dinner. There is a coffee shop downstairs with snacks and small meals.

After exploring the hotel, make sure to drive into Estes Park to buy a sweet dessert at one of the many small bakery shops downtown. Then, either head into Rocky Mountain National Park for a hike, or make your way home, perhaps stopping in Boulder to stretch your legs. Enjoy the best of Colorado this spring, and make a fun day out of a great destination.

To learn more or to make reservations, call 1-888-752-3726 or visit



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