Estes Park & The Peak to Peak Highway

Fall in Colorado is absolutely stunning. It is even more amazing if you take a little drive up to the mountains and explore while the leaves are turning. If you missed my post last year on fall foliage in Colorado, check it out! The best time to go is in September, mid September is usually best to catch the colorful trees in the Rocky Mountains. This season we went up to Estes Park, Colorado and then drove on the Peak to Peak Highway home for a scenic ride. 

Estes park in my opinion is known for two things, Elk and the famous Stanley Hotel where the horror film The Shining was filmed at. Estes is stunning so if you are looking for a quick day trip from Denver, this spot might be perfect. Right when you pull into town there will be a lake on the right side of town. Often this is where the Elk will be gathered, and the day we went that was just the case. We pulled in, parked the car and got up close with the elk of Estes. Make sure to be careful and keep a safe distance, but at the same time the elk are very used to tourists stopping for pictures. The female elk (without antlers) are far less aggressive than the males. They are all so beautiful and it was such a blast watching them in nature. We did have an incident that occurred while we were there. Two of the males were fighting and they were running right towards us! We all hid behind a car, thank God, and it was all fine, but wow talk about exciting! Like I said, keep a safe distance because you never know when they will start bickering and chasing one another, and they surely don't care if you are in their way, they will come for you too. 

estes park
elk in estes park co
estes park elk
elk in colorado
baby elk in estes park

If you visit Estes Park make sure to stop in at the Stanley Hotel! If you have ever seen The Shining starring Jack Nicholson then you are familiar with this hotel. The hotel was built in the early 1900's. Today it is a hot spot to get married, vacation or even take a ghost tour. We stopped in for lunch. We ate at the restaurant near the bar. Yes, the bar in the movie where the ghost serves his drinks! Today the bar looks quite different, but it is still exciting to see it. The food there is amazing, I would absolutely recommend eating there. We then walked around the hotel property admiring the antiques and beauty the hotel has to offer. The hotel sits on a hill overlooking Estes Park, the views of the mountains are beautiful. 

the stanley hotel
Stanley hotel
the stanley
inside stanley hotel

After lunch we headed into town to grab coffee and wander. The town is a very quaint mountain town with lots to look at. There are tons of great shops, restaurants and candy stores. There is a beautiful river on one side of the town and a few restaurants looking over the river. If we had not eaten at the Stanley Hotel, I think this would have been the next best option. If you are lucky you will see elk wandering around "their" town. We did not see any that day, but my mom has seen that before. 

estes park
estes park
estes park

We left Estes just in time to catch the Peak to Peak Highway before the sun went down. The Peak to Peak highway is a designated scenic byway that goes from Estes Park to Nederland, then towards I-70 to make your way back to Denver. This time of year this is such a great highway to take if you are driving back to the Denver area because it has amazing fall foliage. There is also a stunning church on the highway that you can stop at and look around. It's a stunning stone church nestled in nature. My suggestion would be to allow yourself enough time driving on this highway to be able to stop and enjoy every bit of it. 

fall in colorado
peak to peak highway church
peak to peak highway colorado

I hope you enjoyed this post on my adventure through Estes Park Colorado, the Stanley Hotel and the Peak to Peak Highway. If you have any questions, simply comment below. To stay updated on my newest adventures and most current blog posts, enter your email address below. Thanks for reading!



Denver Fare & Refreshments | Exploring My Home Town

If you've been reading my blog for a while, then you already know I am a Colorado girl. Born and raised in the suburbs just outside of Denver. I love it here, Denver truly is a stunning place to live and grow up. If you want to read more about what it is like growing up in Colorado, read THIS blog post. I've been spending a lot more time downtown and in north Denver lately. Eating and drinking with my husband, or with friends. I have put together a list of my top five favorite places to eat and drink in Denver. On this post I have collaborated with my lovely blogger friend, Lauren Groeper of Ladyplanner. After you finish reading, head on over to her page to check out her five favorites in Denver as well at! 

Whether you are just traveling to Denver, or you've lived here for some time... I hope these two posts will help you to discover a new favorite place for you to drink, dine and have a blast with the people you love most!


Breakfast- Prosper Oats

This place reminds me of a fro-yo bar... but with oatmeal! I think this is the perfect breakfast spot. I went here with a friend one day after a hard workout and it was just what my body needed. You can also get juice or yogurt if you do not want oatmeal. I got the quinoa and steel cut oats bowl. It was delicious. They have a ton of healthy toppings to choose from. If you want a healthy breakfast, I'd but this at the top of your list.

Lunch- Masterpiece Delicatessen

Okay I have to be completely honest, I have only tried one sandwich here, the ahi-tuna sandwich. That's only because it is so delicious and I crave it, so I can't fathom ordering something else. My husband however has ordered a few different items on the menu and has loved everything he has tried. This place really would be awesome for breakfast, lunch or dinner. They offer breakfast items and a regular sandwich menu as well. But trust me, if you like ahi- tuna, try that sandwich!! 

Dinner- Sushi Sasa

If I have any sort of addiction... this is it. Which is hilarious because I kid you not, 8 months ago I "hated sushi". Now I can't seem to get enough of it. Of any sushi place in Denver, this is my favorite. You should try anything and everything on the menu. It's all really fresh, which is rare for the land locked state of Colorado. You might want to call ahead and make a reservation, it's a fairly small place and tends to be busy. 

Dessert- Little Man Ice Cream

This place has the best ice-cream in town! It is an outdoor venue that has such a charming ambiance. It's so delicious that my husband and I have stood in line in the freezing cold (along side many other people) just to get some of their yummy ice-cream, rush to our car and enjoy it with the butt warmers on. THAT is just how good it is! I have actually never been there when there wasn't a line of some sort. The actual shop is vintage inspired and you really can sense that through all the decor and the old time music that plays. They switch up their flavors often which is fun. Until you have a favorite flavor and you discover it's gone when you go. Don't worry, the disappointment only lasts a few minutes until you taste your "second best" choice, only to find out it's delicious too. If you enjoy ice-cream, absolutely make a stop here! 

Cocktails- Union Station

Now, if you've read my Denver date night post, then you have heard me rave about how much I love Union Station. It is an active train station, but it also has a ton of amazing restaurants and some bars inside. There are two great spots to get amazing drinks inside of Union Station, the Terminal Bar or The Cooper Lounge. The main reason I put Union Station as one of my top five places in Denver, isn't because the way the drinks are presented, it's not the way the drinks taste (although they taste good), and it is not because they have unheard of pricing... It is simple because the atmosphere at Union Station is so neat. You feel as though you've traveled back in time to the 1920's. The actual building was recently restored and is just stunning. The Cooper Lounge is actually a prohibition era inspired lounge. If you like a more laid back feel, the Terminal Bar is the perfect place for you. I personally enjoy them both!


I hope this list of my top five favorite places to eat and drink in Denver help you discover a new Denver favorite. Comment below with your current favorite place to eat and drink. Thanks for reading and don't forget to head over to Ladyplanner's post to discover her five favorites. 


I was honored to collaborate with some amazing people on this post. Make sure to go check them all out and show them some love. I would absolutely recommend each vendor I worked with! 

Photography- Emily Sacco

Hair, Makeup & Spray Tan- Alchemy Beauty

Clothes & Jewelry (not including shoes)- Pinks Denver

Here is some #ootd inspiration brought to you by Pinks Denver. Lauren and I loved working with them, they really do have amazing pieces in their store.

Emily Sacco Photography-27.JPG