The majestic Front Range provides a picture postcard backdrop to Estes Park. Drive into town on US Highway 34 and one is compelled to pull over to take a picture. Then an idea bubbles to the surface. How can I live here? How can I make this picture my life?
It is possible. Thousands of people have made it their reality.
Estes Park is made up of nearly 6,000 business people, teachers, nature lovers, town workers, nurses, artists, retirees and volunteers. These people are living the picture and loving it.
Some people change careers in mid-stream to move to Estes Park and buy a lodge or a business downtown. After playing for the University of Colorado in the 1955 Final Four basketball tournament, Jim Ranglos quit teaching in Iowa and he and his wife Penne bought Glacier Lodge in 1974. They got involved Estes Park’s schools, the Chamber and the lodging association. Today, their son David and his wife Karen and their children carry on the family tradition running the lodge.
Amy Hamrick fell in love with the mountains when she visited Estes Park in 1996. After graduating from the University of North Carolina, Amy returned and worked in coffee shops before she opened Kind Coffee, now a popular meeting spot for locals and visitors.
Erik Stensland worked in the Balkans for 12 years before moving to Estes Park in his quest to become a photographer. He bought “Photography for Dummies” and soon became one of a handful of award-winning photographers in the area. Erik’s studio Images of RMNP displays stunning images of the area, especially Rocky Mountain National Park.
Many people who settle in Estes Park have visited their family vacation cabin every year for decades. Once they retire they finally make the move that they have dreamed about their entire lives. They can’t wait to hike the trails, bike the roads, fish the rivers and lakes, and climb the peaks. Winter offers snow shoeing, cross country skiing and tubing outside their back door.
On days that that retirees are not enjoying the Rocky Mountains, there are hundreds of volunteer opportunities in the Estes Park community. They can answer questions at the Visitor Center, help tourists at Rocky Mountain National Park, or volunteer at the Estes Park Museum. There are opportunities at the Estes Park Senior Center, Quota Club, Estes Valley Library and the League of Woman Voters.
Local service clubs like Rotary and the Lions hold fundraisers and give back to the community. Some people see a need in the community and seek to fill it. Spending Thanksgiving Day alone was something Larraine Darling and Steve Misch didn’t want anyone to do, so in 2001, with the support of Estes Valley Sunrise Rotary, they put on a free Thanksgiving Day dinner for a few folks at Notchtop Café. Today the feast has mushroomed to a packed gym at the Mountainview Bible Fellowship church that serves nearly 700 people.
Flip through the classifieds of the local newspapers and you will find local businesses begging for workers. Estes Park is an ideal place to work a part time job and get into the mix of things.
Estes Park has a lot to offer the new resident: a first-rate library, a state-of-the-art medical center, a historic hotel with a ghostly past, a community center under construction and snowplows that plow ALL the roads in town. The community’s vibrant art community welcomes new artists to town.
For years people have moved to Estes Park to make it their home. Every story is different, every story is compelling. Isn’t it time to begin your story in Estes Park?
Note: of course, it all starts with a visit, and a visit starts with a great place to stay. See our Estes Park lodging search app for the best places to stay in Estes Park: https://estespark.wpengine.com/lodging-all/
Written by Steve Mitchell