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On April 16th, I had an article come across my desk that read “The 20 Best Small Towns to Visit in 2015”.  Intrigued, I opened the Facebook article and within a few paragraphs, realized that we, Estes Park, were listed No.1, Best Small Town to Visit by Smithsonian.com!  As I read through Bess Lovejoy’s article, I was amazed at what each of the listed towns offered to tourists.  As you being planning your 2015 road trips, make sure add a few of these incredible towns with populations 20,000 or less to your destination list!

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Smithsonian’s Article on Estes Park by Bess Lovejoy:

“Nestled in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, Estes Park has beckoned visitors since the 1860s, when an inspired Welshman named Griff Evans established a local dude ranch. Today the town serves as base camp for Rocky Mountain National Park, which marks 100 years of existence in 2015. A year of wilderness-themed art exhibits, classes, films and concerts celebrates the park’s highlights—which include some of the tallest mountains in the continental United States and more than 300 miles of hiking trails. The park’s sights and sounds are particularly stunning in the fall, when the leaves blaze with color and bull elks fill the air with haunting mating calls.

While the town of Estes Park itself is relaxed (elk have been known to wander downtown streets), there are marked touches of class—notably the historic Stanley Hotel, which inspired Stephen King’s book The Shining. This April, the hotel is adding a giant hedge maze, the result of an international design competition to create one honoring the maze in the film adaptation by Stanley Kubrick, who actually filmed external shots at a lodge in Oregon and used a soundstage for internal shots. (Neither hotel ever had a maze until the Estes Park addition, confusing some horror fans). Visitors can also enjoy several new breweries and a new distillery, or just meander the scenic riverwalk alongside the Big Thompson River—but watch out for the elk.”

smithsonian.com
Image courtesy of Aldabella Photography
Taken at Wild Basin Lodge, Estes Park, CO