An Irish lord, a woman travel writer, a one-eyed mountain man and a deranged prospector are just a few of the characters who populate Estes Park’s rich history that dates from the early 1860s. Discover who these people are and more at Estes Park’s area museums.
Estes Park Museum
The Estes Park Museum collects, interprets and preserves local history. Tracks in Time, the award-winning permanent exhibit, details the history of the Estes Park area from the Ice Age to today. In addition to a number of hands-on interactive activities, visitors also enjoy a historic turn-of-the-twentieth-century rustic cabin and the National Park Service historic headquarters building that houses temporary exhibits. Free Admission!
- Open year-round, Wednesday-Saturday 10am-4pm. Free.
- 200 Fourth St., 970-586-6256, estes.org/museum
Walk this Way
To celebrate Estes Park’s history, Estes Park Museum has installed plaques on the historic downtown buildings with information about the sites and individuals involved.
Estes Park Museum also offers a downtown history walking tour on Mondays and Tuesdays, June 4-Sept. 25, 2019 (excluding July 4 and Sept. 3) from 8:30-10am (check-in is at 8:15am). Meet in the northeast corner of Bond Park by the Enos Mills sculpture. The walking distance is .7 miles along Elkhorn Ave. $8 per person payable by cash or check.
Lula Dorsey Museum
The Lula W. Dorsey Museum includes four historic buildings, the main lodge and three cabins. Recent exhibits have featured the history of the YMCA during World War I and World War II, the Founders’ Room, and an Alumni Cabin opened in May 2015. The Museum’s 50 feet of archives and thousands of photographs are available for research and publication. The Museum serves as the corporate archives for the YMCA of the Rockies.
- Open Thursday-Monday
- Call (970) 586-3342 x 1136 for hours, ymcarockies.org/activities/dorsey-museum/
Enos Mills Cabin Museum
The Enos Mills Cabin Museum honors the Father of Rocky Mountain National Park Enos Mills, who struggled for six years to educate the public and Congress on the importance of setting aside large land areas for the preservation of scenery and wildlife. A short nature trail noting native flora leads you to the original homestead cabin built by 15-year-old Enos A. Mills in 1885. Now the Enos Mills Cabin Museum, it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973. Photos, letters and exhibits illustrate his life and achievements.
- Open by appointment only
- 970-586-4706, enosmills.com
Estes Park’s Seasonal Museums
These local museums are only open during the summer:
Historic Fall River Hydroplant
The Historic Fall River Hydroplant was built by F.O. Stanley to power his Stanley Hotel in 1909. It was the sole source of the town’s power until the 1940s and was in operation until the Lawn Lake flood of 1982. The museum’s interpretive center features the original equipment installed in 1909, panels that document the story of the plant and displays that allow children a first-hand experience creating electricity. Free Admission!
- Open May 28-Sept. 1, 1-4pm; Closed Mondays
- 1754 Fish Hatchery Rd., 970-586-6256, colorado.gov/townofestespark/museum
MacGregor Ranch Museum
MacGregor Ranch Museum explores the history of a ranch the MacGregor family worked from 1873 to 1970. When you enter the gate you may see Black Angus cattle grazing in the meadows and ranch hands working with Percheron draft horses. Opened to the public in 1973, the museum welcomes children’s groups and summer visitors to discover how the MacGregor family lived for nearly a century. Take a self-guided tour of the museum, milk house, smokehouse, blacksmith shop and horse-drawn machinery exhibits. The ranch has 42 buildings, 28 of which are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
- Open to the public June, July & August, Tuesday-Saturday, 10am-4pm
- 970-586-3749, macgregorranch.org
The Baldpate Inn
The Baldpate Inn boasts a collection of more than 20,000 keys, which includes keys from the White House, the Pentagon, Westminster Abbey, Mozart’s wine cellar, Frankenstein’s castle and even Jack Benny’s dressing room at Paramount Studios.
- 4900 Colorado Hwy 7, 970-586-6151, baldpateinn.com
Enrich your visit to Estes Park by learning about the area’s local history. Visit a museum today.