Lake Estes trail is located near downtown Estes Park, CO and free parking is located at the corner of US-34 and US-36. It is a paved trail maintained in part by the Larimer County’s Parks and Open Land Areas. Leashed dogs, hikers, fishermen, nordic walkers, jogging strollers, and bikes are allowed on the trail but horses, hunters, and motorized vehicles are not. Restrooms and water can be found on the southern part of the trail at the Cherokee Draw Day-Use Area. Cell phone service should be strong while on the trail.
Lake Estes trail is 3.75 mile paved trail at the center of Estes Valley and sitting at an elevation of 7,600 feet. The southern part of the trail has a small rise in elevation of approximately 50 feet. The trail forms a loop around Lake Estes and, thus, it provides scenic views from lots of different angles. It is wide, very accessible, and suitable for running, biking, nordic walking, or simply a relaxing walk. In September and October, Elk can be seen along side the trail. The following picture was taken from the eastern corner of the trail and it showcases Prospect Mountain in the background.
Two years ago, I was in town for a wedding and participated in the Running of the Bulls charity race. Running of the Bulls is an annual 3.75 mile walk/run event in late September that supports the Larimer County charity Partners Mentoring Youth. Participating in the Running of the Bulls is a win-win because you support a local charity while running around charming Lake Estes with rutting Elk nearby. The following picture was taken from Lakes Estes Trail in October and contains some female elk (i.e., cows) and a calf.
In sum, Lake Estes trail is a fun, easy, and family friendly path that can quickly visited while in Estes Park. Two other free trails in the area include Lily Mountain and Lily Lake.