Visiting Colorado in the Winter: YMCA of the Rockies. Do you or your kids want to see snow this winter? Get out of Arizona? Or have endless activities available to you within 5 minutes or less? Look no further than the YMCA of the Rockies in beautiful Colorado!
My family of four (myself, husband, toddler and infant) just returned from a 4-day trip to Estes Park, Colorado where we stayed at the YMCA. Our main goal for this trip was to see and play in some snow. After booking our direct flights to Denver, we quickly realized we’d need to travel a bit further out to get exactly what we were looking for which was a private cabin in the woods, lots of snow, and activities for/with other kids. We knew we would be guaranteed to see snow in the Rocky Mountains in January so we researched the area until we found this hidden gem!
YMCA of the Rockies has two locations: Estes Park and Snow Mountain Ranch. They are about 90-120 minutes away from Denver International Airport. We explored Estes Park and found it to be a snowy, sleepy town in mid-January. Locals let us know it’s much busier in the summer and that most people head to Snow Mountain Ranch for the skiing and snowboarding. With young kids we welcomed the slow pace of Estes Park and were pleased to discover we did not need a YMCA membership to stay here or participate in the activities.
The biggest draw for us was that both locations have tons of activities included with your stay. There are two main options for accommodations: private cabins or hotel-style lodging. Based on our goals for the trip, we opted for a 2-bedroom, 1-bathroom private cabin with a wood-burning fireplace and couldn’t have been happier. The nights were peaceful and very quiet.
Our cabin had a full-sized bed in one room with a twin sized single bed and a bunk bed in the other. The YMCA’s largest cabins have up to 5 bedrooms. The hotel-style lodges have multiple room figurations that can sleep up to 6 people and some are within walking distance to the on-site dining options. There are no televisions in the cabins or the lodge; you are encouraged to disconnect. They do provide WiFi in the rooms though our cell service was good enough that we never connected to it.
No matter which option you choose, you will have access to their weekly activities. Many of them are included with your stay with a few exceptions. The activities we took advantage of were all included with our stay: sledding, hiking, indoor roller skating, playing with toys in the game room, checking out books and puzzles at the library, and various family programming activities (parachute games, crafts, etc.).
Visiting Colorado in the Winter: YMCA of the Rockies
Other activities we did not participate in but that were available included access to snowshoeing, ice skating, an indoor swimming pool, basketball court, climbing wall, community campfires, and more. View the full list of activities for each location here.
As far as dining goes, both locations offer several on-site dining options through cafes or dining halls. Since our private cabin came with a fully equipped kitchen, we decided to make all of our meals at the cabin. There is a Safeway grocery store about 10 minutes into town which had everything we needed to have hot meals each night. We did venture into town one afternoon to have lunch at Claire’s Restaurant, and I highly recommend the elk burger if you decide to go!
The only thing we wished we saw more of was wildlife! Our cabin was perfectly nestled in the trees, but we only saw birds during our stay; though one day we were told we had just missed about 10 deer near the library. Regardless, I do believe this location is a hidden gem for families, and we are looking forward to returning. If you’ve been to either YMCA of the Rockies location I would love to know how you enjoyed your stay!
And if you decide to go see snow this winter, regardless of the location, check out my post about what to pack when traveling to see snow with kids.