Diamond Resorts The Historic Crags Lodge

Diamond Resorts The Historic Crags Lodge

Diamond Resorts The Historic Crags Lodge

Diamond Resorts The Historic Crags Lodge is located in Estes Park, Colorado. I have not been to Colorado many times before, so I am excited to get the chance to spend some time in the area.

Video by Scott Brown

Day One Travel & Arrival at Diamond Resorts The Historic Crags Lodge

 

My trip began as most do to the West Coast, with a flight from my local International Airport. On this trip I would be flying into Denver International Airport then taking my rental car from there to the resort. The resort itself is about 1.5 hours from the airport, which is not a bad drive. The distance is 76 miles 1 way.

The resort is Northwest of the airport and on the other side of Denver. The resort is close to the Rocky Mountain National Park and I look forward to visiting the part during my stay.  Diamond Resorts The Historic Crags Lodge is close to the Estes Park Aerial Tramway.

I drove in on Route 36 which gives you are a great view of the area and the town that is Estes. The lodge itself is well maintained and has a period feel as you drive up. It looks authentic as a historic lodge and has a great view. It even has a restaurant called The View Restaurant. I was a little early for check in time thanks to an easy flight in and short layovers on the way. I chose to eat my first meal in the area on site.

I enjoyed a meal of rainbow trout then a peach cobbler for desert. Both were excellent. The service was fast and good, so I still had time to stock up on provisions. There are many options near the resort, the largest of which is a Safeway. We have not had a Safeway near us in Virginia for some time, but I remember going with family to those when I was really young, so that is where I went for my grocery items. While there, I picked up some breakfast food, a microwave meal, drinks, and snacks. Once ready, I headed back to check in the 1 bedroom I had booked through Tzort.

My room here is great and has the basics that you need or want. The kitchenette lacks a stove, but that only meant I needed to modify my breakfast item to purchase some. There are also many restaurants in the area that I look forward to sampling.

Villa Amenities

  • Balcony/Porch
  • Blender
  • Cable TV
  • Coffee Maker
  • Dishwasher
  • Ice Maker
  • Microwave
  • Oven
  • Refrigerator
  • Stove/Range

 

Then the resort itself offers all of these options.

Resort Amenities

  • Free WiFi
  • On Site Restaurants

 

Day Two Rocky Mountain National Park

 

If you plan on coming to Rocky Mountain National Park in 2022. I will help you understand how to plan your trip. When you come to the area and want to see the park, you’re going to need to know some of these things now. There are pass requirements in the park to limit the access and control the flow of people into the park. If you come up from the front range through Estes park and there’ are a couple of main entrances to the main park here. that’s where we come in from. You can come in from the west slope as. well let’s kind of go over what you need to do in rocky now rocky. is unique all national parks are doing something different. Yellowstone is doing something different. Yosemite, everybody seems like they’re doing something different.

Looking from the outside, it appears that this is the park’s response to COVID. Not in any way being political here, but it just seems odd that people are concerned with that when we are talking about a park that is 415 square miles. If people keep 6ft apart, what issues

Now there are three national parks in Colorado that need timed entry tickets I’m going to tell you about, and I’ll tell you who the other two are in a bit. Now Rocky Mountain National Park is one of the top visited parks. They’ve had a 72 percent increase in visitors in just the last few years, which is amazing. The staff do work very hard to keep everything safe and protect this park. So, have some patience with them. Make sure you check the website because these rules do change every year because they’re trying to iron out the kinks and see what’s going to work best for everybody, and for the park and the animals.

When you plan your trip to the park, make sure to get your passes ahead of time. You need two kinds of passes now. One the normal park passes those are the ones that cover the fees to help staff and maintain the parks. Next there are the passes to control the crowds, respond to COVID and whatever else they feel they need to do with the increase in visitors to the park these days.

Right now the as I write this from May through November of 2022, they have these pass requirements in place. As the parks management tests these procedures out, they may make adjustments for the end of 2022 and beyond. Summer is a great time to experience all the wonders of Rocky Mountain National Park, from the forest floor and open meadows of the montane life zone, climbing in elevation to the alpine lakes and up to the top of the Continental Divide and the Alpine Tundra. The elevation in Rocky spans from below 8,000 feet to over 14,000 feet above sea level. With many diverse ecosystems found in the park, there is something for everyone to discover.

Summer trips to Rocky do take planning. Rocky Mountain National Park is a busy park, with over 4.3 million people visiting in 2021. Most park visitors come between May and October.

 

Hiker Shuttle

 

Staying in Estes Park? The Hiker Shuttle provides service to passengers from the Estes Park Visitor Center, located in the Town of Estes Park, to Rocky Mountain National Park’s Park & Ride Transit Hub, located on Bear Lake Road.

Passengers will park their vehicles in the Town of Estes Park and board the Hiker Shuttle in front of the Estes Park Visitor Center.

The Hiker Shuttle does not pick up passengers at any other locations in Estes Park or in Rocky Mountain National Park.

Hiker Shuttle Tickets are required to ride the Hiker Shuttle. They are $2.00 and cover up to 4 people in a party. Hiker Shuttle Tickets are can only be reserved through www.recreation.gov.

Hiker Shuttle Ticket Holders will also need a valid park pass to enter RMNP.

Are you, or someone in your party, an annual or lifetime park pass holder? If not, park entrance passes can be purchased online through Recreation.gov.

Click here to purchase your park entrance fee online.

Once at Park & Ride, passengers may transfer to the Bear Lake or Moraine Park Shuttles to reach desired trailhead destinations. Some hiking trails are accessed directly from the Park & Ride.

After reading that, you are likely starting to understand some of the complexity of planning your trip. But that is not all. You still need to have your normal park access pass, then you also need the entry tickets for a timed entry which needs to agree with your time for the Hike Shuttle.

Here are some important notes from the Reservation.gov:

Overview

Access the Bear Lake Road corridor within Rocky Mountain National Park via the park’s Hiker Shuttle. The Hiker Shuttle provides a direct connection from the Town of Estes Park Visitor Center to RMNP’s Park and Ride transit hub, located along Bear Lake Road.

This connection allows you to leave your vehicle behind at your lodging or parked in the Town’s parking structure adjacent to the Estes Park Visitor Center (near the intersections of HWY 36 and 34) and access many of the park’s most well-known destinations within the Bear Lake Road corridor using the park’s interior shuttle system. Additionally, the shuttle system allows you to create your own “loop” hikes, enabling you start at one trailhead and exit at another.

When you are ready to return to the Estes Park Visitor Center, simply return to the park’s Park and Ride transit hub to catch a return Hiker Shuttle back to town. Please remember, the last bus departs from Park and Ride at 5:15 pm.

Please keep in mind that Hiker Shuttle tickets only allow you to access to the Bear Lake Road corridor inside RMNP.

Your Hiker Shuttle ticket is only valid for the Hiker Shuttle. You cannot drive your vehicle into Rocky using this ticket.

When booking your Hiker Shuttle reservation, please be aware that all members of your party, regardless of age, need a ticket to ride the Hiker Shuttle. One person may reserve up to 4 tickets per $2.00 reservation. If your party needs more than four tickets, another member of your party will need to book an additional reservation.

Seats are limited. Please only book the number of tickets you need so others may enjoy the park experience.

 

Need To Know

Booking

When booking your Hiker Shuttle reservation, please be aware that all members of your party, regardless of age, need a ticket to ride the Hiker Shuttle. One person may reserve up to 4 tickets per $2.00 reservation. If your party needs more than four tickets, another member of your party will need to book an additional reservation.

Private Vehicle Access

Please keep in mind that Hiker Shuttle tickets only allow you to access to the Bear Lake Road corridor inside RMNP.

Private vehicle access is not permitted with this ticket. You will need a Private Vehicle Timed Entry Permit Reservation to enter the park using your vehicle. Those can be found at https://www.recreation.gov/timed-entry/10086910

Hiker Shuttle Schedules

The Rocky Mountain National Park Hiker Shuttles departs from the Estes Park Visitor Center and goes to RMNP’s Park and Ride Transit Hub, located on the Bear Lake Road. At the Park & Ride Transit Hub, riders will transfer to the Bear Lake or Moraine Park Shuttles.

The last Hiker Shuttle will depart from the Park & Ride Transit Hub to return to the Estes Park Visitor Center at 5:15 pm. There are no other buses to town, be sure not to miss the last Hiker Shuttle bus.

Schedule for returning shuttles departing from RMNP’s Park & Ride Transit Hub, heading back to the Estes Park Visitor Center: 9:45am, 10:15am, 11:15am, 12:00pm, 12:45pm, 1:30pm, 3:00pm, 3:45pm, 4:30pm, 5:15pm

You may return to the Estes Park Visitor Center using any return Hiker Shuttle throughout the day.

Entrance Fees

A valid park entrance fee or park pass is required to enter the park. Entrance fees may be purchased on line in advance here: https://www.recreation.gov/sitepass/74291. All entrance passes will be checked at the time of boarding the Hiker Shuttle. For more information on park entrance fees and annual passes please visit: Fees & Passes – Rocky Mountain National Park (U.S. National Park Service) (nps.gov)

 

Details on the times entry passes

The timed entry pass is being handled as a vehicle control pass. So if you are coming in on the Hike Shuttle you should be good, or if you are riding in on a bike, you may be fine as well. Although at these altitudes, it would seem you would need to be a heck of a biker.

 

Timed Entry Permits are Vehicle Permits

A Timed Entry Permit will cover one vehicle and all passengers in the vehicle. If there are multiple vehicles in your party, each vehicle must have a Timed Entry Permit and a valid park entrance pass to enter the park.

The person whose name is on the Timed Entry Permit Reservation must be present in the vehicle.

The Timed Entry Permit holder does not have to be the holder of the valid park entrance pass. One driver or passenger in a vehicle can be the Timed Entry Permit holder and another passenger or the driver can be the park entrance pass holder.

When arriving at the park’s entrance gate, the Timed Entry Permit Holder and Park Pass holder should be prepared to show their reservation confirmation, their valid park pass, and valid photo ID (s) for the permit holders.

 

When will Timed Entry Permit Reservations Be Released for Purchase During the Summer Season?

Timed Entry Permit Reservations are only available through Recreation. gov. To book your Timed Entry Permit, click on the following website link: www. recreation. gov.

Reservations will become available on May 2 at 10 a.m. (MDT) for reservations to enter the park from May 27 through June 30.

Reservations will become available on June 1, at 10 a.m. (MDT) for reservations to enter the park during the month of July (and any remaining days that have not been booked for June).

Reservations will become available on July 1, at 10 a.m. (MDT) for reservations to enter the park during the month of August (and any remaining days that have not been booked for July).

Reservations will become available on August 1, at 10 a.m. (MDT) for reservations to enter the park during the month of September (and any remaining days that have not been booked for August).

Reservations will become available on September 1, at 10 a.m. (MDT) for reservations to enter the park during the month of October (and any remaining days that have not been booked for September).

Initially, 25 to 30 percent of permits will be held and available for purchase the day prior at 5 p.m. through recreation. gov. These are expected to sell out quickly and visitors are encouraged to plan ahead when possible.

 

Times and Locations Requiring a Timed Entry Permit Reservation

There are two Timed Entry Permit options available to choose from (you only need one):

Option 1 – Park Access + the Bear Lake Road Corridor provides access to all areas of RMNP, including destinations along the Bear Lake Road. This option is best for visitors interested in visiting Bear Lake, Moraine Park, Glacier Gorge, and more.

Timed Entry Permit Reservations are in effect from 5 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Reservations are not required to access the Bear Lake Road Corridor before 5 am or after 6 pm.

Option 2 – Park Access, Does Not Include Bear Lake Road, allows for access to all areas of RMNP, except for destinatons along the Bear Lake Road. This Timed Entry Permit option is best for those interested in hiking at Wild Basin, visiting Sheep Lakes, driving over Trail Ridge Road, and exploring destinations on the west side of the park.

These Timed Entry Permits are required to enter the park from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Reservations are not required for this area of the park prior to 9 am or after 3 pm.

Permits issued using the reservation system will allow park visitors to enter the park within two-hour windows of availability.

The reservation system will apply to all areas of the park.

eserving a Timed Entry Permit Reservation Online

To book a Timed Entry Permit Reservation, visit Recreation. gov by clicking on the following website: www. recreation. gov or:

by calling the Reservation Line: 877-444-6777

Reservation International: 606-515-6777

Reservation Line (TDD) 877-833-6777

Or by using the recreation. gov mobile app (iOS/Android).

Timed Entry Permit Reservations are only availabe through Recreation. gov. They cannot be purchased at park entrance stations, visitor centers, or anywhere in RMNP.

Timed Entry Permit Reservations are free but require a nonrefundable $2 reservation processing fee.

Visitors are encouraged to set up their Recreation. gov account in advance and secure a Timed Entry Permit Reservation prior to arriving at the park.

Once you set up an account, you will select the day you plan to visit the park, add it to your cart, and process payment.

Visit the article on the Recreation. gov Help Center for detailed information on purchasing a reservation.

After payment, you will receive an e-mail confirmation with an attached Entry Reservation Ticket. Visitors should save the entry reservation ticket (e.g., print, download, screenshot).

Timed Entry Permit Reservations are non-transferable and resale or auction of reservations is prohibited.

Reservations will be based on approximately 90 percent of the park’s total parking capacity.

 

Qualifying Park Passes and Entrance Fees Include

Rocky Mountain National Park Entrance Fees and Pass

1-Day Pass – Automobile – $30

1-Day Pass – Per Person – $15

1-Day Pass – Motorcycle – $25

Rocky Mountain National Park Annual Pass – $70

America the Beautiful Passes

Annual – $80

Every Kid in a Park Annual 4th Grade Pass–Free to 4th Graders

Annual Pass for Military – Free

Annual or Lifetime Senior Pass – $20 or $80

Access Pass–Free

Volunteer Pass – Free

Lifetime Golden Age Passes are also honored.
Click here for more information on Park Passes and Entrance Fees. In addition to the passes and fees listed above, entry to the park will require a Timed Entry Permit Reservation or a Service Reservation, as described in the detailed information on this page and on the map above. Please read through this information carefully.

OK, now you have the scoop on the passes and access. Now let’s talk about your visit to the park itself. This is an amazing park. I will share a video on this page so you can see and almost feel the experience for yourself. It truly does make all the past and planning worries leave your mind once you are here.

This National Park has some of the most stunning views, and amazing direct nature access. There is a reason songs have been written. As I write this, I can almost hear a John Denver song in my mind.

 

There is a great deal to see in the National Park. I am doing the Hiking Trip but you can even book a horseback riding tour if you’re interested in experiencing the surrounding scenery in a unique way. If you’re a climber, or kayaker rentals and excursion packages can be found in downtown Estes as well. After spending the day hiking exploring skiing or climbing Estes Park is a great place to enjoy a hot meal or adult beverage. There are also many, shops galleries and boutiques that line the town’s main street.

Elkhorn avenue hosts my top picks for dining, which include Rock Cut Brewing Company, Pepper’s Mexican Grill, and Antonio’s real New York Pizza and Deli.

Running directly through the heart of town is the big Thompson river along its banks. You’ll find a wide range of waterfront dining and shopping establishments.

 

Waterfalls

 

While Rocky Mountain National Park boasts more than 30 waterfalls most of these can be found east of the continental divide concentrated heavily in two areas glacier gorge and wild basin you can also access several gorgeous falls from the fern lake trailhead.

 

Horseshoe Falls

It is a short and easy family-favorite hike near Estes Park, Colorado which starts from the Alluvial Fan Trailhead but also be viewed from the roadside. This is an amazing waterfall. One of those that have multiple drops and it makes it look amazing. It is a must see. Even if you just drive to take a, look make sure you do.

 

COPELAND FALLS

Distance: 0.6 miles Round Trip
Drive Time from Denver: 1 Hour 30 Minutes
Difficulty: Easy
You won’t be able to miss Copeland Falls in the Wild Basin area in RMNP, as it is the first waterfall along the main trail and is just a short hike from the trailhead.

 

Again, those are my favorite two, but there are many more in the area which will you fall in love with?

 

Day Three Estes Itself

 

There is a ton to do in see even outside of the National Park. This site covers more falls and the trails to get to them and is worth checking out.

The resort itself is very close to the Estes Park Aerial , so I just had to check that out and see the summit here. This is the Cable car to Prospect Mountain summit. It is a breathtaking spot and well worth the ride.

 

Estes Park Museum

 

My next stop was the Estes Park Museum. Here you can step back in time and see the area and its history since 1864. It is a small museum but still has well over 30,000 items, many which are photos and small exhibits that allow you to step back in time. This makes the history of the area and even your stay at the lodge more memorable because it is a part of that rich history as well.

 

If you want to travel to one of our finest National Parks and stay at a great centrally located historic lodge, this is the one for you. Just make sure to book it through Tzort.

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