15 Ways To Expand Your Rocky Mountain National Park Vacation Through Loveland
As Rocky Mountain National Park slowly reopens to the public, expand your Colorado experience and rediscover hidden gems, check out new offerings and shop at mom-and-pop businesses before you get to Estes Park. Loveland’s proximity to Rocky Mountain National Park (35 minutes), abundant activities, affordable hotels with no limited stay requirements and easy access to fun in surrounding areas makes Loveland the ideal base camp for your Rocky Mountain adventures. As you plan your Colorado mountain getaway, expand your trip through Loveland with this top 15 list.
Outdoor Adventure and Sports
- Golf – Check out the new TPC Colorado course, or enjoy beautiful views of the Rockies at one of Loveland’s three golf courses where golfers at all levels feel at home – all on your way into the Rockies.
- Fishing – The Big Thompson River is a fisherman’s playground and fly fishing is great in the fall. River’s Edge Natural Area near downtown Loveland is a great spot to bring the kiddos for some relaxing fishing fun.
- Lower-elevation hiking and biking – With 12-miles of trails that connect to Rimrock Open Space and Horsetooth Mountain Open Space, Devil’s Backbone west of Loveland provides a great hiking or mountain biking experience for beginners, families and dog-lovers (just leash and pick up). Find the keyhole for beautiful views of the Rocky Mountains and the perfect picturesque place for group photo or selfie.
- Authentic Colorado dude ranch – Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch is a family-owned and family-centric dude ranch at the base of Big Thompson Canyon that is perfect for a Colorado dude ranch getaway. Come for the Great Grownup Getaway, Cowgirl Roundup or bring the kids for some hayrides and horseback riding. Bonus – the ranch is the lowest elevation dude ranch in Colorado and the closest to Denver International Airport.
- Big Thompson Canyon – One of the most scenic canyon drives in the state of Colorado, Big Thompson Canyon follows the river as it weaves through the Rocky Mountains up to Estes Park. It is not uncommon to see cars pulled to the side of the canyon taking photos of wildlife such as bighorn sheep, mule deer and elk grazing or crossing the highway. Its beauty attracts visitors from all over the world.
Top Art/Culture/Lifestyle Activities
- Feel the LOVE – Visit the largest love lock sculpture of its kind in the U.S. Stop at the Visitors Center and buy a lock, engrave it and lock it on the sculpture. Or, find the sculpture at Lake Loveland. Be sure to get a photo and tag #visitloveland and #lovelandlovelocks in your photos.
- Sculpture Gardens – Make a stop at Benson Sculpture Garden with one of the largest collections of sculpture on display in the U.S. to stretch your legs and take in some culture on your way. Before you turn onto US 34, don’t miss Chapungu Sculpture Park behind the Promenade Shops at Centerra.
- Art gallery – Artists of all mediums make Loveland home. Stop into any gallery to see beautiful artwork and you might even meet the artist!
- Sample delicious craft beer – Loveland’s 11 craft breweries have put Loveland on the map as a craft beer destination. Stop by and sip delicious flavors.
- Shopping – Need some new clothes or Colorado-swag during your trip? Hit up many different shops across the City – from the Outlets at Loveland, to the Promenade Shops at Centerra to our downtown district.
Iconic #OnlyInLoveland Destinations
- Downtown District – From local boutiques and art galleries to lively theater, restaurants, breweries and entertainment play places. The Flipside, a pinball arcade, serves up fun and delicious drinks; Downtown Sound has all of your vinyl favorites; Home & Hearth meets your kitchen and home design needs, and Betta Gumbo spices up every meal. Plus, the new Townplace Suites by Marriott hotel brings you closer to the action as Loveland’s first downtown hotel.
- Sip and savor at Sweetheart Winery – Loveland’s winery has been open for just a year but has turned into a hotspot for wine lovers to indulge their senses with a range of wine varietals. From big, bold reds to crisp, bright whites, experience the flavors at the heart of Sweetheart Winery. Outdoor seating brings refreshing sounds from the Big Thompson River that runs near the winery and visitors can revel in gorgeous Rocky Mountain views.
- The Dam Store – The iconic Dam Store is a must-stop destination along U.S. 34 in west Loveland, just before Big Thompson Canyon to Estes Park. Since 1969, this family-owned and operated business has been known for its eclectic mix of T-shirts, gifts, jewelry, moccasins and of course, buffalo jerky. They have recently brought in “Made in Colorado” and local artists sections.
- Sweet treats – Sunny Jim’s Candy Ranch goodies are made fresh daily in their kitchen the old-fashioned way. They use time-tested recipes that go back nearly a century. Be sure to try the Rocky Mountain Frogs or the Olde Tyme English Toffee. The shop is just west of Devil’s Backbone on West US 34. Head to the original Colorado Cherry Company just up Big Thompson Canon for some delicious handmade cheery treats and goodies.
Create your own Loveland adventure now.