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The Gateway to the Rocky Mountain National Park
by Stormy on August 12, 2001

Estes Park has long been a small quiet resort town lost in the wilderness of the Rocky Mountains. It's a tourist destination. And it's the gateway to the Rocky Mountain National Park.

Estes Park is a popular summer resort town in north central Colorado, located in the southern end of Larimer County, at an elevation of 7,522 feet above sea level. The population of 5,400 people (2000 census) hosts in excess of four million tourists every year as visitors flood in to explore the natural wonders of the Rocky Mountains. Estes Park is named after Joel Estes, a prospector who settled in what he called the Estes Valley in 1859. Estes Park is the home of The Stanley Hotel which was built in the early 1900s by Freelan and Francis Stanley, founders of the Stanley Steamer Company. This hotel was Stephen King's inspiration for the fictional Overlook Hotel in The Shining and also appeared in Dumb and Dumber as Hotel Danbury. Estes Park sits on the eastern boarder of the Rocky Mountain National Park and is connected to Grand Lake, on the park's western boarder by the 50 mile long Trail Ridge Road, a part of U.S. Highway 34. Trail Ridge Road is the highest continuously paved highway in the United States, reaching an elevation of 12,183 feet just east of Milner Pass, where it crosses the Continental Divide. The highest mountain in the 415 square mile Rocky Mountain National Park is Long's Peak, reaching an elevation of 14,259 feet.

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