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“Heaven on Earth”

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YMCA of the Rockies
Certificate of Excellence
Carlsbad
Level Contributor
57 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
“Heaven on Earth”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 6, 2008

I half jokingly say when I die I want my ashes sprinkled over this amazing place. We have vacationed here 4 out of the last 5 years and will return for a week this summer. It is the PERFECT family vacation. Inexpensive, beautiful location, so much to do for EVERYONE in the family. We initially stayed at the Alpen Inn which is a very basic dorm style "hotel". Nothing luxurious but clean.
The other 3 years we've stayed in 3 bedroom cabins. Again they are cabins, not 5 star resorts, but comfy, cozy, and fully equipped except no television which you won't miss!
The ONLY downside I can think of is no spa or nice fitness facility or exercise classes. You really don't need to take time to exercise as many of the long, beautiful hikes (organized through the Y w/hike masters & FREE) through R.M.N. Park will suffice!
Kids go to camp (optional & an extra cost but affordable & worth every penny) from about 9-3 while you have time with your spouse or significant other. I could go on & on about my beloved YMCA of the Rockies but I don't want to convince too many people to come! Ha Ha.
It is already tough enough to get a reservation during the peak (July & August) unless you are a long time member. We have been lucky to get our first choice (end of June) though we only have 4 years "seniority". Families return year after year, generation after generation for fun & family bonding. It is doubtful you'll get bored at the Y but if you do, just head down the road to Estes Park for lovely quaint shopping, "the rainbow slide"
as my kids call it, delicious restaurants and so much more. BTW if you are willing to stay in one of the lodges you will have more flexibility with the dates you want to come.
The only person I'd discourage from coming is someone who is looking for luxury or night life.

  • Liked — location, view, price, clean, comfortable, cozy
  • Stayed June 2006, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
3 Thank want2go67
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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880 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
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English first
Lancaster, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
14 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 76 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 3, 2008

If you have never been to the YMCA of the Rockies, you are in for a real treat. Although our family usually tends to stay in luxury accommodations while on vacation, we decided to give the kids a more rustic and authentic outdoor experience by taking them to the YMCA of the Rockies. (Note: You do not need to be Christian to go there; my husband is Jewish and was not the least bit uncomfortable in this setting.) Although if you are Christian, you will probably enjoy the religiously oriented activities that are offered.

Anyway, we booked a three bedroom cabin with fireplace called the Sunny Pine. It was up on a hill, and a bit of a walk to and from the main lodge. We don't mind the walking, but there are some steep slopes on the property, so if you have trouble walking, you may want to request a cabin closer to the main lodge.

Our cabin was rustic and the furnishings plain, pretty much what we expected. However, for the price of $219 a night, it certainly seemed very reasonable. Cabins in or near other national parks can be twice the price of the Y. It had 1 - 1/2 baths which was fine for our party of five. The bathrooms are small and a bit outdated and the flooring was coming up, but other than that were fine. This is a cabin after all, not a hotel room. It also had a large wood burning fireplace, and the first cord of wood is supplied by the Y. The fireplace is also a nice feature. The cabin also had a small living/dining area and a kitchen. I think our only disappointment was the kitchen, as it was not well supplied or outfitted, and lacked a lot of basic utensils and pans. It also had a small countertop microwave. However, the lack of amenities in the cabin were easily outweighed by the stunning view of the Rocky Mountains all around us. The view was just breathtaking, and the air is so clear and smells so good. It lifts your spirits just to be here. There is a beautiful outside deck with big Adirondack chairs to sit on and take in the view.

The YMCA has lots of on site activities, but you would be smart to review all these ahead of time and sign up as soon as you get there, because a lot of the activities fill up quick, even in early June. There is also a daily program for children and teens, (which we did not sign up for) and they seem to have some great activities, such as zip lining in the forest, daily trips and hikes. We had three teens with us, and they did try to join the teen get togethers at night, but then decided they preferred to hang out on their own. However, if your older kids sign up for the daily camp program, they will likely meet a lot of other kids their age and make some friends. What's nice is that there are a lot of other activities during the day that kids can sign up for such as archery, crafts, volleyball, hikes, white water rafting, etc. You can also go horseback riding (for a fee) and we did. This is one of the nicest horseback rides we have been on - we did the 2 hr. Moraine Park ride and it was fantastic. The horses are very gentle and the stable has an excellent staff. They also seem to select their horses very carefully and treat them very well.

We also signed up for a hike to a nearby mountain, and found our YMCA guide to be very knowledgeable and just a real nice person. The hike was challenging but well worth it. (Sorry I can't remember the name of the mountain we hiked to.)

Other nice things about the Y are that you can eat very cheaply there in the cafeteria. It's not the greatest food, but is plentiful and really helps to keep costs down. There is also a snack bar in the main lodge building, (the only place you can get internet and cell phone reception) and they have many quick items for breakfast or lunch there. The best deal is the coffee, you buy one of their insulated mugs and you can use it to get free refills all week long. The coffee was excellent quality and I highly recommend the mug deal if you drink at least one cup a day. The lodge is a busy place and there are lots of college age kids there using their laptops, so this would be a great meeting spot for the older teen/young adult age group.

In terms of activities, we spent most of our time visiting Rocky Mountain National Park (Trail Ridge Road is spectacular!) and also went on a number of hikes, as well as did some shopping in town. My favorite stores are 30 Below Leather (everything is below $30 and there are some great deals on purses, belts, etc.) and also the two rock and mineral stores in town, which I found fascinating because of their collections of fossils and meteorites. The town of Estes Park is rather touristy but still quaint and attractive, and there are numerous good restaurants.

I will say that the weather there in June can be quite unpredictable, and a coat is definitely needed at times. One night there was a huge windstorm, and it also snowed. So while it can be in the 60's to 70's during the day, it can also go down to the 30's and 40's at night that time of year. If you go up into the national park, the higher altitudes are very cold and windy, so dress accordingly. One night the wind was so strong it blew our heavy adirondack chairs clear across the deck. So a windbreaker type jacket would be a good idea too.

In closing, I would highly recommend the YMCA of the Rockies, for its beautiful setting, economical accommodations, multitude of activities, and wholesome atmosphere. It is a GREAT place for a family vacation or reunion, and I would love to go back.

  • Liked — The incredible setting and view just outside Rocky Mountain National Park
  • Disliked — The cabin is fairly rustic (no laundry, very basic kitchen and baths) and there is no internet or cell phone reception except at the lodge
  • Stayed June 2007, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
9 Thank Exurbanite
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Durand, Michigan
Level Contributor
7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 23, 2007

We stayed at the YMCA of the Rockies for three nights. Our purpose was a reunion. You must remember that they are accomodating and serving meals to hundreds of people of different groups at a time. The setting is awesome! The views of Rocky Mt. Park are outstanding. The facility seemed dated -- sort of a 70's dormitory feel. The food was acceptable for cafeteria style.
If you have a large group / reunion this is your place, but a bit pricey for the value.

  • Liked — The location
  • Disliked — The dated furniture in the rooms
  • Stayed August 2007, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
7 Thank RPCVKiko
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
College Station, Texas
Level Contributor
30 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 20, 2007

We stayed in a 2 bedroom cabin with a fireplace at the YMCA of the Rockies. The cabin was clean and roomy enough for our family of 5. While there are cabins available at the Y with TVs and other modern conveniences, we purposely choose to be without and are very glad we did. We cooked all of our breakfasts, and most of our lunches at the cabin and the kitchen had everything we needed including refrigerator, stove, oven, microwave, coffee maker, cookware, and silverware. We bought our week's supply of food at the local grocery store in Estes Park.

There are numerous activities scheduled all day long for guests to participate in and most are at no additional cost. You can do as much or as little as you want. The activities are varied and therefore you are sure to find something that appeals to all ages in your party. Some examples include hiking, putt putt, scavenger hunt, compass reading, bingo, ping pong, horseshoes, horseback riding, high ropes, hayrides, swimming, and the list goes on.

The entrance to the Rocky Mountain National Forest is just a short drive from the Y. The town of Estes Park is also close by and has numerous restaurants, shops, and ice cream parlors to keep you entertained and fed.

Most things on the Y grounds are within walking distance of the cabins. The views are incredible. On several days we saw mule deer from our cabin windows.

This was by far the best and most economical family vacation we've taken. I would highly recommend the YMCA Estes Park.

  • Liked — Scenery, numerous activities
  • Disliked — nothing
  • Stayed July 2007, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
9 Thank rev5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Milwaukee WI
Level Contributor
38 reviews
28 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 16, 2007

Never having been to CO, I had NO expectations, other than the fact that it is truly God's Country. I knew the Rockies would be beautiful, but the YMCA of the Rockies made our stay WONDERFUL. True, the fancy amenities aren't there, but when you are visiting such a beautiful place, the distractions of TV or other modern conveniences would be foolish.
My 8 yr old daughter missed the TV the first day, but never said another word about it after that. We had so much fun doing the planned activities, along with swimming, hiking and crafts. We also took a White water rafting trip, a 2 hr horseback ride up Emerald Mountain, and had an evening campfire-complete with marshmellows. This is truly a place to bond with those you love and cherish the beautiful country we were given. Just looking up at the stars was a treat for this City girl.

The evening noise is an issue, but this is something that won't be easy to deal with. Kids will always be kids, and will always make noise!! I would reccommend earplugs. We were so pooped from the daily activities that we fell asleep without any problem.

We stayed in the Wind River Lodge and had daily maid service. Our room/bed was made up, and our towels were changed daily.

Stayed August 2007
Helpful?
8 Thank madsmombv
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about YMCA of the Rockies

Property: YMCA of the Rockies
Address: 2515 Tunnel Road, Estes Park, CO 80511
Phone Number:
Location: United States > Colorado > Estes Park
Amenities:
Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly )
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 77 Specialty Lodging in Estes Park
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 600
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
We are located outside of Rocky Mountain National Park. We have 7 lodges and 206 cabins spread over 860 acres. Perfect for family vacations, reunions, retreats and conferences. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Ymca Of The Rockies Hotel Estes Park
Ymca Of The Rockies Estes Park Center

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