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“Hit or Miss, but Great Scenery”

Trailhead Restaurant
Ranked #34 of 127 Restaurants in Estes Park
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $5 - $30
Cuisines: American, International
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Scenic view, Families with children, Local cuisine, Kids, Large groups
Dining options: Lunch, Breakfast, Dinner, Brunch, Accepts American Express, Accepts Discover, Accepts Mastercard, Accepts Visa, Free Wifi, Full Bar, Highchairs Available, Outdoor Seating, Parking Available, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Takeout, Waitstaff, Wheelchair Accessible, Wine and Beer
Description: The Trailhead Restaurant can be entered from the gift shop. At the Trailhead you may enjoy breakfast, lunch or dinner and beverages, including regionally brewed and national brand beers, served from our Old West log bar. The experience of the Trailhead will be unforgettable as you dine surrounded by a panorama of towering mountains and the nearby seductive high peaks and forests of Rocky Mountain National Park.For those wanting a truly remarkable dining experience, try a meal on our expansive log and stone pillar open-air deck. From your table you will be treated to a magnificent view of mountains soaring above Fall River as it winds past forests, meadows and grazing wildlife. To the east you will see Fall River Valley bordered by mountains. To the west are majestic high peaks with a glimpse of Trail Ridge Road, leading to the Continental Divide and all that awaits you ahead in the Park, including the region’s highest mountain: Long’s Peak.While enjoying your meal or drink, have a park meal prepared, packed and ready-to-go when you are. Or, if a visit to our restaurant is not possible, you may simply want to take snacks, coffee, or other beverages and one of our packaged lunches with you. Don’t forget dessert!
Austin, Texas
Level Contributor
97 reviews
57 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 60 helpful votes
“Hit or Miss, but Great Scenery”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 2, 2013

Right next to the entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park sits the Trailhead Restaurant. It is in a string of buildings that includes the Fall River Visitor's Center (open seasonally - ie., not in winter), an expansive gift store, and the restaurant.

My experiences have been consistent with other reviewers. Some of the options are quite good (hot, fresh fries, the wraps, and so on) and others not so great (the elk stew, some of the burgers). I've never eaten breakfast here, so I can't comment on that but the breakfast menu looks good.

The service can be a bit slow, but other times it has been pretty quick. I think it depends on your server.

The scenery is awesome - looking towards the park and towering pines as you eat.

The adjoining gift store - which has 2 floors - has something for everyone. From the usual stuff (t-shirts, mugs, etc.) to the exotic (handmade wooden crafts, night lights, lotions).

  • Visited May 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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324 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • German first
  • Japanese first
  • Any
English first
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 25, 2013

We should've known better when we showed up at 7pm & the place was a ghosttown. We sat outside & the view was great. My husband asked if a substitution could be made on a meal & was told no because 'it was premade'. We both had the house specialty elk stew, it came out luke warm, bland, & between both of us we had 7 pieces (approx 1" cubes) of elk, 3 of which were just chunks of gristle. We both felt Dinte Moore made higher quality stew. My cornbread pieces were dark brown. We each ate 3-4 bites & couldnt take anymore. When our server finally returned we asked to cash out & expressed our disappointment in the meal. Our server returned with the check & had taken 10% off. We asked to speak with the manager & were told the manager wasnt there that day, & staff couldnt take off more than 10%, but we could pay the entire check & return another
day to speak with a manager. Just what I wanted to do on vacation. We've worked in restaurants & knew how messed up this was, we also felt bad for our server. She ended up taking our 2 beers off & the 10%. We paid $28 for this horrible meal. Way better places to go in Estes than this.

  • Visited June 2013
    • Service
    • Food
2 Thank MagdeloneD
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
103 reviews
70 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
“Average food, service was sloooowwwww.”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 21, 2013

The food here was average, problem being a little bland. The server seemed to take an extra long time responding to requests, perhaps having a bad day? We noticed other servers on top of their game and being very attentive. Word of warning...if you decide to sit outside and enjoy the beautiful scenery they have hummingbird feeders under the tables. Yep, we got pooped on a couple times! LOL!

Visited June 2013
Thank Gobuckeyes11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boston, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
70 reviews
34 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 51 helpful votes
“Nice place & good food”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 18, 2013

We got takeout from the Trailhead and were delighted that the containers were eco-friendly. Elk stew was excellent, as was the fish & chips (served with fries & cole slaw) and a homemade vegetable soup. Very reasonable prices. The restaurant looked spotless and nicely decorated and the views out the window were amazing. We didn't eat there so I can't comment on the service but our takeout was ready when promised and the food was very good.

  • Visited June 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Food
Thank koconnor20
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lake Ozark
Level Contributor
50 reviews
6 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
“Nice place. Plan to go back next visit to Estes Park.”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 17, 2013

Excellent customer service with the option of dining inside or out. Restaurant features atypical rustic lodge-like Colorado decor and a wide selection of items on the menu to accomodate tastes ranging from "down home" to "vegetarian" and everything in between. The restaurant is similar to "cracker barrel" in that it is attached to a very large store featuring items ranging from souvenir trinkets to high dollar art and western wear. Recommend this restaurant highly.

  • Visited June 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank a_midwestern_family
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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