We stayed in Estes Park for 3 nights during October 2009. There were not many tourists which made the whole experience pleasant. I could see where going during peak tourist season would be crowded and conjested in the town. There are plenty of places to shop and a wide variety of eateries. Food tends to be overpriced but that is to be expected of a tourist town. The elk were in rut during our visit. They are all over!