Estes Park in October: Weather, Things to do & More (my fav Season in Estes)

Pep Dekker

Updated on:

Estes Park in October

If you’re heading to Estes Park in October, you may be at a loss as to what to do while you’re there. 

October is not a popular time for visitors to stay in Estes Park; however, it is perhaps one of the most underrated times to stay in the beautiful region! 

October is the best time to see the beautiful fall colors in Estes Park, making the outdoor activities that are often enjoyed in Estes Park even more special. 

There is so much to do and see in Estes Park in October, many of which aren’t available during the rest of the year. 

This article will cover the essential tips for you such as activities to do, places to eat, what the weather is like, and what to pack for your trip to Estes Park in October so you can enjoy your adventure to the fullest. 

Let’s get into it!

Weather in Estes Park in October

Checking the weather is perhaps the first thing to do when planning a trip, so you can prepare appropriate activities and pack suitable clothing. The weather in Estes Park is temperate all year round; October is no exception. 

On average, the high temperature in Estes Park ranges from 16 degrees Celsius at the beginning of October to 9 degrees at the end of October. 

This range is fairly drastic because fall occurs during October so the majority of temperature change happens during this month. The average low temperature in Estes Park ranges from 2 degrees Celsius to -3 degrees. 

Estes Park experiences fairly consistent cloud cover during October, with about a 30-40% chance of being overcast. 

This cools things down considerably, perfect for getting outside for a hike or other outdoor activities. 

The chances of a rainy day occurring during October remain consistent at around 16%,  but the amount of rainfall on average decreases from 21 millimeters at the beginning of the month down to 10 at the end. 

Conversely, the chance of snow increases by the end of the month from 37 mm to 104 mm. 

The changes brought about by the Fall season also decrease the hours of sunlight in Estes Park by about an hour across October, as winter replaces the sunny season of summer. 

Overall the weather in Estes Park during October is temperate, and the cooler temperatures provide a lot more scope for outdoor activities as well as increasing the appeal of a cozy cabin!

Recommended Clothing

The cooling temperatures during October in Estes Park are great for outdoor activities, but it’s important to bring plenty of layers for your trip! 

A good base layer is always recommended to keep you toasty on the cooler days but also to strip down to if necessary in the warmer parts of the day.

As October progresses, the chance of snow increases rapidly, so it’s wise to pack at least one warm waterproof snow jacket, snow boots, a warm hat, socks, gloves, and appropriate underlayers if you plan on going outdoors while it’s snowy. 

Warm jackets at Pumpkins and Pilsners

If your trip is closer to the beginning of October, just a warm jacket, boots, and good layers are recommended; it’s not necessary to go all out with snow gear. 

The most important thing to be aware of during the change of season is to pack sufficient light layers to keep you warm enough during the cold but also that you can strip down when it gets warmer.

A waterproof jacket is essential, as the chance of rain is pretty likely!

Things to do in Estes Park in October

October is not a common month for tourists in Estes Park, but many people don’t realize that this is one of the best times to visit. 

Tourist attractions are far quieter during this time, and you can often get off-peak prices. 

It’s also the time when wild animals are most active, preparing for the winter ahead. 

The cooler temperatures mean it’s a lot more pleasant to be outdoors in October, so if you’re into wildlife watching, October is a great time to visit Estes Park1

A bonus of visiting during October is that you get to experience the gorgeous fall colors as the leaves on the trees change color from green to yellow, orange, and red. 

Hike in Rocky Mountain National Park

Hiking is perhaps at its best in October in the beautiful Rocky Mountain National Park. Wildlife is prolific, and you can explore the park underneath the striking colors of fall as the native trees lose their leaves for winter. 

The only thing to be aware of when hiking in the Rockies is the timed entry permit system, which is in place to make sure parking is available. The park is usually pretty quiet around October but be sure to check out the reservations in advance.  

Fly Fishing in the National Park

Another great way to experience the stunning fall colors in the Rocky Mountain National Park is to go fly fishing! 

All open-fishing lakes and ponds are available for fishing within the Rocky Mountain National Park, and October is one of the best times to go fishing, as the trout are prolific during this time.

Some of the best places to fly fish in Estes Park in October include Moraine Park and Sprague Lake. These spots are popular with locals, so you may even run into local pros who can give you tips to bring home a big trout!

Experience the Elk Rut & Other Wildlife Encounters

One of the most unique experiences available in Estes Park during October is the Elk Rut – which happens in a small window from September to October.

The Rut is such a special event that locals host an annual Elk Fest, which deserves its own section of this article, so read on for information about that!

This is something you won’t have the chance to experience in many other places, so be sure to check out some popular spots to view this phenomenon and to see other wildlife in action:

  • Big Thompson Canyon
  • Lake Estes
  • Moraine Park
  • Sheep Lakes
  • Trail Ridge Road.

Visit the Stanley Hotel 

October is, of course, spooky season – and there is no better place to spend it than touring around the inspiration for one of the horror movie classics, The Shining!

The Stanley Hotel offers plenty of tours, activities, and special events, especially during October which are must-do’s if you’re visiting Estes Park. 

These are especially recommended for a rainy day! Just be sure to check out the website for tours available and make a booking beforehand to secure your spot, as these can be popular. 

Prices for these tours often vary, but will cost you around $25-35 per adult. 

Events and Activities in October

Loads of events and activities only happen in October in Estes Park, often centered around Halloween, harvest, or other seasonal events that you won’t experience during the rest of the year. 

Annual Elk Fest

The Elk Fest is a fantastic way to experience the local culture of Estes Park and, of course, the local Elk. 

Consisting of food vendors, cultural performances, live music, and more, it has something for the whole family and is highly recommended if you’re visiting Estes Park during October.

You might even see some Elk roaming about!

You can learn more about the dates it falls on at the Elk Fest Website.

Pumpkins and Pilsners

Pumpkins and Pilsners is another festival that celebrates the seasonal delights of fall and the harvest, unique to Estes Park. It’s another great showcase of culture, with live music, local food vendors, and a huge pumpkin patch! 

This one is also family-friendly and offers all the essential fairground classics for a weekend of fall fun.

This is a great way to support a local non-profit foundation, as the whole event is a fundraiser for the Estes Park Education Foundation. Learn more on the website here

Haunted Objects at the Stanley

This is a Halloween special, held annually at the spooky Stanley Hotel. Explore the world’s most haunted objects, with an interactive presentation! 

To get into the Halloween spirit, this is a great experience you won’t find anywhere else. 

Historic Park Theatre

In a similar vein to Halloween-themed activities in Estes Park, you can go to the Historic Park Theatre for psychic readings, haunted tours, and ghost hunts during the Halloween season. 

You can pick up creepy souvenirs, and experience interactive tours of the history of the theater, spanning back to 1913.

The ghost hunt is always a family favorite – so be sure to visit the Historic Park Theater during the Halloween season in Estes Park!

Where to Stay

It can be overwhelming to find a good option for accommodation during your stay in Estes Park, but we’ll break down a couple of the best places to stay in Estes Park during October to make it easy for you!

The Stanley

  • Features: High-spirited activity, historic rooms, amazing views, 
  • Amenities: full kitchen, hot tubs, pool, gym, group options
  • Price Range: $109-$44 per night, subject to change
  • Website: The Stanley Hotel

We’ve already featured this iconic hotel – but what could be better than spending your time staying in the actual hotel that inspired Stephen King to write his famous novel? 

The actual hotel offers a huge range of suites and prices, so take a look at their website to see what’s on offer. This is especially recommended during the Halloween season, as the hotel is known for its high-spirited activity!

Taharaa Mountain Lodge

  • Features: Excellent views, wildlife watching
  • Amenities: Free Wifi, outdoor hot tub, free parking, onsite restaurant, complimentary breakfast
  • Price Range: $227 per night
  • Website: Taharaa

The Taharaa Mountain Lodge offers spectacular views and outstanding service and is a great place to retreat to during the fall season of October. 

The views get even better with the fall colors and chance of snowfall during October, for a really outstanding accommodation experience. 

Trailborn Rocky Mountains

  • Features: Great location, well-equipped rooms, restaurant, cafe, marketplace, on-site activities, renewable energy sources
  • Amenities: Pool, communal fire-pit, free Wifi, complimentary bikes, pet-friendly rooms, air conditioning and TV
  • Price Range: $223
  • Website: Trailborn

This hotel is a brand new addition to the accommodation options in Estes Park and is in a great location between the township and the National Park!

It is fully outfitted to provide a haven in between outdoor adventures and has plenty of on-site activities to keep the kids occupied. 

Portions from each booking at this hotel go towards local conservation efforts around Estes Park, and they also use mostly renewable energy where possible to reduce their impact on the environment. 

Where to Eat

These are some highly recommended restaurants in Estes Park that are great spots to visit in October!

Twin Owls Steakhouse

  • Cuisine: American, local
  • Price: $$$
  • Atmosphere: live music, fireplace

This steakhouse provides dining with a fantastic view, enhanced by the fall colors in October. 

It’s located in the Taharaa Mountain Lodge and is highly recommended for their steaks, wild game, and seafood. 

They serve great hand-crafted cocktails, and offer vegetarian options, despite being a steakhouse. 

 The Post Chicken and Beer

  • Cuisine: American
  • Price: $$
  • Atmosphere: Casual, fireplace, outdoor dining

The Post Chicken and Beer is an iconic American dining experience, serving premium fried chicken and beer from the original carriage house on the grounds of the Stanley Hotel! This joint also serves vegetarian options. 

Some Insider Tips For You

Finally, a few tips to make sure you don’t miss out on anything on your trip to Estes Park in October:

  • Pack casually – prioritize layers and comfortable walking shoes
  • Always check the weather beforehand – fall sees plenty of weather fluctuation 
  • Make bookings in advance
  • Bring sunscreen, chapstick, and plenty of lotion – the climate is dry
  • If in doubt, check our Estes Park website for tips and local guidelines. 

Additional References:



  • Pep Dekker

    Hey. I’m Pep, Paige's husband, and dad to Juliana, Lucille and Maxine. I'm founder and writer here at I've been living full-time in Estes Park for 3 years now and been visting the Estes Valley for 8. I'm a seasoned traveller, and all around expert on all things Estes Park, Colorado and I'm excited to share all that I've learned with you.