YMCA of the Rockies Estes Park FUN Affordable Family Vacation

Maybe you’ve heard of YMCA of the Rockies in Estes Park, Colorado. Have you been? If not, you are missing out on an awesome, affordable family vacation in Colorado. Here is a YMCA of the Rockies Estes Park review and breakdown of what to expect.

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While you might be familiar with YMCAs spread all over the country, most YMCAs are like a community center or recreation center. What’s the difference between those and the YMCA Estes Park center?

The YMCA Estes Park has a ton of lodging. So it’s more of a vacation, retreat, or even family reunion. Stay a while and enjoy all the YMCA of the Rockies has to offer.

looking out a cabin window onto a snow covered ground on a sunny day with text overlay "all you need to know YMCA Estes Park, CO for a fun affordable trip"

Where is YMCA of the Rockies?

If you are talking about YMCA of the Rockies, there are actually two locations. One is in Winter Park, CO and it is called Snow Mountain Ranch.

This post is a review of YMCA of the Rockies in Estes Park. It’s located through the town of Estes Park and just on the border of Rocky Mountain National Park. This gives great proximity to endless, beautiful hiking.

map of YMCA Estes Park

my map of YMCA Estes park; don’t mind the highlighter.

YMCA of the Rockies Map

When you check into the YMCA of the Rockies, they will provide you a map of the campus. But here is a sneak peak so you can get your bearings a little.

We arrived at nighttime and it was easy to find the check-in area thanks to all the signs leading you to it. It was a little trickier finding our cabin in the dark.

Layout of the YMCA Estes Park

If you look at the map, you’ll see that the very center of the YMCA campus has many of the main public buildings. This includes the dining hall, check-in area, a general store (souvenirs, toothbrushes, milk, etc.), pool, craft center, and Sweet Memorial. The Longhouse is also kinda in the center, but you’ll have to drive around to access it.

The main things you’ll use most are mostly in the center of campus.

But there are other areas that are useful that are not right in the center.

If you’d like to do some outdoor archery, ride the horses, go axe throwing, or use the climbing wall (all these are extra $), you’ll have to find these around the YMCA area.


YMCA of the Rockies – Main Buildings

There are a couple main buildings at the YMCA that you’ll be at most.

a huge gym area with high ceilings and a few people playing and runnign

The Longhouse

Whether you are coming as a family or as a large group, you will be a regular at the Longhouse! This is a huge gym area. It has multiple basketball courts, a volleyball court, plus taped areas for shuffle board and four-square.

Toward the back (right side) of the Longhouse you’ll find a cage of balls you can play with.

The Longhouse is also where many scheduled activities take place, like floor hockey, capture the flag, ultimate frisbee, etc. You’ll have a chance to play with other visitors and form some great teams (and great memories).

Also located at the Longhouse is the indoor archery area. You can schedule archery ($) for your family.

Indoor archery actually turns into a roller-rink at night. It’s free to rent some skates and use the rink. You can also bring your own skates if you’d like. Reminisce to your own childhood with music playing and lights hanging around the roller rink.

Sweet Memorial

Sweet Memorial is located in the center near the check-in building and dining halls (just across the small road).

Many of the scheduled activities take place at Sweet Memorial. They often do nature-education programs and fun activities. For example, we learned about birds and then got to go find the birds and come back and make a bird feeder. Or make a solar oven and cook s’mores. Or make Ooblek.

You get the idea.

There are so many great and fun programs that take place at Sweet Memorial that younger kids will especially enjoy.

Along with scheduled activities, Sweet Memorial is a base for renting anything you need (like sleds, in the winter time. They are free, you just need to check them out.)

You can also browse the many games and puzzles. Play them at the tables of Sweet Memorial or check them out and take them to your lodging.

Lastly (and one of my kids favorites) is the game room on the bottom floor of Sweet Memorial. Here you’ll find ping pong tables, a billiard table, two shuffle board tables, life-size Connect 4, cornhole, basketball shootout game, and fooseball.

For the littles, you’ll find a toddler room with toys attached to the bigger-kid game room. Here you’ll find things like Lincoln Logs and train tables.

indoor pool area, lifeguard sitting on red chair to the right, lap lane painting on the pool floor

Dorsey Pool

If your kids are anything like ours, then this will be the first place they look for. It’s right next to Sweet Memorial. In fact, they share a parking lot.

The pool at YMCA of the Rockies is huge. It has a few lap lanes, a huge play area that starts at 3 feet and goes to 4 feet.

Then there is a deep area up to 10 feet that is blocked off and can only be accessed by adults or kids that pass a swim test.

The waterslide drops into the deep end, so the kids will have to take the swim test if they want to do the slide.

The pool has men’s and women’s changing rooms with a bathroom and showers. There are no lockers. You have to shower off before entering the pool.

There is also a family changing area.

Towels are provided at the pool.

girl standing at messy art table working grout into a small wodden box

Mootz Craft and Design Center

This was another of my kids’ favorite places at the YMCA in Estes Park.

This building is completely dedicated to crafting. You can browse the huge selection of wooden items or ceramics. Then you can paint and/or mosaic them.

The ceramics can be glazed and fired, so you’ll need to do these ahead of time so they can be picked up the next day.

There is also a large jewelry section filled with all sorts of beads and charms (for 4th grade and up).

You could also choose to tie-dye something and fashion something new.

Note that the arts and crafts do cost extra money. However, I didn’t feel like the prices were inflated. We loved being able to allow all our kids to choose a craft but not feel like we were spending a ton of money.

They made some pretty cute stuff and my daughter even mosaic’d something. We spent just over $20 for over an hour of crafting and all the supplies for 4 kids.

More Amenities and Activities at YMCA Estes Park

Besides the main areas mentioned, there are still more things to do at YMCA of the Rockies Estes Park.

Maude Jellison Library

Check out the Maude Jellison Library and grab a book, newspaper, or magazine. They also host events, poetry readings, musical performances and story times (and even read alouds for adults!)

Enjoy games or grab a book and sit in the big comfy chairs and bean bags. They have both children’s books and adult literature.

Escape Room

Yep, you can have your own escape room experience at the YMCA. The best part? While there is an extra cost, the price is totally reasonable.

snow covered ground and green-top basketball court in the distance at YMCA of the rockies estes park

Outdoor Sports

During warmer months you can enjoy the huge outdoor area right in front of the main check-in and dining hall buildings.

You’ll get basketball courts, horseshoes, volleyball, tennis courts, baseball field, and a fitness trail that goes around it all.

Plus, you can rent some equipment right across the street from Sweet Memorial and play a round (or 2) of mini-golf with the kids in the same area.

Around campus you’ll also find cages for Frisbee golf.

Find plenty of nature trails around the YMCA as well.

If you have enough snow, there is a sledding hill near Dorsey Lake. Rent sleds for free at Sweet Memorial.

Indoor Sports

Already mentioned was the Longhouse with the many sport courts and indoor archery area.

You can also book a reservation to go indoor wall climbing at the Boone Family Mountain Center.

Lodging Options at the YMCA Estes Park

Choosing lodging at the YMCA of the Rockies will depend on what you are looking for. Are you visiting just as a family? A huge group or family reunion? A large youth group or women’s retreat? There are a lot of lodging options to choose from.

Lodges at YMCA Estes Park

Lodge rooms are basically like hotel rooms. There are many lodges on site and they can sleep up to 6 people, depending on which room you book. Many come with multiple bunk beds, making it easy to sleep 6 without someone having to sleep on a couch.

Book a lodge room here (and start earning free nights!)

Cabins at the YMCA Estes Park

There are so many cabins at YMCA. They go from a basic cabin with 2 bedrooms to 5 bedroom cabins. These are perfect for a single family coming to visit and wanting a little more space than just a typical lodge room.

Reunion Cabins

If you are hosting a large group, you could always book a couple cabins or a couple lodge rooms. But if you are books a really large group, you have great options still!

The reunion cabins on site can sleep up to 72 people!! The Patty Hyde Barclay Cabin has 17 bedrooms (each with their own bathroom).

Of course you can also book smaller reunion cabins that sleep 20 or 30 people as well. These are ideal for if you are hosting a family reunion in Colorado.

You can also look into hosting a large group by booking an entire lodge (or part of one). The lodges can sleep a couple hundred people, making it easy to keep your large group together.

Check out more info about booking a cabin

a few people on a roller rink, lights low with white strands of lights hanging

Quick Look at YMCA of the Rockies Estes Park Activities

FREE (included) Activities at YMCA Estes Park

  • Indoor Pool
  • Basketball
  • Volleyball
  • 4 square
  • team sports (by schedule)
  • roller skating
  • educational programs (by schedule)
  • hiking on nature trails
  • tennis
  • outdoor basketball
  • Baseball
  • mini golf
  • Disc golf
  • playgrounds
  • sledding
  • guided hikes into Rocky Mountain National Park

Extra Cost (reasonably priced)

  • Food
  • Archery (indoor or outdoor)
  • Climbing walls (indoor/outdoor)
  • Horses
  • Arts and Crafts (priced per project)
  • General Store
snow covered ground with kids sledding down a smaller hill in the distance

Why you should visit YMCA of the Rockies Estes Park

This really was just a fun visit. My kids never wanted to leave and immediately asked us to book another trip.

And we visited during snowy season!

When you visit, it will be easy to just head to play basketball or swim. But make sure to try out some of the other activities that the YMCA offers.

Little ones will love the fun educational programs on the schedule each day. Older kids will love the Longhouse continuous sports and pick-up games. Check out the trails. Hang out at the community fire at night. Try out a craft.

Visiting the YMCA in Estes Park will be one of the most fun (and affordable) family vacations you take!

Frequently Asked Questions about YMCA of the Rockies Estes Park

Where is YMCA of the Rockies?

There are two locations for YMCA of the Rockies. One is located in Winter Park, CO and the other is located in Estes Park, CO just outside of Rocky Mountain National Park.

Is YMCA Estes Park good for families?

YMCA Estes Park is excellent for families. There is a scheduled activity program that includes plenty of fun opportunities for younger kids. There are also many amenities that the older kids will love.

How many cabins does YMCA Estes Park have?

There are 214 private cabins at YMCA Estes Park. They also have large cabin homes that sleep sleep huge groups as well as lodges with hotel-style rooms.

What is there to do at YMCA Estes Park in Winter?

YMCA in winter is still a really fun place. Play at the longhouse (a huge gym area), go sledding on the sledding hill, participate in the scheduled activities and programs, visit the arts and crafts center, or go swimming in the indoor pool.

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