Winter is officially here and with it comes plenty of snow in the backcountry. Estes Park is the basecamp for Rocky Mountain National Park, which means outdoor adventures are plentiful year-round with winter being no exception. From backcountry skiing (cross-country and downhill) to snowshoeing your favorite trails to sledding down Hidden Valley, there are lots of great ways to get outside, burn off those holiday treats, and enjoy the beautiful mountain views.

When you’ve covered some snowy ground and are ready to warm up with a beverage and a snack, check out these local Estes Park establishments for the best après-ski, après-snowshoe, or après-snowplay:

Rock Cut Brewing Company + Two Chicks Wings & Henhouse
Colorado is known for its craft beer, so make sure to include a stop to Estes Park’s newest craft brewery for a pint or two. Conveniently located on Moraine Avenue between the Beaver Meadows entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park and downtown Estes Park, Rock Cut Brewing Company has a cozy taproom with twelve artfully crafted beers on tap. Worked up an appetite during your time outdoors? Two Chicks Wings & Henhouse is an on-site food truck just steps from Rock Cut’s patio door. Two Chicks’ specialty is chicken wings (the Classic or Triple Ess sauces are our favorite) but don’t miss the fried brussel sprouts with balsamic glaze.

Elkins Whisky + Via Bicycle Café
A little off the beaten path but worth the minute or two of extra drive time, Elkins Whisky is east of downtown Estes Park on Big Thompson Avenue with great views of Lake Estes and Longs Peak. Elkins is the only whiskey production distillery in the area and is a must-stop for white whiskey lovers and cocktail drinkers (the Bustin’ Blanco is delicious) alike. Play a game of giant Jenga in the taproom and when you’re hungry, walk next door to Via Bicycle Café to order a Panini (and a cup of fresh-roasted coffee if you need an afternoon pick-me-up). Food is welcomed in the distillery so you can have that second drink while chowing down on your sandwich.

Ed’s Cantina
Grab a bite at this local favorite, located on the east end of main street Elkhorn Avenue in downtown Estes Park. Sit at the bar and chat with the bartender and locals, or ask for a table in the restaurant, but just make sure you order one of their famous avocado margaritas. Salsa is made fresh daily and the 14er burrito will satiate any mountain-sized appetite. If beer is more your style, check out their draft list which features Northern Colorado breweries.

For the best après experience, stay overnight in one of our cabins so you can enjoy a private hot tub under the starry, snowy skies. Check out our availability at Cheers!