Our Estes Park Museum
Estes Park Museum
200 Fourth Street
Estes Park, CO 80517
Located at Fourth Street and Highway 36.
Admission is free.
The Estes Park Museum is open Wednesday through Saturday 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM.
The Historic Fall River Hydroplant is located at 1754 Fish Hatchery Road. Built by F. O. Stanley to power his famous Stanley Hotel in 1909, it is open to the public as an interpretive center.
The hydroplant is open by appointment only. Call 970-577-3762 to schedule a visit at least 48 hours ahead of time.
The Knoll-Willows Open Space is located behind Town Hall and the Estes Valley Public Library.
A turn-of-the-twentieth-century cabin and structural ruins are accessible year-round to hikers.
Photos from Estes Park Museum
The need for a museum was recognized in 1962 when the National Park Service decided to raze Stead’s Ranch, an 1876 homestead and guest ranch located at Moraine Park in Rocky Mountain National Park. In response, concerned Estes Park citizens organized to preserve its historical items. They formed the Estes Park Area Historical Museum, Inc., a non-profit organization established to preserve and interpret the pioneer history of Estes Park. This group later became the Estes Park Museum Friends & Foundation, Inc.
In 1966, the Museum was constructed with volunteer labor on public land donated by the Town of Estes Park. The very basic building was called the “Morgue” for its windowless, cinderblock construction, but it provided exhibit and storage space. Since then, the Museum has undergone four expansions and now includes a gift shop and meeting room.
In 1985, the circa-1900 Cobb-Macdonald cabin, located behind the Macdonald Book Shop on Elkhorn Avenue, was acquired and moved to its present site behind the main Museum building. In 1987, the original 1915 headquarters for Rocky Mountain National Park was brought to the site.
Since 1992, the Museum has been a department of the Town of Estes Park. In July 2002, twenty years after it had been heavily damaged in the Lawn Lake Flood, the newly-restored 1909 Historic Fall River Hydroplant on Fish Hatchery Road was opened by the Museum as an interpretive center. In 2004, the Museum’s name was shortened to the “Estes Park Museum.” Today the Museum houses a collection of 25,000 items related to Estes Park history, and is recognized as a leading local history museum in Colorado.
The Museum’s mission is “Contributing to the Mission of the Town of Estes Park, the Estes Park Museum will conduct activities that preserve, share and respect the unique history of Estes Park.”