Cheap (& Gorgeous) Get-A-Way: YMCA of the Rockies in Estes Park

Sometimes, we all need a get-a-way. My ideal one is as follows: a drive of two hours or less from Denver, nestled in nature, preferably with gorgeous views and cheap! If you can add incredibly peaceful, with outdoor activities, and tell me I can bring my dogs, chances are, I’m racing for the door with my overnight bag! I never knew a place like this existed (yes, with 2 bedroom cabins starting at $99) until a picture for YMCA of The Rockies in Estes Park, CO came across my instagram.

A view from one of the Reunion Cabins, perfect for a big family get-a-way. Photo via, Tripadvisor.

The picture, above, had me dreaming of colorful sunrises with coffee in hand, and the mountains as a backdrop. But first, I went into research mode (of course!) I’ve actually been involved with the YMCA since I was 3 or 4 years old…  it’s where I went to camp, took swim lessons, had birthday parties and created so many great childhood memories. But we certainly didn’t have a place on the East Coast, when I was a kid, quite like YMCA of the Rockies.

Coffee with mountain views. I got my wish!

I think what’s so impressive is just how big it is: over 250 cabins and 9 lodge buildings dot the 860 acres, which is bordered on three sides of Rocky Mountain National Park, which provided magnificent and expansive views. And at just an hour and a half ride from Denver, it hit all the marks for what I wanted in a get-a-way. What I most loved about it was the privacy! The cabins are spaced a nice size from each other and I never saw anyone else during my two night stay, though I imagine the summer months are busier.

The deck had a front row view of the mountains and I LOVED it!

The cabin I stayed in had a full kitchen, so I was content to cook and hang on the deck or cuddle up on one of the leather couches in front of the fire with a good book, but activities abound at YMCA of the Rockies in Estes Park! They’ll let you know at the front desk exactly what is taking place and you can choose what you want to participate in. Depending on the weather, you’ll have whitewater rafting, ice skating, snowshoeing, yoga, hiking, horseback riding and zip lining as just some of the fun adventures to choose from.

Photo: @yogimagee

If “getting off campus” is more your style, there’s tons of adventure outfitters close by that will happily have you book a half or full day excursion with them. Here’s Natalie Magee leading a group on a Winter Hike Adventure in Rocky Mountain National Park. Find out about her next adventure, here.

I decided long walks, reading by the fire place and resting up with a pug who was having some back leg issues, was more my style and I could not have done it in a more beautiful place. Oh, did I mention the cabins are dog-friendly? That was another best part! At just $15 per pet, per night, it’s cheaper than a dog sitter, and of course, so much more fun when they come along!

The cabins are were reminiscent of the ones I stayed in New Hampshire when I was a little girl – everything felt nostalgic – from the wooden kitchen table that seats eight, to the board games provided to the wrap around porch. Even the bedrooms have mountain motifs!

Just look at the view from the bedroom! Swoon.  There’s a lot of thoughtfulness at YMCA of the Rockies, as if every element is designed so you can appreciate and connect with nature, as well as create memories with family and friends. YMCA of the Rockies not only gets my whole-hearted endorsement, but I cannot wait to return with my Mom when she visits, as well as plan a girlfriends get-a-way!

Find more information about YMCA of the Rockies, here. You can browse lodging prices and availability, here and check out its sister branch, Snow Mountain Ranch, near Winter Park, here.