Frequently Asked Questions about Ponderosa Lodge

Q: How high is up?
A: Coming from the coast? Remember, you are at sea level. The elevation in Denver is one mile (5280 feet for those who don’t remember). The general elevation in Estes Park is about 7500 feet. Our office elevation is about 7800 feet. As you travel the area you will be viewing peaks up to about 14,300 feet.

Q: Do I need to rent a four-wheel drive for the mountains?
A: In the same way that the car rental companies charge extra for convertibles, they charge more for four- wheel drives in this area. Request a front wheel drive vehicle if you are a little nervous. Better yet, request an all-wheel drive vehicle

Q: What kind of clothes do I need to bring?
A: It’s the same answer winter or summer. Bring clothing that can be layered. Even on a cold winter day, if you are hiking on a sunny trail, you may strip down to a light shirt and still be exceedingly warm. But as soon as the sun goes down, its a different story. In the summer, you may hike in a T-shirt and shorts, but as soon as the sun drops behind the mountains, the temperature drops too. Bring long pants and a sweater. You will need them in the evening. Bring rain gear, too, as we have an afternoon shower nearly every day beginning early in July and continuing into August.

Q: When is the best time to make a reservation?
A: Sooner is always better than later. The Ponderosa has been here for over 50 years. We have someone at the desk taking reservations every day of the year. Thus, when you call during office hours you will talk to a person, not our voicemail (unless we are assisting other guests). You can also book directly from the webpage (click on the “reservations” icon from the homepage), and enjoy a real time reservation guarantee.  During peak season rooms go fast and this allows guests to book anytime from anywhere.

Q: Do I need a fireplace in the summer?
A: Not really, but many find a fire enjoyable after the sun goes down and the temperature drops.

Q: Why don’t you have air conditioning?
The combination of altitude and low humidity makes for a pleasant climate, even on the warmest days.

Q: How can I keep my young kids occupied?
A: Well, you can take them on hikes until they drop. There are nature lectures and activities at the park headquarters. There are amusement parks in and around Estes Park. You can purchase books on the birds, animals, flowers, history of the area at a local bookstore and explore with books in hand. Young children do not need fishing licenses and you can rent fishing gear for a modest cost. There are also options for horseback riding, white water rafting in season, and hot air ballooning in the region. Also, check out the YMCA of the Rockies and Estes Park Recreation Center.

Q: What’s it like (what is there to do) in the winter?
A: Estes Park has a mild winter climate, as it is a protected mountain valley. The storms which provide snow for the ski industry on the Western Slope rarely reach over the mountains to Estes Park. Colorado has more sun days than Hawaii, so our publicists say, and most winter days are clear, crisp and pleasant. If it snows, or the wind blows, you can go shopping, or light a fire and read a book, or just relax.

Exploring Rocky Mountain National Park in the winter can be an unforgettable experience. During the week, especially, you can have the park to yourself. Downhill skiing is available within an hours drive of Estes Park.