Shuttle Operations Begin June 27 New Route Added
With the addition of service on Fall River Road, all three major highway corridors will see Free Visitor Shuttle operations this summer. June 27 has been set as the first day of operations throughout the area. Daily operations continue on the Town-operated Free Visitor Shuttle through August. 30.
This will be the fourth year free shuttle service has been provided by the Town of Estes Park. Riding the shuttles is free, and the Estes Park Visitors Center’s parking lots at the intersection of U.S. Hwys. 34 and 36 are large enough to accommodate additional cars.
Riders have the options of traveling east on Big Thompson Avenue to amusement and lodging areas, west on Fall River Road to the Fall River Visitor Center, or southwest on Marys Lake Road and CO Hwy 66. All three routes will make stops in the core downtown shopping area as well as connect with Rocky Mountain National Park’s Hiker Shuttle at the Estes Park Visitors Center.
Several lodging facilities are pick-up points on Big Thompson Avenue before the Blue Route shuttle heads downtown for eastbound stops in front of Rocky Mountain Traders and Barlow Plaza and the Visitors Center. The Red Route shuttle stops at Town Hall before turning north to the bypass and then west on Fall River Road. After stopping at the Fall River Visitor Center, the Red Route shuttle heads back into town and makes stops on the South side of Elkhorn Ave. and ends at the Visitors Center. Both the Blue and Red Routes are 30-minute rides from start to finish and will operate daily from June 27 through August 30 and weekends in September.
Marys Lake Lodge is the southwestern route’s first stop. Other selected Marys Lake Road facilities are included as pick-up points before the shuttles head west on Colorado Hwy. 66. The YMCA – Estes Park Center is included as a stop on the Brown Route which is an hour-long ride from beginning to end. The Brown Route will be operated June 27 through August 30 and the first two weekends in September (Sept. 5, 6, 12 and 13).
All routes depart from the Estes Park Visitors Center and connect with Rocky Mountain National Park’s Hiker Shuttle that travels from the Visitors Center to the Park’s Park & Ride shuttle hub on Bear Lake Road.
“We’re indebted to Rocky Mountain National Park for lending us their vehicles during the first three years of our ‘experiment’ with shuttle operations,” said Deputy Town Administrator Lowell Richardson. “Through that we learned that we could operate smaller vehicles that are better suited to our ridership and the physical space of our core downtown area.” Three shuttles are being leased for the summer’s operations; one is smaller than what was used during the first three years of operations while the other two are the same size as used in past years. The larger shuttles accommodate 36 riders. The smaller vehicles will carry 22 passengers.
The transportation program was initiated after town officials spent two years assessing systems used in other locations with consistently high seasonal traffic and limited land mass available for expanding parking, It was more than a dozen years ago that planning experts first told Estes Park officials that a reliable public transportation system should be established during the peak visitation season.
Information about shuttle routes can be directed to the Estes Park Convention & Visitors Bureau at 577-9900.