What’s the first thing that pops into your mind when you think about the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park? We’re guessing it’s “The Shining” and “haunted.” That’s understandable, but the hotel’s prime location offers a lot more than spooky bedtime stories—like easy access to outdoor adventure. After all, Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP) is less than five miles away.
Since July, the hotel’s front lawn has been home to REI Basecamp, an outdoor concierge run by the REI Outdoor School where people (hotel guests or others) can demo products, ask questions about nearby recreation options, sign up for REI-run excursions (like a guided hike in RMNP), or simply relax outside. “We’re getting more people out of the hotel and into the outdoors,” says Reed Rowley, vice president of business development for the Grand Heritage Hotel Group. “There’s a social component just like at a real basecamp, like the base of Everest.”
That communal feel is on display on Wednesdays (5 to 8 p.m.) when the venue hosts National Park Night (pictured, below), an evening of live music, games, food and drinks, and outdoor education; all profits benefit Rocky Mountain Conservancy. (The next event is being held on September 28.) The Basecamp is open Wednesday through Sunday; the tours and excursions run on a varying schedule. And Rowley says there’s good reason to let REI take the lead on your next adventure: “REI has permits that allow people to go further into [RMNP], to go off the trail.”
While fall and winter’s all-over-the-place weather means the Basecamp tent is coming down in early October, REI’s Outdoor School instructors aren’t going anywhere. The crew will host winter survival classes, as well as hiking and snowshoeing adventures through the end of the year. In 2017, the offerings will increase, with snowshoeing in RMNP, avalanche certification classes, snow cave-making courses, and more. Gear rentals will also be available. (The schedule will be regularly updated here.)
Of course, we can’t guarantee you won’t hear voices or see a ghost when you head to your hotel room at night, but hopefully you’ll be too tired from the day’s adventure to even notice.