A person packing a bag

What to pack for an unforgettable trip!

Summer, or any season, in Colorado’s northern Rockies is one of Mother Nature’s greatest achievements. Bursts of wildflowers color the hillsides below craggy, still-snowcapped peaks. Trout-filled rivers run full, and the purest of blue skies blanket the whole scene. A vacation here should be on everyone’s life list.

It’s heavenly, but there are still some key preparations to make to be comfortable in our climate and to get the most out of your visit at YMCA of the Rockies Estes Park Center or Snow Mountain Ranch.

A stay here is unlike any other resort experience, and we can’t wait to welcome you.



This is a dry climate, and it’s easy to get dehydrated, which can lead to headaches and fatigue. Pack a bottle to fill with water before you head out and throughout your day, and sip on it often while enjoying the surrounding natural beauty.


Our high altitude makes the sun much more intense than at lower elevations. Pack sunscreen, a hat, sunglasses and lip balm with SPF to avoid having to take a rest day due to sunburn.

man hiking through trails


Even if you are visiting during the summer months, the altitude can make for some brisk mornings and evenings. The top of Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park sits at just over 12,000 feet and the temperature there can be 20 degrees colder than at the YMCA of the Rockies properties—even during the day! Pack a synthetic or wool midlayer, an insulated jacket, a winter hat, and gloves to preserve your heat if the temperatures plummet. Also, don’t forget a rain jacket. Thundershowers are frequent afternoon visitors, but they (usually) don’t last long. Still, you don’t want to get caught unprepared.


If you plan to hike a high peak or saunter through the forest, you’ll want something comfortable and durable on your feet. Hiking boots are best to support your ankles on rugged and rocky trails. Sneakers or trail runners with a more aggressive tread will work too. And don’t forget good socks! Our hiking guides here recommend wool or wool-blend socks to wick moisture and regulate your temperature.


Our cabins and hotel-style lodge rooms offer most essentials like towels, bed linens and hand soap, but you’ll need to pack your own shampoo and moisturizer, in addition to your usual array of toiletries.


If you are a coffee drinker and staying in a cabin, don’t forget to bring your favorite grind or pick some up at a local shop, like Kind Coffee in Estes Park or Rocky Mountain Roastery near Snow Mountain Ranch. Cabins are equipped with drip coffee makers and filters, but you’ll need to bring your own ground coffee (BYOC, if you will). If you are staying in a hotel-style lodge room, in-room coffee makers are available, or complimentary dispenser coffee machines in lodge lobbies.

Kids looking out at the trees and mountains with binoculars


Not only do they bring nature a bit closer, helping you zoom in on a faraway summit or Stellar’s jay, but they also keep you a safe distance from potentially dangerous animals like moose or black bears. In other words, if you have them, pack a set of binos to dive into the view while staying a safe distance. We suggest keeping a buffer of at least three bus-lengths or 120 feet from yourself and our wildlife.

We hope your stay at YMCA of the Rockies is memorable and awe-inspiring and that these items equip you for an experience you won’t soon forget.

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