Estes Park, a sunny Summer day view of the center of the mountain resort town along Big Thompson River, Colorado.

9 Ideal Destinations for a 3-Day Weekend in the Rockies

The Rocky Mountains, located mostly in Wyoming, Montana, and Colorado but truly descending from the western part of Canada to parts deep in New Mexico, is the perfect place to get away for that planned, or even spontaneous, three-day weekend. These are the most idyllic yet majestic places deep within the Rockies to stay for three days of excitement, adventure, and relaxation from the hustle and bustle. All of them offer luxurious and/or naturalistic lodgings, great cuisines, and even exhilarating activities for the whole family to enjoy together.

Estes Park, Colorado

Estes Lake in Estes Park, Colorado
The mountains in Estes Park, Colorado.

Estes Park is a perfect destination for a three-day weekend. Located on the eastern side of the Rocky Mountain National Park, it offers luxurious accommodations at the Della Terra Mountain Chateau, the Taharaa Mountain Lodge, and Murphy’s Resort, all presenting stunning views of the surrounding mountain ranges. Other options include renting a cabin at Rams Horn Village Resort or staying at Brynwood on the River. No matter where you choose to stay, a weekend of adventure awaits in Estes Park, including getting a bite to eat at Smokin’ Dave’s BBQ and Brew, seeing the sights from the comforts of a Hot-Air Balloon, or simply taking a tour of the Rocky Mountain National Park with family or friends. 

West Glacier, Montana

West Glacier, Montana, sign and mountains
West Glacier, Montana sign.

Situated at the southwestern edge of the Glacier National Park is the serene town of West Glacier, offering weekend getaways from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Visitors can stay at many places in the area, including the Granite Park Chalet, Paddle Ridge, the Great Bear Inn, and the West Glacier Cabins, depending on their choice of luxury. There are also many options for exciting, adventurous activities, like helicopter tours, white-water rafting, and exploring the Glacier National Park, either with a tour or on your own. Hidden Lake, in Glacier National Park, just southwest of Logan Pass, offers a variety of original opportunities. Along with swimming, fishing, boating, and kayaking, visitors can take the boardwalk up toward the glacial moraine where it is possible to spy, and film, mountain goats and pikas, which look like a cross between a mouse and a rabbit.

Saratoga, Wyoming

the spectacular peaks of the medicine bow range and lookout lake in the medicine bow national forest in southeastern wyoming
Medicine Bow Range in southeastern Wyoming.

Saratoga is near the southern border of Wyoming, just before the Rocky Mountains run into Colorado, in the Medicine Bow Mountain range. Several amenities are available in and around Saratoga that make it a perfect destination for that 3-day getaway. Along with a variety of lodgings, including the Medicine Bow Lodge and the Lodge and Spa at Brush Creek Ranch, there are also several places to grab a bite to eat, like Bella’s Bistro and the Grumpy Italian. Opportunities to commune with nature for the weekend also abound in Saratoga. Deer Haven RV Park, north of town, near the North Platte River, is perfect for "roughing it" for the weekend, and miles of trails are waiting to explore in the Medicine Bow National Park.

Telluride, Colorado

Small town village in Colorado with sign for city and flowers by historic architecture on main street mountain view
Historic architecture on the main street of Telluride, Colorado. Image credit Kristi Blokhin via Shutterstock

Deep in the Uncompahgre National Forest, north of the San Juan National Forest, lies the town of Telluride, Colorado. While being slightly famous for the Telluride Ski Resort, Telluride has many opportunities for vacationers during the other seasons as well. Visitors can find accommodations at a variety of locations, including the Bear Creek Lodge, the Inn at Lost Creek, and even the Circle K Ranch, which offers all the amenities of a family-oriented western dude ranch. Plus, if adventure in the wilderness is what you are looking for, there are several things to do during a weekend in Telluride, like hiking Bear Creek Trail, visiting the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, or taking in a sunset over the Canyons National Park.

Thompson Falls, Montana

The scenic and calm section of the Clark Fork River just outside of Thompson Falls, Montana.
Clark Fork River, near Thompson Falls, Montana.

Situated in the Lolo National Forest, along the Clark Fork River, lies the idyllic town of Thompson Falls, a perfect place to spend a three-day weekend with friends, family, or even alone. Great photographic opportunities are available along the many nature trails in the forest and along the river. Thompson Falls also offers a variety of accommodations, from the Scenic Riverfront Retreat to the Riverfront Motel and Cabins. There are also several excellent choices for dining in Thompson Falls, including the Wild Coyote Saloon and Minnie’s Montana Café, which is vegetarian and gluten-free friendly. There are several activities to end the day as well, like hiking up to the Thompson Falls High Bridge and strolling through the Thompson Falls State Park. 

Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Colorful Grand Prismatic Spring view at Yellowstone National Park with mountains in the background
Grand Prismatic Spring view at Yellowstone National Park.

Many opportunities are available for the 3-day weekend vacationer in Yellowstone National Park. Several campgrounds are accessible, including Baker’s Hole, Rainbow Point, and Cherry Creek, as well as the Roosevelt Lodge Cabins, Old Faithful Snow Lodge and Cabins, and the Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel and Cabins are nearby, if you prefer not to bring your own home. As far as amenities go, the list of adventures is endless in Yellowstone National Park. Old Faithful, the Grand Prismatic Spring, the Mammoth Hot Springs, and Yellowstone Lake are great for making those photographic moments, while Specimen Ridge, Yellowstone Falls, and Bunsen Peak show off the grandeur of nature. Numerous trails are also nearby, like the Geyser Loop Hill Trail, the Black Sand Basin Trail, and Beaver Pond Loop Trail.

Grand Lake, Colorado

Scenic view of Grand Lake, Colorado
Sailboats on Grand Lake, Colorado.

Colorado’s largest and deepest natural lake, located at the head of the Colorado River, this body of water is a must-see when planning a 3-day weekend vacation. Along with all the outside activities offered at most Colorado lakes, like swimming, fishing, snorkeling, and sailing, Grand Lake also provides several opportunities unique to this area, including being at the western gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park with its thousands of acres of wildlife and wilderness. Along with the many campgrounds available nearby, there are several luxurious accommodations available north of the lake, including Spirit Lake Lodge, Grand Lake Lodge, the Overlook at Grand Lake, and the Daven Haven Lodge.

McAllister, Montana

Summer day at Ennis Lake in central Montana
Ennis Lake in central Montana.

McAllister, Montana, located on the west side of Ennis Lake, at the southern end of the northern part of Beaverhead-Deer Lodge National Forest, is an excellent spot for a 3-day weekend in the Rocky Mountains, especially if you are looking to get off the beaten path. Offering a variety of places to stay, including the Lodge at Big Sky, Lone Mountain, and Gallatin River Lodge, visitors of the area can enjoy the amenities offered by Ennis Lake, like camping, fishing, and boating, or even check out the Madison River, either by yourself or on tour with a professional guide. There are also several places to grab something to eat, like the McAllister Inn Steakhouse and the Continental Divide Restaurant.

Dubois, Wyoming

Ramshorn Mountain and Badlands near Dubois, Wyoming
Ramshorn Mountain near Dubois, Wyoming.

Known by some as the best-kept secret of the West, Dubois rests between the Absaroka Mountains and Wind River. While more populated places in and along the Rocky Mountains promise crowds along with adventure, Dubois offers a quaint, idyllic town that is perfect for a vacation with the family. Several places are available to stay in Dubois, including Crooked Creek and Lava Mountain Lodge, and a variety of places to eat are nearby as well, like the Wilderness Boundary Restaurant. The Dubois Scenic Overlook is also worth a visit, and the Jade Lake Trail holds surprises around every corner. And, in the winter, there is Jackson Hole’s Continental Divide Dogsled Adventure for the family to experience.

So, if you are looking for a place to spend the long three-day weekend, either with family, with friends, or by yourself, these locations in the Rocky Mountains offer amenities, accommodations, available restaurants, and even outdoor activities to ramp up your vacation. Whether it is within a National Park, near a beautiful lake, or in some forgotten town, these locations offer a little bit of the Rockies in the best way possible.


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