Looking for a fun and educational activity for the whole family? Look no further than Pikas in the Park, a scavenger hunt in downtown Estes Park, Colorado.
Whether you’re seeking to pass the time or seeking inspiration to explore the charming downtown district, the scavenger hunt is the perfect solution. Not only will it motivate you to get out and explore but it will also unveil fascinating snippets of the city’s history.
Below, I’ll provide you with all the essential details you need to embark on this exciting scavenger hunt.
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What is Pikas in the Park?
Pikas in the Park is a scavenger hunt in downtown Estes Park, Colorado that was created in 2017 in honor of Estes Park’s centennial.
It features 12 bronze sculptures of pikas, which are small mountain-dwelling relatives of rabbits. The sculptures — which come in different poses — are placed throughout downtown (Elkhorn Ave. and the River Walk) in not so obvious places, and visitors use clues to find them.
Once all 12 pikas have been found, participants can turn in their completed clue sheet (which they can pick up at the visitor center) to receive a prize.
Every pika bears the name of a prominent individual from Estes Park’s rich history, ranging from Addie Alexander, the first recorded woman to conquer Long’s Peak, to Enos Mills, revered as the Father of Rocky Mountain National Park.
By completing the challenge, you’ll not only learn about pikas but also discover key figures who greatly influenced the region’s development.
Finding the statues isn’t as straightforward as it seems, though. Some are cleverly hidden in plain sight, while others are tucked away in unexpected locations. To assist you in locating them, I’ve provided four distinct strategies below.
Strategy Number One: A Needle in a Haystack
With this strategy, you will embrace the sheer difficulty of searching for these elusive sculptures without the aid of the scavenger hunt map.
But I have to warn you, this is going to be very hard, unless you have the instincts of the legendary detective Sherlock Holmes himself.
Hidden ingeniously on ledges, beside benches, perched on rocks, and in inconspicuous spots, locating them becomes an almost impossible feat for most, as they camouflage seamlessly into the surroundings. Most likely, you will need to utilize strategy number two, at the very least.
Strategy Number Two: The Map’s General Guidance
With the scavenger hunt map in hand, your chances of success increase.
Each statue’s approximate location is marked with a numbered star, providing a starting point for your search. However, be prepared for a challenge, as the map may not pinpoint the exact hiding spot.
You might just find yourself wandering around, occasionally questioning if you are in the right vicinity for what feels like an eternity. If this happens to be the case, you can go to strategy number three.
Strategy Number Three: Clues Unlock the Secrets
To maximize your chances of triumph, combine the power of the map with the invaluable hints provided. Each Pika sculpture represents a notable historical figure from the Estes Park area, and beside their name and background you can find available clue.
As you explore, pay keen attention to store names and street names, allowing these breadcrumbs to guide your way. However, beware, the guide does not explicitly reveal which clue corresponds to which numbered star, challenging your sleuthing skills.
This means you need to really keep track of which names you have already discovered, so that you can start narrowing down the clues. (It may help if you have a paper version of the guide from the visitor center.)
Strategy Number Four: Photos Show Where to Look
If you have tried the above strategies but have not had luck finding all 12 of the pikas and your time is running out, I’ll try to make things a little bit easier for you.
Below, you can find a picture of each pika.
If you combine the photos below with the clues you can find on the guide, you should be able to find these if you are pressed for time! You will still need to match the photo with the name/clue so you still have a bit of work to do!
If you want to, you can save or print out the image below which has all of the different photos in PNG format. Then, you can just cross them out as you go.
Scavenger hunts offer a fantastic opportunity to inspire your exploration of the neighborhood or city. In this particular case, you’ll not only get to discover various areas around the Riverwalk and Elkhorn Avenue, but also delve into the town’s intriguing history.
Regardless of your age, I highly recommend giving the scavenger hunt a try. And if you encounter any challenges along the way, feel free to refer back to this article for assistance!
Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and the credit card app, WalletFlo. He is a former attorney turned travel expert covering destinations along with TSA, airline, and hotel policies. Since 2014, his content has been featured in publications such as National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, and CNBC.