The history of Our Lady of the Mountains dates back to the early days of the history of the Estes Valley. Masses were first said in homes in the area, going back almost 100 years. Various priests came to lead the area Catholics in worship.
About 1915, little St. Walter’s Catholic Church was completed on a hill overlooking the Stanley Hotel and the intersection of Highways 36 and 34. This little church came about with the help of Reverend William Howlett of Loveland who raised funds and traveled to Estes each Sunday to say Mass.
Just as today, more and more visitors came – some even standing outside because the inside of the small Church was filled. More Masses were added and a rectory built in 1932. With no heat or insulation in the Church, winter Masses were held in the Estes Park High School auditorium beginning in 1944. It is reported that eighteen people attended that first Mass.
In 1946, ground was broken for the current Our Lady of the Mountains Church. Using native timber and stone from the McGraw Ranch. Construction began in 1947, and the church was officially dedicated on June 9th, 1949. Our Lady of the Mountains seats approximately 300 people.
Over the years, as the Estes Valley population grew and as more visitors come to visit the area, we have found it necessary to add offices and an expandable worship space. The area now experiences some three million visitors per year. Thankfully, visitors have been generous in helping us to maintain and sustain this parish. We are considering various alternatives for preservation of this historic church and its expansion. If you are able to help us, please remember us in your prayers – and thank you for any preservation or expansion donations.
Our current pastor is Reverend Joseph Thai Cao. Father Joseph came to Our Lady of the Mountains in June 2016. The parish staff and parishioners welcome you to worship in this holy and beautiful church!