Doc, We were in Estes Park about two weeks ago and stayed at Elk Meadow Resort, which is a stone's throw from the RMNP just past Estes Park for 3 reasons...location, location and location. We paid about $50 a night, but that's Estes. 50 amp. w/water & sewer...the CG is located on a hill, but the sites were fairly level and the view of the mountains wasn't too shabby either. The staff was helpful and pleasant to deal with.
We made our approach from Hwy. 36, through the canyon towing the Jeep and had no problems. Hwy. 66 has lesser grades and changes to Hwy36 after Lyons. Also, at Lyons, you can hang a left on Hwy 7...a nice drive as well through Ferncliff, Allenspark and Meeker Park on into Estes.
While visiting the Park, don't miss out on The Old Fall River Road. It's 11 miles of dirt (really good road) road with more switch backs and shear cliffs than I can remember. It's a one-way road...starts just inside the park at about 7500 ft and ends at almost 12k ft at the Alpine Visitor's Ctr. We saw a black bear and many Elk...AWESOME road. Only thing to watch out for is the deep groves left in the switch-backs left by the "Pike's Peak" week-end race car driver wannabees. The 'trenches' are very avoidable, so go with whatyagot! Bob
BTW, staying in Loveland, although it's a great ride, is a little too far of a drive to the park (40 to 50 minutes, depending on traffic) IMHO.