Trail Ridge Road carries the distinction of being the highest continuous paved road in the country. The road is located within Rocky Mountain National Park just outside of Estes Park, Colorado. Here is what you need to know about one of the best scenic drives in Estes Park.
About Trail Ridge Road: This road crosses over the Continental Divide at 12,183 feet, delivering magnificent views as you traverse the gentle winding roadway. Known to many as the Highway to the Sky, this road is also a Colorado scenic and historic byway. The two-lane highway provides a relaxing drive with only a gradual climb of never more than 7 percent. Unlike many mountain roads, the Highway to the Sky only has a few hairpin turns.
Details About Visiting Trail Ridge Road: Because it is located at such a high elevation that sees an abundance of snow, the Trail Ridge Road is only open during a few months of the year. The road traditionally opens on Memorial Day weekend, weather and road conditions allowing. Trail Ridge Road will close for the season around mid-October.
It should be noted that the road may close at night or during other inclement weather events even during the summer. It is a good idea to check the conditions before heading out on your adventure.
Making the Most of Your Drive: It goes without saying that you will enjoy the most relaxing drive if you start your drive early in the day. The crowds start to build as the morning goes on, making it more difficult to enjoy the drive at your own pace. You can access the road from either Estes Park or from the west at the Grand Lake entrance.
It does not take long for the road to reach soaring heights. Once you emerge above the tree line, you will be treated to a view of jagged mountain peaks and wide-open spaces. There are many turnouts located along the drive so that you can safely get out and take pictures. Some of the most popular turnouts include Medicine Bow Curve, Forest Canyon Overlook, and Many Parks Curve.
Alpine Visitor Center: The Alpine Visitor Center sits roughly at the halfway point of the drive. Here you can enjoy a cup of coffee and a snack, restroom facilities, and more. There will also be staff on hand to answer questions about the drive. This is a great place to soak in the views and stretch your legs.
Reaching Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park: Estes Park is easily accessible from the Denver metropolitan area. It will take you about 90 minutes to reach this idyllic mountain town from Denver. It is an easy drive with amazing views along the way. Be sure to allow for some time to explore the charming town of Estes Park before or after your drive along Trail Ridge Road.