Producing some of Colorado’s most picturesque and iconic scenery, Trail Ridge Scenic Byway takes explorers along the ridges of the Rocky Mountains in Rocky Mountain National Park. While traveling the byway and stopping at the many lookout points, visitors will see lush greenery, snow-capped mountains, wildlife, and beautiful wildflowers. Popular recreation includes driving, hiking, fishing, camping, horseback riding (on certain trails), and even biking if can brave the narrow roads, steep ledges, and cold temperatures – the climate found here at high elevations is similar to the climate of the Arctic Circle.
48 miles / 77.2 km, Estes Park to Grand Lake
- Bear Lake – small picturesque lake surrounded by towering trees and snow-capped cliffs
- Forest Canyon Overlook – overlooks Forest Canyon, Hayden Gorge, and Gorge Lakes
- Continental Divide – view the amazing separation of two separate climates and ecosystems
- Continental Divide Scenic Trail – crosses with the byway near Miners Pass – this trail runs 3,100 miles from the Canada/Montana boarder to the Mexico/New Mexico boarder – this trail offers grand views of the Rocky Mountains and the spectacular scenery around them
- Rocky Mountain National Park – scenic views of lush green meadows and forests, high mountain peaks, snow-capped mountains, wildflowers, and even wind-twisted trees up at the high-elevation peaks
- Over 280 species of birds – named a Global Important Bird Area
- North-central Colorado
- 70 miles northeast of Denver, CO
- Driving the byway
- The byway starts with a loop (US-34 & US-36 meet at Estes Park and then again at Deer Ridge Junction) and then the main arm continues to the end of the byway (US-34)
- Start at the intersection of W. Elkhorn Ave. and Moraine Ave. in Estes Park, CO
- Travelers can take the north portion of the loop first, or the south portion first
- North Portion:
- Drive West on W. Elkhorn Ave. to Fall River Rd.
- Continue west to S. Navy Hill to complete the loop
- South Portion:
- From the intersection of W. Elkhorn Ave. and Moraine Ave. in Estes Park, travel south on Moraine Ave. to Park Entrance Rd.
- Continue west to Fall River Rd.
- North Portion:
- Continue on US-34 to the end of the byway, Grand Lake, CO
- Gas is only located at the ends of the byways, in Estes Park and Grand Lake
- Lodging, camping, shopping, and food are located along this byway
- Longs Peak, Timber Creek, and Moraine Park campgrounds are open year-round
- The byway travels through Rocky Mountain National Park; there is a park entrance fee
- Backcountry permits are available at the Kawuneeche Visitor Center
- Parts of this byway and Rocky Mountain National Park are closed from the end of October until the Friday of Memorial Day weekend
(This site is funded in part by a grant from the Federal Highway Administration.)