Drive Rocky Mountain NP's Trail Ridge Road

Park Entrance Road

Take in breathtaking views of snow-capped mountains on one of the two raods in CO that allows you to drive up to the peaks. This is a photographer's paradise, especially at sunrise and sunset.

Start by entering Rocky Mountain National Park through Estes Park, Colorado. After acquiring a map start your ascent on Trail Ridge Rd (the road is closed in winter). The Road will take you up in elevation into the mountains so a good car is strongly recommended.

As you wind up the switch backs, the tree line will start to thin and you will come upon an overlook called Medicine Bow Curve which is an amazing view of the valley in the National Park. Its amazing place to stop and watch the clouds roll over the valley and see the winding rivers cut through the terrain. Continue up the road and it will take you over the pass / ridge. The view is spectacular, with snow caped mountains and big clouds. If you go in early June the mountains can still be heavily covered in snow which is breathtaking to behold.

Continue driving up the road, it will take you through the mountain range and bring you out on the other side.We stayed up on the range till the sunset and then drove back down the way we came to Estes Park.Be aware of the snowmelt during the day that can rapidly turn to ice (or black ice) running over the winding road when the sun goes down and temperatures quickly drop below freezing.

This is a must see to any visitor and local in Colorado.

Pack List

  • TOPO KLETTERSACK 22L
  • Klean Kanteen with SteriPEN Classic UV
  • National Park Map
  • Camera Equipment (body Tripod Lenses, ect)
  • Goal Zero Nomad 7 Solar Panel
  • Gerber Remix Fine Edge
  • Waterproof Shell and / or Jacket
  • Gore-tex Vasque Hiking Boots
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Activities Chillin, Photography
Skill Level Beginner
Season Spring, Summer, Autumn
Features
Forest
Scenic
Wildlife

Reviews

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Overall rating: 

Scenic Supreme

Just a beautiful drive from start to finish that takes you through a few ecosystems and gives you great shots of the Rocky Mountains. If you can go at sunrise or sunset during the summer or fall, on a weekday, you will be in heaven. Avoid spring as the snowpack is still strong and it's hard to really get out and get good photos and explore. They do a great job of maintaining the roads, which have many hairpins and high elevation, so be ready to take it slow, and take it all in. Many places to stop and hike, take photographs or have picnic. Small mountain towns that are wonderful. Great drive with stunning views.

Amazing Views

Great views at every turn on this road. Takes you through nearly every element of the park. The change in altitude is no joke. If that sort of things bother you, you might consider taking it a bit slow. Can't say you've seen Rocky Mtn NP if you haven't been through the full route though. Amazing.

The drastic change in altitude is worth it...

Breathtaking, unbelievable, and invigorating. Views aside, simply driving this road is an adventure in itself. The weather can change as you ride to the top and snowfall is common even in August. But driving to the peaks and seeing the other mountains surrounding you is an experience you will never forget.


Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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