Drive Rocky Mountain NP's Trail Ridge Road

Park Entrance Road, Estes Park, Colorado, United States

  • Activities:

    Chillin, Photography

  • Skill Level:

    Beginner

  • Season:

    Spring, Summer, Autumn

Forest
Scenic
Wildlife

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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Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

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

Reviews

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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.

7 months ago
7 months ago

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.

8 months ago
8 months ago

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.

about 1 year ago
about 1 year ago

Awesome drive. Go in the evening or morning with a camera

about 1 year ago
about 1 year ago

I often drive down here from Fort Collins after class just to get away for a while. Great in late summer and early fall to roll the windows down and cruise.

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

Amazing views with lots of pull offs to take in the scenery. Had a good opportunity to see wildlife as well, including elk, deer, and moose!

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

By far once of the most breath taking roads in the US. A must do for anyone visiting the park

almost 2 years ago
almost 2 years ago

Trail Ridge Road is one of the coolest ways to experience a national park, as the highest paved road in the United States, it takes you above the trees and allows you to explore alpine tundra without a hike to get there. If you're there on a rainy day, make sure to stop at Rainbow Curve and see why it gets its name!

almost 2 years ago
almost 2 years ago

I've been to many national parks in the U.S., and RMNP is one of my favorites. There are a lot of outdoor activities that can be done there, and it's an immensely beautiful park. Be sure to visit during the off-season.

about 2 years ago
about 2 years ago

RMNP is full of incredible hikes and photo opportunities. That being said, there are definitely prettier places in Colorado and if you travel with a dog there's not much to do here. My favorite time to visit is in the winter when most of the tourists are gone and the snow is plentiful.

about 2 years ago
about 2 years ago

Joel Bear

Joelbear.com // Email: Hello@joelbear.com

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