Regional Guide

Driving - North-Central Colorado

With roads topping out at higher than 12,000 feet, Rocky Mountain National Park's Trail Ridge Road delivers more than its fair share of dramatic views. The highest through-road in the U.S. offers so many must-see overlooks that the drive may take considerably longer to complete than you first expected.

Less than an hour away from Denver runs Peak to Peak Highway, a stretch of road that will make you forget all about the city. Climb from the old mining community of Black Hawk over Rollins Pass to Estes Park, the gateway of Rocky Mountain National Park.

Follow the twists and turns of the nation's first National Wild and Scenic River on the Cache La Poudre Scenic Byway. The highway runs along the picturesque Cache Le Poudre for two-thirds of its 101-mile journey from Fort Collins to Walden.

About ten miles west of Fort Collins, try a more subtle and culturally diverse scenic drive along Pawnee Pioneer Trails route. This 125-mile drive follows the old Native American and pioneer trails from the fertile South Platte River Valley to one of the few preserved remnants of shortgrass prairie, the Pawnee National Grassland. Start with a full tank, because the amenities are in short supply.

For a great day trip from Rocky Mountain National Park, try some scenic driving in White River National Forest. Even Interstate 70, which you'll take to the forest, can be considered a beautiful ride. Cruise through Glen Canyon, enjoy Independence Pass, and explore the breathtaking Flat Tops Trail National Scenic Byway.

Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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