Trail Ridge Road Scenic and Historic Byway is a 48-mile (77 km) National Scenic Byway that traverses Rocky Mountain National Park from Estes Park, Colorado in the east to Grand Lake, Colorado in the west. The road reaches a maximum elevation of 12,183 feet (3,713 m), near Fall River Pass, making it the highest continuous paved road in the United States.
Trail Ridge Road was constructed between 1926 and 1932, and was designated as a National Scenic Byway in 1996. The road is open from late May to mid-October, weather permitting.
Along the way, Trail Ridge Road offers stunning views of the Rocky Mountains, including Longs Peak, Mount Meeker, and the Continental Divide. There are also a number of turnouts and scenic overlooks where you can stop to take in the views.
Some of the most popular attractions along Trail Ridge Road include:
- Many Parks Curve Overlook: This overlook offers panoramic views of the park’s eastern plains and western mountains.
- Forest Canyon Overlook: This overlook offers views of the Never Summer Mountains and the Kawuneeche Valley.
- Alpine Visitor Center: This visitor center offers exhibits on the park’s geology, wildlife, and history. There is also a restaurant and gift shop at the visitor center.
- Deer Ridge Junction: This is the highest point on Trail Ridge Road, and offers panoramic views of the park’s southern peaks.
Trail Ridge Road is a popular tourist destination, so it is important to plan your trip accordingly. The road can be busy, especially on weekends and during the summer months. If you are planning to visit, it is a good idea to get an early start in the day.
Here are some tips for driving Trail Ridge Road:
- Drive slowly and carefully. The road is narrow and winding, and there are often wildlife on the road.
- Be prepared for the altitude. The road is high up in the mountains, so you may experience some altitude sickness. Drink plenty of fluids and avoid strenuous activity until you’ve acclimated to the altitude.
- Pack for all types of weather. The weather in the mountains can change quickly, so it’s a good idea to pack for all types of weather. Even in the summer, it’s possible to experience snow in the mountains.
- Be respectful of the environment. Trail Ridge Road is a beautiful place with a fragile environment. Please be respectful of the environment and leave no trace when you’re visiting.