Estes-Park.com Blog

Don't Miss|Closing Soon|Trail Ridge Road, RMNP's Most Scenic Drive

Alpine View from Top of Trail Ridge Road

Experience breathtaking views & fall colors without having to hike! Trail Ridge Road will be closing when snow arrives to stay - usually in October - so don't miss this wonderful fall drive.

Designed to complement the landscape, Trail Ridge Road follows the curves of the mountains for 48 miles of incredible views from Estes Park all the way to Grand Lake.

Trail Ridge Road begins by meandering through Rocky’s beautifully preserved forests and quickly leaves tree line behind, passing through the heart of Rocky Mountain National Park and the Continental Divide. It is common to see wildlife right outside your car window!

The Trail Ridge Road experience is surreal; being in the car on a road yet surrounded by unadulterated nature.  Lush forests, alpine lakes, and mountain ranges disappear in the rear window as your car reaches greater heights.  Stop at the Alpine Visitor Center at the top, take in the views, and experience the thinner air of 12,000 ft elevation.  Souvenirs, coffee, and food items are available for purchase at the Alpine Visitor Center and Café.

Trail Ridge Road is the longest paved high elevation road in the United States, reaching an eventual peak of 12,183 feet. Open since 1921, this feat of high alpine construction is pristine and smoothly paved.

The road stays at a 5-7% grade the entire way, making it possible for all kinds of vehicles to drive, weather permitting. The higher you drive, the colder it gets outside. Expect temperatures of around 20 to 30 degrees cooler than in Estes Park.

Between the unparalleled views of the Rocky Mountains and opportunities to see high alpine wildlife, nothing is more authentic and awe-inspiring than driving across the Continental Divide on Trail Ridge Road. Whether you turn around at the Alpine Visitor Center or make it all the way to Grand Lake you will be sure to enjoy the ride!

5 Dog Hikes Near Rocky Mountain National Park

Hiking with Dogs Lake Estes

You’ve brought your dog along, only to discover that he’s not allowed on any National Park trails.  The good news is there are some fun hikes near Estes Park that you and your four legged friend can enjoy together! There's Lake Estes trails in town, and here are 5 great places south of the Park to take your dog on a mountain hike.
 
Allenspark area south of Wild Basin in RMNP:
1)     Coming into Allenspark at the main entrance (near the 15 mile marker off Hwy 7), follow the curving road to SKI Rd. Go right about 2.7 miles and you will enter forest service lands. At a Y in the road go right and about 2/10 mile is a trail head parking lot to the St. Vrain trailhead. Dogs are allowed on leash. This hike is very pretty and goes up Meadow Mountain. It’s also a great place to snowshoe in winter.

2)     Left at the Y is a 4 wheel drive road that goes down to rugged camping by a stream (Labradors love this!). Also nice hiking.


3)    Past Allenspark about 5 miles, turn right on Hwy 72.  Go about 3 miles down 72 to the road to the Camp Dick/Peaceful Valley (entrance on the right side of the road). You will see two roads on the left for the Peaceful Valley Ranch and the entrance to the hiking/cross-country ski/camping area is just past the second road. Drive through two campgrounds to a parking area and trailhead. Snowmachines and 4 wheel drive vehicles can continue up the 4 wheel drive area. To hike go up the road and take the trail to the right about a hundred yards up the road. This is a very pretty area including several stream crossings with bridges. You can hike about 5 miles before you hit the Indian Peaks Wilderness boundary where dogs are not allowed.

4)    Same start as above but go further down Hwy 72 a few miles and look for the sign on right that will indicate a left turn onto Jamestown Road. Drive a few miles to the Ceran St. Vrain trailhead sign pointing to a left turn. Go about 1/10 mile. This trail goes through mature trees along a great fishing river and is wonderful for kids that love the water and people who like to fish.


5)    Go even further along Hwy 72 (8.7 miles from Hwy 7) to a right hand turn past the Mill Site Inn (a fun place to stop for pizza, sandwiches, and a cold beer!) and go up to Brainard Lake State Rec area. Dogs allowed on leash on trails. (Costs about $9 to get in; good for 5 days).