Drive the Peak to Peak — it’s beautiful anytime of the year, but when fall colors are out, it’s spectacular!
Stretching 55 miles from Estes Park to I-70, the Peak to Peak Highway is about a 3 hour drive with stops along the way.
Designated a Colorado Scenic Byway in 1918, it begins as CO Highway 7 in Estes Park, passes Lily Mountain and Twin Sisters, then turns south just past Allenspark on CO Highway 72, goes to Nederland where it continues south on CO Highway 119, through Blackhawk, through Clear Creek Canyon and down to I-70. Click to see Map.
There used to be many gold mines along Highways 72 and 119. The mine tailings (scrap rock from the mines that was dumped down the side of the mountain) are visible from the small town of Ward down past Blackhawk. Elevations range from 9.600′ at Ward down to 8,000′ at Blackhawk.
Weekend prospectors still dredge for golden flakes in the creeks. There are a few old mines along the way that allow the public to pan for gold in the creek. Kids love to pan for gold whether they find any or not.
First Scenic Byway in CO
Established over 100 years ago, this is Colorado’s first scenic byway.
It’s a lovely drive, passing interesting sites and places along the way, and makes a great day trip from Estes Park. St. Malo’s Chapel, built on a rocky outcrop, stands majestic in from of Mt. Meeker.
Gravel roads crossing the main highway lead to ghost towns at Hesse and Apex; others lead to high country lakes.
There are many aspen stands mixed in with evergreens. On a clear fall day, these golden trees set against the high peaks shine in the sun.