Sign Up
Newsletter Signup
Free Fodor's Newsletter

Subscribe today for weekly travel inspiration, tips, and special offers.

Passport: Your weekly travel wrap-up
Today's Departure: Your daily dose of travel inspiration

Rocky Mountain National Park Sights

Trail Ridge Road

  • Runs between Estes Park and Grand Lake Map It
  • Rocky Mountain National Park
  • Scenic Drive/Tour
  • Fodor's Choice

Updated 10/02/2013

Fodor's Review

This is the park's star attraction and the world's highest continuous paved highway, topping out at 12,183 feet. The 48-mi road connects the park's gateways of Estes Park and Grand Lake. The views around each bend—of moraines and glaciers, and craggy hills framing emerald meadows carpeted with columbine and Indian paintbrush—are truly awesome. As it passes through three ecosystems—montane, subalpine, and arctic tundra—the road climbs 4,300 feet in elevation. As you drive the road, take your time at the numerous turnouts to gaze over the verdant valleys, brushed with yellowing aspen in fall, that slope between the glacier-etched granite peaks. Rainbow Curve affords views of nine separate mountain peaks, each more than 10,000 feet high, and of the Alluvial Fan, a 42-acre swath of rocks and boulders (some the size of cars) left behind after an earthen dam broke in 1982. You can complete a one-way trip across the park on Trail Ridge Road in two hours, but it's best

to give yourself three or four hours to allow for leisurely breaks at the overlooks. Note that the middle part of the road closes with the first big snow (typically by mid-October) and most often reopens around Memorial Day, though you can still drive up about 10 mi from the west and 8 mi from the east.

Read More

Sight Information


Trail Ridge Rd. (U.S. 34), Runs between Estes Park and Grand Lake, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado, 80517, United States

Map It

Sight Details:

  • June–mid-Oct.

Updated 10/02/2013


Map View

Map of

What's Nearby

  • Restaurants
  • Sights

See all sights in Rocky Mountain National Park

Add Your Own Review

When did you go?

Minimum 200 character count

How many stars would you give?




Don't Miss



No Thanks

Love To Travel?

Get FREE e-mail communications from Fodor's Travel, covering must-see travel destinations, expert trip planning advice, and travel inspiration to fuel your passion.

How we use your email

Thank You

Now sit back, relax, and check your inbox to start planning your next travel adventure.

Please tell us more about the type of travel you're interested in. Check all that apply.