Getting Here and Around
- Travel Tips
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Getting Here and Around
Estes Park and Grand Lake are the Rocky Mountain's gateway communities; from these you can enter the park via U.S. 34 or 36. The closest commercial airport is Denver International Airport (DEN). Its Ground Transportation Information Center (800/247-2336 or 303/342-4059) assists visitors with car rentals, door-to-door shuttles, and limousine services. From the airport, the eastern entrance of the park is 80 mi (about two hours). Estes Park Shuttle (970/586-5151; reservations essential) serves Estes Park and Rocky Mountain from Denver, the airport, and Boulder. Greyhound Lines serve Denver, Boulder, and Fort Collins, and Amtrak's California Zephyr stops in downtown Denver, Winter Park/Fraser, and Granby.
U.S. 36 runs from Denver through Boulder, Lyons, and Estes Park to the park; the portion between Boulder and Estes Park is heavily traveled—especially on summer weekends. Colorado Routes 119, 72, and 7 have much less traffic. If you're driving directly to Rocky Mountain from the airport, the E–470 tollway connects Peña Boulevard to Interstate 25.
The Colorado Department of Transportation (for road conditions, call 303/639-1111) plows roads efficiently, but winter snowstorms can slow traffic and create wet or icy conditions.
The main thoroughfare in the park is Trail Ridge Road; in winter, it's plowed up to Many Parks Curve on the east side and the Colorado River trailhead on the west side. Gravel-surfaced, extremely curvy Old Fall River Road is open from July to September. Pulled trailers and vehicles longer than 25 feet are prohibited.
Two free park shuttle-bus routes operate along the park's popular Bear Lake Road from mid-June to mid-October. Unless you arrive early enough to get one of the few parking spaces beyond the park-and-ride, you must take the shuttle. One bus line runs every 30 minutes between 7:30 am and 7:30 pm from near the Fern Lake Trailhead to the Moraine Park Museum and on to Glacier Basin Campground. The other runs every 15 minutes between 7 am and 7 pm from the campground to the Bear Lake Trailhead. There's also a hiker shuttle bus running from the Estes Park Visitor Center to the park during the peak summer season (call 970/586-1206 for times); it passes most lodging and shopping areas, and many visitors like to use it as a free sightseeing tour bus.You must have a park pass if you transfer to the buses that enter the national park.
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