image of fall drives from Estes Park

Fall Color Drives from Estes Park

09/22/2020 | by Lyles Armour | Estes Park Rocky Mountain National Park

Soak up the best of the season with these fall color drives from Estes Park.

Trail Ridge Road

Distance: 48 miles

Time: Estimated two hours

Drive: Trail Ridge Road is one of the most popular scenic drives in Colorado. As the highest continuously paved road in the U.S., it sits at its highest point at 12,183 feet. The road connects the towns of Estes Park and Grand Lake and winds its way through beautiful mountain scenery and crossing the Continental Divide.

What to see: While almost every turn along this road provides stunning views, fall colors are best seen along the Kawuneeche Valley. This stretch of road starts at Grand Lake and finishes after Timber Lake Trailhead. Fairview Curve is also another popular spot to pull off and admire the coloring aspens.

Old Fall River Road

Distance: 11 miles (one-way road)

Time: The drive takes an estimated 40 minutes, but allow for two hours

Drive: This one-way dirt road winds its way through mountainous terrain within Rocky Mountain National Park. Along the way, enjoy the canopy of fall colors that follow you on your drive. Also, be sure to keep your eye out for frequent wildlife, such as elk.

What to see: While there are many points of interest along the way, be sure to stop off at Chasm Falls. Equipped with a parking lot, park your car, and enjoy the short walk to the falls.

Note: This road is seasonal, so be sure to check for road closures before heading out.

Bear Lake Road

Distance: 10.5 miles

Time: Estimate about an hour, mostly due to traffic

Drive: Begin your drive at Moraine Park and drive up to Bear Lake Road. Enjoy the sounds of the roaring Glacier Creek alongside you as you make your way through a tunnel of golden aspens. This is the most popular road in the park, so expect other drivers!

What to see: There are many turnouts and parking lots leading to trailheads, lakes, and scenic overlooks. Popular stops include the hike around Bear Lake and Sprague Lake for even more fall colors.

Read here for other ways you can enjoy Estes Park in the fall.

Peak to Peak

Distance: 55 miles

Time: The drive takes an estimated 90 minutes

Drive: Established in 1918, the Peak to Peak scenic byway is Colorado’s oldest scenic byway and one of our favorite fall color drives from Estes Park. Soak up sweeping views of aspen-veiled valleys and the peaks of the Continental Divide. The byway makes its way from the mining towns of Black Hawk and Central City to Estes Park.

What to see: Of course, the colors are what you came to see but also be sure to stop off at the historic Central City Opera House – a Victorian-era professional opera house.

This is a great driving option if you are traveling from Denver to Estes Park.

Stay at Rocky Mountain Resorts

elk ridge retreat
Outside Elk Ridge Retreat

No matter where your adventures take you this fall, be sure to book your stay at Rocky Mountain Resorts. With our rustic mountain retreats that include cabins with a private hot tub and cottages on the river, we have you covered for your fall getaway to Estes Park. Browse our accommodations and book your stay with us today!

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