Driving Trail Ridge Road
Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
“It is hard to describe what a sensation this new road is going to make,” predicted Horace Albright, director of the National Park Service, in 1931 during the road’s construction. “You will have the whole sweep of the Rockies before you in all directions.” – NPS.gov
Driving Trail Ridge Road – Winding the 48 miles between Estes Park on Rocky Mountain National Park’s east side and Grand Lake on the west is the highway to the sky, better known as the iconic Trail Ridge Road. As the highest continually paved highway in the United States, cresting at 12,183′ and with 11 miles winding above treeline (11,500), Trail Ridge Road provides incredible views not only across heart of the Colorado Rocky Mountains, but north to Wyoming and east across the Great Plains. On either side, it quickly ascends approximately 4,000 feet through thick forests of aspen and ponderosa pine, into subalpine forests of fire and spruce, and finally though treeline into the high alpine tundra. The tundra is home to vivid colors and varied wildlife with Pikas and Marmots squeaking at visitors and Bighorn Sheep and herds of Elk grazing on the rolling mountain tops.
The route has been dubbed an All-American Road – a designation bestowed by the US Department of Transportation defining Trail Ridge Road as a unique roadway that is considered a tourist destination in its own right. Despite the heavy summer traffic, it’s still a pretty incredible.
And the perfect place to race to after work just in time for the evening sunset show…
And then back for a sunrise show when I’m too tired to hike anywhere…