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Hiking & Walking: Colorado > Rocky Mountain National Park

Quick Facts

Trail Ridge Road

Elevation: 8,930 Feet (2783.7 Meters) at the east end
Elevation: 8,720 Feet (2718.2 Meters) at the west end
High Point: 12,183 Feet (3797.7 Meters)
Length: 48 Miles (80.0 Kilometers)

Satellite and Topo Map

General Description

The highest point on Trail Ridge Road
Copyright: - US National Park Service
The highest point on Trail Ridge Road
At its upper limit, Trail Ridge Road reaches 12, 183 feet in elevation, higher than any other continuous paved highway in the United States. In 1985, this significant route was placed on the National Register of Historic Places, and in 1996 it was named as one of the first six All-American Roads ever designated.

The road was completed in 1932 for cross Continental Divide travel. The road begins west of Estes Park at Deer Ridge Junction in Rocky Mountain National Park. Grand Lake is the terminus at the western entrance of the Park. Trail Ridge Road stays above tree line, in the alpine tundra, for 11 miles.

Views to the north, south, east, and west extend into Wyoming and three adjacent National Forests, across the 415 square miles of parkland.

Directions from Estes Park: The highway begins west of Estes Park at Deer Ridge Junction in Rocky Mountain National Park.

Directions from Granby: The highway begins in Grand Lake at the Kawuneeche Visitor Center located approximately 16 miles northeast of Granby on Highway 34.

Seasonal Information:
Normally Open: Late May through Mid-October (NOTE: Road opens when conditions allow. Snow drifts up to 30 feet high can be on the road in Winter.) .

Current Conditions & Trip Reports

Add your own trip Report! Newly re-released feature. One of the most popular features on Wildernet, trip reports allow you to share your experiences with others. This is an invaluable resource for determining what to expect on your outdoor adventure, so please participate! To prevent spamming, you must be a registered user of Wildernet in order to submit a trip report

Filed By: Katherine (Lakewood, Co)
Time of Day: 1PM-4PM
Length of Time: 3 Hours
Difficulty: Hard
Number of People Encountered: 25-50 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Neutral
Report: Fabulous views BUT if you are afraid of heights this is NOT a trip for you. I was OK through Berthoud Pass and thought I was heading down. Oh No. Hardly. The name of this road is quite literal -- not much wider than a trail along the top of a ridge that resembles the spine of some 12,000 foot tall dinosaur. No guard rails either. I thought I was doing well, but had a full-blown anxiety attack near the top. Thank God a friend was with me, or you would have been air-lifting an unconscious person. It would be helpful if you explained in your descriptions the possible turn-around points so those as fearful of heights as I am are not standed.

Filed By: B. Taylor
Time of Day: Early AM, mid-day, evening
Length of Time: 2-5 hours
Difficulty: Easy
Number of People Encountered: 50+ ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: Made many trips here and am always facinated with its beauty. I see something new with each visit. Lots of wildlife and the scenery is breathtaking! Early morning is best to avoid crowds. Afternoons promise elk and maybe a rainbow. Take Fall River up and follow Trail Ridge Road back if coming from Estes Park.

Difficulty: Easy
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: Absolutely beautiful!

Recreation Opportunities
Activity Remarks On Site
ICON Automobile Travel
ICON Road Biking This is a demanding, intermediate to advanced level ride.
ICON Scenic Driving

Related Activities
Alpine Visitor Center - Alpine Visitor Center is located at Fall River Pass, at the intersection of Trail Ridge Road and Old Fall River Road, at an elevation of 11,796 feet.

Beaver Ponds Picnic Ground - Beaver Ponds Picnic Ground is located along Trail Ridge Road (Hwy. 34), near the east end of the road. The site has six tables and fire rings.

Colorado River Picnic Ground - The Colorado River Picnic Ground is located just off Highway 34, along the Colorado River, at the north end of the Kawuneeche Valley. This picnic area is on the west side of the park.

Coyote Valley Picnic Ground - The Coyote Valley Picnic Ground sits just off Highway 34 on the west side of the park. The area is located in the Kawuneeche Valley, along the Colorado River.

Kawuneeche Visitor Center - The Kawuneeche Visitor Center is located at the west entrance to the park, along Highway 34, just north of Grand Lake. It is open year-round.

Lake Irene Picnic Ground - Lake Irene Picnic Ground is located along Trail Ridge Road (Hwy. 34), just west of Milner Pass and the Continental Divide. There are eight tables and fire grates.

Park Headquarters Visitor Center - The Park Headquarters and the Beaver Meadows Visitor Center are located along Highway 36, just west of Estes Park, at the main entrance to the east side of the park.

Sundance Mountain Trail - The high altitude walk to this summit begins on Trail Ridge Road between Forest Canyon Overlook and Rock Cut. It leads out to Sundance Mountain.

Timber Creek Campground - Closer than the eastside campgrounds to the amazing Trail Ridge hikes, this site is definitely the gems of the west side.

Timber Lake Trail - This trail on the west side of the park begins off Highway 34 in the Kawuneeche Valley. It is a strenuous 4.8 mile hike up to Timber Lake.

More Information

Visitor Information:

Headquarters: Rocky Mountain National Park, 1000 Highway 36 , Estes Park, CO, 80517-8397, Phone: 970-586-1206, Fax: 970-586-1256, TTY: 970-586-1319


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