Scenic Byways & Drives
Winter Park has access to some of the best scenic drives in the Rockies. Here are a few of our favorites:
Trail Ridge Road
Follow Trail Ridge Road, one of Colorado’s most spectacular scenic drives, through Rocky Mountain National Park. Listen to the Elks bugle and watch for Aspen Fall colors as you travel on Hwy 34. Follow Hwy 40 to Granby then take a right on Hwy 34 16 miles to Grand Lake. The Kawuneeche Visitor Center (970.627.3471) just past Grand Lake, is a must stop to gather information from the Rangers about hiking, animal viewing areas, historical information and road conditions. The Alpine Visitor Center at the top of Trail Ridge Road is a pleasant place for lunch, unless you are continuing to Estes Park. It is recommended that you allow for almost an entire day to spend time in the Nation’s 2nd oldest National Park.
Enjoy this 15-mile rough dirt road to the top of the Continental Divide stopping at the old train trestle, a reminder of the incredible feat of taking trains over the mountain. There are beautiful views of the ski resort, town and surrounding area, so remember your camera. Drive toward the Winter Park Resort and past Idlewild Campground there will be a brown sign stating, “Corona Pass Road”. Take a left and follow signs to Corona Pass/Moffat Road/Rollins Pass/Forest Road 149. It is a slow going road due to loose rocks and erosion damage, but it is navigable in all vehicles, given that you drive with care. It is approximately 14 miles to the top of the Pass. Moffat Road historical brochures are available for purchase in the Winter Park Fraser Valley Visitor Center.
Willow Creek Pass
Drive through Granby on Hwy 40. At Windy Gap Reservoir, turn right on Colorado Hwy 125 to Willow Creek Pass (21.5 miles). Here the land is more open with Oak trees and unusual rock formations along the river. At the top of Willow Creek Pass, turn around and return to Hwy 40. If you really want to see some backcountry, turn at County Road 123 to Stillwater Pass (see below).
County Road 123 is four miles below the summit of Willow Creek Pass; a sign indicates Stillwater Pass. The road is well maintained until a few miles below the summit. You will see the mountains of the Bowen Gulch Protection Area and the Never Summer Wilderness which border Rocky Mountain National Park. On the Grand Lake side take a left onto County Road 4, which is on the West side of Highway 34. The road follows through a subdivision and when the road turns to dirt, it becomes more remote. As it winds its way up the switchbacks, it becomes a jeep trail and is not recommended for low clearance vehicles. It can be driven to the other side, Colorado 125 (Willow Creek Pass), in an ATV or four wheel drive.
Colorado River Headwaters National Scenic Byway
Dropping 1,700 feet in elevation from end to end, follow the mighty Colorado River as it begins its journey west to the Pacific. The byway passes through mountain valleys and magnificent canyons, along historical ranchlands. From Winter Park, follow Highway 40 North to the town of Kremmling, approximately 45 miles. In the town of Kremmling take a Left on Route 9 toward the south and drive approximate 5 miles to Grand County Road 1, also known at the Trough Road. State Bridge, which has a convenience store, cabins and an outdoor amphitheater for music in the summer, is the culmination of the drive.
Church Park Road:
About 1⁄4 mile North of Fraser on Hwy 40, turn left onto County Road 5. Pass the Fraser Sports Complex on your right, and take the first left onto County Road 50 – Church Park Rd. After about 2 miles, the road will come to a “Y” intersection. Take a Right here, which is County Road 50. After you pass the Crooked Creek Ranch- Young Life Camp, you will be in the National Forest. You will soon see a sign for Forest Roads #139 and #133; stay on FR #139 at the junction for those roads. You have gone approximately 10 miles. Continue on to the junction for FR 134 and FR 139, and veer left to stay on 139. After 13.9 miles you will come to Horseshoe Campground and the Williams Fork River; continue over a small bridge, and turn right at the next junction heading towards the town of Parshall (this is County Rd/Route 3). Continue on for another 14 miles on this road until you reach Hwy 40. Make a right on Hwy 40 to head back towards Hot Sulpher Springs, Granby, and Winter Park (approximately another 30 miles).
Cottonwood Pass Road
From Winter Park, follow Highway 40 North approximately 10 miles to County Road 55, on the left. There will be a Colorado Scenic Byway sign that indicates Cottonwood Pass. As you wind your way up Cottonwood Pass, you will drive past some of the most historic ranches in the county. At the top, before you descend into the town of Hot Sulphur Springs, there is an informational sign with the history of the road, which served as the mail route. The road continues to the town of Hot Sulphur Springs, where skiing began in Grand County, back to Highway 40. If you’d like to return to Granby and Winter Park, you will take a right. If you’d like to go to Parshall and Kremmling, take a left.