The Rocky Mountain National Park Scenic Loop
Your Basecamp to Rocky Mountain National Park
Top 3 Cant-Miss Stops
The Rocky Mountain National Park Scenic Loop is 164 miles and 4 hours of mountain adventure, from start to finish. This drive will take you from Denver, to Estes Park, and through Rocky Mountain National Park, ending at Winter Park, Colorado's favorite Playground. Along the way, soak in alpine views; hike along Milner Pass; spot some wildlife from Forest Canyon Overlook. Whatever you choose to do along the way, keep your eyes open, and don't miss a thing.
To help you out, we've put together the top 3 sights and activities you can't miss along the way.
1. Scenic Vistas
During the Rocky Mountain National Park Scenic Loop, be sure to stop for at least a few minutes at some of the best overlooks and scenic spots along the way. If you want to limit your number of stops, be sure to at least stop halfway through your trip at the Alpine Visitor Center to sip some hot chocolate and soak in the views before heading on your way.
If you want to take in all of the best views, here are some can't-miss overlooks:
Tip: Trail Ridge Road is a separate detour you can take that will add approximately 1.5 to 4 hours to your drive time, depending on the stops you plan to take advantage of along the way. Make sure to check for seasonal or weather closures before heading on this gorgeous drive.
2. Can't-Miss Hikes
What better way stretch your legs and get some fresh air than to take a Rocky Mountain hike before continuing on your way?
Milner Pass: Enjoy exceptional views of the Never Summer Range, Cache La Poudre River Valley, and Forest Canyon.Take the Poudre Lake Trailhead along the Continental Divide, or head toward the Alpine Visitor Center where you can rest and take in the beauty of the Mummy Range across Fall River Pass. This trail is approximately 8 miles round trip, and you won't regret getting out of the car for this one! Keep your eyes open for bighorn sheep and moose along the way!
Deer Ridge Canyon: For a slightly shorter, 6-mile round trip hike, take Deer Mountain Trail through the aspen trees, keeping your eyes open for elk and deer while enjoying views of Longs Peak, Beaver Meadows, and Moraine Park. Make it to Deer Mountain Summit for unbeatable panoramic views of Estes Park, Moraine Park, Beaver Meadows, Horseshoe Park, Longs Peak, and other neighboring Continental Divide summits.
In addition to these two popular hiking stops, there are several trail heads along the way where you can stop to stretch your legs and look for Rocky Mountain wildlife—keep your eyes peeled for places to stop and explore the wilderness along your way, just make sure to stay on the marked trails.
3. Other Activities
When you are nearing the end of your journey, you'll pass by the largest natural lake in Colorado: Grand Lake. You can get out to participate in water sports, breathe some fresh lake air, take a short walk, or you can simply drive by and enjoy the view.
After passing Grand Lake, you will go through the town of Granby, where there is plenty of shopping and small town charm. Take a swing at Granby Ranch's gorgeous golf course before heading out of Granby toward Tabernash and Fraser.
Heading from Fraser into Winter Park, your Rocky Mountain basecamp, look out for some moose that like to hang out