RoadRUNNER’s Bucket List Roads: Trail Ridge Road, Colorado

Jul 11, 2015 View Comments by

Trail Ridge RoadThe Highest Paved Road in America –

Extending from Estes Park, CO, to Grand Lake, CO, it’s the highest continuous paved road in the United States. It follows a historic path that the Ute and other Native Americans used for thousands of years. Due to winter snowpack, the road is usually open only between Memorial Day in May through Columbus Day in October. Temporary closings can also occur during this time period, however, due to adverse weather and or conditions. Road status reports are available at:, or call (970) 586-1222 for the latest recorded message.

Scenery: Dramatic sweeping vistas of Rocky Mountain National Park and the Great Plains. Views are completely unobstructed, after climbing above the tree line at 11,500 feet. Be sure to be on the lookout for wildlife, including elk, marmots, and big horn sheep.

Curves: Long continuous curves climbing to a high point of 12,183 feet elevation. The route’s total elevation gain is around 4,000 feet.

Points of Interest: Be sure to pause at the turnouts to fully appreciate the stunning mountain scenery. The route crosses the Continental Divide at Milner Pass. A full list of points of interest can be found at:

Traffic: This is a popular summertime route for tourists, at least for those who don’t suffer from vertigo.

Distance: 48 miles total, 11 miles above the tree line.

Time Required: Although the route can be negotiated in about two hours of non-stop riding, allow up to a half-day, one way, to fully appreciate this highflying excursion.

Technical Difficulty: This route involves high altitude mountain riding with temperatures 20 to 30 degrees colder than at Estes Park or Grand Lake—dress accordingly.

Informative Website:


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