Accessing Estes Park proves easy, no matter the season. Estes Park is close to neighboring Front Range communities and Denver. From cities east of the Rockies-Loveland, Fort Collins, Greeley, Longmont, Boulder and Denver, there are no mountain passes to cross, and the state and U.S. highways serving the area are well-maintained. Boasting long views of 8,500- to 14,000-foot-high snowcapped peaks, canyon rivers, foraging wildlife and rolling meadows, the drives also are as beautiful as they are convenient.
Equally picturesque, Trail Ridge Road (U.S. Highway 34) provides entry to Estes Park (elevation 7,522) from the west, notably from Granby and Grand Lake. The road usually opens Memorial Day weekend; snow forces its closure by early to mid-October. For mileages and approximate travel times from Colorado cities and other U.S locations, see the chart below.
Pavement Preservation Project Continues In Rocky Mountain National Park
A major pavement preservation project continues in Rocky Mountain National Park. The work is taking place in a variety of highly visited locations in the park and includes some closures and delays. Weather permitting, work will occur in the following locations on the dates listed. No pavement work will take place on weekends.
- Expect up to 20 minute delays on Trail Ridge Road from the Fall River Entrance to Rainbow Curve - Monday, July 24 through Friday, July 28, July 31, August 1 and August 7.
- Longs Peak Trailhead parking lot will be closed to vehicles and half of Lumpy Ridge Trailhead parking lot will be closed to vehicles on Monday, July 31.
- Alpine Visitor Center, Trail Ridge Store Parking Area and Old Fall River Road will be closed while the parking area is being resurfaced and then striped on August 1, 2 and 3 and August 17
- Endovalley Road will be closed past the west Alluvial Fan parking area on Thursday, August 3.
- Hollowell Park parking area and road will be closed on Wednesday, August 2 and there will be no shuttle bus service at that stop.
- Half of Lumpy Ridge Trailhead parking lot will be closed to vehicles on Wednesday, August 2.
- The road leading to Sprague Lake picnic area and the Glacier Basin Campground road will consist of one lane of traffic on Wednesday, August 2.
- The Moraine Park Discovery Center and parking area will be closed on Thursday, August 3.
- Half of the Park and Ride parking area will be closed on Friday, August 4.
- The road leading to Moraine Park Campground will consist of one lane of traffic on Friday, August 4.
- The Fall River Entrance will have significant impacts on Monday, August 7, as all three lanes will be impacted from pavement work. Expect up to 20 minute delays through that area.
- Half of the Park and Ride parking area will be closed on Tuesday, August 8.
- Sprague Lake parking area will be closed on Wednesday, August 9. Glacier Creek Stables will be accessible. The shuttle stop will be operational but there will be no parking available.
This important project is critical for the long term protection of park roads and parking areas.
Directions from Denver International Airport:
Toll Road Bypass:
- Quickest Route: Exit the airport on Pena Blvd to toll road E-470 northwest to I-25. Travel north until exiting on CO 66 west towards Estes Park. E-470 Toll charges apply for a two-axle vehicle. Possible increased tolls for rental vehicles, please contact your car rental company for additional details. Bypasses most of Denver in-city traffic. From Lyons, CO take Hwy 36 to Estes Park. Estimated 1 hr, & 26 min., 76 miles. Google Map
- Scenic Route: Follow above directions to Lyons. From downtown Lyons, CO take Hwy 7 south to Estes Park. Estimated 1 hr. & 49 min., 89 miles. Google Map
- Through Boulder: Exit the airport on Pena Blvd to toll road E-470 northwest past I-25 to US Hwy 36. Take US 36 northwest through Boulder to Lyons. In Lyons, turn left, continuing on US 36 west to downtown where you will turn right to remain on US 36 to Estes Park. Estimated 1 hr. & 36 min., 79 miles. Google Map
Pena Blvd Route (no tolls):
- Through Longmont: Exit the airport onto Pena Blvd., follow until exiting onto I-70 West then quickly exiting onto I-270. Follow I-270 until exiting north on I-25. Travel north until exiting on CO 66 west towards Estes Park. From Lyons, CO take Hwy 36 to Estes Park. Estimated 1 hr. 48 minutes, 86 miles. Google Map
- Scenic Route: Follow above directions to Lyons. In downtown Lyons, take CO Hwy 7 to Estes Park. Estimated 2 hrs. & 11 min., 100 miles. Google Map
- Through Boulder: Exit the airport onto Pena Blvd., follow until exiting onto I-70 West then quickly exiting onto I-270 to US 36 W. Take US 36 northwest through Boulder to Lyons. In Lyons, turn left, continuing on US 36 west to downtown where you will turn right to remain on US 36 to Estes Park. Estimated 1 hr. & 48 min, 81 miles. Google Map
*Note distances & times may vary due to road construction, weather, etc.
U.S. Highway 34 Construction Updates (Loveland to Estes Park)
Highway 34 is open this weekend! Starting Saturday, May 6 at 6am until Monday, May 8 at 8:30am! Come celebrate at the Duck Race Festival and enjoy the Visit Estes Park Fun Zone with lawn games galore and even a dunk tank!
US 34 remains open to all traffic between Estes park and Loveland. Expect approximate 15-30 minute delays when travelling the canyon, as rolling lane closures occur.
Fall & Winter 2017-18
- Closure will begin early October and be complete May 24, 2018, permits will be required during this time
- Intermittent traffic delays for finishing work, paving through October 2018
- Off roadway river work through December 2018
Additional construction details and updates can be found on the CDOT website.
Distance and Travel Times for Alternate Routes (times may vary with traffic):
Loveland to Estes via I-25: 65 minutes, 50.5 miles
Central Loveland to Estes via CO Hwy 287 to US Hwy 36: 59 minutes, 45 miles
Repairs to Upper State Highway 7, from Lily Lake to Meeker Park
- Working hours will be will be Monday – Friday from 7 AM – 5 PM with any traffic disruptions ending by noon on Friday.
- 10-20 min weekday delays are expected through October, 2017 when the project is scheduled to be complete
- Full closures of SH-7 are not expected, but single-lane traffic at culvert crossings that will be managed with temporary signals.
- Signals will alternate traffic during non-construction hours with a maximum 5-minute hold.
- During working hours flaggers will maintain holds shorter than 10 min the exception of days when rock fall mitigation occurs which may require holds up to 30 minutes.
- Sign up for project updates here.
Driving Distance From Major U.S. Cities
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Driving Distance From Colorado Cities