Do you miss old time Colorado without all the glitz? Then bring a picnic and take a relaxing half day scenic drive out of Estes Park to the charming mountain village of Glen Haven.Turn onto Highway 34 and drive past the Stanley Hotel to McGregor Avenue, where you turn right and drive toward Lumpy Ridge, one of the premier climbing destinations in the nation. As the road turns sharply to the right, you’ll pass the entrance gate to MacGregor Ranch, first settled in 1873 and the only operating ranch in the area. If you’re visiting during the summer, stop by the museum. It’s open to the public from 10 am to 4 pm., Tuesday through Saturday during the summer months.Once past the ranch, the road becomes Devils Gulch Road and for the next five miles you’ll be in what Estes Park residents call the area with “Big Views” of Twin Sisters, Longs Peak and the Continental Divide to the west. It’s an ideal spot to pull off and take a picture.The road then plunges down the switchbacks into the Glen. These are switchbacks with an attitude, with tight curves that meet you coming and going. For the next mile or two the road descends into Glen Haven, a community with no stop lights or pretentions. If you’re driving through from May through October, stop by the Glen Haven General Store and enjoy one of their world famous cinnamon rolls. They also serve cherry cobbler, cookies and bread, all made from scratch. The coffee costs 25 cents a cup, so you know that you’ve traveled back in time. If you have extra time, pamper yourself and spend a couple nights at the historic Inn of Glen Haven, a bed and breakfast that offers old world charm and gourmet dining.It’s about time for that picnic, so drive east along the North Fork of the Big Thompson River through a short section the old timers call “Cold Canyon” because the sun doesn't touch the blacktop for two months during the winter. Here the road winds through close cliffs and tree covered slopes and passes by Roosevelt National Forest picnic spots along the river. Pull off and dip your toes in the ice-cold water before firing up the grill.After your picnic follow the road east as the canyon opens into rolling hills. At the intersection at Drake, turn right on Highway 34 and travel west back to Estes Park. This drive will take a half day or so, depending on how long you enjoy your cinnamon roll or relax next to the river.
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