Getting Here

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.

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)

Thanksgiving 2017-18

The Colorado Department of Transportation and Kiewit Infrastructure Co. will open US 34 for travel between Loveland and County Road 43 for access to Estes Park over the holiday weekend, but drivers are still encouraged to use Highway 36 into Estes Park to avoid delays.

The highway will be open to all motorists (with or without residential permits) at 4 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 22, and will remain open until 8 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 26. Because the highway is currently a one-lane road for 11 miles, travel will be slow on US 34 and drivers will need to follow a pilot car for their safety. These lane restrictions and the anticipated extra traffic on the road for the holidays could mean delays exceeding one hour, especially on Friday. Motorists should plan for extra travel time if they plan to use US 34, and cyclists should plan not to ride in the busy one lane corridor, for their safety. We encourage those drivers who can, to still use the US 36 and CO 66 detour for quicker access to and from Estes Park and Loveland.
The section of US 34 between mile points 72 – 74, west of Drake, will remain closed where crews are repairing the highway near the landslide. All through-traffic from Loveland to Estes Park will need to use Larimer County Road 43.

This opening is part of CDOT’s promise to reduce the inconvenience to canyon residents and nearby communities as much as possible. Drivers should remember to drive slowly and be prepared to stop at the single-lane section.

Following the holiday weekend, US 34 will again close to through-traffic until Dec. 23 when the highway will open for Christmas. This opening will continue until Jan. 2. Further details will be announced closer to these dates. Following the holiday season, the highway will close until just before Memorial Day 2018. To travel between Estes Park and Loveland drivers should use the detour on US 36 and CO 66. The only access on US 34 will be for canyon residents and emergency services through a permit process. 
US 34 Big Thompson Canyon’s roads and bridges were heavily damaged during the 2013 floods with many homes damaged and over 100 air lifted evacuations. The canyon and its residents also suffered from flooding in 1976. As a result of these two events CDOT has been studying the hydraulic flow of the river in the canyon and its impact on the road and bridges along its path while looking for safety improvements and resiliency solutions to prevent/protect against future flood events.

Fall & Winter 2017-18
  • Closure began October 2 and be complete May 24, 2018, permits will be required during this time
Summer 2018
  • Intermittent traffic delays for finishing work, paving through October 2018 - Not full closure
  • Off roadway river work through December 2018 - Not full closure

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

 

Driving Distance From Major U.S. Cities

City Miles Hours
Atlanta 1466 22.75
Atlantic City 1855 28.5
Charlotte, NC 1640 25.5
Chicago 1050 16
Columbus, OH 1324 20.25
Dallas 941 14.5
Des Moines 720 11
Detroit 1317 20
Goodland, KS 259 4.5
Houston 1181 18.25
Indianapolis 1146 17.5
Kansas City 664 10.25
Lincoln, NE 531 8.25
Little Rock 1248 15.75
Los Angeles 1067 17.25
Louisville, KY 1172 18
Miami 2130 33.5
Milwaukee 1092 16.5
City Miles Hours
Minneapolis 960 14.75
Nashville 1219 18.75
New Orleans 1460 23
New York, NY 1825 27.75
Oklahoma City 739 11.25
Omaha, NE 585 9.25
Philadelphia 1794 27.5
Phoenix 982 15
Pittsburgh 1495 22.75
Richmond, VA 1732 27
San Diego 1129 18.25
San Francisco 1257 19.25
Seattle, WA 1321 20.25
Springfield, IL 1101 15.5
St. Louis 913 14
Tampa 1922 30.25
Topeka 602 9.25
     

Driving Distance From Colorado Cities

City Miles Hours
Boulder 39 1
Colorado Springs 140 2.75
Denver 70 1.6
Granby 62  1.5
Grand Lake 47 1.25
City Miles Hours
Greeley 49 1.25
Fort Collins 42 1.25
Longmont 34 1
Loveland  31     53 min. 
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