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)
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
- 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
|New York, NY||1825||27.75|
Driving Distance From Colorado Cities