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Grand Lake to Estes Park

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Pell City, AL
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Grand Lake to Estes Park

How long will it take us to get from Grand Lake to Estes Park? I believe Trail Ridge Rd is open now. We'll be there June 7 - June 14.

Windsor, Colorado
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for Estes Park, Rocky Mountain National Park
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1. Re: Grand Lake to Estes Park

That depends. Do you plan to just drive the road or do you want to drive and explore all the many overlooks and short trails along the way? Driving time is 90 minutes if you don't run into too many moose and elk jams. Adding just the overlooks, adds 2 hours. Adding the many short trails along the way will add at least another 2 hours. Here is a link to a Trail Ridge Road timeline from the Top Questions in the RMNP forum.

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g143048-i3489-k542…

Here is information I post routinely about traveling Trail Ridge Road west to east.

About Trail Ridge Road - early in the season, you can have delayed openings and temporary closures due to snow and ice so check the status line at 970-586-1222. Get an early start to drive and explore RMNP Trail Ridge Road to Estes Park. There are numerous overlooks along Trail Ridge Road. The most dramatic ones are on the east side. You can get a $2 guide to Trail Ridge Road at the RMNP Kawuneeche Visitor Center. Pack a picnic lunch (Cy's Deli in Grand Lake) as that gives you more flexibility. There is a small cafe at the Trail Ridge Store next door to the Alpine Visitor Center and plenty of restaurants in Estes Park.

Here are the short trails traveling west to east along Trail Ridge Road.

Adams Falls - should be thundering with snowmelt. Get directions in Grand Lake. It is .3 miles to the waterfall but go beyond to the meadow as moose and elk are often see there.

Coyote Valley Trail - 1 mile level loop which could have elk and walks along part of Colorado River

Holzwarth Historic Site - 1 mile round trip to 1920's dude ranch and moose and elk frequent this area plus you cross the Colorado River

Lake Irene - short trail to lake at the picnic area and beyond to a nice meadow overlook (may still have snow)

Alpine Ridge Trail at the Alpine Visitor Center - 1/4 mile straight up steps known as the huff and puff trail - great views (may have snow)

Tundra Communities Trail near Rock Cut - 1 mile round trip interpretative trail for views, wildlife, tundra and mushroom rocks (do not miss this one if it is clear of snow and ice)

Ute Trail - only walk part way for views

Hidden Valley Nature Trail - .5 mile interpretative loop through 300-700 year old Spruce/Pine forest along a creek. There are picnic tables up the trail.

Beaver Boardwalk - very short trail to a meadow with nice views

If you want two longer but still easy hikes along Trail Ridge Road, Big Meadows is a great trail for wildlife viewing and Ute Trail to Timberline Pass has the views. Check with the rangers at the RMNP Kawuneeche Visitor Center about these trail conditions - may have snow and ice.

protrails.com/trail/40/rocky-mountain-nation…

protrails.com/trail/461/rocky-mountain-natio…

WI
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for Wisconsin, Colorado Springs
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2. Re: Grand Lake to Estes Park

for us driving through Estes to Grand Lake with a few quick stops at pull-outs and visitors centers it was approx. three hours with stops. The maps put it at 1 hr. 24 minutes but that's not accounting for stops and perhaps the mtn. route.

Windsor, Colorado
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for Estes Park, Rocky Mountain National Park
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3. Re: Grand Lake to Estes Park

Hatchpal was running short on time because they were driving from Estes Park all the way to Glenwood Springs with a stop in Georgetown for the train. They did an abbreviated version of Trail Ridge Road. If you have the time, spending more time along Trail Ridge Road will give you amazing views and great chances to see wildlife.

I just drove Trail Ridge Road on May 27. There was lots of snow and it was beautiful. Warmer than average temps have melted some of the snow.

Edited: 2:21 pm, June 03, 2014
Pell City, AL
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4 posts
60 reviews
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4. Re: Grand Lake to Estes Park

Thanks! We're just driving straight through without stopping. On this particular trip through the park, we're trying to get to Estes at a certain time. We will be traveling the road more than once so we will enjoy the sights.

5. Re: Grand Lake to Estes Park

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