It’s no secret that Colorado is known for beautiful, mountainous landscapes, rewarding hikes, and an eclectic collection of different environments. When most people are planning things to do in the Centennial State, outdoor recreational activities top the list, but even just cruising through the state can be a magical experience. While in Colorado, plan to check out these three scenic drives near Denver. If you’re going to venture out further from the city, you can take advantage of other stunning drives including Independence Pass, which climbs more than 12,000 feet through the Rocky Mountains. For more inspiration on things to do in Colorado, check out our Summer Activities and Winter Activities to get a taste of what it’s like to live in our gorgeous state!
Top 3 Scenic Drives Near Denver
Trail Ridge Road
Easily one of the most popular scenic drives, the Trail Ridge Road near Denver is a must-see during a road trip. This 48-mile long road connects the towns of Estes Park and Grand Lake while reaching an elevation of 12,183 feet. Along the route, you’ll be able to see the Great Plains, the Rockies, and even glimpses of Wyoming to the north. As you drive along this road, you’ll pass through the continental divide, witnessing stunning mountain peaks and unique landscapes.
Peak to Peak Highway
The Peak to Peak Highway stretches for 55 miles next to the Rocky Mountain National Park. Plan for the entire drive to talk about two hours as you cruise past the serene Lake Estes, the Indian Peaks Wilderness Area with hiking trails and cross-country skiing, and dozens of scenic lookout points.
Mount Evans Scenic Byway
Known as the highest paved roadway on this continent, the Mount Evans Scenic Byway winds through the mountains to a maximum elevation of 14,130 feet. You’ll have a difficult time keeping your eyes away from the window as you pass Echo Lake, Mount Goliath, Summit Lake, and more beautiful sights. Along the way, there are dozens of great places to stop for pictures or embark on a hike. Keep an eye out for wildlife as you may just spot one of the many mountain goats that wander through this area.
As you explore these scenic drives near Denver, you’ll quickly realize the astounding beauty of Colorado. So many travelers visit the state each year and realize they want to live in a place where you can travel two hours and be in a completely different landscape. Outdoor adventurers flock to the area to take advantage of the year-round sports and recreational activities available like skiing, snowmobiling, hiking, fishing, and more.
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