Estes Park is where Colorado’s first and most historic peak to peak scenic byway starts, and it stretches for 55 miles until it runs into U.S. Interstate 70. Throughout the entire trip, you will understand why this is the Centennial State’s first major scenic thoroughfare. The drive can take two hours if you are in a rush, but the whole day if you wish to stay and visit in the towns or step outside and walk the myriad trails and paths in order to take photos (of which there will be plenty). If you are traveling along the highway in the fall, or when the aspens change color, the road becomes especially magnificent.
Estes Park & The Continental Divide
In Estes Park, the quaint valley village established in 1859 still retains an archaic 19th century charm and an excellent array of shops, restaurants and natural attractions. It is an excellent starting point for a road trip due to its variety of entertaining options. As you travel south, the majestic Continental Divide is a novel place on the planet in terms of how the mountain peaks flow southward splitting the continent in half. Travelers will immediately encounter it as soon as they depart Estes Park south along state route 7.
State Parks & National Forests
Throughout the entire Peak-to-Peak Scenic Byway, travelers are surrounded by lush, dense pine foliage on both sides of the highway. The region contains the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests, the Indian Peaks Wilderness Area, and Golden Gate Canyon State Park. Many visitors who take their time (either through a leisurely day trip or by camping for a few days) will experience Colorado and all its beauty with a stop at any one of these forests and parks.
Ghost Towns & More
All throughout the state of Colorado, travelers will find remnants of old mining towns in various states of decay or revival. Within the corridor of the Peak-to-Peak Scenic Byway, a few notable ones on the list include Hesse, Caribou and Apex. Additionally, many of the living towns along the way such as Ward and Nederland have unique antique shops, boutiques and restaurants which abide by the farm-to-table ethos so popular in Colorado. If you are traveling with children under 10 years old, they will love the restored 1910 Carousel of Happiness in Nederland.