Length: 80 Miles
Driving time: 2 hours
Downstream the Colorado is a mighty river irrigating and providing power to the Southwestern United States. But up here, at its source, it is no different from dozens of other Rocky Mountain waterways, a clear brook tumbling across greenish meadows and down cramped redrock gorges. This stretch between Grand Lake and State Bridge offers first-class fishing, canoeing, and rafting, along with plenty of quiet spaces where you can sit on the banks and contemplate. The route begins at Grand Lake, an old resort town on the shores of Colorado’s largest natural lake, and ends on a gravel road through spectacular Upper Gore Canyon.
Length: 48 Miles
Driving time: 2 hour
Soaring to an elevation of 12,183 feet, Trail Ridge Road seems to leave the earth behind. It slices through the heart of Rocky Mountain National Park, entering a world of rare alpine beauty. Distant peaks loom in all directions, while fragrant wildflowers blanket the tundra in mid-summer. Sharp-eyed observers can usually spy elk, bighorn sheep, and other wildlife traversing the meadows and crags. Higher than any paved through-road in the country, this cliff-hugging highway is as impressive for its engineering as for its stunning vistas. You can’t find a road like this one anywhere outside of Colorado.