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Colorado Road Trip – Trail Ridge Road & Estes Park (Part 7)

I’m going to tell you about one of the most phenomenal drives I have ever experienced.  Trail Ridge Road is the highest continuous paved road in the US reaching a maximum elevation of over 12,000 ft. This also means it is closed for a large part of the year so time your visit well for the summer months.  The road takes you from Grand Lake to Estes Park aka Rocky Mountains HQ.  The twists and turns leave you gasping in awe at the mind-blowing scenery (and not just because I’m a geography geek).

Trail Ridge Road 2 Trail Ridge Road 1

Luckily there are spots for you to park, stretch your legs and gaze in wonder at the mountains, clouds and beauty of nature.  

Estes Park is a great base for exploring the Rocky Mountains.  Unfortunately for us, we spent most of our time there trying to find indoor activities to escape the rain…

What we did

  • Always go to the local Visitors Centre.  At the very least you will find clean toilets and lots of coupons!  The Estes Park Visitors Centre is staffed with knowledgable locals with lots of leaflets and maps to help you plan your day.
  • We loved the MacGregor Ranch, a window back in time to a 19th century homestead ranch.  Our amazing guide explained the history of the ranch, tailoring it to our young kids by showing them things that would interest them like the old clothes and toys of the MacGregor family.
    MacGregor Ranch
  • Ride-A-Kart offers family fun from Go Karts to Bumper Cars.  The Bumper Boats in the pool looked lots of fun but sadly the rain meant we had to take it indoors…
    Estes Park Go Kart
  • A highlight of our trip was seeing my four year old attempt her very first climbing wall at the Indoor Climbing Gym.  With 3 climbs for USD $15, this was the perfect wet weather activity.
    Estes Park Indoor Climbing

Where we ate

We had a terrible dinner in Estes Park so I’ll spare you the details.  We did finish it off with delicious ice cream at Flavors of the Rockies.

Where we stayed

Estes Park is a popular summer spot so it’s hard to find a motel bargain.  I had been advised the YMCA of the Rockies offers fantastic varied accommodation at affordable prices.  However, as we were only there for one night, we stuck with the tried and tested Comfort Inn, albeit a lot more pricey than usual.

Comfort Inn Estes Park

Sadly Estes Park was the finale to our 2013 Colorado Road Trip.  From here we drove just under two hours to Denver airport.  After a short 2 hour flight to Los Angeles, we boarded our Cathay Pacific flight home to Hong Kong.

To read about the rest of our Colorado Adventure!

Part 1: Denver to Glenwood Springs

Part 2: Glenwood Springs to Ouray

Part 3: Ouray to Crested Butte

Part 4: Weekend in Denver

Part 5: Steamboat Springs

Part 6: Grand Lake

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