From Interstate 25 you can take either US 36 or 34 west. Both will take you on a scenic drive through the foothills of the Rockies’ eastern front.
US 36 passes Lake Estes as it enters Estes Park.
This was the only place I stopped in town, although there were plenty of interesting shops and galleries downtown.
From Estes Park, you can take either US 34 or 36. I chose 34, which will take you to RMNP’s Fall River entrance. The two routes connect again inside the park, for the trip over Trail Ridge Road.
The visitor’s center at the Fall River entrance is nestled between mountains, offering a hint of the high-altitude scenery ahead.
Not far from the visitor’s center, you can pull of the road at Sheep Lakes, and take in this view of the valley.
Note: This trip was first published in 2005.