Gorgeous landscapes and byways surround Denver and the best part is that you don’t even need to leave your car to see them. Our local experts have compiled a list of the best scenic drives near Denver that you’ll be yearning to jump in your car and hit the road for. Read on to plan your next adventure!
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Top 5 Scenic Drives Near Denver
Length: 28 miles
Best Season: Summer
One of Colorado’s most famous fourteeners, Mount Evans, reaches an altitude of 14,130 ft — allowing an abundant variety of Colorado landscapes to be seen from the luxury of your vehicle. This scenic drive starts and ends at Idaho Springs so you can grab a quick bite in the quaint mountain town before the ride and then soak in the Indian Hot Springs after the descent from the peak. Mount Evans is known for its wildlife sightings, This fourteener is open between Memorial Day and the first weekend in October—weather permitting. Visiting closer to the opening day boasts spectacular views of flourishing wildflowers while visiting near the end of season will leave you awestruck with the variety of autumnal colors covering the landscape.
Length: 55 miles
Best Season: Fall
Established in 1918, Peak to Peak stretches from Estes Park to I-70 alongside the Continental Divide and bursts with charming views. Although this drive is gorgeous year-round — our favorite season to visit is the Fall. Once the Aspen trees that line the roadway start to golden, they set a stark contrast to the mountains in the background. This roughly 3 hour drive passes by many retired gold mines prompting tourists and locals alike to try their luck panning for gold in the creek. Make sure to stop by St. Malo’s Chapel on the Rock, Nederland, and Brainard Lake for the full experience.
Length: 48 miles
Best Season: Spring
The most popular scenic drive in Colorado, Trail Ridge Road, is a crucial road to hit for an eventful and picturesque ride. This proclaimed ‘highway to the sky’ connects Estes Park to Grand Lake, allowing astonishing views of the Rockies and the Continental Divide. Travelers will find themselves gaining 4,000 ft in shockingly quick time to a total elevation of 12,183 ft! Each season provides their own unique touch on Trail Ridge Road, but Spring invites vivid colors to sprinkle upon the expansive landscape. Don’t miss the Forest Canyon Overlook, Rainbow Curve, and Lava Cliffs to catch some stunning views you won’t find anywhere else.
Length: 7 miles
Best Season: Spring
One of Littleton’s most famous routes, Littleton Crabapple Route, was established in 2011 as part of the cities’ beautification program. This idea came about almost 40 years ago by former Mayor Vaughn Gardinier and the community has since rallied behind the cause. As a result, the support has planted almost 7,000 crabapple trees on the route, which is enjoyed by drivers, bicyclists, and runners alike. In 2012, philanthropic citizens banded together to create a non-profit to make donations possible for the continuation of the planting and maintaining of crabapple trees on the blossoming Littleton route.
Length: 40 miles
Best Season: Any
This National Scenic Byway travels through the breathtaking towns of Golden, Evergreen, Morrison and Kittredge supplying awe-inspiring views from the comfort of your air-conditioned/heated vehicle. If your legs get cramped from the road trip, stretch them out with a picturesque hike at Golden Gate Canyon State Park when you’re passing through the stunning town of Golden. You are encapsulated in a sea of emerald hues when cruising through Evergreen. This town is a popular destination for Denverites as it’s less than a 45 minute drive from the Mile High City and it’s bursting with outdoor activity options. Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre is a must-see on this loop, the vibrant red and orange hues and astonishing size of the rocks will take your breath away. This famous attraction and concert venue has been visited by all forms of musical genres, from The Beatles to Bon Iver. Don’t miss the iconic Buffalo Bill grave and memorial museum in Golden!
Now that you have our local experts’ top picks for scenic drives near Denver, get out there and cruise through the beautiful landscapes Colorado has to offer.
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Heather is the Content Marketing Associate at AptAmigo. When she isn't creating and designing content, you can find her sipping on crafty cocktails at local Denver bars, thrifting for the best vintage items, or hitting the slopes in Breckenridge.