Trail Ridge (Estes Park) Bike Climb - PJAMM Cycling

8.4
FIETS
16.1 mi
DISTANCE
4,104 ft
GAINED
4.7 %
AVG. GRADE

FULL CLIMB STATS

INTRO

One of the most fun climbs in the United States, the ride across the scenic Trail Ridge Road will leave you breathless - literally! 

See more details and tools regarding this climb's grade via our interactive Profile Tool.
Roadway & Traffic:
The roadway is in excellent condition throughout the climb. Traffic is mild and not a concern. Road is snowed in and closed to all traffic usually from sometime in early November into late May.  Be sure to check the NPS website for road closure information if planning on riding in spring or fall.

Parking: 
There's plenty of parking in either the town of Estes Park or within the national park along the route at trailheads, scenic overlooks, etc.
There are rest stops and scenic overlooks with restrooms, but for the most part the climb within the National Park is unsupported. The town of Estes Park has plenty of accommodations and places to grab things before your ride. 

Since you will finish this climb above 12,000', summit conditions can be very cold and very windy.  Be sure to consult the PJAMM Weather forecast for the expected conditions at the finish and pack clothing accordingly.
Before heading out on any cycling adventure check out our Things to Bring on a Cycling Trip and use our interactive check list to ensure you don't forget anything.
For this climb we have stayed in and very much enjoy Estes Park. Trail Ridge is also easily accessible from Boulder. There are great options for vacation rentals in each of those areas as well.

Rocky Mountain National Park Alpine Visitor Center is four miles past our finish. There is a store next to the VC. The Continental Divide is eight miles past our finish at Milner Pass. 

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ROUTE MAP
PROFILE TOOL

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CLIMB SUMMARY

CLIMB SUMMARY

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Trail Ridge Road is the highest continuous paved road in the United States, traversing Rocky Mountain National Park. It offers spectacular views along the giant switchbacks from miles 4-14 and on up to the summit at a whopping 12,000'.

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The “shorter” (18 miles; map) climb begins just 3 miles northwest of Estes Park, CO (we recommend staying here as this is a very charming town). Trail Ridge Road is the northernmost Top 100 climb in Colorado, and can easily be included in a Denver-Area Top 100 trip which would additionally include #97 Magnolia Dr (Boulder, CO - 44 miles south) and #11 Mt. Evans(Idaho Springs - 84 miles south). Throw in #5 Pikes Peak for good measure! (Colorado Springs - 147 miles south).

​The first 9 miles of the climb are mild, with nice views of meadows and forest surroundings.

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$10 charge to get into the park on a bike and the park is cycle-friendly.

We turn right at mile 5.45 onto Trail Ridge Rd which takes us another 12 miles to the summit of this climb.

The views transition to mountains and canyon as we ride the next 7 miles and travel above tree line into more barren surroundings at around mile 16. Altitude is certainly a factor on this ascent as we exceed 12,000' which is rare (only 7 of the Top 100 U.S. climbs are above 12,000').

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The road passes the Continental Divide at Milner Pass (elevation 10,758) which is about 8.9 miles down Trail Ridge Road after cresting the summit of our climb.

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Extended Trail Ridge Route - 43.9 miles

The alternate route (the one featured on our climb page) begins on Hwy 34 at Dam Store - this is a very long route at 43.9 miles, 7,710’ at 3.1% (Map).  Please see Dam Store slideshow for photos of this climb from start to where the standard climb begins just west of Estes Park.

Steepest ¼ mile begins at mile 17.1 (1.5%) and steepest mile at 16.9 (9.7%)

Roadway and Traffic Report: This road is in excellent condition with minimal shoulder, but also light traffic, particularly after turning onto Trail Ridge Road from Hwy 34 at the 5.5 mile mark. ​

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