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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'.
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.
$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').
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.
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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