Scenic Drives Colorado

The Most Jaw-Dropping Scenic Drives in Colorado – Views You Can’t Miss!

When it comes to natural beauty, Colorado has it all. With its majestic mountains, crystal-clear lakes, and sprawling forests, the state is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. But did you know that Colorado is also home to some of the most breathtaking scenic drives in the country? From winding mountain roads to expansive high-altitude highways, the views you’ll encounter along these routes will leave you in awe. So, are you ready to embark on a journey through some of the most stunning landscapes in Colorado? Strap in, because we’re about to take you on an unforgettable road trip.

Key Takeaways:

  • Colorado offers a plethora of awe-inspiring scenic drives.
  • There are 11 nationally recognized scenic byways in Colorado.
  • I-70 takes you through the Colorado Rockies, offering stunning views and access to top skiing destinations.
  • The Peak to Peak Highway is a perfect choice for a scenic drive near Denver.
  • Independence Pass leads to the Continental Divide and offers glimpses of glaciers and stunning aspen groves.
  • US Highway 50 combines history and diverse landscapes, including red rock canyons.
  • Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park provides breathtaking views at high elevations.
  • The Beartooth Highway takes you through Montana and Wyoming, showcasing stunning mountain scenery.

I-70 – Cruising Through the Rockies

One of the top scenic drives in Colorado is I-70. This interstate highway runs straight through the heart of the Colorado Rockies, offering breathtaking views along the way. Not only does I-70 provide access to the best skiing destinations in the state, but it also takes you through the highest vehicular tunnel in the world at 11,112 feet. Whether you’re driving a sedan, an SUV, or a luxury sports car, I-70 is a well-maintained route that offers fast access to beautiful sights.

If you’re an adventure seeker or a nature lover, I-70 is a must-drive experience. As you journey through the Colorado Rockies, you’ll be treated to jaw-dropping vistas of towering mountains, lush forests, and cascading waterfalls. The scenic beauty of the Colorado Rockies is truly unmatched, and I-70 allows you to immerse yourself in this majestic landscape.

One of the highlights of driving on I-70 is passing through the Eisenhower-Johnson Memorial Tunnel, the highest vehicular tunnel in the world. As you enter the tunnel, you’ll leave the vibrant landscapes of the Colorado Rockies behind, only to emerge on the other side into a whole new world of mountain scenery. The tunnel provides a seamless and awe-inspiring transition between two distinct landscapes, making your journey on I-70 even more memorable.

“Driving on I-70 is like navigating through a postcard. The views are simply breathtaking, and it’s a reminder of the natural beauty that Colorado has to offer. From the moment you enter the Rockies until you exit the tunnel, it’s a visual feast that will leave you in awe.”

Along the route, you’ll also have access to a variety of recreational activities. Whether you’re interested in hiking, mountain biking, fishing, or simply enjoying a picnic in the great outdoors, I-70 provides convenient access to numerous recreational areas and attractions.

Top attractions along I-70:

  • Rocky Mountain National Park
  • Vail Ski Resort
  • Glenwood Hot Springs
  • Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
50 milesBreckenridge Ski Resort
80 milesAspen
120 milesMesa Verde National Park
180 milesGreat Sand Dunes National Park

With its breathtaking scenery, convenient access to outdoor activities, and the thrill of passing through the highest vehicular tunnel in the world, driving on I-70 is an experience you won’t want to miss. So, buckle up, roll down your windows, and get ready for a scenic adventure through the Colorado Rockies.

Peak to Peak Highway – A Weekend Trip from Denver

If you’re looking for a scenic drive near Denver, the Peak to Peak Highway is a perfect choice. Just a few miles from the city, this magnificent highway stretches about 40 miles between Nederland and Estes Park. As one of Colorado’s oldest scenic byways, it offers breathtaking views of the Rocky Mountains and leads to historic and interesting places along the way. With its mix of aspen trees and evergreens, the Peak to Peak Highway is particularly stunning in the fall when the golden leaves and high peaks create a masterpiece of natural beauty.

Why Visit the Peak to Peak Highway?

The Peak to Peak Highway is not just a scenic drive; it’s an experience that immerses you in the awe-inspiring beauty of the Rocky Mountains. Here are some reasons why this highway should be on your weekend trip itinerary:

  • Unparalleled Natural Beauty: The breathtaking vistas of the Rocky Mountains and the surrounding landscapes will leave you mesmerized. From snow-capped peaks to lush valleys, the scenery along the Peak to Peak Highway is truly awe-inspiring.
  • Historic Landmarks: Along the route, you’ll encounter historic landmarks that offer a glimpse into Colorado’s past. Stop by the James Peak Ranger Station or the Estes Park Museum to learn about the region’s rich history.
  • Outdoor Recreation: The Peak to Peak Highway provides access to numerous outdoor activities. Whether you enjoy hiking, fishing, or wildlife viewing, there are plenty of opportunities to engage with nature along the way.
  • Seasonal Delights: The changing colors of the aspen trees in the fall transform the landscape into a golden wonderland. This is the perfect time to take a leisurely drive along the Peak to Peak Highway and witness the vibrant hues of nature.

“The Peak to Peak Highway offers an unforgettable journey through the heart of the Rocky Mountains, showcasing the region’s natural splendor and historical significance.” – Traveler’s Digest

Points of Interest on the Peak to Peak Highway

As you traverse the Peak to Peak Highway, be sure to explore some of the notable attractions and landmarks along the way:

Point of InterestDescription
Black Hawk and Central CityThese historic mining towns offer a glimpse into Colorado’s gold rush era. Explore the preserved Victorian architecture and try your luck at the casinos.
Eldora Mountain ResortIf you’re visiting in winter, this popular ski resort is an ideal place to hit the slopes and enjoy winter sports.
Rocky Mountain National ParkEnd your journey at this renowned national park, where you can marvel at stunning alpine landscapes, go wildlife spotting, and embark on scenic hikes.

Independence Pass – Glaciers and Aspen Groves

High-alpine tundra in Independence Pass

Independence Pass, located along Highway 82, is a scenic drive that should not be missed when exploring Colorado’s breathtaking landscapes. This picturesque stretch of road takes you to the majestic Continental Divide, offering stunning views of glaciers and an expansive expanse of icy peaks.

The pass reaches an astonishing height of 12,095 feet, providing a truly awe-inspiring experience. As you traverse the pass, you’ll be surrounded by the beauty of the high-alpine tundra, where delicate and resilient plants thrive in this harsh alpine environment.

Aspen Groves and Fall Foliage

“In the fall, Independence Pass becomes a paradise of colors. The changing hues of the aspen trees against the backdrop of the rugged peaks create a magical landscape.”

Independence Pass is especially renowned for its stunning aspen groves. During the fall season, the foliage transforms into a vibrant tapestry of yellow, orange, and gold, adding a touch of enchantment to the already breathtaking scenery.

A drive through Independence Pass in the fall is an experience you won’t soon forget. As you wind your way through this scenic route, the captivating colors of the aspen trees combined with the grandeur of the surrounding peaks will leave you in awe of nature’s artistic display.

Plan Your Visit

It’s important to note that Independence Pass is closed during the winter months due to heavy snowfall and hazardous conditions. To fully enjoy this remarkable drive, plan your visit from late spring to early fall when the pass is open and accessible.

When you embark on your journey along Independence Pass, be prepared for steep grades, switchbacks, and narrow sections of the road. Take your time to savor the breathtaking vistas and make frequent stops at the designated overlooks to capture photos and immerse yourself in the splendor of the landscape.

Don’t miss: Take a short hike along one of the many trails near Independence Pass to explore the nearby alpine lakes and experience the tranquility of the high-altitude wilderness.

Wrap Up

Independence Pass offers a remarkable scenic drive that showcases the beauty and grandeur of Colorado’s high country. From glaciers and aspen groves to the high-alpine tundra, this drive is a feast for the eyes and a testament to the awe-inspiring wonders of nature. Make sure to add Independence Pass to your itinerary when exploring the scenic drives of Colorado.

US Highway 50 – History and Diverse Landscapes

red rock canyons

For a blend of history and breathtaking landscapes, US Highway 50 is a top choice. This highway, also known as the Loneliest Highway in America, follows trails used by the Pony Express and offers a journey through diverse landscapes.

  • Drive across the highest suspension bridge in America at the Royal Gorge
  • Pass through the Colorado National Monument with its red rock canyons

US Highway 50 provides a unique and memorable driving experience. The long stretches of open road and low traffic make it an ideal route for enjoying the solitude and natural beauty of Colorado.

Royal Gorge BridgeExperience the thrill of crossing the highest suspension bridge in America while taking in breathtaking views of the surrounding canyon
Colorado National MonumentExplore red rock canyons, towering monoliths, and stunning desert landscapes in this scenic natural area

Embark on a memorable journey along US Highway 50, immersing yourself in the rich history and diverse landscapes that Colorado has to offer.

Trail Ridge Road, Rocky Mountain National Park – The Highway to the Sky

Trail Ridge Road

Trail Ridge Road, also known as the Highway to the Sky, is a historic route that offers spectacular views of Rocky Mountain National Park. This scenic drive reaches an elevation of 12,183 feet, making it the highest continuous paved road in the United States. Originally used by Native Americans to cross the mountains, Trail Ridge Road showcases the rich history and natural beauty of the area.

Beginning in Estes Park, the road winds its way through the heart of the park, providing visitors with breathtaking vistas of alpine meadows, jagged peaks, and pristine lakes. As you ascend the road, the high elevation offers awe-inspiring 360-degree views, making it a must-see destination for nature enthusiasts and photographers.

Along the journey, there are several scenic overlooks and pull-offs where you can admire the surrounding landscapes, snap photos, and even spot some of the park’s wildlife, including elk, deer, and bighorn sheep. The road also passes through lush forests of pine and aspen trees, adding to the picturesque beauty of the drive.

Trail Ridge Road HighlightsDetails
Trail Ridge Road Length48 miles
Highest Point12,183 feet
Scenic OverlooksMany, including Forest Canyon Overlook and Many Parks Curve
Trail Ridge Road StatusOpen from Memorial Day Weekend to early October, weather permitting

While the road is a thrilling adventure, it’s essential to be prepared for the high elevation and unpredictable mountain weather. The temperature can drop significantly, even in the summer, so it’s wise to dress in layers and bring warm clothing. It’s also crucial to stay hydrated and take frequent breaks to acclimate to the altitude.

Whether you’re a nature lover, a history enthusiast, or simply seeking a memorable road trip, Trail Ridge Road is an absolute must-visit. Discover the beauty of Rocky Mountain National Park as you embark on this breathtaking journey through the high peaks and natural wonders of Colorado.

Beartooth Highway – Untamed Wilderness in Montana and Wyoming

mountain scenery

While not located entirely in Colorado, the Beartooth Highway offers some of the most stunning mountain scenery in the region. This 68.7-mile highway connects the towns of Red Lodge in Montana and Cooke City in Wyoming, taking travelers through the breathtaking Beartooth Mountains.

With peaks over 14,000 feet high and winding roads that offer panoramic views, the Beartooth Highway is a dream come true for nature lovers and adventure seekers. The untamed wilderness surrounding the highway provides an unparalleled experience of rugged beauty and serenity.

As you drive along the Beartooth Highway, you’ll be treated to magnificent vistas of snow-capped mountains, alpine lakes, and expansive meadows dotted with wildflowers. The jaw-dropping scenery is truly a sight to behold, and it’s no wonder that this highway has earned a reputation as one of the most scenic drives in the country.

For hikers and outdoor enthusiasts, the Beartooth Highway serves as a gateway to numerous trails and recreational opportunities. Whether you’re looking to embark on a challenging hike, go fishing in pristine mountain lakes, or simply enjoy a picnic surrounded by nature’s splendor, this highway has something for everyone.

Driving the Beartooth Highway is an experience that will stay with you long after your journey is over. The sheer beauty and grandeur of the landscape will leave you in awe and remind you of the incredible wonders that await in Montana and Wyoming.

So, if you’re planning a road trip in the area, be sure to include the Beartooth Highway in your itinerary. It’s a scenic drive you won’t want to miss.

Points of Interest along the Beartooth Highway

Point of InterestDescription
Beartooth PassAt an elevation of 10,947 feet, this pass offers breathtaking views of surrounding peaks and valleys.
Island LakeA pristine alpine lake known for its crystal-clear waters and picturesque setting.
Crazy Creek FallsA scenic waterfall nestled in a pristine wilderness area, perfect for a short hike and photo opportunities.
Top of the World StoreA unique roadside store where you can stop for a bite to eat and enjoy stunning views from their observation deck.
Clay Butte LookoutA historic fire lookout tower that offers panoramic views of the Beartooth Mountains.


Exploring the scenic drives in Colorado is an experience like no other. With its breathtaking landscapes and must-visit destinations, Colorado truly is a paradise for road trip enthusiasts. Whether you’re driving through the famous Million Dollar Highway or venturing into the untamed wilderness of the Beartooth Highway, each drive offers its own unique charm and will leave you in awe of Colorado’s natural wonders.

From the towering peaks of the Rocky Mountains to the serene beauty of alpine lakes and canyons, Colorado’s scenic drives showcase the state’s unrivaled natural beauty. The diverse landscapes, with their mix of snow-capped mountains, dense forests, and vibrant meadows, present a stunning backdrop at every turn.

So pack your bags, grab your camera, and hit the road to embark on an adventure through Colorado’s scenic drives. With jaw-dropping vistas and endless opportunities to immerse yourself in nature, you’ll discover why Colorado is a top destination for those seeking breathtaking landscapes and unforgettable road trip experiences.


What are some of the most jaw-dropping scenic drives in Colorado?

Some of the most jaw-dropping scenic drives in Colorado include the Million Dollar Highway, Trail Ridge Road, I-70, Peak to Peak Highway, Independence Pass, US Highway 50, and the Beartooth Highway.

What is the Million Dollar Highway?

The Million Dollar Highway is a famous scenic drive in Colorado known for its stunning mountain views and hairpin turns. It stretches between Ouray and Silverton and offers breathtaking views of the San Juan Mountains.

Where is Trail Ridge Road located?

Trail Ridge Road is located in Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado. It is a historic route that provides spectacular views of the park and reaches an elevation of 12,183 feet.

What is the Beartooth Highway?

The Beartooth Highway is a scenic drive that connects the towns of Red Lodge in Montana and Cooke City in Wyoming. It offers stunning mountain scenery, with peaks over 14,000 feet and panoramic views of the Beartooth Mountains.

Can I drive on Trail Ridge Road in the winter?

No, Trail Ridge Road is closed in the winter due to snow and hazardous conditions. It is typically open from late May to mid-October, depending on weather conditions.

What is the Loneliest Highway in America?

US Highway 50, also known as the Loneliest Highway in America, is a scenic drive that passes through diverse landscapes and historic landmarks. It offers long stretches of open road and low traffic, making it ideal for enjoying solitude and natural beauty.

How long is the Peak to Peak Highway?

The Peak to Peak Highway stretches approximately 40 miles between the towns of Nederland and Estes Park. It is one of Colorado’s oldest scenic byways and offers breathtaking views of the Rocky Mountains.

Can I drive on Independence Pass in the winter?

No, Independence Pass is closed in the winter due to snow and icy conditions. It is typically open from late May to early November, depending on weather conditions.

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