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Driving and Travel Advice for Estes Park

Fullerton...
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Driving and Travel Advice for Estes Park

We're driving from Denver Intl to Estes Park on Saturday, 9/23, and staying until Monday, 9/25 for a friend's wedding. A quick search for weather info shows a 50% chance of rain and snow showers. We're California natives and have no experience driving in the snow. Does anyone have advice regarding what type of car to reserve and driving tips in general for the drive to and from Denver and Estes Park? What is the best route to take given the weather conditions? Are there any events that weekend we should definitely check out? Thanks!

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Estes Park
Estes Park
Colorado
California
California
United States
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Denver
Colorado
4 replies to this topic
Park City, Utah
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for Utah, Winter Sports
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1. Re: Driving and Travel Advice for Estes Park

I haven't looked at the actual forecast, but from what you've presented here I'm not sure I would worry too much about it going to Estes Park. Weather really won't change your route to Estes Park. Just don't take the E470 toll road so you avoid rental car toll surcharges.

Have fun.

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Estes Park
Estes Park
Colorado
Fullerton...
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2. Re: Driving and Travel Advice for Estes Park

Thanks for the tip about the E470! A friend of mine suggested I rent an SUV with AWD, but it that really necessary? Or will we be okay with a regular old compact car?

Windsor, Colorado
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for Estes Park, Rocky Mountain National Park
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3. Re: Driving and Travel Advice for Estes Park

You will be fine with a compact car. You will not be driving in snow. There is no snow in the forecast for Estes Park (7,522 ft.) or RMNP Bear Lake (9,500 ft.) - not that the forecasts are accurate this far in advance. There should be no issues with road conditions on the way to Estes Park, in Estes Park or in almost all of RMNP. It is not uncommon to have snow showers along the higher elevations (above 11,000 ft.) along RMNP Trail Ridge Road in later September. If conditions require it, rangers will temporarily close Trail Ridge Road as a through road between Estes Park and Grand Lake.

The weekend you will be in Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park will be very busy and crowded because of the peak of fall color and the peak of elk rut. September 23/24 and September 30/October 1 will most likely be the highest visitation weekends of the entire year in RMNP and Estes Park so bring your patience. Roads in town and in RMNP, parking lots in town and in the park and shops and restaurants in Estes Park will be packed. You may need to make use of both the Estes Park Fall Free Trolley and most definitely the RMNP free shuttles if you hope to visit the RMNP Bear Lake Road area.

https:/…shuttles

https:/…shuttle_bus_route.htm

Either on your way from DIA to Estes Park or on your way from Estes Park back to DIA, drive the Peak to Peak Scenic Byway. This byway is known for its amazing fall color. Here is the route from DIA along Golden Gate Canyon Road to the Peak to Peak to Estes Park.

https://goo.gl/maps/m7qu8S8Axd82

The #1 must do in RMNP is to drive and explore the many overlooks and short trails along Trail Ridge Road (highway 34 between Estes Park and Grand Lake). Depending on what time your flight departs on Monday, you could do this on Monday on your way back to DIA. That would be a little less crowded time to enjoy Trail Ridge Road.

https:/…trail_ridge_road.htm

As for events in Estes Park, Autumn Gold is that weekend. The best way to find out what is going on around town is to check the calendar and download the Estes Park Happenings at this link.

www.visitestespark.com/events-calendar/

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Estes Park
Estes Park
Colorado
Bear Lake
Bear Lake
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Rocky Mountain National Park, CO
Trail Ridge Road
Trail Ridge Road
3,017 Reviews
Rocky Mountain National Park, CO
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Grand Lake
Grand County, CO
The Estes Park Resort
The Estes Park Resort
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Estes Park, CO
Fullerton...
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4. Re: Driving and Travel Advice for Estes Park

Thanks for the thorough advice!

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