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RNMP : Grand Lake vs Estes Park

Boston
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RNMP : Grand Lake vs Estes Park

We have 1.5 days ( basically 2 nights) to spend in RNMP. We arrive 11 am in Denver (7 hrs flight) and drive to Estes Park same day around 2 pm.

On day 1 we plan to drive on Rt 7 South toward Moraine Museum/Bear Lake trail.

We plan to cover the trail ridge drive and possibly few small hikes on day 2.

My questions are :

1. How long does it take to drive the whole rd ( since I have heard that it is slow).

My wife wants to stay in same place (Estes Park) for consecutive two nights so that we do not have to pack/unpack etc.

I am thinking that once we drive to grand lake on day 2, we stay there for the night.

Ultimately on day 3 morning we have to head towards Yellowstone either from Grand Lake or from Estes Park. Time is same for both routes even though route from Estes park to yellowstone is longer.

Question2 : Is it OK to drive back from grand lake to estes park on day2 (for the hotel) . My thought is that I will be too tired to head back same drive again after whole day's of outing.

Charlotte, North...
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1. Re: RNMP : Grand Lake vs Estes Park

In case you don't see it in the RMNP forum, I responded there.

Missouri
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2. Re: RNMP : Grand Lake vs Estes Park

I'm sorry to hear you have such a short time in RNMP/Estes Park. It is the most wonderful area I have ever visited. I believe the drive from EP to Grand Lake is only 40 or so miles, but it does take several hours, if you want to take in the scenery. My suggestion is reserve several hours and go up the mountain using Fall River Road. This is the one-way gravel road up the mountain. It is very peaceful and gives a totally different perspective than the Trail Ridge Road. Come back down using Trail Ridge. Be sure and stop at all the scenic views, but after July 4th expect quite a bit of traffic. In my opinion, the trip from the summit of the mountain on to Grand Lake isn't as awesome as the trip from the summit to Estes, so unless you just need to go to Grand Lake, with such a short time, I'd spend my time at Bear Lake (be sure and hike up to Emerald lake), Sprague Lake, Fall River Road and Trail Ridge. Hope you have a wonderful trip!

Estes Park, Colorado
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3. Re: RNMP : Grand Lake vs Estes Park

I totally agree with JMLuvtotravel.

Nashville, TN
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4. Re: RNMP : Grand Lake vs Estes Park

I have heard there will be some repairs/maintenance to Trail Ridge Road with up to 30 min delays, as the traffic will be one way in certain places this summer, so you may want to take that into consideration. We went last year and loved it!

5. Re: RNMP : Grand Lake vs Estes Park

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