When mentioning beautiful places in the state of Colorado, Estes Park should be on that list. If you are visiting the Rocky Mountains, it is almost necessary to see Rocky Mountain National Park located in northern Colorado. Estes Park is the place most people stay when visiting this national park. It is a fun curvy drive through these mountains for sure. There are three direct routes to get here which I will explain now.
US-34, US-36, and Colorado Highway 7 meet in this city. The more common routes are the nation’s highways, US-34 & US-36. Colorado Highway 7 is an alternate route from Lyons, Colorado to Estes Park and is a nice shortcut to the city when heading directly north from a city such as Nederland, Black Hawk, or even Idaho Springs. If you are traveling to Estes Park via I-25, you can take one of two US highways. If you are coming from the north end heading south, it would make much more sense to travel to Loveland and take the decent drive on US-34 to Estes Park. However, if you are coming from the south end heading north, travelling on US-36 going through Boulder, CO from Denver, CO is the more direct route.
Coming into town from the east side, you will notice nice scenery located around Lake Estes. Big Thompson River is the primary river that runs through this lake as well as a smaller Fish Creek. There are a couple of places to sit and relax by the lake if you wish. Fall River and Black Canyon Creek are other rivers that run through this area.
There are plenty of places to eat, shop, tour, and lodge before or after visiting the Rocky Mountain National Park. US-34 is the road that really goes through these named mountains with plenty of places to stop and take pictures. There are picnic sites, trails, and lodges located every few miles from each other. For example, Alpine Visitor Center is a place to stop and rest that contains a cafe and a gift shop to collect souvenirs. Further west down the road, you eventually find the city of Grand Lake as well as the actual Grand Lake, Shadow Mountain Lake, and Lake Granby. Following the Colorado River, you will finally end up in the city of Granby where the US-34 ends at US-40. From there, you could continue travelling west into northwest Colorado or head east to I-70.
In summary, if you take anything away from this, know that if you are ever visiting the state of Colorado, this is a must. I have visited the state several times and Estes Park a couple times when I was younger and it was overall a great experience! Consider this being one of your next travel destinations when the weather is slightly warmer! It is one of the most scenic places in America still to this day. Go to www.rockymountainnationalpark.com for more information.
Beautiful Estes Park is the closest town to the Rocky Mountain National Park’s East entrance. You can find affordable lodging and restaurants here. Even Elk roaming the golf course in the Fall!
Rocky Mountain National Park Bear Lake
Take a gentle hike around this lake and enjoy its beauty. You can see the Rocky Mountains reflecting on the water. Stand or sit (some rocks you can even lay down flat) on any of the huge rocks on the side Bear Lake’s and soak in the beauty of this place.
Rocky Mountain National Park – Trail Ridge Road
As you drive on the Trail Ridge Road (closed in the Winter), take some time to stop and take photos at the various stops. Due to the high altitude, drinking lots of water and taking gentle strides in your walk will help you catch your breath. You can get out of breath easy at this high altitude!
View from Alpine Visitor Center Rocky Mountain National Park
Stop at the Alpine Visitor Center for some food and a break in the trip. Enjoy the view of the valley and melting snow (depending on the time of the year and amount of Winter snow).
Beautiful tundra. You can find beautiful flowers up high in the mountains. Please keep to the trails and try not to damage this fragile ecosystem.
Rocky Mountain Glaciers are melting away. Let the kids run out some steam by hiking and sliding!
Milner Pass and Poudre Lake ColoradoGet up to the Poudre Lake and Milner Pass and take a photo next to the Continental Divide sign. You have been to the roof of the United States! Water flows either East to the Atlantic Ocean or West to the Pacific Ocean.
Colorado is one of the homes the Rocky Mountains occupy. If you are traveling here by car through Utah, New Mexico, Kansas, Wyoming, or even Nebraska, it might be helpful to know what locations you might pass along the way. I will just briefly list cities on each interstates and the exit numbers that connect with it.
Remember that exit numbers aren’t just made up. They represent at what mile of the interstate you are at. For example, if you are at mile marker 100, and you find an exit, you will notice the exit number will be the same or off just by a mile or two. If you are traveling west or south, the numbers will count down until you reach a new state or the end of the highway. It will be the opposite if you are traveling north or east on the road.
Knowing this information, you can take the mile marker you are at as well as the exit number you are looking for and do the math. If you are at mile marker 88 and are traveling to a location with the exit number being 256, that means you are 168 miles away from your destination. It might be another two and a half hour trip assuming traffic is good and you make less stops along the way. So, with all of that being said, listed below are cities all in Colorado you will find along each interstate and what exit number they are at. Note that not every single one you can possibly find is listed. I hope you will find this useful someday.
Welcome to Colorful Colorado! If you prefer central America but don’t like the flat lands, this is a state to check out. Home to the Rocky Mountain National Park and the rest of the mountains, this state is decent in size, has very scenic areas, and a great vacation spot. People can come to ski, snowboard, ride a mountain bike, dwell in a lodge with a hot tub, or even just drive around the mountains.
Denver, Colorado The main interstates that travel through the entire state are I-25 & I-70 that form a plus shape. They meet in the capital city, Denver. I-76 travels from I-80 in Nebraska to this city. I-270 & I-225 are inside the city with Colorado Highway 470 circling the city. The east half is toll road while the west half is non-toll road.
Denver, Colorado has both an NBA and NFL team to root for pretty much all year-round aka the Denver Nuggets, and the Denver Broncos. Boulder, CO northwest of Denver is home of Colorado University.
From Denver, you could travel north through multiple cities like Loveland and Fort Collins to the state of Wyoming and its capital city Cheyenne. Or you could travel south through Colorado Springs and Pueblo to the state of New Mexico. Or you could even continue west through the Rocky Mountains where you meet the city of Grand Junction just miles before the state of Utah. Traveling east takes you to the state of Kansas.
Colorado Springs, Colorado Whenever my family and I travel from the east side of the state to the mountains, we like to stop in Limon, Colorado for a break and to get souvenirs from Colorado Gifts located right off the interstate at Exit 361. From there we go northwest to Denver or southwest to Colorado Springs, another great city next to Pikes Peak and the Garden of the Gods located to the west.
Eastern Colorado Some people claim that eastern Colorado is just a flat, dry land with not too many things interesting. There is US-50 however is a better route through this part of the state if you aren’t taking I-70. The northeast isn’t as bad since there is another interstate you can take. In fact, western Kansas and eastern Colorado have the same feel to them. It is true that they both have flat areas and nothing that exciting for people that live in the big cities, but it is a nice place to live for people that don’t like populated areas so much.
Estes Park There are more places worth checking out that I haven’t really mentioned yet. I have been to Estes Park more than once, it is a good area to stay at if you are visiting the Rocky Mountain National Park.
South West Colorado If you happen to travel in southwest Colorado, it is also very scenic and there is a lot to tour there. If you can take via US-160 to the very southwest part of the state where you can find Mesa Verde and Four Corners, you can see a nice looking desert. A cool thing I saw was the San Juan River right before the border to New Mexico and the four corners monument. I love how the river was big and it was the only obvious green area in the entire reservation. A bonus is being able to add a few more states to your list of states visited.
Colorful Colorado, in conclusion, is one of coolest mountain states I have ever seen in my opinion, and I have been to 20+ states so far. I think you will enjoy your time there if you choose this place as your next summer vacation destination. I will try to include more information about this state in the near future on this website, so stay tuned!
If you are traveling out west to Colorado or east to Missouri through Kansas via I-70, there are some towns you can stop at along the way to your destination. More specifically, I shall give some suggestions that have enough variety.for you. I will list the exit numbers, the town, and some reasoning. It is up to you which place is more convenient according to the pace of your travel. From Kansas City to Topeka is the Kansas Turnpike that I will talk about in the future.
Topeka (KS Capital City) (Exits 355-366) It is expected to be a big city and it is. The west part of I-470 is not a toll road unlike the east part once it meets up with I-335. I feel there are many more options in this part of the city that are much closer to the road. If you want to keep traveling through, you can take your pick which way to go. You can see more downtown on I-70 and I-470 bypasses most of it. If you don’t mind the toll you can get on ahead of time taking I-470 east.
Junction City (Exits 295-300) From Topeka to Junction City there really aren’t a lot of places to go that are right close by. You can find some but they might not have what you are looking for. Junction City has plenty of good options. If you so happened to check out K-State University before heading here, just take K-18 to make your way to Junction City and the interstate. Fort Riley is east of the town right between the K-18 exit and the main town. We normally take exits 296 & 298 for food whenever we travel in that direction. Check out Milford Lake!
Abilene (Exit 275) Exit 272 has a Love’s Travel Shop you can stop at to get gas and a few snacks. The main road is at Exit 275 where it meets up with K-15 and is most likely where you want to stop if you stop at all here. Most options are south, but there are a couple north from it. You can learn more about Eisenhower if you go to the south part of town taking K-15 if you wish.
Salina (Exits 250-253) It seems like a small town at first, but there are many more options by taking I-135 south at Exit 250. There you find a much bigger looking city, so you should be able to find the maximum amount of options this way. However, if you wish to stay near the interstate, take Exit 252 to K-143. Going south into town takes some time but connects to downtown. Up north is the quickest solution for rushed travelers. The travel store might be a convenient short stop on the north side of the road. Check out the Rolling Hills Zoo!
Russell (Exits 184 & 189) There are more smaller towns along the way, but don’t have too many places that are familiar to most people. However, if this is something that interests you, there is Wilson (Wilson Lake), Dorrance, and Bunker Hill for example. The town of Russell is a bit bigger and will have more options than the ones along the way. Just take north US-281 at Exit 184 or the main exit or take Business US-40 at Exit 189.
Hays (Exits 157 & 159) This is considered a major city in this part of the state. Be more than happy to take Exit 159 to get on US-183 and travel either direction north or south. Going south gives you more options, but there are also a number of places on the north side. Or if you care to take Exit 157 for Bypass US-183, you can go by Fort Hays State University and the west part of town. This is what I like to do occasionally when I’m travelling west.
WaKeeney (Exits 127 & 128) Traveling west from Hays, you could stop at Ellis at Exit 145, but WaKeeney in my opinion is a better choice if you have already stopped in Hays. South of the interstate on US-283 is a travelstore connected to a McDonald’s with a drive-thru. This is probably the best place to stop in WaKeeney. It is pretty easy to spot right to the side of both roads and we usually stop here most of the time when we travel.
Oakley (Exit 70 & 76) What exit you take can depend on your direction of travel. Both exits are good because they both have good rest stops and gas stations to get gas and a short snack. You can take Exit 70 for US-83 and Exit 76 for US-40. Exit 76 has a big gas station with multiple places to go. However, Exit 70 takes you to Buffalo Bill Cultural Center and also has a Cenex with a restaurant next door. You could even take both roads instead of the interstate if you were really curious about the town of Oakley.
Colby (Exits 53 & 54) The main exit would be Exit 53 since it connects with K-25. It is one of the main roads of the town. Just travel up north and find something there. Whenever we would travel west, we would stop here before heading to Colorado to get to somewhere like Denver. We just always found something there like the McDonald’s close by the interstate.
Goodland (Exits 17 & 19) West of Colby, US-24 joins the ride, you pass by Brewster followed by the time zone change. An hour behind is Goodland. Exit 19 leads to Bypass US-24 which comes back with K-27 at Exit 17. This is the main exit to get something to go in my opinion. This is really the last big stop before the state line. Kanorado at Exit 1 is the last town in Kansas and it is a pretty small one. Then you shall make your entrance into Colorful Colorado and the Rocky Mountains. Burlington is the first available stop in Colorado 13 miles west from the state line. We also like to stop here sometimes.
Rest Areas There are many located along the interstate if you want to use the restroom or just stop driving for a bit. This is not including the toll road. Here is roughly where they are at based on mile markers: 336, 309, 265, 224, 187, 132, 96, 48, 9. These are what I can find and remember. If you are coming east from Colorado the rest area at around mile 9 is a welcome center for anyone new coming through the state.
A lot of people think that places like Western Kansas or Eastern Colorado before you get to the Rocky Mountains is just mostly flat with wide open spaces. It is true that you can see a long way since, after all, the place is wide open, but it’s not necessarily true that the land is just flat. In fact, when you go from Eastern Kansas to Western Kansas, the elevation rises by around 3,000 feet. Precisely, the lowest point, at 679 feet above sea level is by the Oklahoma border in Montgomery County. The highest point, at 4,039 feet above sea level, is on the Colorado border in Wallace County, also known as Mount Sunflower.
There are also many places to visit in Western Kansas. For example, you can check out tracks from the Santa Fe Trail, Castle Rock, some Bison ranges, Parrot Cove Water Park, and so much more. The Cimarron National Grassland in Southwest Kansas is also a good place to visit. So what are you waiting for?
California’s Highway 1 is probably the 2nd most famous US highway after Route 66. If you have driven the Trail Ridge Road hugging the side of the Rocky Mountains (Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park), you would observed the steep valleys below. Here you will get to drive high above the cliffs with the the Pacific Ocean below. It is a drive with gorgeous views at every turn and along the way.
Panaromic view of the Pacific Coast from Highway 1 – California’s Pacific Coast Highway. Stunning beauty and raw power of the Pacific Ocean. You can see white caps as the waves hit the rocks below.
Beautiful Flowers Adorn the Pacific Coast Highway
Beautiful flowers grow on the side of the cliffs from the mist of the Pacific Coast Ocean spray. In some places, you can park the car on the side of the road and get off on a trail to the hidden sandy beaches below.
Pacific Coast Highway California USA
Amazing engineering work done to build bridges connecting one cliff to another. If you are headed south, you will have land on the left and the Pacific Coast Ocean view on the right.