Touring the Byway
48 miles | 2 Days/ 2 Nights | Gateway City: Estes Park, Colorado

You’ll begin your journey in Estes Park at the east edge of Rocky Mountain National Park. After spending a day exploring there, you’ll have a full day to explore the Park, ending the day in Grand Lake, where there are accommodations and dining options. 

View the Detailed Itinerary below to see the full route, which is complete with dining, shopping, and lodging recommendations!

Highlighted Attractions

Alpine Visitor Center

You’ll feel like you’re on top of the world, at 11,796 feet, with views punctuated by mountain peaks and glaciated valleys. Exhibits here illustrate the amazing alpine tundra ecosystem. This is the only Visitor Center with snacks. 

Fall River Visitor Center

Fall River Visitor Center offers a variety of ranger-led programs and activities, plus exhibits on wildlife management accompanied by life-sized bronze sculptures.

Kawuneeche Visitor Center

Just north of the town of Grand Lake, the Kawuneeche Visitor Center is located in the west side of the Park. Explore exhibits, the Rocky Mountain Conservancy bookstore and park films, as well as ranger-led activities in season.

Estes Park Aerial Tramway

After your tour of Estes Park, get ready for a birds-eye view without hiking up mountains. The Estes Park Aerial Tram whisks you above the treetops to the summit of Prospect Mountain. One of few European-style cable cars operating in America, instead of using towers to support the wires, the tram travels across a free span of wires strung between top and bottom stations. Spend your time at the top marveling at the stunning views and get photographs of the gorgeous panoramas.

Holzwarth Historic Site

The Holzwarths came to make their home high in the Rocky Mountains in 1917. As homesteaders they chose 160 acres close to Rocky Mountain National Park in the beautiful Kawuneeche Valley. During the 1920s, they constructed a home, cabins, sheds, and a barn, ultimately taking in visitors who traveled the Fall River Road. After a multitude of friends stayed for free, Mama Holzwarth suggested they charge guests to stay in a German-style inn on the property, soon known as the Holzwarth Trout Lodge. Mama cooked three meals a day for guests, charging $1.50 a meal which included freshly caught trout, soup stock, wilted dandelion greens with bacon, vinegar, and sugar, deer roast, biscuits, and boiled potatoes. Exploring the historic area is a look at the life of Colorado homesteaders up here in the mountains. Tour the Mama cabin to see the original furnishings, linens, and even her Admiral Blue stove!

Grand Lake

Located on the serene shores of the largest lake in Colorado, Grand Lake has a breathtaking backdrop of Rocky Mountain National Park’s majestic, snow-capped peaks. Known as the Western Gateway to the Park, you can enjoy this quaint town by taking a stroll along the historic Western style boardwalk, dating from 1879, enjoy an ice cream cone, watch fireworks, or browse delightful shops and galleries. On some days, moose wander right into town. At an elevation of 8.369 feet, the scenery is unmatched.

To experience all that Riding the Ridge has to offer, download the complete itinerary! 

The detailed itinerary includes: