Trail Ridge Road West

From the Alpine Visitor’s Center to the Grand Lake Entrance America's Byway

Indian Paintbrush along Trail Ridge Road.

How to get there:

The route begins at the entrance to the Alpine Visitor’s Center on Trail Ridge Rd in Rocky Mountain Ntl Park.

  • From I-25/I-70 to AVC via US36
  • 85 miles 2 hr 10 mins
  • GPS Alpine Visitor Center
  • 40.4415 -105.7557

In General: CampgroundFishing Availablepets on leash

Fee InfoRoad StatusFree Shuttles

  • Length: 24 miles
  • Driving Time: min. 1 hour

Pets on a leash along roadsides and in campgrounds ONLY. Pets and bicycles are not allowed on trails or elsewhere in the park.

Photo Ops:VistaswildflowersWildlifeWaterfalls

Look for moose in areas with aquatic vegetation and willows. Visitors sight moose with some frequency in the half-mile stretch just north of Onahu Creek Trailhead, along the Onahu Trail. Willow areas along the Colorado River next to Timber Creek Campground and at Lulu City are other good viewing locations.

Mile 0.6 – Medicine Bow Curve Scenic vistas

Some far ranging vistas to the north into the Cache la Poudre River valley and west to the Never Summer Mtns. from this spot.

Mile 4.3 – Milner Pass Scenic vistasWildlife

Beautiful Poudre Lake, the source of the Poudre River, lies just east of the Pass. Wide open meadows make it easy to spot wildlife. Lake Irene Picnic Area Picnic Areais just 1/2 mile past the pass.

Mile 6.5 – Farview Curve Scenic vistas

More far ranging views into the headwaters of the Colorado River and the Kawuneeche valley to the south.

Mile 10.7 – Colorado River TH

Lulu City Site HikingFlowersWildlife

  • Length: 6.2 miles RT
  • Elev gain: 300 ft
  • Rating: 6.8 Moderate
  • Hiking Time: min. 3 hrs

A flowered field is all that remains of this once booming mining town. Pass by the remains of log cabins and look for tailings from the Shipler Mine about 2 miles into the trail.

Mile 10.8 – Timber Lake TH

Timber Lake Trail HikingFlowersScenic vistas

  • Length: 9.6 mi RT
  • Elev gain: 2060 ft
  • Rating: 13.7 Strenuous
  • Hiking Time: min. 5 hrs

The trail climbs through a number of short switchbacks leading to a meadow where subalpine flowers bloom. After a second set of switchbacks, picturesque Timber Lake comes into view.

The Beaver Creek PAPicnic Area and the Beaver Ponds PAPicnic Area are on the west in the next mile.

Mile 12.3 – Timber Creek CG Campground

98 sites Each campsite is equipped with a picnic table, fire grate, tent pad, and parking for 1 vehicle. The recent mountain pine beetle outbreak has resulted in the removal of most trees so there is no shade in the campground.

Mile 12.7 – Holzwarth Historic Site Picnic AreaHikingStrollers AllowedHistorical Site or Buildings

This is a one-half mile flat walk across the Kawuneeche Valley to the Holzwarth Trout Lodge and Historic Site, a rustic guest ranch created in the 1920’s.

Mile 14.0 – Bowen/Baker TH

Baker Pass HikingCampgroundFlowersScenic vistasWildlife

  • Length: 11.5 miles RT
  • Elev gain: 2,389 ft
  • Rating: 16.3 Strenuous
  • Hiking Time: min. 6 hours

Follows Baker Gulch to Baker Pass in the Never Summer Range and Never Summer Wilderness. The hike offers beautiful views from Baker Pass; good fishing in Baker Gulch Creek; lots of wildlife; including bighorn sheep and blue grouse.

Mile 14.6 – Coyote Valley TH HikingStrollers AllowedWildlife

Elk and moose are sometimes seen from this one mile, level, gravel loop; especially during the early morning and early evening.

Mile 17.0 – Onahu TH

Onahu Creek TrailHikingCampgroundWildlifeFall Colors

  • Length: 5.8 mi RT
  • Elev gain: 835 ft
  • Rating: 7.5 Moderate
  • Hiking Time: min. 3 hrs

The trail travels a level path through Big Meadow and enters a lodgepole pine and aspen forest. It then turns east and makes a moderate climb, passes through a pine forest and then begins a relatively steep climb up the creek drainage. The trail crosses the creek twice as it makes a long climb up the ridge. Just beyond the Onahu Creek campsites, the trail travels to the north of a large meadow and makes a gentle climb to Onahu Bridge and a connection with the Long Meadows and Onahu-Tonahutu Connector trails.

Mile 17.6 – Green Mountain TH

Green Mtn TrailHikingFlowersFall ColorsWildlife

  • Length: 8 mi RT
  • Elev gain: 1,140 ft
  • Rating: 10.3 Mod/Strenuous
  • Hiking Time: min. 4 hrs

This trail passes along the lush, marshy Big Meadow, and through forests of lodgepole pine, quaking aspen, subalpine fir, and Engelmann spruce. Watch for moose and elk foraging in the meadow and explore the cabin ruins of early settlers.

Mile 19.4 – Harbison Meadows PA Picnic AreaWildlife

The two mile Harbison Meadow loop begins in a meadow, goes through a wooded area and then along the Colorado River.

Mile 20.6 – Kawuneeche Visitor Center Hiking

Take a walk with a ranger. Listen to illustrated programs on Saturday night. Watch a 20-minute film on the park (shown on request). Get oriented with the topographical relief map of the park. Learn about the Colorado River and its people. Buy a book. Reserve backcountry camping sites. Handicapped accessible restrooms available. The Tonahutu Spur connects with the Big Meadow trail.

Mile 22.9 – North Inlet TH

Cascade Falls HikingCampgroundWaterfallsWildlife

  • Length: 7.0 miles RT
  • Elev gain: 300 ft
  • Rating: 7.6 Moderate
  • Hiking Time: min. 3 hrs 30 mins

From the trailhead, the trail drops onto a level 4×4 road that travels through private property for more than a mile before reaching the Park’s boundary. It then passes through the Summerland Park meadows. Moose, elk and deer are commonly seen along the North Inlet corridor. The trail becomes steeper beyond the Twinberry backcountry campsite spur at mile 3.0, and continues to follow the creek to the base of Cascade Falls at 3.5 miles. Dispersed camping is allowed in an area around the falls. Just beyond the top of the falls is a meadow on the trail’s south side; a pleasant place to relax and a great place to observe wildlife.

Mile 24.2 – East Inlet TH HikingWaterfallsFlowersWildlife

Adams Falls (East Inlet Trailhead) This easy one-third mile hike leads to a small, pleasant waterfall. If you wish to go further, past the falls, you will soon come to a large, glaciated valley with a river and great views. Moose are sometimes sighted in this valley. Many types of wildflowers are found in this area.

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