Top 8 Scenic Drives Near Denver, Colorado

scenic drives in denver
Rienz Althron
Rienz Althron
Published

Denver, Colorado, is one of the places in the United States where nature meets urbanity. Being the capital of the state, you can enjoy the sight of tall and beautiful buildings and other modern offerings, but aside from its sophisticated facilities, you will also appreciate the beauty of its nature through the many outdoor activities that can be enjoyed with the whole family. But if you feel like you have explored everything there is to be explored in Denver, then you might want to start exploring its nearby tourist attractions. While it’s nice to love your own home, it is equally nice to see the beauty of the nearby towns and cities. So, before rallying your loved ones inside your car and stepping on the gas pedal, check out our recommended scenic drives near Denver, Colorado.

1. Peak To Peak Scenic And Historic Byway

Frontier Pathways Scenic and Historic Byway
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Jeffrey Beall used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

Having been established back in 1918, Peak To Peak Scenic And Historic Byway is one of the oldest byways in Colorado. This route is lined by trees, and the great mountains can be seen from afar, making it a great location for a road trip, especially if you and your family members are fond of viewing natural sights. This road is 55 miles (88.5 kilometers) long, and it can easily be reached from Denver.

2. Guanella Pass

Guanella Pass
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Thomson M used under CC BY 3.0

Guanella Pass is one of the nearest alpine passes to Denver because of its scenic views; pine trees and the view of the mountains make this road a great spot to visit with your family. If you want to visit some of the trails nearby or have a swim in the Silver Dollar Lake, then feel free to do so. If you find wildflowers to be amazing, then you can definitely take a selfie with the rest of the gang in the middle of the flowers. Note that the road may be closed during winter for safety reasons.

3. South Platte River Trail Scenic and Historic Byway

North Fork South Platte River
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Jeffrey Beall used under CC BY 3.0

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

Nearing the border to Nebraska, South Platte River Trail Scenic and Historic Byway is located in Sedgwick County with a distance of 19 miles (around 31 kilometers). It is one of the shortest byways of Colorado, but it is packed with history as it was among the first few settlements in Colorado, plus it has the only Pony Express in the state. So, if you want a place where you can learn a thing or two about the history of Colorado while enjoying the sights of the South Platte River, then definitely take your car in this direction.

4. Lariat Loop Scenic & Historic Byway

Scenic Byway, Lariat Loop sign, Morrison, CO
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Xnatedawgx used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Lariat Loop Scenic & Historic Byway is a 40-mile route (around 64 miles), that’s about a 2-hour ride in which you’ll get to enjoy the scenic views that surround the highway. And as soon as you feel like you’ve seen enough of its panorama, you can visit the on-site museums and other historical sites that are scattered in the area, where you can learn a thing or two about the byway. The route connects three towns, which are Golden, Morrison, and Evergreen, so if you want to visit these destinations, you can conveniently do so.

5. Top Of The Rockies

Rockies Mountain
Source: Pixabay

First declared a national scenic byway back in the year 1998, this tourist destination packs a lot of features for you to explore, such as the stunning views of the mountains. Redcliff, Minturn, and Twin Lakes are some of the small towns in the area, which you can visit to learn about how locals live their lives here. Top Of The Rockies can be reached within 2 hours with a total distance of 82 miles (about 132 kilometers).

6. Mount Evans Scenic Byway

Mount Evans Scenic Byway, Colorado
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user JERRYE AND ROY KL... used under CC BY-SA 3.0

From the Idaho Springs Visitor Center lies one of the most famous byways in Colorado, Mount Evans Scenic Byway. It has an elevation gain of 6,590 feet (200863 centimeters) with a distance of 28 miles (45 kilometers). The road is famous for having cliffs with no handrails. Another feature that adds to the thrill of taking on this route is the clouds that can obscure its visitors’ sights. Should you decide to hike the trail, you will be rewarded with the view of yellow-bellied marmots and other local wildlife.

7. Trail Ridge Road

Trail Ridge Road
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Dariusz Kowalczyk used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Trail Ridge Road runs from Estes Park to Grand Lake, Colorado. The road first opened back in 1921 and it was completed in 1931. It was one of the first roads to connect to the park. There are several trailheads for tourists to explore, and one of the most famous is the Colorado River Trailhead. Choosing to go on a road trip here will reward you with beautiful views of the mountains. It is best to start your drive early in the morning because you don’t want to get caught In traffic, which starts to build up at around 10 am. Trail Ridge Road is closed during winter and it may stay closed until early spring, depending on the build-up of snow.

8. Littleton Crabapple Route

West Main St, Littleton, Colorado
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Chris Light used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

During springtime, you may want to drive your car with your friends or family members and head to the municipality of Littleton because it is home to Crabapple Route that’s famous for the beauty of over 7000 colorful crabapple trees. During the flowering season, you can capture pictures that are perfect for Instagram or any other social media platform.

Explore beyond Denver

While Denver has its fair share of scenic spots, beyond its borders lie more destinations that are just as fascinating. So, if you have a thing for the beauty of nature, then definitely visit these top scenic drives near Denver, Colorado.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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Rienz is a former office-based employee who entered the world of travel writing. His ultimate dream is to be able to travel the world and experience as much of it as he can. By pursuing his dreams,...Read more

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