If you love a road trip, and you’re looking for the top scenic drives near Denver – you’ll find plenty of ideas here!
There are many scenic drives near Denver… and hopefully this blog post will give you plenty of ideas!
If you’re trying to see the best of Denver but don’t have endless time on your hands, then a scenic drive is a wonderful compromise. With amazing canyons, rolling landscapes and dense forests, Colorado is one of the most stunning states in the USA.
Though it’s quite difficult to see all of Colorado by car, these scenic drives near Denver are the perfect way to immerse yourself in the beauty of the Centennial State.
So, here are the most scenic drives near Denver!
Trail Ridge Road
First on my list of scenic drives near Denver, it’s Trail Ridge Road. Trail Ridge Road is widely known as one of the most famous roads in the USA. As the highest byway in the United States, it’s registered on the National Register of Historic Places. So, before you even truly witness the beauty of Denver, you’ve already got something to talk about!
Trail Ridge Road is absolutely one of the best scenic drives near Denver. With great road conditions, mountain views, glacier peaks and large valleys, it’s an absolute must-do if you’re visiting Colorado.
If you have the time, this drive brings you to the town of Lulu City. An old mining town that was established in 1880, it’s a great historical pitstop for those interested in the making of America.
Taking around 1 hour and 45 minutes for a one-way journey, it’s not a huge drive, so would be suitable for the whole family if you’ve got them in tow.
South Platte River Trail
Next on my list of scenic drives near Denver, it’s the South Platte River Trail!
This scenic drive near Denver is not concerned so much with the mountains, but with the history of the area. The South Platte River Trail is focused on the Coloradan prairie and passes the former location of Fort Sedgwick.
This trail is particularly interactive, as whilst driving you’ll pass various placards that detail information about the area and its history. Though this drive is focused on history, you may see some amazing wildlife if you keep your eyes peeled!
Top of the Rockies Scenic Byway
The Top of The Rockies Scenic Byway is another amazing drive near Denver! This scenic drive near Denver connects Mount Elbert and Mount Massive. Starting near the Arkansas River and passing through several towns and scenic highlights, this is a great drive for those wishing to take in Colorado’s natural beauty.
An amazing option for scenic drives near Denver, and one you’ll certainly enjoy, this great little drive has lots of variety too!
A major highlight of this drive is that it passes through Leadville. A quaint historical town that offers visitors plenty to do, it’s well worth a pitstop. This drive is approximately two hours, so be sure to plan your day accordingly.
Pikes Peak toll road, Colorado Mountains
Pikes Peak is an unmissable scenic drive near Denver that is absolutely beautiful and one you won’t want to miss. It is the highest summit of the southern Front Range of the Rocky Mountains, in North America, and the Pikes Peak toll road runs right to the top.
The ultra-prominent 14,115-foot fourteener is located in Pike National Forest, 12 miles west of downtown Colorado Springs, Colorado. It truly is a beautiful stretch of road, and during the summer it’s a real breathtaking scenic drive.
Peak to Peak Highway
Next on my list of scenic drives near Denver, it’s Peak to Peak Highway. Peak to Peak highway offers one of the best scenic drives near Denver that can be completed in around two hours one way. This drive is relatively winding but is also surprisingly leisurely.
Though the sights on offer here are the main draw of this drive, you can also stop along the way at various points for an explore.
One of the best pitstops you can make is to visit the beautiful Saint Catherine of Siena Chapel in Allenspark. A functioning Catholic chapel and tourist attraction, it’s a beautiful and unique landmark that shouldn’t be missed.
Clear Creek Canyon
This is a short scenic drive near Denver that’s great if you’ve got a spare afternoon in your travel itinerary. Clear Creek Canyon is a fantastic option for those looking for scenic drives near Denver!
Though it hasn’t got the same wow factor as some of the other drives on our list, it’s still got amazing canyon views and some cracking rock cliffs that make for great photo opportunities.
Only a 45-minute trip one way, this is a great one for families with younger children that aren’t too patient on road trips!
Lookout Mountain Road
Next up on my list of scenic drives near Denver, it’s Lookout Mountain Road, a beautiful route! Another short scenic drive near Denver that’s popular with the hiking crowd is Lookout Mountain Road.
If you’re after a bird’s eye view of Denver, Golden or Boulder, then this drive is the perfect way to achieve that goal. Less than half an hour from Denver’s bustling downtown area, this is a great drive for those looking to fit some escapism into their city trip.
Packed with hiking trails, this is a great one for those that wish to get a little closer to nature’s wonders.
A trip that clocks in at 45 minutes for a one-way journey, it’s another great one for those with a bit less time on their hands. This is certainly one of the best scenic drives near Denver, and one you’ll love experiencing!
Mount Evans Scenic Byway
Probably the most popular scenic drive near Denver is Mount Evans Scenic Byway. This road is the highest paved road in the USA, so you’re sure to get some incredible views on this drive.
The Mount Evans Scenic Byway reaches 14,264 feet above sea level, so you’ll be in a prime position to get some amazing photographs!
This scenic drive has plenty of winding curves, so it’s actually a very exciting drive for experienced motorists. It’s worth noting that Mount Evans is one of Colorado’s “fourteeners” (in other words, a mountain peak that reaches at least 14,000 feet), so if you’re looking to mark them off one by one, this is the perfect way to do so.
If you’ve got a keen eye, you might even spot some mountain goats or sheep. So, be sure to keep an eye out! Aside from the obvious sights that you’ll see along the way, there are numerous things to do if you fancy a pitstop.
If you’ve ever wanted to see an original water wheel, then you’re in luck, for the 1893 Charlie Tayler Water Wheel is located along the route of this drive! An amazing option for scenic drives near Denver!
The final scenic drive near Denver that’s on our list is the Lariat Loop. One of the first scenic drives to be established by the City of Denver, this 40-mile long trail is one of the area’s best. Passing through multiple national parks, you’re sure to catch the best of Colorado’s natural offerings.
If you’re a history buff, be sure to stop by Buffalo Bill’s Museum and Grave. Said to be one of the best attractions in the area, it would be a crime to miss it!
Focusing on the creation of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show, it’s a great way to learn about the legends of the Old West. This is one of the scenic drives near Denver, you won’t want to miss!
Hopefully, this list of scenic drives in Denver has given you some inspiration!
If you’ve been considering a drive through Colorado, then don’t waste another minute dawdling, for any of these scenic drives near Denver will introduce you to some amazing natural spots.
So, grab those keys and hit the road for these scenic drives near Denver!