Road Trip Overview
From alpine lakes and herds of elk in Rocky Mountain National Park to the granite peaks of Grand Teton National Park and grizzlies of Yellowstone, this road trip is packed with once-in-a-lifetime sights.
From Denver, head west to Estes Park, Colo., the closest town to the east side of Rocky Mountain National Park. From there, access Rocky's hidden gems and popular routes, including the legendary Trail Ridge Road, the highest paved road in a national park.
Next head to Laramie, Saratoga and the Snowy Range Scenic Byway, an extraordinary, less-traveled route that takes you past gorgeous alpine peaks. Continue to Grand Teton and Yellowstone national parks. Nearby Cody and Jackson make for great stopovers.
On your way home, head to Cheyenne for a dose of Old West culture.
Road Trip Itinerary
Start: Denver, Colo.
Rocky Mountain National Park
Make Basecamp in Estes Park
Perched at 7,200 feet and 90 miles away from Denver, Estes Park is a fantastic basecamp for exploring Rocky Mountain National Park’s eastern side.
Dao House's Tranquil Retreat on the Edge of Rocky Mountain National Park
Nestled in the forest with views of Longs Peak and Twin Sisters, Dao House offers a peaceful setting with stunning mountain views and wellness activities. Is the altitude giving you a headache? Head to the Oxygen Lodge.
Erik Stensland, the Light Catcher
A revolution and a refugee crisis spur on a photography career for Rocky Mountain National Park's Erik Stensland.
Top 10 Things to Do on an Rocky Mountain National Park Vacation
The park and the Estes Park and Grand Lake areas are a Things to Do Mecca! Here are our top picks including hiking, horseback riding and scenic drives.
Laramie, Wyoming's Traveler Trivia
Be a traveler rather than a tourist. Get the behind-the-scenes stories on everything from comic heroes to outlaws in the Laramie area.
Carbon County, Wyo.
Carbon County, Wyo. Gives Power to the People
Discover a string of towns woven together by ranching, coal, oil and a growing wind turbine industry. Stop at some of these small-town attractions.
Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks
A Grand Scheme
It took more than 30 years for Grand Teton National Park to transform from an idea to one of the country's most stunning parks. When Congress created the park in 1929, it only included the Teton Range and six glacial lakes. John D. Rockefeller, Jr., played a key role in acquiring an additional 35,000 acres for the park under the name "Snake River Land Co." Amid controversy the "new" Grand Teton National Park was established Sept. 14, 1950, by President Harry Truman.
With Jenny Lake and Jackson Lake at 6,320 feet and the summit of the Grand Teton at 13,770 feet, the park’s elevation ranges create one of the nation’s most awe-inspiring landscapes. Experience this majestic park by hiking, boating, wildlife-watching, rock climbing and fishing. The park's southern end stretches a few miles short of Jackson, Wyo., a vibrant mountain town full of high-end boutiques, great restaurants and hotels for a range of budgets.
Read more on our Yellowstone website.
Yellowstone's Strange Landscape
Just a few miles along the John D. Rockefeller Jr. Parkway is Yellowstone National Park's south entrance.
If it weren't for an artist and a photographer, Yellowstone National Park might never have become the world's first national park in 1872. For years rugged explorers returned from the Yellowstone region with stories of a strange landscape dotted with steaming pools. In 1871 artist Thomas Moran and photographer William Henry Jackson joined a 40-day geological survey in the area. Their paintings and photos helped inspire Congress and President Grant to create the park.
Yellowstone is a large park; it's hard to even skim its attractions in one day. We recommend one day of wildlife watching and one day of geyser gazing.
Read more on our Yellowstone website.
Cheyenne, Wyo., Where Old West Meets New West
Live the legend of the West in Cheyenne, a charming capital city where the rich history of cowboys and western expansion meets amenities of the modern West.