Trail Ridge Road, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

FINALLY.  I’ve lived in Colorado for the better part of the last 40 years, my lady for over 17 years.  Until last Sunday, 23 Sep. 2012, neither of us had been on the Trail Ridge Road between Estes Park and Grand Lake, CO.  This is perhaps akin to living in central Paris and never having been to the Louvre Museum.

You can drive the road in either direction between the two towns although it is snowed in and closed during the winter.  Getting there and back takes much longer than the 48 miles between the towns.  From the south Denver suburb of Highlands Ranch to Estes Park took 90 minutes by driving north on I-25 then west on Hwy 66 at the Longmont/Lyons turnoff.  The return trip from Grand Lake south past Granby and Winter Park to I-70 east and C-470 home took 2 hr. 20 min.

Estes Park is a beautiful little town in a small but broad valley surrounded by mountain peaks.

Estes Park mtn. view
Estes Park mtn. view

Wikipedia tells me the elevation is 7,522 ft. and the population was 5,858 in the 2010 census.  It is the home of the historic Stanley Hotel which Stephen King used as an inspiration in his horror novel The Shining, subsequently made into a movie of the same name starring Jack Nicholson and Shelly Duval.  (“REDRUM! REDRUM!” “Heeere’s JOHNNY!”) But I digress.  I’m pretty sure neither the hotel nor the town are snowbound and isolated during the winter like in the novel and movie.

In front of the Stanley
In front of the Stanley

Great old antique interior
Great old antique interior

The Stanley staircase
The Stanley staircase