How Far Is Estes Park From Colorado Springs? (+Scenic Routes)

Pep Dekker

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Estes Park is approximately 127 miles north of Colorado Springs. Most will travel via US-105 and US-34 W, which will take around 2.5 to 3 hours depending on traffic and where you begin or end your journey. The journey will also take longer if you make stops along the way!

Both Estes Park and Colorado Springs are bucket list destinations, and by reading this guide you’ve already taken the first step towards an amazing adventure. 

So don’t worry – whether you’re in a rush to experience nature or want to soak up the surroundings in your own time, we’ve collated both the fastest and most scenic options for your convenience. This guide is essential for Colorado residents and tourists alike!

This guide will cover:

  • The best routes from Colorado Springs to Estes Park 
  • Things to see and do along the way to Estes Park 
  • Transportation options to Estes Park.

Let’s get into it!

The Best Routes from Colorado Springs to Estes Park

There are multiple routes to consider when traveling from Colorado Springs to Estes Park. Below are the pros and cons, allowing you to carefully consider which direction best suits your getaway goals:

I-25 North to US-36 West Route

I-25 North to US-36 West Route

For those in a rush or wishing to simply experience Estes Park and nothing more, I-25 North to US-36 West is the route for you. 

Taking a total of around 2.5 hours, this option is about speed, convenience, and effective time management. 

The journey replaces calming, scenic roads with smooth and efficient highways that allow for an effortless and quick getaway.

This is both the I-25 North to US-36 West’s biggest advantage and flaw. While you will get to and from Estes Park with haste, you will sacrifice some of the more beautiful landscapes along the way! 

US-24 West to CO-67 North to CO-7 North Route

US-24 West to CO-67 North to CO-7 North Route

For people who want a more scenic drive, look no further! 

Winding through charming mountain towns and showcasing some of the more impressive landscapes this state has to offer,  go on US-24 West to CO-67 North before heading up along CO-473 West and CO-93. 

Then, you’ll head back into the mountains through CO-72 before finally turning onto CO-7.

It’s not your simple drive from A to B, but choosing this option will allow you to witness sites such as as the Garden of the Gods and Pikes Peak. It may just be one of the greatest travel routes in the country!

However, be warned: this option is not for the hurried traveler! The 172-mile drive features winding roads that’ll add about 4 hours to your trip – time that you could instead spend enjoying a longer visit to Estes Park or engaging in other activities.

If you have limited time, taking the I-25 route might be a better option.

Scenic Route via CO-105 & CO-7

Scenic Route via CO-105 & CO-7

Perfect for outdoor enthusiasts, the route via CO-105 & CO-7 prioritizes a peaceful drive through nature over a deliberate race to the finish line!

Colorado has so much to offer in terms of wildlife, so anyone who wishes to experience its unique vistas and quaint small towns should choose this route. 

Not to mention: if you have the time, there are multiple hiking, fishing, and outdoor experiences along the way!

However, much like the US-24 West to CO-67 North to CO-7 North route, be prepared for a slower journey. 

The drive itself will take between three and four hours, as you’ll be covering 161 miles of road through scenic mountainscapes and natural sights.

Winding rural roads will reduce your speed, and if you’re taking the time to look out the window or stop at viewpoints, you will add significant time to your journey. 

So, if you like long drives, the outdoors, and have nowhere else to be, the CO-105 & CO-7 are ideal for you!

Each route has its own advantages and disadvantages, and the outline above has everything you need to inform your decision. 

It can be tricky, but consider what you and your fellow travelers want to get out of your journey to Estes Park. 

No matter your preferences, available time, or appetite for adventure, your trip from Colorado Springs will be one to remember!

Things to See and Do Along the Way to Estes Park

The best thing about this journey is that you’ll never be starved of fun activities and breathtaking landscapes. Below is a quick overview of the local favorites!

Each excursion is also listed in order of appearance in the direction of Estes Park from Colorado Springs.

 Depending on available time and preference, it would be wise to split what you wish to see between the journey to and from Estes Park.

Red Rock Canyon Open Space

  • Duration: 2–3 hours
  • Distance from Colorado Springs: Around 6 miles
  • Route to take: From Colorado Springs, take the US-24 West road and it should lead you straight to Red Rock Canyon Open Space.

Due to its proximity to the center of Colorado Springs, it would be best to spend the first morning of your trip soaking up the natural beauty of these red rock formations. 

With multiple trails and spots to sit in the park, this is perfect for any seasoned hiker or relaxed wanderer!

Garden of the Gods

  • Duration: 2–3 hours
  • Distance from Colorado Springs: Approximately 10 miles
  • Route to take: As with Red Rock Canyon Open Space, simply take the US-24 West Road to reach the Garden of the Gods.

Garden of the Gods provides the perfect playground for those who wish to explore staggering red rock formations and hiking trails. 

Distinctive geological features litter this natural miracle, making it perfect for any budding photographer. 

Similarly to Red Rock Canyon Open Space, this activity is best experienced at daybreak as the red rock formations have a particularly beautiful glow when witnessed in the morning light.

Manitou Springs and the Manitou Cliff Dwellings

  • Duration: Half-day
  • Distance from Colorado Springs: About 6 miles
  • Route to take: Simply drive along US-24 West and you’ll reach Manitou Springs and the Manitou Cliff Dwellings in a jiffy

Close to the Garden of the Gods, the quaint but lively town of Manitou Springs has multiple unique shops and galleries for art and nick-nack enthusiasts alike!

After your visit, head on over to the Manitou Cliff Dwellings. Here, you’ll be able to travel back to the past, bearing witness to ancient Anasazi homes and history.

Pikes Peak

  • Duration: Half-day
  • Distance from Colorado Springs: About 30 miles
  • Route to take: If you’re coming from Manitou Springs, continue driving along the US-24 West away from Colorado Springs, then turn left onto Pikes Peak Highway.

Pikes Peak is ideal for those wishing for panoramic views of the Rocky Mountains! With options to drive or take the world’s highest cog railway, this iconic landmark will definitely fulfill your desire for adventure. 

Reaching the summit around midday is best, especially if you pack a small picnic to enjoy while soaking in the scenery.

The North Pole – Santa’s Workshop

  • Duration: Half-day
  • Distance from Colorado Springs: Approximately 12 miles
  • Route to take: While driving along US-24 West, turn left onto Pikes Peak Highway through Fountain Avenue.

For those who love everything Christmas, Santa’s Workshop is a must-see amusement park. 

Open all year long, this is your opportunity to enjoy rides, shop for festive gifts, and meet Santa Claus himself! 

As it is closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, it is important to check their online calendar before getting there.

The United States Air Force Academy

  • Duration: 2–3 hours
  • Distance from Colorado Springs: Around 10 miles
  • Route to take: Head north along I-25 North.

The education center for all future aviation officers, The United States Air Force Academy is an essential stop for all military enthusiasts. 

Not only does it house some of the country’s most promising cadets and pilots, but touring the facility will also provide insight into Air Force history and allow you to explore some of the impressive campus architecture.

This is best experienced towards the beginning or at the very end of your journey as the academy is situated just outside Colorado Springs. Note that it is also in a separate direction from the above activities, so plan accordingly!

Palmer Lake

  • Duration: 1–2 hours
  • Distance from Colorado Springs: Approximately 24 miles
  • Route to take: Continue driving along I-25 North, before making a brief left turn onto CO-105 West.

Continuing on from the Air Force Academy, a brief pit stop at Palmer Lake is perfect for a midday stroll along the water’s edge. 

Similarly to Manitou Springs, the attached town has a lot to offer from quaint shops to charming architecture.

Castlewood Canyon State Park

  • Duration: Half-day
  • Distance from Colorado Springs: About 42 miles
  • Route to take: Drive along I-25 North, then turn right onto CO-83 North.

If you have multiple days allotted for your journey to Estes Park, consider stopping at Castlewood Canyon State Park. 

For those who simply can’t get enough of beautiful hikes and scenic waterfalls, this is the perfect opportunity to witness more of Colorado’s stunning scenery.

Flatirons in Boulder

  • Duration: Half-day
  • Distance from Colorado Springs: Around 100 miles
  • Route to take: Coming from Colorado Springs, drive along I-25 North before turning left onto US-36 West. Or, you can take the CO-93 North, which is closer if you’re coming from the mountains. Whatever route you choose, you’ll continue driving to Table Mesa Drive.

Situated in Boulder’s foothills, these slanted, reddish-brown sandstone formations can be viewed from many accessible vantage points. Alternatively, for the more daring, it can be hiked or climbed!

Do note, however, that if you choose to hike or climb, be prepared to spend anywhere between 30 minutes to 6 hours. This will depend on whether you wish to reach the base or mount the summit.

Pearl Street Mall in Boulder

  • Duration: 2–3 hours
  • Distance from Colorado Springs: Approximately 100 miles
  • Route to take: Take the I-93 North, whether you’re coming from the mountains or from US-36 West.

For those wishing to unwind after a day outdoors, Pearl Street Mall is the perfect place for a quiet stroll and shop. 

With street performers during the day and multiple dining options at night, one could spend a great deal of time here with no problem.

Lyons – a quaint gateway town to the Rockies

  • Duration: 1–2 hours
  • Distance from Colorado Springs: About 115 miles
  • Route to take: Drive along US-36 West. This will take you straight through the town itself.

If you spent the previous day experiencing some of the above activities, heading to the charming town of Lyons for a morning coffee or bite would be perfect!

A gateway to the Rockies, there is no better place to soak up the peaceful Colorado atmosphere before heading to Estes Park.

Rocky Mountain National Park (once you reach Estes Park)

  • Duration: Full day
  • Distance from Colorado Springs: Approximately 127 miles
  • Route to take: After reaching Estes Park, you’ll continue driving along US-36 West to visit the national park.

At last! You’ve reached Estes Park. To truly experience everything this natural wonder has to offer, it is essential to spend a full day exploring the magnificent Rocky Mountain National Park. 

From hiking trails and scenic picnic locations to panoramic views, there is so much on offer here that it’s simply impossible to get bored.

Admittedly, this journey has a lot to offer, and it may be difficult to fit it all in! 

However, no matter what you choose, you are guaranteed to experience a diverse range of activities and natural wonders as you set off from Colorado Springs to Estes Park. So, what are you waiting for? It’s time to go!

Is There a Public Transportation Option Available From Colorado Springs to Estes Park? 

Unfortunately, there is no direct public transportation available from Colorado Springs to Estes Park. However, there are multiple options available to you at all stages of the journey.

For indirect travel not involving the use of a car or car-sharing service, you must first take either a Greyhound or Bustang bus from Colorado Springs to Denver. 

Travel time is dependent on traffic and stops, but will most likely take around 1.5 to 2 hours. 

This is a great option if you can’t drive or wish to travel in comfort! The downside, however, is the eventual need to transfer to a further mode of transportation to reach Estes Park.

Traveling between Boulder and Denver, the RTD (Regional Transportation District) is your best option. 

Multiple bus routes are available, and the Flatiron Flyer even provides rapid transit for an additional cost. 

Travel time is therefore dependent on the route selected, but will most likely take between 45 minutes to 1 hour. This service is frequent and comfortable but also requires subsequent transfers.

Seasonal shuttles such as the Estes Transit or RMNP Hiker Shuttle will then take you from Boulder to Estes Park. 

This option is very scenic, made specifically for tourists, and can last anywhere between 1.5 to 2 hours depending on the time of year and service availability. 

If you travel during peak season, you should be fine. However, it is important to reference the online schedule and make a booking.

Car rentals or rideshare services are also available on all legs of the journey. As such, supplementing all or part of the trip with Uber or Lyft can be a good choice depending on your preference and budget. 

Hertz, Enterprise, Avis, Budget, and Alamo all have locations in Boulder too, with some even situated close to Estes Park! 

It’s important to check their respective websites for availability and recognize that there may be some hidden costs such as parking fees.


Now, you’re ready to go! 

Estes Park is one of the most beautiful places in the country (if not the world), so you’re going to see some amazing scenery and make lasting memories whatever route you take. 

By carefully planning your allocated travel time and modes of transportation, you’ll be much more prepared than the average traveler. Have the trip of a lifetime!


  • Pep Dekker

    Hey. I’m Pep, Paige's husband, and dad to Juliana, Lucille and Maxine. I'm founder and writer here at I've been living full-time in Estes Park for 3 years now and been visting the Estes Valley for 8. I'm a seasoned traveller, and all around expert on all things Estes Park, Colorado and I'm excited to share all that I've learned with you.