Peak to Peak Highway: A Colorado Mini-Road Trip

Since I’m leaving for Korea on Thursday (tickets bought!), I thought it would be a great idea to spend some time in the mountains of Colorado. I chose to drive the Peak to Peak scenic byway, or at least part of it. I started out in Louisville and drove down to Boulder, where construction is in London-level high grade. I cannot believe how much everything has changed since I graduated in 2010.

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Please note that whenever the pictures were taken from the car, I’m at a stoplight or pulled over. Be safe, folks!

I went up Highway 119 from Boulder (also known as Canyon Blvd.) to Nederland, where I stopped for a bagel with egg at a local cafe.  It was great. Then I headed up the 72 toward Estes Park.

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On the way I decided to stop at Brainard Lake. I walked around the man made lake at 10,000 ft up, with beautiful skies and clear weather. It was low, but that’s normal at this point in the season.

The fall foliage is coming up nicely in the mountains, where it’s been getting down to the 30sF at night (near to 0C). The road was lined with beautiful Aspens and pines, and I wish I could have bottled the scent of the air. It smells so nice, and also familiar.

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I remember doing the Peak to Peak several times as a child with my parents. It’s really accessible and easy driving, so if you didn’t grow up in Colorado, you’ll be just fine. In snow season, just go slowly and make sure you have good tires.

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Soon it was time for Longs Peak to make its appearance.

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The picture doesn’t do it justice at all. Dang. It was breathtaking in person.

I’m really happy that I got to spend so much time this year in beautiful natural places, from Iceland to Colorado. On Thursday, we’ll be leaving for South Korea! It’s another move abroad, and a move back to a very big city. We’ll be living in Busan, in the south of the country. There are mountains and beaches there. Should be good, but it won’t be like our summer in Iceland or this Colorado drive.

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I love this place. I hit a little bit of traffic in road construction zones, but it wasn’t a big delay at all. Once on the main road in Estes Park, there was a ton of traffic. I was lucky enough to find a free parking space in the Spruce lot past the main tourist zone.

I went to the Inkwell cafe, along the river walk. The Prickly Pear soda (made with cactus fruit) was especially good. I got a caramel apple as a treat and went down the road to Longmont.

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The drive takes you through Lyons, CO, which was subject to some of the worst flooding in 2013. That was the night before I left to move to the UK, and my room was flooded a little. Many of my friends in the area lost everything and had to move away, and you can certainly still see damage in Lyons and the whole canyon.

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After meeting up at 300 Suns brewery didn’t quite work out, I drove home on Highway 287 along the plains. It was so beautiful to see the sunset from the road over the mountains I drove through all day!

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Remember to always seek out travel experiences, even in the places you call ‘home!’ I know people who’ve lived in Colorado their whole lives on the Front Range and have never been to this part of the mountains. This is a cheap and gorgeous route that almost anyone could easily do. Get out there!

2 Comments

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  1. Wow nice pics! What a wonderful trip 🙂

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