Highway 34 across Rocky Mountain National Park is somewhat of a harrowing drive as you ascend from about 8,000 feet in Granby, Colorado on the western side of the park to 12,183 feet in elevation at the high point of the 62-mile stretch of road. Highway 34 exits Rocky Mountain National Park in the resort town of Estes Park on the eastern side.

We started our drive in Craig, Colorado – elk hunting capital of the world – and passed through the ski resort town of Steamboat Springs as we continued east on Highway 40. The road east of Steamboat Springs rises from 6,700 feet to peak at 9,426 feet as the highway crosses over Rabbit Ears Pass.

We drove next to and over the Colorado River several times as we traveled 120 miles to Granby, Colorado on U.S. Route 40 east.

Granby, Colorado is the western gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park. Grand Lake is a resort area on Highway 34 before entering the park.

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Grand Lake, Colorado.

One of the disturbing aspects of entering the park was the abundance of dead pine trees on the mountains. The Mountain Pine Beetle has resulted in the death of thousands of trees within the park boundaries as seen in my photo of the trees behind the Rocky Mountain National Park entrance sign.

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Our first stop was the Kawuneeche Visitor Center, a few hundred yards before the entrance fee station. The elevation here is 8,720 feet.

July is a great time to see colorful high mountain wildflowers. There were butterflies all over the place. Read More…

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