Take the High Road

Colorado_6Just minutes from your door in Granby lies the highest continuous paved road in the country. Trail Ridge Road is 48 miles of a stretch of U.S. Highway 34 that reaches 12,183 feet in elevation and connects the east and west ends of Rocky Mountain National Park. Much of the road lies above the tree line in an alpine or tundra climate, and it usually opens for traffic on Memorial Day every year, with lots of snow still present as you drive along. Of course, the payoff is apparent: the views are incredible, the wildlife abundant, and the hiking trails at various points along the journey are well worth your time. See Wyoming to the north, the great plains in the east, and the jutting Rocky Mountains on the south and west. Elk, pikas, deer, marmots, ptarmigans and bighorn sheep call the area home, as well as 200 species of alpine plants that thrive in the very short 40 day growing season. You might even see a moose from your car if you’re lucky. There are numerous turnouts and overlooks along the way where you can enjoy the tremendous view and take pictures without even getting out of your car. Make your way over the Continental Divide to the Alpine Visitors center and see if you can spot some animals that have traveled up in elevation for the summer. The center also contains tundra displays, a bookstore, a gift shop, and a snack bar.

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About the Author

About the Author: Pat Barcas serves as staff writer and photographer for RTX Traveler Magazine, based in Asheville, NC. His favorite RTX destinations are on the beach: Orange Beach, Alabama, New Smyrna Beach, Florida, and Murrells Inlet, South Carolina. .

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