The Front Range of the Colorado Rockies encompasses some of the most stunning scenery in America. Mountain towns like Estes Park, alpine havens such as Rocky Mountain National Park and a wildlife photographer’s heaven are waiting for RV travelers along the Peak to Peak National Scenic Byway. Use our guide to plan your Colorado RV camping trip along this scenic route.
Following the Peak to Peak Scenic Byway
Starting your trip is simple, with the first point on this scenic byway just an hour from El Monte RV Rentals in Denver. Point one is Estes Park, alpine home to the Stanley Hotel and Museum. Enjoy the laid-back feel of this mountain village before starting on CO Hwy 7 south along the dividing line between Rocky Mountain National Park and Roosevelt National Forest.
Feel free to stop along the way and enjoy the magnificent scenery! Soon after starting your journey, you’ll find picturesque Lily Lake and then the trailhead to eleven-thousand-feet-plus Twin Sisters Peaks. Another popular trail is Long’s Peak, named for the mountain that dominates the landscape on the west side of the byway. As you travel through this section of Arapaho-Roosevelt National Forest, watch for paved canyon roads on which you’ll want to make scenic side trips in the shadow of the Continental Divide.
Another exciting way to experience the Peak to Peak National Scenic Byway is by bicycle. The road features wide shoulders ideal for biking, so if your camping crew includes mountain bikers, it’s time to let them run wild!
Throughout the trip, keep your eyes open for bighorn sheep, elk and moose. As you stop along the way, you might also see eagles flying overhead and black bears moving through the forest. Dozens of small lakes dot the mountains in this area, and many trailheads that are accessible from the Peak to Peak Byway.
As you continue south along CO Hwy 7, you’ll encounter the small town of Allenspark, Colorado, at the southeast edge of Rocky Mountain National Park. If you’re ready to get out and hike, this town situated at eighty five hundred feet elevation has trails that promise spectacular views.
Leaving Allenspark, turn your RV south at CO Hwy 72 to Ward, Colorado, and follow that route south to where Hwy 72 joins CO Hwy 119. This forty-five mile route from Allenspark to the historic mining town of Black Hawk will simply take your breath away. The twists and turns of the byway, with glorious mountain views on every side, is one you won’t soon forget.
Another reason this last leg of the Peak to Peak National Scenic Byway is so memorable is that it contains plenty of clues to the area’s gold mining history. Mine tailings, abandoned gold mines and gold panning venues like Vic’s Gold Panning in Black Hawk tell the tale of the yellow dust and nuggets that brought thousands of miners to the Rockies. When you reach Black Hawk, you’ll find another form of riches – more than a dozen casinos populate the town’s historic streets, making it an extremely popular tourist destination. Just off the highway in Central City, Colorado, you’ll find another booming casino town offering plenty of gaming action.
As your journey on the Peak to Peak Byway ends, it’s hard to believe all this scenic splendor is just forty miles from the Denver metro area! Continue south on Hwy 119 twelve miles from Black Hawk to reach I-70, the interstate that leads right back into Denver.
RV Camping on the Peak to Peak Byway
Camping can be easy on this scenic byway if you do a little research before you go. The National Forest Service provides a great guide to camping in the Arapaho-Roosevelt National Forest. Another excellent resource on camping in the area can be found at RockyMountainNationalPark.com. Simply choose which sites along the byway you’ll want to spend more time exploring, and plan your campsites accordingly.
A stay at Denver West/Central City KOA will also keep you close to the casinos and the area’s outdoor recreation. Spruce Lake RV Resort in Estes Park is a welcome option at the beginning of your journey.
There’s no better way to experience the Continental Divide and the beauty of the Front Range than on the Peak to Peak National Scenic Byway. We hope this quick guide to the byway turns your thoughts to a Colorado RV camping vacation.