You’ll be entertained and fascinated by the stark contrasts between Boulder and Rocky Mountain National Park. Combing the two makes a fun day trip.
Boulder is a sophisticated college town, with a number of high-tech firms, anchored by a colorful pedestrian mall where locals and students hang out. Rocky Mountain National Park is the most visited site in Colorado for good reasons. Driving through the park on Trail Ridge Road, the highest continuous paved road in the country, you are surrounded by a sea of peaks. Stop for a walk and you may see elk, bighorn sheep and even a bear.
We recommend heading straight to Rocky Mountain National Park and stopping in Boulder on the way back to Denver. From Denver, take I-25 north to Hwy 36. Follow Hwy 36 through Boulder all the way to Estes Park, a tourist town and gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park. Reverse the driving directions on the way back, but stop in Boulder for dinner.