Big Thompson Canyon
The direct route between Estes Park and Loveland takes you on US 34 through Big Thompson Canyon. This spectacular canyon has a history. In 1976, after a week of rain saturated the ground, a huge storm up around Estes Park unleashed a flood that killed more than 100 people and totally destroyed much of the road. Particularly at the lower end of the canyon, the road was rebuilt much higher than before, with reinforcing to enable it to withstand high, raging water in the future. Then, in the flooding in 2013, that proved not to work as well as intended. It is now being rebuilt again. The road is open but you may encounter delays.
There are numerous motels along this route but no campgrounds.
Riders looking for a bit of challenge might want to take the back road between Drake and Estes Park, along Colorado 43. One switchback in particular has a 10 percent grade and is not for the faint-hearted or novice motorcyclist.
These photos are from various points along Big Thompson Canyon:
Click on thumbnail for larger image; arrow through photos; click large image to close.