So you made it to Denver… now how do you get to Winter Park? Located just 90 miles from the Denver International Airport, Winter Park is an easy drive, short shuttle ride or a quick train ride away. With all the available transportation options, we promise you can get to the mountains quickly to start your unforgettable vacation
1. RENT A CAR NEAR THE DENVER INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
The most popular (and convenient) way to get to Winter Park is to rent a vehicle and, luckily for you, we’ve got deals with Alamo, so don’t forget to request a quote when confirming your vacation with us. We always recommend getting a rental with AWD or 4WD, especially in the winter season. Because when the mountains are calling, it’s necessary to have the correct vehicle to conquer them.
Winter Park is situated about 90 miles from Denver International Airport, and the drive can take up to two hours depending on weather and road conditions. We highly recommend checking CDOT’s website before making the trip to Winter Park to get a heads up on any delays or closures to expect. The most direct route is to hop on I-70 and take the exit for CO-40 right after Idaho Springs. If your stomach’s grumbling, pull off here and check out Beau Jo’s for your first taste of “Colorado Style” pizza. What’s the secret? Not only is honey mixed into the fresh dough, but it’s on the table to drizzle onto your crust as well! After your pizza fix in Idaho Springs, hit the road again but be sure to slow down and check your speed through the town of Empire It’s easy to miss that the speed limit has lowered, and we don’t want you getting a ticket before you arrive. Even though you’re only about 20 miles away at this point, Berthoud Pass can take a bit of time. Steep grades and several switchbacks make this short stretch time consuming but worth it with amazing views of the Continental Divide.
LOCAL’S TIP: Pull off at the summit of Berthoud Pass to grab a shot of the road winding up & down the mountainside and marvel at the journey you’ve just made. Take a selfie here, you won’t regret it!
In the summer, you can also meander over Trail Ridge Road (the highest paved road in Colorado), through Rocky Mountain National Park. While the full route will take you about four hours, it will not disappoint! Trail Ridge Road can be assessed from Estes Park or Grand Lake; it covers almost 50 miles through the park and reaches elevations of over 12,000 feet. Make time for a pit stop at the Alpine Visitors Center for breathtaking views. If you start in Estes Park and finish in Grand Lake, take a minute to enjoy the largest natural body of water in Colorado (another great photo op). Stop for a bite to eat at the Sagebrush BBQ & Grill, where you’ll find something for everyone on the menu. Kids and adults alike will delight at the buckets of peanuts on the tables, and you’re even encouraged to throw the shells on the floor! Hop on CO-40 from here, and you’re only about 45 minutes away from your mountain getaway in Winter Park!
2. AIRPORT SHUTTLE TO WINTER PARK
If driving yourself seems exhausting, another popular option is booking a shuttle. Home James Transportation Service is everyone’s top choice, with airport pickup and front door drop off! With regularly scheduled shuttles and private charters, Home James is convenient and stress free. Be sure to get your tickets in advance, though, because it’s no secret that Home James is the preferred service in the area.
LOCAL’S TIP: Keep in mind there are no car rental companies in Winter Park, so if you take a shuttle to town from the airport, you’ll have to rely upon public transportation or ride sharing (when available) while you’re here.
3. SCENIC TRAIN RIDE TO WINTER PARK FROM DOWNTOWN DENVER
If you prefer to travel at a slower pace, you could take the old-fashioned way and hop on a train! The legendary California Zephyr departs from Denver’s Union Station daily at 8AM. The unforgettable ride is just over two hours, and gives you a great opportunity to relax and check out the mountain vistas. The Zephyr drops you off in Fraser, with a free Lift bus stop just steps from the platform. Busses run every 30 minutes during peak season, and every hour in the off season.
LOCAL’S TIP: Don’t forget to make your way to the scenic viewing car, where the windows stretch up into the ceiling to afford unforgettable memories.
During the ski season, Amtrak runs a special ski train, The Winter Park Express, running between Denver and the resort on the weekends. This limited run will drop you off at the base of the ski area, just 100 feet from the lifts. Advance booking is highly encouraged, as this popular train tends to sell out.
Now matter how you get to Colorado’s Playground, we promise you won’t forget your incredible vacation in Winter Park.