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Loveland, CO - Gateway to the Rockies

Lockaway Storage | February 27, 2023 @ 12:00 AM

Nestled against the Rocky Mountains in Larimer County, the City of Loveland, Colorado can be found about halfway between the larger cities of Denver and Fort Collins and smaller cities and towns including Berthoud, Estes Park, Johnstown, Loveland, Timnath, Wellington, and Windsor.

Many people appreciate the slower pace of life and the easy access to nature that Loveland offers. You can start in Loveland, CO, which has some great local breweries, places to fuel up or plug in the car, and enjoy a day of sightseeing in Loveland's quaint downtown area.

Head for the Hills on US 34

The main artery from Loveland to the spectacular natural environment presented by the Rocky Mountains is US Route 34. Head west from downtown Loveland, and you’ll be presented with many choices for immersing yourself in nature as you wind your way toward the official entrance of Rocky Mountain National Park, just under an hour away.

Enjoy a Close Getaway

A little outside of downtown Loveland is the very popular Devil's Backbone Open Space. The Devil’s Backbone is one of the most impressive and visible geological landmarks in Larimer County, and the preserve features over 3,000 acres to explore with over 17 miles of hiking trails. This is a very popular spot given its close proximity to town, so be sure to go early on busy weekend days.

When the Road IS the Destination

As you drive west on Highway 34, you’ll pass through the Narrows at the entrance to Big Thompson Parks, and begin to wind your way up the mountains. Big Thompson Canyon and the Big Thompson River that carved it, are scenic attractions, in their own right, and the stretch of US 34 west of Loveland and through Rocky Mountain National Park is worthy of being its own destination, so be sure to appreciate the scenery as you go. There are many scenic overlooks along the way, and you’ll have no shortage of places to get that great pic for the ‘gram.


Just a few miles up from the Narrows, you’ll pass Viestenz-Smith Mountain Park where you can picnic at a first-come-first-served shelter, and across the road you’ll find the trailhead for the Summit Adventure Trail.

The trail takes you on a 9.1 mile round trip hike to the summit of Sheep Mountain, and makes a great way to spend the day.

Commune with the Spirits

Just past the intersection of US 36 in the town of Estes Park, you’ll find the historic Stanley Hotel. The Stanley was visited by famed author Stephen King in 1974, when he and his wife spent a night just before the resort closed for the winter.

King credits this stay with inspiring his blockbuster novel The Shining and its subsequent TV miniseries and Stanley Kubrick movie adaptation. The Stanley is open to day visitors and offers several different tours. Test your courage and take the nighttime Spirited Shining Tour.

Loveland may be best known and appreciated by its residents for its more rural and laid-back way of life compared to its larger neighbors of Denver and Fort Collins, but its proximity to nature makes it a great place to be.

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