If you're photographing the high mountains of Colorado and don't really feel like going on a strenuous hike, you might want to look into a few locations that have easy access for your low clearance 2 wheel drive vehicle. This might especially be true if you are visiting from near sea level. Altitude sickness is a thing! Here are of few of my favorite spots that you can shoot just by getting out of your car:
1. Trail Ridge Road, Rocky Mountain National Park
Rocky Mountain National Park is a great place to visit. If you want a true alpine experience above treeline, take the drive along trail ridge road. Enjoy alpine wildflowers, unique rock formations and stunning views of Longs Peak and the Continental Divide. All of this can be had from pull-offs along the road. Keep in mind, there is a National Park fee and this place can get crowded on summer weekends.
2. Chautauqua Park, Boulder
The city of Boulder sits along the base of the Front Range foothills a short drive from Denver. The most iconic features here are the Flatirons - huge rocky crags that shoot out from the landscape. Great views can be seen from the entrance. In fact, the above picture was taken standing in the parking lot!
3. Crested Butte
Crested Butte is called the "Wildflower Capitol of Colorado". A super neat town with abundant foliage and aspen groves all around it. From here, you can literally just pick any road to drive down and see great views. Kebler pass is a great spot in the fall. It boasts the largest aspen grove in the country...err...world!
4. Dallas Divide
The Sneffels Range near the historic town of Ouray is known as "Switzerland of America". The mountains here are unique and jagged rising abruptly from the landscape below. Taking Hwy 62 from Ridgway to Telluride goes along the Dallas Divide. Prime country here. You can't trespass onto this pasture land that is own by Ralph Lauren, but the best views are along the road anyway. Once when standing here, I could hear elk bugling and cattle mooing at the same time.
5. Great Sand Dunes National Park
Want to go to an ocean-less beach in the middle of the mountains? The Great Sand Dunes are a true natural wonder. The highest ones rise up to an elevation of 9,000 ft. They are super fun to play in with kids, (or adults) but are a bit of a workout if you want to climb to the top. No worries though, the prime photography spots are near the entrance to the park.
Got any other easy access photography spots? Let me know what else could be added to the list!