Tips For Traveling I-80 From Iowa To Estes Park, Colorado

Living in the Mid-West, specifically Iowa, puts us smack dab in the middle of the country. We enjoy an occasional road trip to Estes Park, Colorado; and we have found I-80 to be a fun, adventurous experience. Yes, there is a lot of traffic, but it does provide the quickest and most efficient route to the Estes Park area.

I-80 Welcome To Nebraska

The Omaha, Nebraska area does provide a nice variety of things to do. We have often added a day in Omaha on our way to Estes Park. Omaha is four hours from home for us, so it’s a nice way to break up the 12 hours of travel. We love a good zoo and the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha is a fantastic one! If you would like to venture out into something a little different, Omaha happens to be home to some awesome culinary tours. My friend Lisa recently experienced strolling through the Old Market on a culinary tour. Who doesn’t enjoy a little food culture, right?

The Great Platte River Road Archway Monument, located in Kearney, Nebraska, goes right across I-80. From covered wagons to all about the land where the buffalo roam, this is a family friendly museum that is a must see!

Great Platte River Road Archway

When traveling from the East, you will go under it before you exit. Coming from the West, if you go under it, you will have gone too far.This extraordinary monument is stunning and offers a look into history that you will not find anywhere else.

As you continue on I-80 towards Estes Park, you will come to North Platte, Nebraska. If you are traveling with tweens or teens, I would highly suggest that you spend some time at Cody Go Karts.



History buffs will appreciate all that Buffalo Bill’s Historical State Park has to offer. You may want to plan a minimum of 24 hours in North Platte, from the history, fun and food– you will be busy!

If these stops don’t work on your way West, make it a point to stop on your way back East. June- August are peak travel seasons and I would highly recommend making hotel or campground reservations before you leave home. It can be disappointing to not have a place to call it a night when you have planned on it. Plan your road trip on I-80 before you leave home and Estes Park will be ready for you when you arrive.

And one more tip! Once you arrive in Estes Park, make sure you have 24 hours to acclimate yourself to the higher altitude. Having experienced altitude sickness, I can tell you that these 24 hours will be time well spent. Then, plan your climb through the gorgeous trails of Rocky Mountain National Park. It’s a trail like this that awaits you.

Sara on Black Lake Trail.jpg


So, tell me! What do you enjoy about traveling on I-80 from Iowa to Estes Park, Colorado? Is it the variety of terrain or the family togetherness in the car? I’d love to hear about it!





Sharing is caring!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.