U.S. Route 36 in Colorado

U.S. Route 36 in Colorado

U.S. Route 36 marker

U.S. Route 36
Denver-Boulder Turnpike
Route information
Maintained by Colorado Department of Transportation
Length: 213.685 mi[1] (343.89 km)
Existed: 1926 – present
Major junctions
West end: US 34 near Estes Park
  E-470 in Broomfield
US 287 in Broomfield
US 287 in Westminster
I-25 / US 87 / I-270 in Welby
I-76 in Welby
US 6 / US 85 in Commerce City
I-70 / I-270 in Denver
I-225 in Denver
Peña Boulevard/To Denver International Airport in Aurora
US 40 / I-70 Bus. / US 287 in Aurora
E-470 in Aurora
US 40 / I-70 / US 287 near Byers
US 385 near Idalia
East end: US-36 at Kansas state line
Highway system

United States Numbered Highways
List • Bannered • Divided • Replaced

Colorado State Highways

SH 35 SH 39

U.S. Route 36 is a major east–west route in the U.S. state of Colorado, extending from Rocky Mountain National Park to the Kansas state line.


Route description

US 36 meets SH 7 at the small town of Lyons, Colorado, on the eastern edge of the Rocky Mountains.

US Route 36 begins at Deer Ridge Junction in Rocky Mountain National Park, where it intersects US Route 34 (Trail Ridge Road) on the eastern slope of the Rocky Mountains. It exits the park at the Beaver Meadows Visitor Center and enters the town of Estes Park, where it is briefly overlapped with Business US 34 until it meets (but does not cross) the main US 34 again at an intersection shaped like the letter K. On its way out of Estes Park it intersects SH 7 at South St. Vrain Avenue, for the first of three times.

It then descends southeast through North St. Vrain Canyon to the town of Lyons, which it enters on Main Street. At 5th Avenue in Lyons, it intersects SH 7 again, beginning an overlap to Boulder which is signed only as US 36. At 5th Avenue and Main Street in Lyons, it divides into a pair of one way streets with the eastbound direction traveling one block south on 5th Avenue and turning east onto Broadway Street, and the westbound direction using Main Street. The two directions reunite in two blocks and leave Lyons southeastward as four-lane Ute Highway. Just outside of Lyons, US 36 turns south at a signalized intersection onto two-lane North Foothills Highway, while SH 66 continues east to Longmont. From Lyons to Boulder, US 36 pretty much traces the edge of the foothills.

US 36 enters Boulder on four-lane-wide 28th Street, where it serves the city's main shopping area. On the north side of Boulder, it intersects SH 119 at Diagonal Highway, beginning a 1.4 mile overlap that extends until SH 119 turns west onto Canyon Boulevard towards Nederland. One block farther south, SH 7 diverges from its overlap with US 36 by turning east onto Arapahoe Avenue. Leaving the Boulder shopping district, US 36 passes through the University of Colorado campus area as an expressway, and at a diamond interchange with Baseline Road, it meets Spur US 36, a two-block long connector to SH 93, signed only as "To SH 93" and "To US 36".

Just after the Baseline Road interchange, US 36 curves to the southeast and becomes the Denver-Boulder Turnpike, intersecting SH 157 Foothills Parkway on its way out of town. Northwestbound traffic approaching Boulder on the turnpike can stop at a scenic overlook on a high hill, providing a panoramic view of the Front Range mountains and the City of Boulder; a monument to the Denver-Boulder Turnpike's original builders is also located here. Continuing southeast, the road enters the fast growing Denver suburbs of Westminster and Broomfield, which have become popular locations for High-Tech businesses, which can be seen lining the turnpike. An interchange at 96th Street provides access to the Northwest Parkway and E 470 outer beltway around Denver. At an interchange with SH 121 and SH 128 in Broomfield, it meets (but does not cross) US Route 287. It then intersects US 287 again at Federal Boulevard.

At the very complicated junction of US-36, I-25, I-76, and I-270, the Turnpike ends and US-36 emerges overlapped and unsigned with I-270, and continues overlapped and unsigned with I-70 when I-270 ends near the former Stapleton Airport site. At Colfax Avenue, this I-70/US 36 overlap is also joined by US-287 (again) and US-40.

From Watkins to Byers, US-36 continues unsigned in its four-way multiplex with I-70, US-40, and US-287, while its former route through Bennett, Strasburg, and Byers is signed separately as Colorado State Highway 36.

At Byers, US 36 heads eastward on its own as a separate rural highway, while the I-70/US-40/US-287 multiplex curves to the southeast. It passes through several small towns such as Last Chance, Lindon, Anton, and Cope in Washington County and Joes and Idalia in Yuma County. At Cope, it is joined by SH 59 for about 6 miles. In Yuma County, near Idalia, it jogs north, becoming concurrent with US 385 for about 3 miles before turning east again and continuing about 10 miles to the Kansas border.[2]

Toll Road

The portion of US Route 36 within Rocky Mountain National Park is a toll road, requiring a park entrance fee.


US Route 36 is a freeway from Boulder to Byers, portions overlapped with I-270 and I-70.


When the bonds for the Denver-Boulder Turnpike were paid off in 1967, US Route 36 was extended from Denver to Rocky Mountain National Park along the now-free turnpike and portions of SH-119, SH-7, and SH-66.

Junction List

County Location # Mile[1] Destinations Notes
Larimer 0.000 US 34 west (Trail Ridge Road) Western terminus of US 36
Estes Park 6.5 US 34 east – Loveland
7.5 SH 66 West end of SH 66 overlap
8 SH 7
Boulder Lyons 28 SH 7 West end of SH 7 overlap
29.5 SH 66 East end of SH 66 overlap
Boulder 40.5 SH 7 – Lafayette East end of SH 7 overlap
Begin Denver–Boulder Turnpike
42 26th Street
43 SH 119 (Diagonal Highway) – Longmont
46.5 To SH 93 / Baseline Road
48 Table Mesa Drive
48.5 SH 157Downtown Boulder
48.5 Boulder Road
52 To SH 170 / McCaslin Boulevard
54 West Flatiron Circle Eastbound exit and westbound entrance
Broomfield 54.5 To Northwest Parkway / South 96th Street
55 East Flatiron Circle Westbound exit and eastbound entrance
57 US 287 / SH 121 – Broomfield, Arvada
58.5 Wadsworth Boulevard
Adams Westminster 59 104th Avenue, Church Ranch Boulevard
61 SH 95 (Sheridan Boulevard) / 92nd Avenue
63.5 US 287 (Federal Boulevard)
65 Pecos Street
65.5 Broadway Eastbound exit and westbound entrance
Welby 66 I-270 east – Limon Western end of I-270 overlap
0 66 I-25 – Fort Collins, Denver
1A 67 I-76 – Grand Junction, Fort Morgan Westbound exit and eastbound entrance
1B 67.5 York Street Westbound exit and eastbound entrance
Commerce City 2 69.5 US 85 / SH 2 (Vasquez Boulevard, US 6) Signed as exits 2A (north) and 2B (south)
Denver 4 71.5 Quebec Street (SH 35) Eastbound exit and westbound entrance
72.5 I-70 – Limon, Denver Eastern end of I-270 overlap, Western end of I-70 overlap
280 74 Havana Street
281 74.5 Peoria Street
282 75.5 I-225 south – Aurora, Colorado Springs
Adams Aurora 283 76.5 Chambers Road
284 77.5 Peña Boulevard – Denver International Airport Eastbound exit and westbound entrance
285 78 Airport Boulevard
286 79 Tower Road
288 81 I-70 Bus. west / US 40 west / US 287 north / Colfax Avenue West end of US 40/US 287 overlap
No westbound entrance
289 82 E-470 – Fort Collins, Colorado Springs, Denver International Airport
292 85 SH 36 east (Airpark Road)
Watkins 295 88 I-70 Bus. north – Watkins
299 92.5 Manila Road
304 97 SH 79 north – Bennett
305 98 Kiowa Eastbound exit only
Arapahoe 306 98.5 Kiowa, Bennett
310 103 I-70 Bus. north – Strasburg
109 I-70 east – Limon East end of I-70 overlap
Washington Last Chance 143 SH 71 – Fort Morgan, Limon
Anton 163 SH 63 – Akron
Cope 181 SH 59 – Seibert West end of SH 59 overlap
Yuma 188 SH 59 – Yuma, Haxtun, Sedgwick East end of SH 59 overlap
Idalia 201 US 385 – Burlington West end of US 385 overlap
205 US 385 – Wray East end of US 385 overlap
214 US-36Kansas Kansas State Line; Eastern end of US 36 in Colorado
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi
     Concurrency terminus     Closed/Former     Incomplete access     Unopened

See also

  • Colorado State Highway 36


U.S. Route 36
Previous state:
Colorado Next state:

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