When you’re planning a Colorado road trip, you’ll want to keep a few things in mind to make your experience better. Colorado road conditions can also turn from perfect to terrible in a span of a few minutes. The town of Lake City is also designated as a National Historic District with over 200 historic structures and fascinating heritage. Note: Guidance for travelers may vary depending on what part of the state you are visiting. The Maroon Bells are some of the most famous mountains in Colorado, and rightly so. Whether you’re visiting in the summer, fall, winter, or spring, Breckenridge offers outdoor adventure for everyone. But don't think that just because it's a short drive that it's not worth the trip; the deep ravines and painted walls of the Black Canyon are well worth the excursion. The Butterfly Pavilion houses over 5,000 animals, from an octopus in the Water's Edge exhibit to Rosie the Tarantula. Hi! You may want to stop in Fruita as well, the gateway to Colorado National Monument, and a remote high desert region that showcases a rich heritage and diverse flora and fauna with impressive monoliths and gorges. Point your wheels towards evergreen forests, pristine rivers and abundant wildlife opening up to a beautiful high alpine valley, guarded by breathtaking peaks. Along the way, be on the lookout for deer and bighorn sheep that navigate rocky peaks and boulders. Family Fun in Westminster Stop to walk among butterflies, hop on a go-cart or cool off at an ice rink just 20 minutes from Denver. Independence Pass is the highest paved pass in North America, peaking at more than 12,000 feet above sea level, where dramatic mountains peaks soar into the nearly always bright blue skies. Breckenridge has made a name for itself for being one of Colorado’s best outdoor adventure towns and for good reason. During the drive, you’ll cross over the Continental Divide and the headwaters of the Blue and South Platte rivers, with several bike and hiking trails to stop at along the way. She specializes in writing inspiring national park travelogues, foodie adventures and personal, heartfelt stories of people who shape our culture. The road is closed in winter due to snow, at which time visitors travel south to reach the opposite side of Rocky. Elbert, the highest 14er in the state, and are located along Colorado Route 82, which travels through the stunning Independence Pass. Even though it makes for a stunning road trip, don't forget to stop and get out of the car at the various viewpoints and trailheads along the highway. Intrepid hikers and rock climbers can venture into the depths on several very steep, unmaintained trails. Catching a concert at Red Rocks is a bucket list item on its own (I’ve seen Widespread Panic there, and it was amazing!). The Springs Resort & Spa along the banks of the San Juan River. Sitting below the stunning Sangre De Cristo mountains, the dunes are backdropped by tall, often snow-capped, peaks, making it one of the most picturesque and unique landscapes in Colorado. Known for its lodging, small-town charm, and knowledgeable outfitters, Estes Park serves Rocky Mountain National Park and access to the national forest. You can see my route map, where I stayed, where I ate, and what I did. Get ready to load up the car, crank up the tunes and go. During the summer, hiking and backpacking trips around these 14,000-foot mountains are packed with views of jagged peaks, painterly wildflowers, and wildlife such as moose and mountain goats. Peak to Peak Highway The Peak to Peak Highway makes for an ideal road trip in Colorado for those looking for something closer to Denver. Here’s a few handy local tips: Hike to the top of the dunes and surf back down! Since 1932, this drive has been one of the most popular and picturesque routes in the entire state. It offers the chance to see ghost mining towns, spectacular views of Longs Peak and the magnificent opulence of Victorian-era buildings. For photographers, the night sky over Great Sand Dunes National Park is one of the best in the world, so be sure to pack your tripod and camera. Tori Peglar is Co-Brand and Content Director of National Park Trips. Hot springs, bison and bears await on this 1,763-mile adventure through cowboy towns and three national parks. The Mount Evans Scenic Byway starts approximately 60 miles west of Denver in Idaho Springs before spiraling up to the 14,264-foot-tall summit of Mount Evans. It offers the chance to see ghost mining towns, spectacular views of Longs Peak and the magnificent opulence of Victorian-era buildings. Trail difficulty ranges from beginner to intermediate with most trails suitable for every level of rider. Here are 6 local tips to have a vacation with fewer hassles and less impact on the environment. Get Itineraries. Start in Denver to sample the city’s thriving art and food scene. Summer Road Trips In June I drove from California to Colorado and back with two of my kids and documented the road trip, including the COVID-specific elements, in this post. Today, only a few original structures still stand, but it’s a fascinating glimpse into the past. Find Volunteer Opportunities. Now get the free guide to Colorado vacations, which comes with a map, trip ideas and more. We’ve also included in our Colorado travel blog post some Colorado road trip ideas, including Colorado road trip destinations you have to see and suggestions on where to stay along the way. Elbert in just a short drive. Take a hike, gaze from a fire tower or have dinner with a view. Hike along a ridge with spectacular views of Oh Be Joyful Valley and Peeler Basin. Boreas Pass Road is beautiful year-round but is at its most ostentatious in the colors of autumn. You can catch a show in its iconic opera house, stroll its beautiful historic downtown, hike on trails that follow ore tram lines and even roll the dice in its casinos housed in storied historic buildings in this historic Gold Rush town. With a name like the Million Dollar Highway, expectations are high for this alpine drive, and it does not disappoint. Many of our favorite attractions are free. After a Busy Day in the Park, Retreat to the Family-Owned Quality InnStay at the closest lodging to Rocky Mountain National Park's East Entrance, that’s just one mile from downtown Estes Park. The Peak to Peak Highway makes for an ideal road trip in Colorado for those looking for something closer to Denver. The town of Durango is also worth strolling through. When you’re finished, stop by Independence Ghost Town, an abandoned mining town right off Highway 82 just a few miles after Independence Pass if you're driving toward Aspen. Continue west to the awe-inspiring red-rock landscapes of Colorado National Monument in Grand Junction. Best known for its vistas from the 23-mile scenic drive (or road bike ride) on Rim Rock Drive, the park also is a great place to hike, watch wildlife (such as desert bighorn sheep, coyotes and golden eagles) and stargaze. Take a stroll down its lively downtown lined with coffee shops, restaurants and boutiques or sit on a bench along the Riverwalk. The bonus? Top 10 Things to DoPick and choose for our list of popular activities in the park and surrounding area from viewing the night skies to sipping local wines. Note: Guidance for travelers may vary depending on what part of the state you are visiting. Outdoor activities around Lake City include paddling or swimming in Lake San Cristobal, the second largest lake in Colorado, exploring hundreds of miles of hiking and off-roading, fly-fishing, and camping. This Colorado trip begins in Denver and makes its way back, but you can start it from any of the other cities that are along the way. We covered just over 300 miles and packed in some top Colorado landmarks which included stops in Denver – The Mile High City, Fort Collins, Boulder and Loveland.. While heavily trafficked, the trail summits two fourteeners in one day, which is no small feat! GyPSy Guide automatically plays interesting and entertaining commentary as you go. Great Sand Dunes National Park in Springtime. Over the last decade, Denver has grown from a sleepy town into one of the most vibrant cities in the western USA. Whether you're based in Colorado or just passing through on a long road trip, these scenic drives are some of the best not only in the state but in the entire U.S. A popular hike in the Maroon Bells is the West Maroon Pass, a 13-mile round trip hike that starts from the picturesque Maroon Lake and climbs up to West Maroon Pass. This scenic highway has been shuttling visitors through meadows, lakes, and the natural beauty of Colorado since 1915 and might be Colorado’s most popular destination drive. They sit at the base of Mt. Read more about our favorite Durango adventures and flavors. I spent 10 days in Rocky Mountain National Park and explored some of the best days hikes including the stunning Chasm Lake Trail and the short but beautiful Emerald Lake Trail. 6. Colorado is an outdoor lover’s dream and a perfect destination for a road trip. 26 Scenic & Historic Byways. It stretches for 48 miles, from Estes Park on the east side of the park to Grand Lake on the west. Colorado has plains in the east, mountains in the west, and several great places to enjoy the state’s natural splendor between. Don't miss these top sights in one of Colorado's most authentic modern cowboy towns on the way to Rocky Mountain National Park. Highway 24 West from Manitou Springs, Colorado to Minturn, Colorado is beautiful. Denver is the largest city in Colorado and is a perfect jumping off point for your adventures in the Rockies. Only drive the Million Dollar highway if you’re confident of your skill, feel alert, and aren’t facing snow or ice. My name is Kristen, and this is my outdoor blog. This lesser-known, but no less spectacular drive, will bring you through the remote Flat Tops Wilderness of northwestern Colorado, beginning in Yampa and traveling through the White River National Forest to Meeker. Next stops are Lyons, Estes Park and then Rocky Mountain National Park where wildlife and incredible hikes await. GyPSy Guide automatically plays interesting and entertaining commentary as you go, Estes Park Center on the park's east side or Snow Mountain Ranch on the west side, Hike to a waterfall, soak in hot springs, take an iconic selfie, and explore the riverside downtown while tubers float by, Fruita is incredible in the summer too – the key is getting wet, this national monument often falls off travelers' radar screens, Read more about our favorite Durango adventures and flavors, gorgeous lodge, two dozen hot spring pools and a spa await, where to approach the dunes for the best photos, Many of our favorite attractions are free, The top six things to do include enjoying a Rockies game, visiting the Denver Art Musuem, and seeing the zoo, Here's why Brighton is a stop worth making, See nearly 300 lions, tigers, grizzly bears, wolves.
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