After breakfast at your Glenwood Springs hotel, head back east on CO-82 towards Carbondale for about 20 minutes. Depending on your timing, drive along the South Rim Road and see as many over the overlooks as you can. Mexican food, steaks, hamburgers, and game meats are all consumed in copious amounts here and are among the finest in America. Telluride is tucked away in a valley south of the Sneffels Range. This is one of the lesser-visited national parks as it’s really off the beaten path, but it’s also super unique and worth the trip. Locations further west like Telluride will be discussed later. If it’s 2 am and you’ve been kicked out of the bars, there are several after-hours groups, like Nocturnal, that organize secret parties. This is an excellent offer(!) Telluride, Aspen, Vail. The Telluride Bluegrass Festival is the most popular, and I was able to catch Willie Nelson at the Blues and Brews Festival one year. A Rocky Mountain road trip can be perfectly catered to anything from a luxury trip to even a dirtbagging one. I recommend pizza at San Luis Valley pizza, pub food at the SLV brewery, or greasy Mexican (can’t miss the green chili) at Calvillos. There are also some fast food options and gas stations near the hotel. The wind shaped dunes glow beneath the rugged backdrop of the mountains. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. We’ve created a list of hotspots to visit for each location, feel free to check them out! Boulder has a thriving tech scene now, several world-class outdoor companies, and a sizeable population of residents who crave health, nature, and liberalism above all else. Head south until you reach Durango. © 2020 Pocket Outdoor Media Inc. All Rights Reserved, 5 Best Road Trips to Colorado National Parks and Monuments, Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve, Restaurants, Dining, Breweries, & Distilleries, Closest Airports, Trains and Buses to National Parks in Colorado, Stops on the Way to Colorado National Parks. If you’d rather not hike, stroll through the old mining town, stopping into shops and eateries as you go. The snow in the Rocky Mountains is some of the lightest and driest snow that you’ll find anywhere in the country and makes for ideal skiing conditions. If you’re able to go on a Colorado road trip with your own car or campervan, you’ll be able to travel through the state as you please, seeing and doing whatever you like within your own timeframe – sounds great, right? The pass is also home to all kinds of wildlife which can appear at any time like this moose and her baby! Since you’ve got so much time on your hands on this road trip, you’ll get to experience Colorado to it’s fullest. Colorado is getting more and more expensive every day due to increasing urban development and an influx of new residents. Enduro World Series (July/August) and Crested Butte Bike Week (June). Pikes Peak is the highest mountain in the Southern Front Range and is notable for the fact that you can drive your car to the very top of it! In 2019, Trail Ridge Road did not open until June, meaning many Memorial Day travelers to re-think their Colorado road trip itineraries. The park exhibits the massive grandeur of the Rocky Mountains. For plenty more inspiration on what to pack, check out my full backpacking packing list. On top of the natural beauty closing in on your car from all sides, you’ll come across ghost towns and historic sights like the Redstone Coke Ovens where you can stop to stretch your legs and take photos. Spring can be hit or miss in terms of snowmelt and roads being open. Stunning landscapes, culture and adobe villages await on this 2,121-mile trip starting in El Paso, Texas. The Hampton Inn in Montrose is a traveler-favorite. Rocky Mountain National Park is set in the heart of the Rocky Mountains. For this section, we’re just going to talk about the areas around Colorado Springs and south towards the New Mexico border. Afterwards, in the spirit of “When in Loveland,” my wife and I complete our romantic visit by hiking along the Devil’s Backbone to its famous keyhole (perfect for that Instagram selfie with your honey), then we head off to the Sweetheart Winery for a tasting, before riding off into the sunset at the sprawling Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch. I hate the cold. Free breakfast. From approximately A.D. 600 through A.D. 1300 people lived and flourished in communities throughout the area, eventually building elaborate stone villages in the sheltered alcoves of the canyon walls. James Ross is an author and freelancer who loves adventure – his escapades have just become a little less extreme with age. I have lived in Chicago, Seattle, Tucson and a few smaller Midwest towns. Depart from the grounds at a decent hour, follow leave no trace principles, and be very, very aware of fire bans. When your National Park visit is finished, drive 20-30 minutes to the town of Montrose. There are a few scenic byways along the top of the mesa that provide excellent views as well as access to lots campgrounds and trails. From Rocky Mountain National Park in the northern part of Colorado to Mesa Verde National Park in the southern portion of Colorado, this road trip has a lot to offer with mountain scenery, national forests, ancient dwellings and great sand dunes. The photo below was taken in Vail in April! At the very least, you won’t have Grand Canyon-esque crowds to deal with! Another add-on to this road trip itinerary is to swing through Utah and check out all the cool things to do in Moab. If you can handle the (sometimes extreme) cold in the winter and the aridity, then you can visit Colorado any time of the year and love it no matter what. This Colorado Road Trip Travel Guide covers everything you need to know about visiting the state by car or campervan. I drove through here on my big Career break road trip in 2017 and was able to come back for a few days last year. The best bar districts are RiNo, Highlands, Downtown, Broadway Street, and, to a lesser extent, Capitol Hill and Colfax Avenue. More than seventy percent of the county’s area is held in the public trust as free open lands. In the winter, Aspen is full of the rich and famous, regardless if they can actually ski or not, which makes the town feel like a Hollywood of sorts in the mountains. Subscribe to be notified of each new post. Tours of the cliff dwellings are generally held between April and October, but check dates and times for your visit. You’ll want more time in the park for additional tours in the morning before continuing your Colorado road trip, so this is a short driving day to the ski resort town of Telluride. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered. Of course, you could spend countless days exploring all Colorado has to offer and still leave hoping for a return visit. But, the trails beyond the falls lure us up the valley and then up the mountain for beautiful vistas on the East Inlet Trail. The self-inflating sleeping mats, like the Thermarest Prolite, are my favorite, though people often settle for the foam ones. Depending on which route you take, you’ll have the chance to see Mesa Verde, the Black Canyon of the Gunnison, and the astounding San Juan Mountain Range. One of the main highlights of the park and the Estes Park area is the abundance of wildlife. Interior is old-West in design. 1. Amtrak Cascades: A Business Class Experience with a First Class View. Once deemed “undesirable,” they are now two of the most popular areas in Denver. Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. If you can’t get into the park lodging, the nearest town is Cortez, where there are tons of hotels and campgrounds to choose from. Estes Park is one of the most charming mountain towns in Colorado and is very close to Rocky Mountain National Park. It has a small, old-time downtown area with shops and restaurants. These people lived and worked along these cliffs before disappearing around the year 1300. This Colorado itinerary is one for those who want to experience Colorado primarily from the seat of their car, this road trip is the best. AR bottle are tough, lightweight and maintain the temperature of your beverage – no matter where you are. A lot of campgrounds, especially those at the national parks, can fill up very quickly. Don’t buy one-use water bottles, the plastic ends up in a landfill or in the ocean. The Aspen Highlands Visitor Center has parking and buses that take you the 8 miles to the natural wilderness area. Not only is it a great spot to get out of the car to walk and do a short hike, but the landscape is also gorgeous in summer when all the wildflowers are in bloom and in Fall when the leaves turn. They’ll come in handy for others planning this road trip. I like the MSR Pocketrocket because it’s affordable, reliable, and very convenient. Fort Collins is a very laid back place and much more authentic than Boulder. Dining and lodging, in particular, will be the greatest expenses for anyone living in or visiting Colorado. If you can, stay at the Glenwood Hot Springs Resort for easy access to the springs during your stay. We play cowpokes for the day with the resort’s working cattle ranch program. Even if you only end up using it once, a decent head torch could save your life. Start the morning at Pike’s Peak, nicknamed American’s Mountain, reaching up over 14k feet! You can climb the Great Sand Dunes or explore Mesa Verde during the day. Long’s Peak is the highest mountain in Northern Colorado and one of the most popular 14ers in the state. If you’re looking for a more luxurious ski resort, consider Vail. If you don’t live near Colorado, you’ll need to fly into the region. Durango, Colorado in the State’s southwest corner offers the best of the American Southwest, complete with its historic steam train and downtown saloon. Headtorch: I would never travel without a headtorch. Not picked the perfect travel backpack yet? You should check ahead of time regarding potential road closures and/or construction. After spending the morning in Telluride, opt for a grab and go lunch if you finished hiking and haven’t eaten since breakfast. Learn how your comment data is processed. For the ones that are not into hard and physical adventures, check out the Estes Park Aerial Tram. These are mountains of the imagination.
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