Front Range weekend warriors dread the I-70 traffic. It’s a Friday afternoon, all you want to do is get into the mountains, and you find yourself stuck for hours. Or even worse, it’s Sunday night, you’re exhausted from your adventures, and you’re idling within 30 miles of Denver while trying to ignore your email-laden phone. Instead of stressing, turn your westbound I-70 nightmare into a Colorado road trip adventure by stopping at these noteworthy sites along the way!
1. Buffalo Overlook at Genesee Mountain Park
This 2,413 acre mountain park, the largest in Denver’s parks system, was acquired by the city in 1912 and was home to the first reestablished herds of bison and elk in the state. As you drive on I-70, take Exit 254 to the Buffalo Overlook to watch the grazing bison herd as you’re making your initial ascent into the mountains from the Denver metro area.
RELATED: Those Aren’t Buffalo, They’re Bison!
2. Lake Dillon Disc Golf Course
Stretch your legs (and arms!) on this gorgeous Summit County course off of Exit 205. The eighteen holes were completed in 2014, and it has since become a destination for those golfers looking for a challenge. Hole number eight has become the signature hole for its dramatic tee box that sits on a bluff about 100 feet above the fairway. Watch for tricky Lake Dillon wind as you take on this hilly and technical course!
3. Country Boy Mine
Colorado mining history comes alive at this more than 100-year-old gold mine in Breckenridge off of Exit 203. The whole family will enjoy a guided 45-minute mine tour, panning for gold, and sliding down the 55-foot ore chute!
RELATED: Colorado’s Deepest Gold Mine Tour!
4. Colorado Ski & Snowboard Hall of Fame and Museum
Exhibits such as the legacy of the 10th Mountain Division, the National Ski Patrol, and the evolution of ski design fill the six themed galleries of this Vail establishment. Hall of Fame inductees include industry visionaries like Bob Gart, (founder of Gart Bros. Sports) who is credited with bringing affordable gear to the masses and professional athletes like US Nordic combined athlete and six-time Olympian Todd Lodwick. Head into Vail’s town center off of Exit 176 to engage with 150 years of snow sports history in this iconic Colorado town.
5. Hanging Lake
Hidden above the dramatic Glenwood Canyon is one of the most fascinating and beautiful sites in the Centennial State. Be prepared for a steep one-mile hike along Dead Horse Creek to turquoise pools, hanging vegetation, and multiple waterfalls. Enjoy lunch and learn about Rocky Mountain geological history at the well-equipped visitor’s center off of Exit 125.
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6. Glenwood Hot Springs
Just on the other side of Glenwood Canyon is Glenwood Springs Hot Springs, a naturally spring-fed pool with water slides, lap lanes, and diving boards on the site of a bathhouse originally built in 1888. This warm water sanctuary off of Exit 116 is a perfect stopover in all seasons.
RELATED: The 7 Best Hot Springs in Colorado
7. Colorado National Monument
You’ve finally made it to the Western Slope, over 250 miles from the crowded Denver thoroughfares. On the edge of Fruita off of Exit 37 is this national park that has been dubbed, “The Heart of the World”. Towering red rock canyon walls define the desert geography of the park along with monolithic rock formations. Look for big horned sheep and eagles!