Summer is the perfect time to set out on a Colorado adventure. Get the most out your summer travels around the Centennial State by including these mountain towns on your road trip.
1. Start Your Journey in Colorado Springs
This mountain “city” is a great place to start your mountain town road trip experience.
If adventure is what you’re after, that’s exactly what you’ll find in Colorado Springs – home to premier destinations like Pikes Peak, Seven Falls, Garden of the Gods, and Red Rock Canyon Open Space. Adventure-goers can enjoy a variety of outdoor activities including hiking, trail running, rock climbing, mountain biking, photography, and much more.
2. Head to Manitou Springs
Just down the road from Colorado Springs, you’ll find there’s so much to do and see in the quirky little mountain town of Manitou Springs. Climb 2,744 steps up the Manitou Incline, hike Barr Trail to reach the breathtaking summit of Pikes Peak, go spring water tasting, or better yet, tap into the local craft beer scene at Manitou Brewing Company. You can also start or end your day at SunWater Spa with a relaxing soak in the mineral-filled water.
3. Fill Your Heart with Adventure in Buena Vista
Take in the local mountain town vibes in Buena Vista, Colorado. Nestled along the Arkansas River, this charming destination is ideal for those who enjoy hiking, mountain biking, whitewater rafting, rock climbing, trail running, fly-fishing, and kayaking. Grab some grub downtown after a lengthy hike. You’ll also find several hot springs in the area.
4. Next Stop, Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve
Have yourself a sandy adventure at the Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve. To get the full experience at this beautiful desert and mountain oasis, climb your way to the top of the tallest dune at Star Dune and sled down for an immediate rush of adrenaline. If you’d like to check out a nearby mountain town, Alamosa is a great one.
5. Add Durango to Your Itinerary
Durango is a hub for outdoorsy folks. Venture off the beaten path and soak in the beauty of nature at some of the best hiking trails the Centennial State has to offer including Ice Lakes, Engineer Mountain, and The Colorado Trail. You’ll be sure to satisfy your wanderlust at this vibrant and uniquely charming Colorado mountain town.
6. Spend the Day in Telluride
When it comes to adventure, you’ll find it in all shapes and sizes in Telluride – one of the most colorful mountain towns in Colorado. Discover stunning sights and attractions including Last Dollar Road, Bear Creek Falls, Black Bear Pass, and Town Park.
7. Enjoy Non-Stop Adventures in Ouray
No matter what time of the year you decide to visit, there is no limit to adventure in Ouray. The possibilities are seemingly endless – from ice climbing at Ouray Ice Park to 14er climbing at Mount Sneffels and off-roading expeditions at Imogene Pass Road, you’ll find year-round opportunities to experience the vast and beautiful landscape of Colorado.
8. Find Awe in Crested Butte
Head North on US-550 to get to Crested Butte. This postcard perfect mountain town will surely take your breath away. Fall visitors can drive up Kebler Pass for a spectacular display of autumn colors. For summer travelers, enjoy endless adventure opportunities including wildflower hikes, alpine lake wonders, and stunning mountain vistas. Skiing is another great way to enjoy spending time in the mountains in Crested Butte.
9. Discover Natural Wonders in Aspen
Fuel your wanderlust at some of the most beautiful places in and around the Aspen area. Explore the stunning Maroon Bells, soak at 11,200 feet in the Conundrum Hot Springs, and take a scenic drive through Independence Pass. There are also four ski areas in Aspen for all the powder-hungry skiers and snowboarders out there.
10. Escape Off the Beaten Path to Rocky Mountain National Park
Take to the trails in Rocky Mountain National Park for unforgettable views. Wildflowers, jagged peaks, reflective lake waters, and Colorado wildlife are all part of the experience. Top hiking trails to explore include the following scenic wonders: Emerald Lake, Bear Lake, Dream Lake, Chasm Lake, Hallett Peak, Longs Peak, and Sky Pond.
Get a taste of urban adventure in the Mile High City of Denver. End your travels by touring the city exploring gourmet restaurants, craft breweries, and a variety of unique coffee shops and boutiques. Beyond the city, you’ll find several adventurous hiking trails including St. Mary’s Glacier, Devil’s Head Fire Lookout, and Colorado 14ers – Grays and Torreys Peak.
Over the course of this road trip, you’ll travel nearly 1,000 miles across the beautiful state of Colorado. Estimated travel time on the road ranges anywhere from 20 to 25 hours. Here’s a look at the full road trip, which is basically a loop with an extra two hours of driving through Denver and then to Colorado Springs.