Top of the Rockies – 115 miles
You’ll cross three mountain passes, fall into four watersheds and glimpse Colorado’s tallest peaks, along with the headwaters associated with Arkansas River. So good for a day’s drive.
Historical Leadville, the greatest included city in the usa, is the hub for this drive, which are often done in two stages. After a wander through nationwide Historic District and a stop on Burrito Bus, and you'll discover genuine Mexican food for an alteration, head north from city on Hwy 91 over Fremont Pass before fulfilling up with I-70 western of Frisco.
Make the Interstate past Vail to Hwy 24, in which if you time it right you can have a walk through a very good farmers market in downtown Minturn, drive through little Red Cliff, as well as perhaps acquire some stellar mountain climbing in at Camp Hale, before swerving up-and-over Tennessee Pass where Mt large looms supreme while you drive south through Leadville.
More south, Mt Elbert dominates the horizon. Hang the right on Hwy 82 and head as much as Twin Lakes, a historical mining town with a few damages in the pond coast, three inns, spectacular hill and pond views and countless movie stars. Bed down right here or drive up-and-over Independence Pass and into Aspen.
Take a detour: Trailheads to Mt Ebert can be available with this course. Image by Greg Willis / CC BY-SA 2.0
Independence Pass – 27 miles
If you don’t have time to drive the whole the surface of the Rockies course, this stretch of Hwy 82 from Twin Lakes through Aspen’s right back gate can do fine. Twin Lakes is a worthy location in its own right. This ‘town’ (and also to call it a town is a little of a stretch) begun life as a mining camp fed by steady stagecoach outlines plying the trail between Leadville and Aspen. You’ll see plenty of old mining ruins.
Although the pass is closed-in the winter time, you ought to be capable of getting as much as the vast Twin Lakes, where the cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and ice-skating is magnificent. And if the pass is open, drive up a narrow ribbon of road above tree range where in actuality the views are cinematic and dazzling – swatches of glacier tend to be visible across the ridges of Twin Peaks. And tundra blooms near the top of the pass, in which at 12, 095ft you’ll be regarding the edge of the Continental Divide. This, buddies, is the own IMAX movie.
As Hwy 82 goes on on the pass the views basically as marvelous, and multimillion-dollar properties (one of them belongs to Kevin Costner) start to dot the landscape as you edge toward Aspen. When you have time, there’s a terrific path on Interlaken, a vintage abandoned resort stylish when you look at the 1890s. The trail will leave through the lower regarding the Twin Lakes.
Trail Ridge Rd – 47 miles
The trademark drive in Rocky hill nationwide Park, Trail Ridge Rd (US 34) across Continental Divide was as soon as a highway of an alternate type – a trade path employed by generations of Ute, Arapaho and Apache visitors to traverse Milner Pass. Obviously, even 19th century seems contemporary considering that archaeological evidence gathered here implies that humans have-been traversing this pass for 6000 years.
Initially surveyed in 1927 and not finished until 1932, Trail Ridge Rd opens up in late might and it is closed at Many Parks Curve on east part by mid-October. This is basically the highest continually paved through road in North America, so anticipate extravagant views.
Regarding the drive from Estes Park to Grand Lake, you’ll see snowcapped peaks, meandering channels, high-country meadows dotted with wildflowers in midsummer, and, with fortune, some wildlife too. It’s a well-traveled course, so consider including a backcountry hike on the way. You’re almost certainly going to see dramatic snowy views in-may, whenever pass very first opens up.
on the way off Estes Park, stop by the Stanley Hotel, the building that inspired Stephen King's The Shining. Picture by Frank Kovalchek / CC with 2.0
Peak to Peak Hwy – 55 miles
The secret of driving the Peak to Peak Hwy – among Colorado’s many scenic drives and a fantastic option for the travel between Rocky hill nationwide Park and Denver – depends mostly from the time of year you hit the roadway. During the summer wind the windows down and watch huge cumulus clouds rolling lazily within the green and granite peaks. In fall, the aspens put the hills afire with a show of gold, lime and red, while winter months brings a stark landscape and pristine white-snow plains.
Stretching some 40 miles between Nederland and Estes Park, this north–south route goes past a series of breath-taking mountains, including the 14, 255ft Longs Peak, alpine valleys and available meadows, driving a number of one-horse cities along the way. These generally include Ward, a former growth city and bohemian magnet who has settled into an artfully ramshackle state of disrepair; calm Valley, notable for its small onion-domed church perched on a hillside; and several other small towns with expansive hill vistas.
The snowy face of Longs Peak, Colorado. Image by David Parsons / Getty
In the southern end regarding the journey, the Peak to Peak Hwy starts from Nederland, with a couple of great dining options. Although most of the route – every little thing north of Allenspark – follows Hwy 7, at Nederland it uses Hwy 72.
Highway of Legends – 110 kilometers
This brief but epic detour liberates you from the Interstate and escorts you through several of Colorado’s most glorious country while you go north toward Pueblo, Colorado Springs or Denver on I-25.
Your travel starts in Trinidad, in which present-day Main St was as soon as a significant limb of the Santa Fe Trail. The Trinidad background Museum offers a primer, although you are in the city fall into Danielson Dry merchandise for some road sustenance. Coal mining has also been an essential part of Trinidad’s record. You’ll see a ‘canary within the coal mine’ statue on Main St, which can be in which Mother Jones once marched with miners throughout the hit that resulted in the Ludlow Massacre, a turning point in US labor relations.