Best Road Trips: From Denver Pt. 1
Settled in the heart of the Rocky Mountain range, Denver is surrounded by countless options for gorgeous and scenic road trips. Although the options are nearly endless, I’ve narrowed it down to a number of spots that are within a few hours of Denver and provide stunning views with plenty to do.
Stunning and picturesque, Telluride is about a six-hour drive from Denver and a great weekend destination. Enjoy the views as you traverse from the Foothills just outside of Denver, through the winding roads of the Rockies, and the beauty of the Western slope before settling into the heart of the mountains. The view from downtown Telluride appears as if it is directly out of painting, blending the charm of an old mining town with the prestige of a world-class ski resort. If skiing or snowboarding isn’t of interest, enjoy the breathtaking landscape by snow biking, ice skating, snowmobiling, or even dog sledding. If you find yourself in a town outside of the winter, try one of the many hikes or golf courses in the area or scratch your adventurous itch with off-roading on ATVs, horseback riding, or fly fishing. No matter when you visit, be sure to stroll through the intriguing shops and restaurants in town and look into other year-round offerings such as nearby hot springs and gondola rides to take in the views.
Similar to Telluride, Aspen is a lovely ski resort town settled in the heart of the Rockies but is closer to Denver, only requiring about three and a half hours of driving. In addition to offering many similar experiences and views to other mountain towns, Aspen sets itself apart with the Maroon Bells (a series of distinctively bell-shaped, wine-colored peaks towering 14,000 ft. above elevation) and has hosted the X Games for the last twenty years, bringing elite athletes and spectators to town from around the world.
If you’re looking to venture out of Colorado, there are a number of places worth checking out that don’t require a cross-country drive. One of these nearby destinations is Moab, situated just on the other side of the Colorado-Utah border in the Beehive State. Just over five hours from Denver, Moab is the gateway to Utah’s beauty and is highlighted by Arches and Canyonlands National Parks offering some of the best of red rock landscapes in the world. With the Colorado River passing through and the quaintness of its downtown, Moab is a premier destination for anyone looking to escape the city for a weekend.
Black Hills, SD
Many travelers tend to venture west from Denver but don’t forget about the beautiful north of the Centennial State. Less than six hours from Denver, the Black Hills, and Badlands in western South Dakota combine stunning landscapes with a rich history. Highlighted by Mount Rushmore National Memorial, this region showcases diverse wildlife and mystical landscapes featuring buttes and spires, unlike anything you’ve seen before. Explore caverns and caves, unearth prehistoric fossils, or ride your motorcycle just up the road for the annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.
This abbreviated list only showcases a handful of the incredible views and experiences at your fingertips if you’re looking to venture out from Denver for a long weekend or road trip with your favorite travel buddies.