Take a drive west on I-70 from Denver and you are soon engulfed by the beautiful Rocky Mountains. Along the way you start to pass quaint towns, and signs that points toward different trails, lakes, and campgrounds. It makes you stop for a second and take in the beauty of it all. In fact, it’s so beautiful you can hardly believe that you’re still in the States. It reminds me more of fun, gorgeous, and adventurous Switzerland. It’s amazing to know there’s a place so close that can provide the same amount of beauty and adventure!
I’ve been to Colorado once before and it’s still one of the best trips I’ve been on. So when an $89 roundtrip flight deal popped up, some girlfriends and I decided it was too good of a deal to pass up!
With just three days, we knew we had to make the most of our time there, which was difficult because there was way too much we wanted to do and it seemed impossible to choose! After reading what seemed like a million blog posts on Colorado, my brain was bursting with ideas! I tried looking for something on a weekend road trip through the state but I found nothing. So, that’s the purpose of this post! I hope this blog helps all my nomads, everything is within a couple of hours of each other, easy to accomplish and perfect for those with an adventurous spirit!
Check out our itinerary of the perfect Colorado weekend road trip below:
Our trip started off when we landed at Denver International, picked up our rental car, and drove an hour and a half into the mountains to where we were staying.
…in Silverthorne, a cute town snuggled in the Rockies. Silverthorne is located off the Dillon Reservoir and right next to neighboring towns of Frisco, Breckenridge, Keystone and is only 30 minutes from Vail! It is a great place to stay if you are a skier but also a great base for exploring the surrounding areas during the warmer months.
We started the day off by:
…fueling up at a cute little mom and pop breakfast joint called Mountain Lyon Cafe. We then did what every traveler should do, we asked some locals about good hiking trails around us to get some ideas of places maybe we didn’t find when doing pre-trip research.
For our first hike:
Located right next to Frisco off I-70 is Meadow Creek Trail, which takes you to Lily Pad Lake. Around 3 miles there and back, the distance itself isn’t bad but the altitude change was a little challenging on three pairs of lungs used to living at sea level. BUT, the views you get while on the hike are magical and WELL worth it.
The hike took us 4 hours, but don’t be alarmed! We stopped A LOT for pictures as well as to take the drone up for some aerial shots. Also, picture’s are the perfect excuse to take a breather (just f.y.i.)!
After, we were exhausted, so we went back to our hotel! BUT, if you’re in better shape than us and still have energy, I recommend exploring some of the neighboring towns, or go to Vail for a nice dinner out!
On our second day:
…we decided to take a trip to Aspen and do some more hiking around the area.
Silverthorne is located 2 hours away from Aspen by car. While a little far away, the drive there and back was incredible. Fair warning though: If you are afraid of heights, I would stay away since parts of the drive entail driving up and down mountain roads with and without railings on the side. But with that comes even more beautiful panoramic views. In any case, just make sure someone with a strong stomach is driving!!
On the drive there:
…(or back) I recommend stopping at some of the lookout points along the highways. On 91, you pass the Clinton Gulch Dam Reservoir which is a massive lake with Copper Mountain in the background with a trail going around the whole lake (2.4 miles). Just look below at the picture I got with my drone that perfectly describes this place:
If you have the time:
Leadville is the cutest town in the middle of nowhere with an interesting history. We didn’t get a chance to stop there, but it is a good place to stop for a bite to eat before heading on to Aspen.
Another lookout point worth stopping at:
Independence pass. The views here are incredible and go on as far as the eye can see! (see below)
We went hiking:
…about 10 or so miles east on 82, at Wellers Lake Trail. The hike is an easy 1 mile trail there and back with a pretty lake at the end (because what is a hike without a lake?!). This is definitely perfect for those not used to hiking because there is not big elevation change. The lake is very picturesque and a great photo op for you and your friends. It’s also fun to explore and make the hike suit what you want! We went and climbed along the rocks to get to the other side of the lake, that you can see from this picture!
…we made it to Aspen. We stayed for a few hours, wandering around and of course…eating. I love Aspen (and Colorado in general) because of the laid back atmosphere and a friendly smile you see on every locals face. You can take the gonadala to the top of the mountain, wine and dine at one of the 80 restuaranrts in Aspen or rent a bike and take a ride on one of Aspens trails.The options are endless.
On the way back from Aspen, we stopped at:
Twin Lakes for one more lookout spot of the day. We got lucky and had a place all to ourselves which allowed me to get some awesome drone shots:
Unfortunately, our last day meant heading out of the mountains (I became attached). But that also meant heading to Denver!!!
But first we spent the morning:
…in the town over from Silverthorne, Breckenridge. I recommend staying here if you love to ski and you love adventure right outside your doorstep! The town is your typical mountain town with its quaint little buildings that ooze charm and character. We fueled up for the day at the Gold Pan, a deliciously good and hearty breakfast place! After, take a little time to walk around the town, maybe even buy a Colorado T-shirt as a nice memory of your trip! We got lucky and there was an Oktoberfest celebration that we were able to walk around and explore (and get an amazing pretzel).
…down the mountain we went. We got off the highway about 30 mintues from Denver to go to Lookout mountain with even more pretty views…shocker.
Sadly we had half a day in Denver so not much was done. We were staying right next to 16th Street Mall, where all the restaurants and shops were, so, we just headed there for dinner and drinks. Denver is known for its craft breweries, so we got to drink some amazing beers and soak up our few hours in Denver! It was the perfect ending to the our spontaneous weekend getaway!
And that is it folks, a 3 day road trip in Colorado that gives you a taste of mountain life and a little bite of the city. Colorado was amazing, once again, and I already can’t wait to go back for even longer to explore more parts of this beautiful state!
Love this Post? Pin for later!! ♥
Got any secret Colorado locations you would like to share? Post them down below in the comment section and keep on dreaming my nomads!