Having lived in Colorado for basically my entire life, you’d think a Colorado guide would have been my very first blog post! Better late than never I guess! This post highlights the ultimate road trip from Denver to Utah and the many places to stop along the way.
There are so many incredible places in Colorado I want to share with you guys so I couldn’t fit them all into one post, but look out for those in the near future!
-Be aware of altitude sickness while in Colorado! Denver is at 5,280 ft and as you go through the mountains you’ll gain over 4,000 feet in elevation. Drink a ton of water, sleep and take it easy the first few days when it comes to physical activities and drinking alcohol.
-Be sure to double check each of these places for their Covid updates and to ensure they are open before you go!
Alright lets get into the ultimate road trip from Denver to Utah!
FIRST STOP: DENVER
Denver is very centrally located in Colorado and the gateway to anywhere you might want to go. I suggest staying 2-3 days here and check out some of these spots…
Union Station: You can take a train from Denver International Airport right into the heart of Denver. From here this area has a ton of bars, restaurants and shops to explore. Plus, Union Station is just a cool and iconic Denver spot!
16th St. Mall: This outdoor mall is right next to Union Station and has a ton of delicious bars, restaurants and places to shop!
Rockies Game: If you visit Denver during baseball season, be sure to see a rockies game. You can get “rock pile” tickets for as cheap as $4. Check out my post on Denvers best bars and restaurants and check the “LoDo” section for where to grab a bite before or after the game!
Denver Zoo: Always a fun activity and our zoo is great!
Denver Museum of Nature and Science: I personally think this museum is awesome and is always bringing in new exhibits. Check their website for the latest!
Walk around RiNo Art District: One of the coolest areas in Denver, RiNo has thousands of murals all over the city. Take a stroll and you’ll find some amazing artwork. This area is also known for its breweries. Check out Bluemoon, First Draft and Infinite Monkey Theorem!
The Highlands: Another one of my favorite areas in Denver, especially for dinner and drinks. I find it to be the area that has the best food in Denver! A few of my favorite spots are Postino(Italian), Uncle(ramen), Williams and Graham(speakeasy), Avanti (bar) and Little Man Ice Cream. (If you go to little man, expect to wait in line for a while!)
Larimar Square: Larimar square is known for its signature canopy lights that hang over the main street. You can find amazing shops, dining and bars in this area. It’s one of my favorite spots for a date night in Denver!
Red Rocks: Only about 30 minutes from Downtown is the iconic Red Rocks Amphitheater. The theater hosts live concerts, drive-in movies, yoga, and other exercise classes while the surrounding area is great for hiking!
See a show: From magic shows in the clock tower, concerts at the Bluebird or musicals at the Denver Center for Performing Arts, there’s something for everyone. And you all know I’m obsessed with live entertainment!
DAY TRIP TO BOULDER
The next stop on your road trip from Denver is to the city of Boulder. It’s only about 35 minutes from Downtown, so I suggest taking a day trip and fitting both of these activities in..
Pearl Street: This cute street is one of the most popular spots to check out when you’re in Boulder. You can find great restaurants, bars, and shops. They also have street performers throughout the week! Some of my favorite places for food are Illegal petes (burritos), Sforna Trattoria Romana (Italian), Wonder (coffee/ juice), West End Tavern, Mountain Sun (Pub/ Brewery, cash only).
Hiking: Chautauqua Park is the most well-known area for hikes in Boulder, and for good reason. They are so beautiful and I totally recommend them, just go early if you want to avoid a ton of people. The Royal Arch Trail is definitely the most popular, so I suggest the first and second flatiron loop. You’ll get to watch rock climbers free solo up the flatirons! (pls don’t attempt unless you know what you are doing.) Nearby is one of my favorite hikes, the NCAR trail head.
Looking for more hikes in Boulder? Check out All Trails
THIRD STOP ON YOUR ROAD TRIP FROM DENVER: GOLDEN
Alrighty, so after a few days in Denver and a trip to Boulder it’s time to head west towards the mountains! The first stop is Golden, a city at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains.This town is often overlooked but I think it’s a must on your roadtrip from Denver. I suggest spending a full day here!
Float the river: For $20 you can rent a tube for the day and float clear creek river. You can also kayak and canoe at certain times of the year.
Walk Main St: You can find galleries, shops, pubs, breweries, distilleries, cafes and so much more in the downtown Golden area!
Coors Brewery Tour: Maybe not the best beer in the world, but I always love a good brewery or distillery tour!
FOURTH STOP: BRECKENRIDGE
About an hour and a half from Golden is the town of Breckenridge. This cute little mountain town is a must see on your road trip from Denver. You could spend a whole week here just enjoying its beauty, but I suggest 1 or 2 days. Here are some of my favorite things to do…
Visit Main Street: Currently, due to COVID they have closed down the street to allow for outdoor dining! Check out the many cute shops along the way or grab a bite to eat. One of my favorite things to do is grab a bottle of wine at Ridge Street Wine then head next door to Breckenridge Cheese and Chocolate and have a picnic down by the river!
Mnt Axe Throwing: Okay so I’ve never personally been here, but have always wanted to give axe throwing a try. If you go, let me know how it is!
Bike from Breckenridge to Frisco: This is a pretty easy 20 mile ride out and back to the neighboring town of Frisco. We opted for e-bikes to make the ride back a bit easier.
Alpine Slide: Take the gondola up to the alpine slide and ride back down!
For some great happy hours: Check out Blue River Bistro for a late night happy hour from 9-12 and an extensive martini menu. Head to Cecilia’s Cocktail Bar and Nightclub for 2 for 1 martinis until 9m everyday!
FIFTH STOP ON YOUR ROAD TRIP FROM DENVER: VAIL
Only an hour from Breckenridge is the famous town of Vail. My favorite place in probably all of Colorado? I’m working on a full guide to Vail because there is so much to do, but here are some of my favorite activities…
Tubing the Colorado River: My favorite summer activity is tubing! Turtle Tubing offers large tubes for up to 4 people and you can tie them together if needed! (Be sure to bring your own rope just incase, last time we went they ran out.)
Horse Back Riding: We used to go to 4 Eagle Ranch every summer for some really relaxed horse back riding, it’s great for beginners!
Piney River Ranch: One of the most stunning spots off the beaten path in Vail, and I really mean that… make sure you have a car that can handle gravel roads! The last few miles are a bit rough and can totally ruin a car if you aren’t prepared! But! If you can go it’s seriously one of the most stunning spots. Take a hike, horseback ride, grab lunch, shop, it’s all available at Piney River Ranch!
Take a Gondola Ride: The gondola from Lionshead Village is the best in my opinion. It’s the perfect spot to watch the sunset!
SIXTH STOP: GLENWOOD SPRINGS
Glenwood is another 1.5 from Vail and a great spot to stop for a day trip. Not to mention, the ride through Glenwood Canyon is stunning!
Hot Springs: There are a couple of hot springs to check out in Glenwood. Glenwood Hot Springs is the most popular and I find the most packed, so I often opt for Iron Mountain Hot Springs. There are 16 pools at varying temperatures and amazing views over the Colorado River!
Hanging Lake Hike: One of the most stunning hikes in Colorado is Hanging Lake. It’s a short 1.2 mile hike, but quite steep. The end makes it totally worth it. While you can’t swim in the bottom pool, there is a large waterfall and swimming area at the higher level.
LAST STOP ON YOUR ROAD TRIP FROM DENVER: GRAND JUNCTION / PALISADE
A road trip from Denver wouldn’t be complete without a stop in Palisade, the wine country of Colorado. Only an hour and a half from Glenwood Springs, I suggest spending one day in Palisade and one in Grand Junction.
Wineries: I lay out the best wineries and how to get around Palisade in this post! There was just too much info for one paragraph!
Colorado National Monument: Take a hike or drive along Rim Rock Drive for equally amazing views of the valley!
After Grand Junction you are only another hour and a half to Arches National Park! Continue your road-trip through one of my favorite states, Utah!
I hope this guide gives you a big idea of what to expect on your road trip from Denver! I can’t wait to share more about this amazing state so check back for more Colorado blog posts up soon!
Don’t hesitate to drop any questions below or head over to Instagram and shoot me a DM!
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