Quick Colorado Road Trip
Let's get right to the point and say fly into Denver and leave straightaway if you're not keen on seeing the city.
If you do want to see the city, check out Elitch's and/or any one of the good museums the mile high city has to offer. Catch a Broncos game if it's the season.
After you leave, which direction you go will entirely define you're trip. Especially if you're only spending a few days on this leg like we are.
You have Colorado Springs to the south, I-70 to the west will take you to Aspen, Vail, Steamboat, Glenwood, etc. By taking the interstate, you'll be getting the express tour. If you want to take the more scenic route, head out of Denver toward Gunnison/Crested Butte. They call Crested Butte the last great Colorado Ski Town for good reason. Although changing rapidly, Crested Butte Mountain Resort is relatively unknown to the rich tourist hoards and therefore tends to be a nice escape for everyone... unless you're trying to escape from heaps of Texans. In the winter, the skiing is bar none. In the summer, the area is filled with wildflowers and, when it's not raining, the Gunnison Valley is a perfect jumping off spot for rafting, hiking, biking, skiing, fishing, and climbing the infamous 14'ers. Gunnison is also home to Blue Mesa Resevoir. The largest lake in CO with over 99 miles of shoreline.
From Gunnison, you could take the road straight to Grand Junction, assuming you're headed to Utah like we were. But we opted for the better and not much longer southern route through Telluride. Nestled in the heart of the Rockies, this mountain mining town is said to be named after "to hell you ride" being slurred by drunken miners. There are some fantastic views to be seen, and again, great skiing in winter. NOBODY beats Colorado powder.
There are numerous hot springs in the area as well. Ouray/Orvis are good bets near Telluride... then there's Joyful Journey on the eastern slope outside of Salida that provides great views and healing waters.
After Telluride, head out toward Norwood for the Utah border. Along the way, the scenery will progressively change in stunning fashion. Gas up in Nukla before emerging in Utah at Lasal Junction. This will take you north to Moab where we recommend finding a spot along the Colorado River to camp. You can check out our dope spot here and stay tuned for the posts about Moab and the rest of Utah soon.
The Colorado/Utah Border