My Colorado road trip was nothing short of completely unforgettable. Beautiful alpine peaks, sunshine, hiking and biking trails, buzzing cities and more scenic drives than you can think of — I knew before I even set off on my travels that I was in for a treat.
Colorado Road Trip
My Colorado road trip adventure started and ended in the exciting and energetic hub of Denver. Known as the Mile High City, I couldn’t wait to explore and soak up the beaming sunshine of course.
Denver, The Mile High City
First stop, Denver. On my first day, we spent some time in the beautifully urban neighbourhood of Union Station. In 2010-2014, the city underwent an entire transformation and now hosts an amazing array of new restaurants and hotels as well as amazingly quick and easy transport links. This place looks so modern it’s almost surreal to encounter but definitely worth the visit.
As some of you might not know, Denver is actually a very green city. In many neighbourhoods, sustainability is at the forefront of their efforts. Dedicated to sustainable practices such as energy and environmental management, you’ll find many green buildings and initiatives in place. It is quite admirable!
That takes me to the incredible way that we got to see the city, via the Urban Denver City eTuk Tour. The tuk tuk is 100% electric so no impact on the environment! It takes approximately two and a half hours but is honestly amazing as you get to see all of the hidden gems of the city. The tour guides are so knowledgeable that I left the tour feeling like I knew the ins and outs of the city already.
Famed for its spirit of creativity, the tuk tuk tour took us to RiNo’s (River North Art District) signature graffiti street art area. Even if you’re not that interested in graffiti and street art, the murals and art that you see here are so striking that they’re definitely a must-see. The aim of this district was to revitalize the historic warehouses and factories that already exist rather than tearing them down and building something else. I found something quite beautiful and refreshing in that!
On our tuk tuk tour we passed by “I See What You Mean” AKA the giant blue bear sculpture peeking into the Denver Convention Center’s lobby. I am a big fan of public art, and this is definitely an iconic piece not to miss.
Where we Ate – Denver
Some suggestions for Denver dining, which I really enjoyed are listed below. For my vegan/gluten free followers, I would highly recommend City O’ City which is just a few blocks away from the ART where I stayed.
Avelina – 1550 17th Street, Denver
City, O’ City – 206 East 13th Avenue, Denver
Work & Class – 2500 Larimer, Suite 101, Denver
Infinite Monkey Theorem – 3200 Larimer Street, Denver
Where we Stayed – Denver
Our road trip started and ended in the Mile High City. On the front end of the road trip we checked into the seriously stylish Le Meridien Denver Downtown with wondrous views of the famed Rocky Mountains.
The entire hotel has a contemporary feel and creatively designed interiors around every corner. The main lobby is absolutely stunning, offering views of the city’s skyline that are simply to die for.
As the end of our Colorado road trip, we stayed at the ART. The Art is a luxury boutique hotel in the Denver Cultural District with the Denver Art Museum a 5 minute walk away. The moment you walk in, you are welcomed by Leo Villareal’s undulating and never-repeating art installation created from 22,000 LED lights.
It truly is an ARTful experience with works of art gracing two galleries, spilling into the hallways and adorning every guest room. These colourful pieces are here are by Odili Donald Odita.
Whilst Colorado’s cities are quite spectacular, it was Colorado’s natural beauty that really enticed me before I set off on this Colorado road trip. With its breathtaking mountainous and alpine scenery as well as scenic alpine forests, I couldn’t wait to tick more Colorado locations off my list.
Estes Park, Gateway to the Rockies
Widely regarded as the gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park, Estes Park is a destination for thrill-seekers, casual vacationers, and everyone in between. Estes Park is a four-season destination that is perfect for a weekend getaway or the perfect escape from the everyday.
Red Rocks Park & Amphitheatre
On our way to the Rockies and Estes Park, we made a stop at Red Rocks Park & Amphitheatre which is located about 30 minutes outside of Denver. I have wanted to go here for a long time and I would just LOVE to go back to attend a concert here one day.
Red Rocks Park & Amphitheatre is the only naturally-occurring, acoustically perfect amphitheater in the world. It is recognized for its star-studded concert roster, natural acoustics and ambience, as well as its awe-inspiring hiking and biking trails.
Rocky Mountain National Park
The Rocky Mountain National Park is one of the most visited national parks in the country. It has majestic peaks in every direction, wildlife roaming the valleys (we saw a whole herd of elk!) and some of the most incredible outdoor adventures to experience along its over 350 miles of hiking trails. Trail Ridge Road through the park is the highest paved road in the US, so be prepared for winter conditions…even in late spring or summer.
I would love to come back to explore more of this park and do some serious hiking. From flat easy hikes around a mountain lake to challenging multi-day backpack trips and climbs, Rocky Mountain National Park offers trails for hikers of every level.
At Sprague Lake you’ll find an easy loop hike (less than a mile) with some stunning views of the beautiful mountains that make Rocky Mountain National Park famous around the world. This is one of those spots you should not miss! It is also a fishing hot spot and can get quite busy in high season.
Chapel on the Rock
Located in Rocky Mountain National Park, St. Catherine of Siena Chapel AKA Chapel on the Rock is a great place to stop for photos.
In 1916, Monsignor Joseph Bosetti came across a large rock formation and inspired by the Biblical phrase “upon this rock I will build my church”, he envisioned a church built on the rock. Years later, this was brought to life.
Where we Stayed – Estes Park
During our time in Estes Park we stayed at the Ridgeline Hotel which is nestled in the heart of Estes Park. It provides convenient access to Rocky Mountain National Park, downtown Estes Park and more. There is an indoor swimming pool, outdoor fire pits, game room and bicycle rentals on site. ALSO…..This hotel has 50 pet friendly rooms – actually an entire wing! I need to return with Beau one day.
Where we Ate – Estes Park
Some suggestions for Estes Park dining, which I really enjoyed are listed below.
Latitude 105 – 101 South Saint Vrain Avenue, Estes Park
Ed’s Cantina – 390 East Elkhorn Avenue, Estes Park
Seasoned, An American Bistro – 205 Park Lane, Estes Park
My Colorado Road Trip Vlog!
Check out my Colorado road trip vlog below or on YouTube for higher quality.
Steamboat Springs, AKA Ski Town, USA
Named for its famous hot springs, Steamboat Springs is a must-visit destination for nature lovers. Known as Ski Town, USA it is home to the Howelsen Hill ski area and the Steamboat ski resort. However, outside of ski season, it is an extremely popular destination for mountain bikers, hikers and those that enjoy fishing.
Strawberry Park Hot Springs
What a treat it was to be in Steamboat in late spring and experience snow! The 104 degree mineral water natural hot springs at Strawberry Park is one of Steamboat’s many treasures and located just outside of town. We went to Strawberry Park Hot Springs and had a magical soak while wintery flakes blanked the ground beside us…trying a Colorado road trip treat!
F.M. Light & Sons
Did you even go to Colorado if you didn’t buy or at least try on 20 cowboy hats?!?! F.M. Light & Sons is Steamboat Springs’ historic clothing store and special place where you can step back into the old west. A fun stop on any Colorado road trip.
Where we Stayed – Steamboat Springs
During our stay in Steamboat Springs, we stayed at the beautiful Steamboat Grand Hotel. Located at the base of the Steamboat Ski area, The Steamboat Grand has hotel rooms, condos and penthouses all in one location. We stayed in condos which had two levels, a kitchen and dining area. Check out my vlog for a full tour of it.
Where we Ate – Steamboat Springs
Some suggestions for Steamboat Springs dining, which I really enjoyed are listed below.
Aurum Food & Wine – 811 Yampa Street, Steamboat Springs
Creekside Cafe – 131 11th Street, Steamboat Springs
Glenwood Springs, Land of Water
Colorado’s Land of Water, Glenwood Springs, sits at the confluence of the Colorado and Roaring Fork Rivers and is known for its famous hot-springs. When you visit you will see that Glenwood Springs is equal parts relaxation and adventure with a dash of Old West history.
Iron Mountain Hot Springs
Within Glenwood Springs, we had a chance to soak at Iron Mountain Hot Springs with beautiful views over Colorado River and surrounded by the humbling Rocky Mountains. This pool isn’t as warm as the main springs but still provided a fantastic opportunity to soak and rejuvenate.
Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park
Take adventure to new heights at the Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park. You are transported on a scenic Gondola Ride to the top of Iron Mountain where you can enjoy incredible views, amusement rides and cave tours.
Once called the Eighth Wonder of the World for its stunning underground scenery, Glenwood Caverns has been wowing visitors since the day it was discovered in 1885. Located deep inside Iron Mountain, this subterranean cave tour is one not to miss out on.
Where we Stayed – Glenwood Springs
While in Glenwood Springs, we stayed at the historic Hotel Colorado. Hotel Colorado has been delighting guests with its legendary hospitality since 1893. The hotel is located right in downtown Glenwood Springs right by the famous Glenwood Hot Springs.
Where we Ate – Glenwood Springs
Some suggestions for Glenwood Springs dining, which I really enjoyed are listed below.
The Pullman – 303 7th Street, Glenwood Springs
Baron’s – 526 Pine Street, Glenwood Springs
Snowmass, the Year-Round Center for all Things Colorado
Our next destination was the world-class ski resort, Snowmass which is surrounded by panoramic mountain views in the Brush Creek Valley. It also has 2.8 million acres of wilderness…so there’s plenty to explore. In the summer, Snowmass is known for outdoor adventures and it is a perfect place to enjoy mountains, rivers, wildlife and sunshine.
To capture the above photo, we hiked the Rim Trail to Spiral Point that offers the best vantage point for 360 degree views of Snowmass, Mount Daly and Capital Peak. It’s known locally as ‘yin-yang’ and is believed to be a truly meditative space to reflect and absorb the beautiful surroundings. I felt like I was on top of the world and got some amazing photos that I’ll certainly cherish for a long time.
The Maroon Bells are said to be the most photographed mountains in all of North America — and for good reason. They rise more than 14,000 feet above sea level just outside of Snowmass. Maroon Lake provides a postcard-perfect reflection making it a must see stop on your Colorado road trip. Access is by bus or by hiking only during the summer months to preserve this area.
Where we Stayed – Snowmass
The Limelight Hotel was where we stayed while in Snowmass. The new Limelight Hotel opened in December 2018 and has 99 hotel rooms, plus a new restaurant, a children’s game area as well as a five-story climbing wall. The decor in this hotel is fabulous and charming (I need that Smeg fridge!) and it is all designed by Stonehill Taylor. The hotel is located adjacent to Snowmass’ Elk Camp Gondola providing ski-in/ski-out access.
Where we Ate – Snowmass
Limelight Lounge – 65 Wood Road, Snowmass
The Beauty of Colorado Springs
Last but not least, and the definite highlight of my adventure in Colorado was Colorado Springs. It’s a lovely resort town that was founded in 1871. I was excited to see all of the iconic landmarks and attractions and see the natural beauty that I’ve heard so many people talk about, for myself.
We hiked the Seven Falls, a series of seven waterfalls that have been called “The Grandest Mile of Scenery”, and for someone who is an appreciator of stunning views, this was a sight to behold. We started by walking up a staircase of 224 steps to reach the hiking trails. About half way up is ‘Shorty Falls’ where you can see right down to the bottom of the falls… if you’re brave enough. When we reached the top, you could walk right in front of Ramona Falls which provides beautifully glistening visuals that are complemented by the sunshine. It made for a fantastic photo op.
Be sure to check out The Broadmoor which is an iconic Colorado Springs resort. Since first opening over a century ago, The Broadmoor has offered guests an incredible way to experience the unique beauty of the American West in Colorado Springs. Even if you aren’t staying at The Broadmoor, come to check out the resort, activities and many restaurants.
Explore Manitou Springs and taste the natural mineral springs. Currently, there are 8 springs open to the public, each with its own distinctive flavor and effervescence. Centuries ago, the great tribes of the plains and the Mountain Utes paid homage to the healing and spiritual powers of the mineral springs and believed the medicinal waters were a gift from the Great Spirit Manitou.
Garden of the Gods – Horse Riding Tour
Horseback riding in Colorado Springs is a must-do! This unforgettable one-hour trail ride was led by a professional, knowledgeable, and attentive guide from Academy Riding Stables. Their guides are all cowboys and know these trails like the back of their hands.
Garden of the Gods Park is a geological wonder and a must see when in Colorado.
The Park is a unique biological melting pot where the grasslands of the Great Plains meet the pinon-juniper woodlands characteristic of the American Southwest and merge with the mountain forest of the 14,115-foot Pikes Peak – America’s Mountain.
Where we Stayed – Colorado Springs
I really enjoyed my stay at the SCP Hotel in Colorado Springs. SCP Colorado Springs is centered around the concept of holistic hospitality, where guests stay consciously. It even has “fair trade pricing” allowing guests to pay what they want based on the quality of their experience. I highly recommend staying at the SCP!
It is the first property of its kind in the US and it provides opportunities for guests to refresh their bodies and souls, to connect with community and to make better choices for the planet.
Where we Ate – Colorado Springs
Ivywood School – 1604 S Cascade Avenue,
Smorbrod – 2727 N. Cascade Avenue, Colorado Springs
Colorado Craft Social – 15 S Tejon Street, Colorado Springs
Restaurant 1858 at the Broadmoor – 1 Lake Avenue, Colorado Springs
Rocky Mountain Food Tour
To end a fantastic trip in Colorado, we arrived at The Mining Exchange Hotel for a Rocky Mountain Food Tour which I was very pleased about. We got to celebrate with four signature cocktails including a Pear Ginger Mule that was delicious and learn how to make them as well as enjoy four savoury appetizers. We were also able to visit a charming little speakeasy on a private tour whilst it was closed to the public.
Thanks to Colorado Tourism Office, I was so well looked after and able to see so much due to the amazing itinerary they had crafted. If you’re a fan of breathtaking scenery and unforgettable experience, Colorado offers all this and more. Switching between the energy of the urban cities to the spectacular mountainous and wildlife-rich areas was such a gift, and a trip I definitely won’t be forgetting any time soon.