l recently took a 5 day trip to Denver and I made the best out of it! My plan was to do a lot of outdoor activities and get to see the surrounding cities and parks so we rented a car to make sure we had more freedom in our schedule. I have posted about the trip to the cities: Denver (2 days ) and Boulder (1 day) and here goes my itinerary for the other 3 days driving around Colorado
We rented a car because we wanted to visit several spots and wanted to go at our own pace but there are buses and shuttles available that will take you between the cities like the CME Shuttle Service, it is more expensive than renting a car though . Check out my Denver post to get more details on rentals.
So, we spent our arrival day in Denver and stayed the night so we could me well rested for our early morning drive. We headed out west direction because our plan was to spend the night at Carbondale with some friends and this is the direction you will want to go anyhow to check out the major Colorado attractions. Take US Route 36 and your first stop will be Boulder (follow link for details on things to do in Boulder).After a couple of hours in Boulder we drove out for a hike at Red Rocks Park, which is about 10 minutes from Boulder.
After Red Rocks you won’t hit major towns up until Vail, which is about 1 hr 40 minutes from the Red Rocks. Vail is a beautiful spot to check out and if you have time, ski or snowboard of course. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much snow when I was there so we decided to skip it and we headed out to Vail Village for a cup of coffee and walked around the shops for a bit. We also drove around Vail City and stopped and local shops that looked interesting and had lunch as well.
After lunch we got back in the car to reach our final destination of the day, Carbondale where our friends live. Carbondale is a very small 6500 population town, and it is incredibly cute! If you can make it out on a First Friday, it’s the towns monthly celebration of the arts, shopping, dinning and music.
For the best breakfast in town head out to Silo and make sure to try the Raspberry pancakes. #winning. Once you get some morning fuel, head out to see the famous Maroon Bells, it is the best view of Aspen ever! If you head out here in the summer you can drive all the way to the foot of the mountain but if you are here in the winter, you have to walk or snowshoe or you can also rent out a snowmobile or join the tours. I was honestly freezing and didn’t get all the way to the foot of the mountain but we did walk for about an hour and got pretty close. Still looked amazing!!
After a good workout, FOOOD!! We drove out to Aspen, which is about 20 minutes from Maroon Bells and had lunch at Justice Snow’s, really good american food..We walked around town for a bit, we didn’t get to ski today either, but had fun doing some window shopping, eating and drinking happy hypo
Check out Hops Culture for a cool place and wide selection of craft beers and for dinner check out Bangkok for some really good Thai food or for amazing Ribs, Hickory house. I know this sound like too much, but the cold just expands your stomach I swear, so you MUST have desert at Creperie du Village, nutella and raspberry crepes and voila! Perfection.
If you are lucky, you’ll be in town for a full moon party! Make sure to ask the locals because the location is not always the same and make sure to stay warm of course.
And for our grand finale, Glenwood springs!! The major attraction in the city would be the hot springs, which we didn’t have time for but looked pretty cool! and steamy! so try to make time. The other major activity is at the White Forest National Park, where the Hanging Lake trail is, and gotta say WOWseers! This place just.. UNREAL… the whole way up was a constant gasp at all the mountains and of course as you are climbing up more and more snow (colder and more slippery yes) but a great hike. When you thing you’re done seeing alll you had to, you come out to Hanging Lake, which literally looks like a hanging lake in between these giants mountains and a bit higher you can check out the waterfall that makes this lake subsist. This is common sense, but the way down is way more difficult than up, so if you don’t plan to take some hiking boots or gear at least make sure to get some branches to hold yourself when climbing downward. The complete hike was probably about 2 hours and it was worth every second! (and my bizillion slips).
I wish I could’ve stayed for longer because there is so much to do! But I am proud to admit we did have an amazing itinerary for a 5 day trip 😉 If you do plan to ski or snowboard make sure to save a whole day exclusively to head out to the mountains and get some rest for your next adventure.