Scenic Trip Ideas

If you are interested in seeing more of the Rocky Mountain area, I suggest the follow day trips. As always it is advisable to take extra water and clothing with you. You will pay less for gas in Summit County then you will in the towns listed below, so it’s best to start your trip with a full gas tank.

maroon bellsAspen Loop

This is a summer drive only as Independence Pass is closed in the winter. Leadville, Aspen, Glenwood Springs loop is 225 miles / 4.5 hours or you can retrace your drive once you arrive in Aspen making the drive 180 miles / 4 hours. Everyone has heard of Aspen, Colorado and visiting the town itself and the most photographed mountain in Colorado – the Maroon Bells – is definitely worth the long drive. Independence Pass itself is spectacular and not for the faint of heart! Take I-70 west to Exit #195 (Copper Mtn/Leadville exit) and drive towards Leadville on Hwy 91. In Leadville Hwy 91 changes to Hwy 24, stay on this road until you see the sign for Independence Pass / Hwy 82. This will take you into Aspen.

Click here for things to see and do in Aspen. http://www.aspenchamber.org/

Click here for information on the Maroon Bells. http://www.aspenchamber.org/explore-aspen/trip-highlights/maroon-bells

If you want to drive the loop of this scenic route stay on Hwy 82 and head towards Glenwood Springs. (see information about Glenwood Springs below) Once in Glenwood take I-70 east back to Dillon. You can make the drive to Aspen in the winter by taking I-70 west to Glenwood Springs and Hwy 82 south to Aspen. It is 265 miles / 5 hours round trip, weather permitting.

Glenwood6 - CopyGlenwood Springs

Take I-70 west for 90 miles / 1.5 hours. This is an easy highway drive with Vail, Beaver Creek and Glenwood Canyon to see along the way. A very popular hike is Hanging Lake, just 10 miles east of Glenwood Springs.

Click here for information about the trail. http://www.visitglenwood.com/hanging-lake

Other summer activities include biking the paved Glenwood Canyon Bike Trail, http://www.traillink.com/trail/glenwood-canyon-bike-and-pedestrian-path.aspx which follows the Colorado River or rafting the Colorado River.

Click here for two rafting company options: Glenwood Canyon Rafting http://www.raftingglenwoodsprings.com/ or Whitewater Rafting http://www.coloradowhitewaterrafting.com/

Relaxation or enjoyment all year round is the Glenwood Hot Springs Pool http://www.hotspringspool.com/swim where you can soak in the mineral pools, work out in the fitness center or enjoy a massage.

Sept 2011 088Leadville, Buena Vista and Salida

This 190 mile round trip drive passes through some of Colorado’s amazing scenery. Take I-70 west to Exit #195 (Copper Mtn/Leadville exit) and head south towards Leadville on Hwy 91 (changes to Hwy 24 in Leadville). Both on your way to Leadville and on the other side of town you have the opportunity to view two 14,000 mountains – Mt. Elbert (14,439, the highest peak in Colorado) and Mt. Massive (14,429). As you travel towards Buena Vista you have the chance to view a few other 14ers or check out a ghost town or two. Click here for things to see and do in Buena Vista. http://www.colorado.com/cities-and-towns/buena-vista

After leaving Buena Vista follow the signs for Salida/ Hwy 285 South. Between Buena Vista and Salida stop at the Mt. Princeton Hot Springs for a relaxing dip either in a pool or on the river. Click here for information http://www.mtprinceton.com/hot-springs-pools

Take the Salida turnoff – Hwy 291. Once in Salida, walk around the historic district or try a sampling of Colorado wine at Vino Salida http://www.vinosalida.com/ Click here for more information on Salida. http://salida.com/

July 2012 023Loveland Pass

This is just a short drive from Dillon. Take Hwy 6 towards Keystone and follow the road past Arapahoe Basin ski area until you reach the top of the pass at almost 12,000 feet. Before the Eisenhower Tunnel was built in 1973 this was the only road from Denver to Summit County! From the top you have incredible views of Summit County and beyond. If you want to venture further and do a little hiking, follow the trail on the east side to the top of the mountain or hike even further to the top of Mt. Sniktau, which has views of Denver and eastward. Click here for more information about the hike.
http://www.summitcountyexplorer.com/HIKES/