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Colorado Road Trip Itinerary for 2024

Plan a Colorado Road Trip in 2024? So, check our complete Colorado Itinerary. During this 2 weeks Colorado road trip, you will see the best of the state. You will admire four Colorado national parks. Moreover, you will hike in the mountains, canyons, and dunes. And spot a lot of wildlife. You will admire ancient and modern landmarks and soak in the hot springs. We show you must-see, must-do, and some of Colorado’s hidden gems well. And suggest many activities, so you can choose what suits you best. We tell what new reservations in 2024 are required to enter Rocky Mountain National Park, Maroon Bells, and other attractions. This Ultimate Colorado Road Trip Itinerary for 2023 helps you prepare for a perfect adventure.

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Stunning vita of the road among grey badlands and blue sky in Colorado with the inscription: Colorado Road Trip Itinerary.
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About this Colorado Road Trip Itinerary for 2024

Colorado road trip is a fabulous adventure, as Colorado delights with its diversity and attractions created by mother nature and those made by human hands. You can spend up to a month in this state and still be hungry for sightseeing.
That is why we have prepared this Colorado Road Trip Itinerary for 2024, for which we have selected the most beautiful and exciting places in the state.

Chris and I made this Colorado road trip ourselves, and we only share with you first-hand experience with the current and tested places, actual prices, and regulations. We tell you where you need a permit or reservations. All pictures are taken by us.

2 weeks Colorado Rod Trip Itinerary for 2024

We suggest at least two weeks’ vacation in Colorado. Of course, you can spend more time in each of these places, but we have prepared for you the essence of the state. This Colorado itinerary will allow you to see the best within 14 days. But it’s going to be an intense two weeks. We tell you what to see, where to eat, and where to stay. If you have only 10 days for your Colorado road trip, we tell you how to shorten this plan.

Below is a Colorado Road Trip Itinerary quick overview, and then we describe each day in detail, indicating the best routes to optimize the driving time. We show the best activities and other tips. We help you prepare for perfect adventures, which helps you save time and some money as well.

moose between trees in rocky mountains in colorado.
moose between trees in rocky mountains national park.
colorado road trip: wildlife in rocky mountains national park

When to make a Colorado Road Trip in 2024?

The state offers fabulous outdoor activities in summer, like hiking, camping, mountain biking, or rafting. In the winter months, Colorado is one of the best places for snowboarding and skiing in the United States.

This Colorado Road Trip Itinerary is perfect for the Summer and Fall seasons, from the end of May through the end of October. Of course, you can also use this Colorado itinerary for the winter months, but some places and roads will be closed. We’ll tell you exactly what is closed in winter to help you adapt this Colorado itinerary for all seasons.

Colorado Road Trip Itinerary for 2024 Quick Overview

Day 1. Arriving at Denver
Day 2.
Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park
Day 3.
Rocky Mountain Highway 34 to Grand Lake and Winter Park
Day 4.
Aspen and Maroon Bells
Day 5.
North Rim of Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
Day 6.
Colorado National Monument and Grand Junction area
Day 7.
Rattlesnake Arches Trail
Day 8.
South Rim of Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
Day 9. The San Juan Skyway and Mesa Verde National Park
Day 10. The Million Dollar Hwy and Durango
Day 11.
Pagosa Springs and Great Sand Dunes National Park
Day 12. Westcliffe and Colorado Springs
Day 13.
Pikes Peak Highway and Manitou Springs
Day 14.
Return to Denver

colorado road trip: The hawk takes flight from the tree, its wings spread.
colorado itinerary: a hawk sits on a pole against the background of a dark blue sky.

Some important Tips before your Colorado Road Trip in 2023

Reservations are required to enter Rocky Mountain National Park

From May 24 through mid-October, 20234, Rocky Mountain National Park visitors needed a Timed Entry Permit and an entrance pass to recreate in the park. So you must plan your Colorado itinerary carefully and get a permit before traveling. You can do this only via the official NPS website.

According to the NPS website, you must purchase a Timed Entry Permit before your trip. There are 2 reservation options.

  • Bear Lake Road Corridor, from 5 a.m. to 6 p.m., includes the entire corridor and access to the rest of the park.
  • and “rest of the park,” excluding the Bear Lake Road corridor. This “rest of park” reservation period will be from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m

Permits issued using the reservation system will allow park visitors to enter the park within two-hour windows of availability, with no set time for departure.  The reservation system will apply to all areas of the park.

Timed Entry Permit Reservations to enter the park will be available through www.recreation.gov beginning at 8 a.m. MDT on Monday, May 1, 2024.

If you fail to get a reservation, you can take a Shuttle bus to the Bear Lake Road corridor.

Entrance pass to recreate in the Colorado National Parks

An Entrance Pass is required for each national park. The daily Entrance Fee to each park is $25-35. To the Rocky Mountains 1-Day Vehicle Entrance Pass is $30. Since you plan to visit 4 national parks and several state parks during this road trip, it pays to buy an America the Beautiful Annual Pass for 2024/2024. It only costs $80. It is valid for one year from the month of purchase.

You can also buy it by entering the first park at the ranger station. But there are often long lines at the entrance in the season, so it’s worth having a card already. America the Beautiful provides access to more than 2,000 federal recreation areas across the United States.

This card will give you access to all US national parks, most state parks, and national monuments. It’s a great solution. But, please remember that from May 2024 to the Rocky Mountain NP, you also need a Timed Entry Permit, without which you will not enter the park.

black canyon of the gunnison national park: the view of the river and abyss.

Reservations are required to Marron Bells and for a guided tour in Mesa Verde

On this Colorado itinerary, we recommend seeing Aspen and a trip to the famous Maroon Bells. However, you must book a ticket to Maroon Bells in the high season.

In addition, Mesa Verde National Park requires bookings for guided tours to the cliff dwellings. But you can also explore this national park on your own. Below, you will find details on how to do this. So don’t worry if you fail a permit for guided tours to cliff dwellings.

Colorado Road Trip Itinerary for 2024- Book your accommodation in advance

Plan your Colorado road trip ahead. Plan to sleep in hotels or camping? Book your accommodation in advance. This tourist season in 2024 will be very intense and can get crowded in the most popular places. In this Colorado itinerary, we recommend only those hotels where we have stayed which is worth recommending.

Hydrated yourself

Stay hydrated for a few days before your Colorado road trip. Colorado is a state of numerous heights and the highest peaks. Because of quick high changes, altitude sickness is widespread. To avoid severe headaches, drink plenty of water and electrolytes, and buy some sports drinks, which help hydrate.

One week before your road trip, you should increase the amount of water in the body. Thanks to this, you will avoid headaches and dizziness, and you will be able to enjoy Colorado. Also, during all your Colorado road trips, remember to stay hydrated. Pack a large water reservoir for your daily trips.

Take snacks and food for each day

It’s an intense Colorado itinerary. So, after breakfast, you will go sightseeing, hiking, and driving a car every day. There will be nowhere to eat lunch on the way. There will be no restaurants in the national parks, so each day, have a packed supply of food, healthy snacks, sandwiches, protein bars, beef jerky, or energy bars. And lots of water as well.

Start your Colorado road trip early each day

We suggest that you start each day early in the morning. This will avoid lines at the entrance to the park or attractions, give you more time to explore and give you more time to rest at the end of the day. Therefore, do not forget to pack food for each day of the trip.

There will not always be a chance to have lunch at a restaurant during the day. Some places are remote from civilization, so you must have food and water.

Do not approach and feed wildlife during your Colorado road trip

Colorado is, above all, extraordinary in nature. You will spot many wild animals—the photos we present we took during our Colorado road trip. But remember to be careful. Do not approach wildlife. Keep a safe distance. Photograph or observe them from a distance.

Also, during your Colorado road trip, please remember to leave no trace, pack all your rubbish, and protect Colorado’s beautiful nature for future generations.

colorado road trip: young deer eat grass
wildlife in colorado: young deer in the rocky mountains.

Weather in Colorado

Colorado is a very diverse state in terms of climate. If you want to see all four national parks—Rocky Mountain, Black Canyons of the Gunnison, Mesa Verde, and Great Sand Dunes—during one road trip, you need to pack for hot and cold weather. In Rocky Mountain National Park, snowstorms can even happen in May and June. In one day, you can experience winter and summer.

The weather is unpredictable. In summer, you will experience the heat of around 80-100 degrees to the west and south. So, even if the forecasts are good and there is no sign of a breakdown, always be prepared for a weather surprise—wear layers.

Check out our Day Hiking Packing List. It will be of great help in preparing for your Colorado Road Trip.

road in colorado amnong grey badlads and with a blue sky.
mountain view with peaks covered by snow during colorado road trip.

Sources for preparing Colorado Itinerary

We give you a ready-to-go Colorado itinerary with lots of useful tips. You don’t need additional guides. But, we used several of the sources below to prepare for our trips. If you like books and maps or need more inspiration, take a look at the items below.

  • Colorado Road & Recreation Atlas by Benchmark Maps and Atlases is our favorite series of maps. We buy it for each state we visit. It’s more than a map. You will find detailed roads, landscape maps, public lands.
  • Colorado Bucket List Adventure Guide & Journal by Bridge Press is a new 2021 book. It’s great because it offers 50 natural wonders in Colorado, also lesser-known. You easily find your way thanks to comprehensive driving instructions.
  • Hiking Colorado is Falcon Series. It a comprehensive guidebook that offers breadth and depth of knowledge unusual in a hiking guide. Each trail is described with details of the trails (distance, elevation, difficulty, time), landmarks, shaded topographic maps, and GPS coordinates.

Day 1 Colorado Road Trip Itinerary – Arriving at Denver

This road trip starts and ends in Denver. It’s a loop, but you can adapt it for your needs if you are going from Utah or New Mexico as well. We chose Denver as our road trip starting point because it has a great domestic and international flight network.

Renting a Car

In Denver, the choice of cars is also extensive. We analyzed the offers and compared the rentals via RentalCars. We decided on a four-wheel-drive car to do some more difficult routes. It turned out to be a great solution. We rented a car at the Alamo, which we can highly recommend.

colorado road trip: our rented car toyota with the stunning mountain view in the backdrop. Inside the car is sitting Chris Labanowski, co-owner of the Van escape blog.
Our rented car: toyota at the parking spot between trees in rocky mountains

Things to do in Denver

Denver is a beautiful city, and it is worth spending a few hours walking and exploring downtown. If you have a day or more for your visit to Denver consider Denver CityPASS. You save up to 40% on Top Attractions. It’s valid 7 days from the first activation.

Half-day in Denver

If you have only a few hours visit:

  • Larimer Square is a place with well-restored buildings from the Civil War period. In 1971, Larimer Square became Denver’s first historic district. There are art galleries, shops, and restaurants in the area. This is a great place to dine or for live entertainment such as comedians or bands. The neighborhood is also known as the place where Buffalo Bill once lived.
  • 16th Street Mall – The street runs through the city center, has been turned into a pedestrian zone with shady trees, flower beds, and benches. The only traffic here is the free shuttle bus. The street is full of department stores, boutiques, souvenir shops, restaurants, and street vendor stalls. There are numerous modern and postmodern skyscrapers near the street’s southern end.
  • Civic Center Park – which is designed in a classic style with numerous monuments. The main Colorado state administration buildings are located around the park.
  • Colorado State Capitol – on a low hill on the park’s eastern side is the Classicist-style State Capitol, topped by a gilded 250-foot / 76-meter dome. From the viewing platform on the dome drum, there is a magnificent view of the city’s impressive skyline and the Front Range. The 13th step on the west side of the Capitol is exactly one mile above sea level, hence the name “Mile City.”

One day in Denver

If you have more time to explore Denver, you can select additional attractions depending on your interests.

  • Denver Center for the Performing Arts is a gigantic cultural center with the Boettcher Concert Hall and the Auditorium Theater with the Ellie Caulkins opera house. An evening at the Performing Arts Center can mean watching a Broadway Show or other extraordinary spectacle. You can book tickets via the website.
  • Denver Botanic Garden – is one of the largest botanical gardens in the United States, occupying 23 acres.
  • Denver Art Museum has an extensive collection of American, African, European, Asian, and oceanic Indians. Collections also include Spanish colonial and pre-Columbian works.
  • Museum of Nature and Science is located in the south-eastern part of the City Park. The most famous exhibits include impressive dinosaur skeletons, remains of Ice Age animals, and one of the largest gold nuggets found in Colorado.
  • Denver Zoo is beautifully laid out, with enclosures adapted to various species, from polar bears to monkey island. The zoo is one of Denver’s most popular attractions.
  • Coors Field is the home of the Colorado Rockies baseball club. The stadium, which opened in 1995, has a capacity of 50,200 seats. From some places, you can see the Rocky Mountain in the distance. There are tours around the facility throughout the year.

Where to stay in Denver?

The choice of accommodation in Denver is wide. You will find both hotels and private apartments. We can recommend Comfort Suites Near Denver Downtown with the perfect location, and cozy and comfortable rooms. But on the map below you can check actual and best deals.


Where to eat in Denver?

The center also has great restaurants, bars, and cafes for every pocket. You will find here both food trucks and restaurants with delicious food. We can personally recommend Jax Fish House with excellent fish and seafood and 3 Margaritas in the heart of 16th Street Mall with great Mexican food and delicious cocktails.

downtown Denver: the building of the Colorado State Capitol.
statue in Denver
Denver park

Day 2 Colorado Road Trip Itinerary – Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park

Driving Time from Denver to Estes Park: 64 miles, about 1 hour and 30 min via US-36 E and US-36 E/Denver Boulder Turnpike to the park entrance.

Pro Tip: Start your trip early in the morning, and from Estes Park, go directly to the Rocky Mountain National Park entrance. To the Beaver Meadows Visitor Center. It’s about 10-15 minutes from the town. Estes Park, you will visit in the afternoon. We assume that you have a Timed Entry Permit & America the Beautiful Pass to enter the Rocky Mountains.

In Rocky Mountain, you won’t get bored even for a week. But we suggest at least 2 intensive days. On the first day, you will focus on the eastern part of the Park with an overnight stay in Estes Park.
And the next day, we suggest you drive along the famous Highway 34 (Trail Ridge Road, open only from Memorial Day to mid-October) and concentrate on the western part of the Park and the Grand Lake area. Below details.

Bear Lake Rd in Rocky Mountain

From Beaver Meadows Entrance Station, turn to Bear Lake Road on the left. It offers fabulous views and some easy hikes, perfect for a first day in the mountains. They are easy hikes but offer breathtaking views. We recommend Bear Lake Trail, Sparque Lake Trail, and Bierstadt Lake Trail. Perfect also for kids.

It is possible to make these three trails in one day or choose one or two. If you are in weaker condition or tired after travel, do Bear Lake and Sprague Lake. Bierstadt Lake is a bit more demanding, but still, it’s great to hike.

Pro Tip: pack layers for Rocky Mountain National Park. Even if you’re only driving through for the day, at over 10,000 – 11,000 feet in elevation, getting out of your car is cold even in the summer. So, take a warm jacket. Check our Day Hiking Packing List to prepare for your adventure. Don’t forget to pack plenty of water and food for the day in a Park.

Bear Lake Road in Rocky Mountain with peaks covered by snow.
peaks of the Rocky Mountains covered by snow.

Deer Ridge Junction and Fall River

When you pass Bear Lake Road back and forth, head back to main road 36 and head towards the famous Highway 34 to Deer Ridge Junction.
In this Colorado itinerary, we suggest that you drive the famous Highway 34 the next day. But if you have little time, you can combine these two days into one.

But if you have at least two days for your visit to Rocky Mountain NP, from Deer Ridge Junction, take the road to West Horseshoe Park and Fall River Entrance Station and return to Estes Park.

If you don’t want to hike, consider going to Allenspark to the Wild Basin area. It’s 16 miles scenic route via CO-7 W and Marys Lake Rd.

colorado road trip:  Deer Ridge Junction in Rocky Mountains.
the stunning view of Rocky Mountains.

Evening in Estes Park

Estes Park is a very picturesque and pretty town. This schedule is tight, and we plan to spend only 1 night in it, but if you have more time, consider staying here for 2-3 days.

There is a lot of gift shops and great restaurants. Going for a tasty meal after a long day in the mountains is worth it. If you have time, visit the historic Stanley Hotel, where the famous thriller Shining with Jack Nicolson was filmed.

Another location in this movie was the Timberline Lodge in Oregon in the picturesque setting of Mount Hood.

Where to eat in Estes Park?

In Estes Park, you will find a wide variety of food. We can recommend Twin Owls Steakhouse, Peppers Mexican Grill and Bob & Tony’s Pizza.

Where to stay in Estes Park?

If you can afford the Stanley Hotel is a great choice. The hotel is beautiful, and we dream about staying in it someday. But as it was full, and beyond our budget, we stayed in the Historic Crag’s Lodge By Diamond Resorts. And it was a great choice. The hotel is beautifully situated and has an attractive interior, cozy rooms, and great service.

historic buildling of Stanley Hotel in Estes Park
Estes Park

Day 3 Colorado Road Trip Itinerary – Rocky Mountain – Highway 34 to Grand Lake and Winter Park

Trail Ridge Road Drive

After breakfast, go to Beaver Meadows Entrance Station in Rocky Mountain and go directly to Highway 34.

Trail Ridge Road is a stretch of U.S. Highway 34 that traverses Rocky Mountain National Park from Estes Park, in the east to Grand Lake, in the west. The road is also known as Beaver Meadow National Scenic Byway.
Trail Ridge Road length is 48 miles.
But driving time with some stops from Estes Park to Grand Lake will take at least 4 hours.

The Trail Ridge Road’s highest point is 12,183 feet (3713 m), so it’s cold and windy. Wear layers and pack warm clothes. Even in May and June, there can be a lot of snow in the highest parts of the mountains. At this altitude, you may have altitude sickness or have a severe headache.

So, remember to stay well hydrated and drink plenty of electrolytes. The weather conditions on this road may change at any time. So, check the road status on the NPS website before your travel.

The road will provide breathtaking views. But don’t forget to drive carefully. You can spot moose, deer, and other wild animals, next to or on the road.

Trail Ridge Road leads you to Grand Lake. On the way, you have a lot of hiking trails. If you have more time, you can consider some hikes with fabulous views, such as the Colorado River Trailhead, Timber Lake Trail, Holzwarth Historic Site, or Bowen/Baker Trailhead.

Pro Tip: The Trail Ridge Road is open only from Memorial Day to mid-October. If you do not have a reservation or traveling outside the scheduled dates, you will not drive through the park via the famous Highway 34. There is no shuttle bus also. So, if you are after/before the season, the only solution is to drive down via Allenspark and Idaho Springs to Grand Lake and Winter Park. It’s 143 miles and about 3 hours and 30 minutes of driving.

moose in trees along Trail Ridge Road Drive in Rocky Mountains.
deer between trees in rocky mountains national park.

Vitisting Grand Lake, Fraser, and Winter Park

Grand Lake, Fraser, and Winter Park are the most popular and prettiest towns on the west part of Rocky Mountain. They are worth a shortstop. In our opinion, Grand Lake is the most charming. You can also find nice and easy hiking trails, like a hike to Adams Falls.

Agnes Stabinska, the author and co-owner of the Van Escape blog, is sitting on the rock and admiring Adams Falls in Rocky Mountains.
hiking trail to Adams Falls
cascade of water on rocks at Adams Falls

Where to eat in Grand Lake and Fraser?

In each town, you will find bars and restaurants with good cuisine. We can recommend Sagebrush BBQ & Grill in Grand Lake and The Wake Coffee Shop. The delicious pizza we ate in Hernando’s Pizza Pub in Fraser.

Where to stay in Grand Lake and Fraser?

In Grand Lake, we stayed in Spirit Lake Lodge & Snowmobile Rentals. It’s a simple place with cozy and clean rooms.

In Fraser, we stayed in the comfortable Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites Fraser Winter Park Area. But in this Colorado itinerary, we suggest staying in the area only one night, because it’s 2 weeks Colorado road trip.

the morning view of the Grad Lake with Rocky Mountains peaks covered by snow.
Grand Lake view.

Day 4 Colorado Road Trip Itinerary – Aspen and Maroon Bells

After early breakfast, head towards the famous Aspen resort.

From Winter Park is 145 miles via I-70 E and CO-82 E. Driving time is about 3 hours and 30 minutes.

From Grand Lake is 164 miles via I-70 W and CO-82 E. Driving time is about 3 hours and 20 minutes. On the way, you have fabulous Glenwood Springs. It’s a perfect idea to soak in these hot springs for an hour and rest after driving. Pool reservations are not required. Day admission for the Pool is on a first-come-first-serve basis. Day rates start from $35 per adult, but they can change, so check them on the website.

Bus Trip to Maroon Lake

Maroon Bells Scenic Area is one of the most photographed spots in Colorado. But, reservations are required to visit Maroon Bells by personal vehicle or shuttle in 2024.

Here you can find detailed information about shuttle reservations and parking reservations. Due to the large volume of visitors, a bus service runs every day from 8 am-5 pm from mid-June through mid-October.

The bus runs from Aspen Highlands to Maroon Lake every 15 minutes. The Maroon Bells scenic area features several hiking trails ranging from short hikes near Maroon Lake to longer overnight backpacking trips into the Maroon-Snowmass Wilderness. But if you plan a backpacking trip, you must get a permit also. 

Evening in Aspen

The town is small, so a short walk is enough to walk through it. You will find numerous pubs and restaurants. Unfortunately, the place is not cheap.

It is especially worth booking accommodation in advance. Alternatively, you can go back to Glenwood Springs for the night.


Hotel in Aspen with mountain scenery in the backdrop.
Our hotel in Aspen

Day 5 Colorado Road Trip Itinerary – North Rim of Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

Driving time from Aspen to the North Rim of Black Canyon of the Gunnison is about 3 hours. It’s 119 miles via scenic CO-133 S.

Like the Grand Canyon in Arizona, the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park consists of two parts – the North Rim and the South Rim. Both are worth seeing. But if for any reason you have to choose only one, the southern part will be more representative.

We recommend both in our Colorado itinerary. You can do this by following our tips. We split our visit into two parts, between we also visit the Grand Junction area. You can also check our detailed guide to Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, with the best things to do and lots of tips.

North Rim Road Drive

Most important is to know that North Rim Road is closed to vehicles in winter. It is open from mid-April to mid-October only. It’s a gravel road and a more remote area. Less crowded than South Rim.

Start your drive from North Rim Ranger Station. Nearby is North Rim Campground – from here you have one of the best viewpoints – Chasm View. A short and easy hike leads to Chasm View.

But it is worth seeing all the viewpoints along the road. There are only a few of them, so you need at least 1-2 hours to visit the North Rim of Black Canyon with photos. Other viewpoints are The Narrows View, Balanced Rock View, Big Island View, Island Peaks View, and Kneeling Camel View.

North Rim Road Drive in Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, during Colorado road trip: the view of the river and abyss.

Hike to Exclamation Point

If you have more time and want to hike, we recommend the hike to Exclamation Point. For us, it is the best trail and the most beautiful viewpoint on both sides of the park. There are several other trails in the park. But the view from the Exclamation Point is breathtaking.

We can compare it to Toroweap Overlook in Grand Canyon. The trail starts next to North Rim Ranger Station. Take North Vista Trail and follow signs to Exclamation Point. The point is at an altitude of 7702 feet (2348m). It is not a difficult hike. It will take you 1-1.5 hours in total. You can extend it and walk further to the North Vista Trail if you have more time.

You need a permit if you want to go down to the canyon floor. But it is technically tough to descend. The walls are almost vertical. There are no marked trails. As its only 2 weeks in Colorado we don’t plan this activity in our itinerary.

the view of the deep canyon and the river in the bottom from the Exclamation Point.
the view from hiking trail to Exclamation Point in the BlackCanyon of the Gunnison National Park: the tree, river, and abyss.

Where to eat?

We can recommend Daveto’s Italian Restaurant and El Tapatio Mexican Restaurant in Delta. In Hotchkiss, we had lunch in Pat’s Bar and Grill.

Where to stay?

The nearest towns to stay for a night are Hotchkiss and Delta. We chose Delta because the accommodation prices were much more favorable. There is also a better choice of restaurants for dinner here.

Another option would be to go to Grand Junction (it’s about 1 hour 30 minutes of driving and 55 miles) and stay there for 2-3 nights. Because the next two days, we’ll focus on this area before we go to the South Rim.

But, if you need to shorten your Colorado road trip to 10 days, skip Grand Junction attractions. This part of Colorado you can combine with a road trip to Utah.

Day 6 Colorado Road Trip Itinerary – Colorado National Monument and Grand Junction area

Colorado National Monument

Spend this day in the Grand Junction area of ​​western Colorado. The landscape is completely different here. Is dominated by the highlands and deserts of the Colorado Plateau. And it’s pretty hot.
We suggest starting your day at the Colorado National Monument. Check more photos and tips for your inspiration.

There are two roads to the Park. The most interesting views and most exciting rock formations you find on the Fruita side. But it’s worth driving the whole road serpentine. It’s only 23 miles. The views will be amazing whether you enter from Grand Junction or Fruita. There is an entrance fee to the park. But if you have an annual America the Beautiful card, you don’t have to pay an admission fee.

It is worth spending about half a day visiting the park. This is enough to drive the road and make a few short hikes. If you want only to drive the whole route and observe the rock formations from the viewpoints, 3 hours is enough.

stunning orange rock formations in colorado national monument.
orage rock formations in colorado national monument.

Things to do in Fruita and Grand Junction

We suggest spending the afternoon resting in Fruita and Grand Junction. Both places are worth stopping by. The area is also full of beautiful vineyards. We can recommend a local Mesa Park Vineyards. It’s a charming, photogenic place, and the wines are outstanding. We met the owners of this small winery who put a lot of work, good energy, and, above all, passion into this place, and I sincerely recommend visiting this winery.

If you travel with kids is worth visiting the Museum of Western Colorado: Dinosaur Journey Museum in Fruita.

Where to eat in Gran Junction?

There are lots of nice places. We suggest you visit Rockslide Restaurant & Brewery, Spoons Bistro & Bakery, and Tacoparty.

Where to stay in Grand Junction?

We stayed in Days Inn by Wyndham Grand Junction, and we can recommend it. But it wasn’t in the center. There is a wide selection of accommodation also downtown.

Day 7 Colorado Road Trip Itinerary – Rattlesnake Arches Trail

We recommend a less-known place for this day. Colorado’s hidden gem – Rattlesnake Arches Trail. It is close to the Colorado National Monument but very difficult to access. It requires a 14-mile round-trip hike from the Pollack Bench trailhead. Or by the Black Ridge access roads offer a shorter hike (6,2 miles go and back) but a challenging drive accessible only for 4×4 cars and experienced drivers.

This place offers the second-largest concentration of arches in the United States after Utah. Rattlesnake Canyon is amazing. We wrote a detailed article about this trek. Please read how to get to Rattlesnake Arches to see if this is the hike for you. And make your own decisions.

TRIP TIP: If, for some reason, you cannot or do not want hike to Rattlesnake Arches, stay longer in the Colorado National Monument, explore the Grand Junction area, or go earlier to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon of the Gunnison. You can adapt your Colorado itinerary for a longer stay in Denver, the Rocky Mountains, or any other place of your choice.

Colorado road trip - Rattlesnake Arches
Chris Labanowski, co-owner of the Van Escape Blod, is standing on the orange arch at Rattlesnake Arches Trail
 Rattlesnake Arches in Colorado.

Day 8 Colorado Road Trip Itinerary- South Rim of Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

From Grand Junction to the South Rim Visitor Center in Blac Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, you have 75 miles and about 1 hour 30 minutes of driving via US-50 E.

South Rim Road Drive

In this Colorado Itinerary, we suggest staying one day in the Park. It’s remote, not too crowded, and beautiful. So don’t forget to pack your lunch and water for the day. You are 8,000 feet (2,500m) above sea level at the rim. So, take precautions, drink plenty of water, and use sun protection. It can get windy, so don’t forget to bring a warm sweatshirt.

The road is much longer than at the North Rim. And you need at least 3 – 4 hours to drive the road and take some pictures from the viewpoints. Some overlooks are right on the road. For some of them lead to short trails lasting several minutes—worth your effort. The best viewpoints are on the end of the road – Painted Wall View, Chasm View, Dragon Point, and Sunset View. Close to Visitor Center is Gunnison Point.

Because the canyon is very narrow, it is also very dark, hence its name. That is why the best light is at noon when the sun is at its highest. Read more about the attractions of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison in our separate article.

the deep canyon view with river in the bottom during South Rim Road Drive in Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park.
the deep canyon view with river in the bottom during South Rim Road Drive in Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park.

South Rim Hikes

If you have time, you can consider some hikes. The best is Rim Rock Trail and Oak Flat Trail. You can also hike to Warner Point from the last stop on the road – High Point. But we think you have the best views from the overlooks.

The inner canyon is a wilderness area. You must have a permit for all wilderness activities, including climbing, hiking, and kayaking in the Gunnison River.

Where to eat in Montrose?

In Montrose, we ate at Jimmers Steak-BBQ Bar & Grill.

Where to stay in Montorse?

The South Rim is 15 miles east of Montrose. And this town is the best place to stay overnight. At the park, you can stay at South Rim Campground.

If you don’t want to hike in the park and have more time, consider staying overnight near Ridgway or Ouray. You will be closer to the next day’s attractions.

details of granite rocks in the deep, dark canyon.
Agnes Stabinska, the author, is standing on the edge of the canyon in Black Canyon of the Gunnison and she is looking down the river and abyss.

Day 9 Colorado Road Trip Itinerary – The San Juan Skyway and Mesa Verde National Park

The San Juan Skyway Scenic Byway has 236 miles lengths across southwestern Colorado. This loop travels through Durango, Mancos, Dolores, Stoner, Rico, Telluride, Ridgway, Ouray, and Silverton. One of its parts is “The Million Dollar Highway.”

It takes at least 7 hours to make all loops. But we split it into two days to connect with visiting Mesa Verde National Park. Along the San Juan Skyway, you can admire over 100 peaks over 13000 feet. The drive spans elevations from 6,200 feet near Cortez to 11,008 feet at Red Mountain Pass.
During the drive traversing the heart of the San Juan National Forest, Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre, and Gunnison National Forests.

So below are our tips on planning this day in your Colorado itinerary. Thanks to this, you will see everything this scenic byway offers. It’s a long and intense day, so start early after breakfast.

Montrose to Cortez Drive via San Juan Skyway

From Montrose to Ridgway is about 30 minutes of driving via US-550 S. In Ridgway, turn right onto CO-62 W / State Hwy 62 / Sherman St. Continue on CO-62 W / State Hwy 62, then take CO-145 S. The road from Ridgway to Cortez is 108 miles and will take you at least 2-3,5 hours with shortstops.

On the way is worth stopping for a while in Telluride, Rico, and Dolores.

cars on the road on The San Juan Skyway with mountain peaks covered by snow in the backdrop.
old wooden bildling on the The San Juan Skyway
historic brick buildling of restaurant and liquor store on The San Juan Skyway.

Visiting Mesa Verde National Park

Mesa Verde Visitor and Research Center is only 10 mile and 15 minutes drive from Cortez. You need at least 3-5 hours to visit Mesa Verde National Park. The best light on cliff dwellings is in the afternoon and before sunset. You can find more photos and tips from Mesa Verde in our detailed post.

Self-Guided Tours in Mesa Verde

A self-guided tour is the best way to visit the park when time is limited. Start your trip from Mesa Verde Visitor and Research Center and take a map. The route into the park is a steep, narrow, winding mountain road. But very scenic.

The Spruce Tree House and The Chapin Mesa Archeological Museum (currently closed) are 21 miles (34 km) from the park entrance. Drive slowly. You will get overlooks that provide spectacular views—the elevations in the park range from 6,900 feet to 8,572 feet.

The best-preserved cliff dwelling is Spruce Tree House. You have fabulous views of Spruce Tree House from viewpoints near the Chapin Mesa Archeological Museum.

Take also Mesa Top Loop Road, a 6-mile (10 km) drive. Along the road, you’ll find short, easily accessible paved trails to view archeological sites, including surface sites and overlooks of cliff dwellings—the ancient homes and villages of the Ancestral Pueblo people who lived there for more than 700 years. Highlights include Square Tower House Overlook and views of Cliff Palace from Sun Point View and Sun Temple. The Mesa Top Loop Road is open daily from 8:00 am to sunset.

You can also visit Far View Sites Complex, Step House, and Badger House.

ancient homes and villages of the Ancestral Pueblo in Mesa Verde National Park.
Cliff Dwelling tour in Mesa Verde National Park.

Cliff Dwelling Tour Tickets

It’s important to know that you can enter most cliff dwellings only on a ticketed tour with a ranger. The one cliff dwelling that you can visit without a tour is Step House on Wetherill Mesa.

So, purchase your tickets well in advance. You can do it via recreation.gov or by calling 877-444-6777. On a rolling daily window, tickets are available 14 days in advance, 8:00 am MST. For example, tickets for May 2nd will be available starting April 18th at 8:00 am MDT. More information you will find on the NPS website.

This Colorado itinerary is intense so adapt it to your needs if you want to spend more time in the Park.
If you fail to book tickets for the tour, don’t worry. It’s hard to get them in high season. But the self-guided tour, lots of viewpoints in the park, and short trails will give you plenty of excitement and will take at least 4 hours.

Consider Commercial Half Day Tour

If you fail to get a ranger tour ticket, you can consider a commercial Half Day Mesa Verde Cultural Tour with a guide. You will learn details about the rise of unusual houses on the cliffs. You will hear how people lived in them, what they did, and much more. Thanks to this, you will gain valuable knowledge. The tour takes 4.5 hours, a departure from Mancos, so it is perfect if your time visiting Mesa Verde is limited.

Hiking in Mesa Verde National Park

If you have more time, you can choose some trails in the national park. Short and easy is Point Lookout Trail. Longer is Long House Loop, which is 6 miles roundtrip. Detailed maps and descriptions you will find on the website.

Where to eat in Cortez?

Try Mexican and Southwestern meals in La Casita De Cortez or American cuisine in the Farm Bistro.

Where to stay in Cortez?

In Cortez, we can recommend Retro Inn at Mesa Verde with nostalgic decorations and a camp trailer set up outside. This isn’t a classy place, it’s a funny and charming place.

ancient homes and villages of the Ancestral Pueblo in Mesa Verde before sunset in stunning light.
ancient homes in the rocks in Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado.

Day 10 Colorado Road Trip Itinerary – The Million Dollar Hwy and Durango

The canyon-clinging stretch of spectacular roadway between Silverton, Durango, and Ouray is called “The Million Dollar Highway.” It’s for sure one of the most spectacular drives in the USA. The winding US Highway 550 runs all the way from New Mexico to Colorado. This is a part of the San Juan Skyway loop. This highway was built in the late 1880s.

The Million Dollar Highway section connects Ouray and Silverton and is lined with many small adventure towns and ghost-mining villages. It’s only 25 miles (40 km). Between Durango and Silverton, the Skyway loosely parallels the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad. The road climbs up to 3 very high mountain passes. The views are stunning. It’s beautiful.

The only problem with this all-loop is that you have to drive and back one part to connect it with Mesa Verde. That’s why we split it into two days. And we suggest repeating the part from Durango to Ouray because it’s absolutely stunning.

So, if you have to shorten your Colorado itinerary to 10 days and you have to choose one part of the San Juan Skyway loop, choose The Million Dollar Highway. From Montrose, go directly to Durango via Ouray and Silverton, visit Mesa Verde National Park, and drive back to Durango. Here you will find more photos and tips from driving the Million Dollar Highway.

colorful buildling in Silverton along the The Million Dollar Hwy.
driving The Million Dollar Hwy: Silverton main street.

The Million Dollar Hwy to Ouray

So, early in the morning, from Cortez, drive directly to Durango. Skip stop in Durango (we suggest visiting it in the afternoon). And from Durango go to Ouray. From Cortez to Ouray, you have 116 miles and about 2 hours and 30 minutes of driving with breathtaking views.

Stop in Silverton and Ouray. This second town is also called “the Switzerland of America.” Enjoy curves, waterfalls, fabulous views, and clean mountain air.

Ouray is also famous for hot springs pools with spectacular views of the mountains. We suggest soaking there for an hour or two and relaxing. We love it, and it’s only $18 per adult. Return from Ouray to Durango, where we suggest to overnight.

historic hotel buildling in Ouray on The Million Dollar Hwy.
The Million Dollar Hwy.
city park in Ouray with mountain view and white dog playing on the grass.
hot spring pools in Ouray with mountain view.

Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad

There is also another solution. Durango is famous for the railway linking it to Silverton. It is one of the greatest attractions in this part of Colorado. You can consider a trip to Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad. The views are beautiful. But it is worth booking a trip well in advance.

But, you won’t see Ouray then. Therefore, if you choose this option, you can go to Ouray the day before. From Montrose, go to Ouray, return to Ridgway, and via Telluride to Cortez. It’s only 16 miles one way from Ridgway to Ouray.

train locomotive belching steam during Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad ride.
scenic train ride: Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad

Rafting in Durango

Durango is also a fabulous place for rafting and kayaking, one of the best in Colorado. You will find great deals at very favorable prices. Worth considering in the Colorado itinerary for at least 2 hours of rafting with lots of fun.

Where to eat in Durango?

In Durango, we ate delicious steaks at Ken and Sue’s, and we can highly recommend this charming place.

Where to stay in Durango?

Durango offers a wide selection of accommodations. Consider Adventure Inn Durango, Fairfield Inn & Suites, or something else that suits your needs.

Day 11 Colorado Road Trip Itinerary – Pagosa Springs and Great Sand Dunes National Park

It’s 169 miles and 3 hours 30 minutes driving from Durango to Sand Dunes National Park via US-160 W. So, start your trip early in the morning.

Take a rest at Pagosa Springs

Along the way, you have the picturesque hot springs town of Pagosa Springs. It’s 60 miles from Durango via US-160 W. It’s worth staying here for an hour or two. The pleasure of immersing in hot springs costs $67 per adult and $55 per kid, which is why many people stay here all day.

Here you can book your ticket online. But, if you have to choose one of the hot springs – you will definitely have nicer views in Ouray, and they are much cheaper.

pools with hot water in pagosa springs

Visiting Great Sand Dunes National Park

Depending on your interests, you need at least 3-5 hours for a trip through the Great Sand Dunes NP. There are no reservations to visit or limit on the number of visitors in the park and preserve. What can you do during your visit?

Hiking the Great Sand Dunes

You can go for a walk in the dunes. But pack plenty of water, wear sun protection, and a scarf and hat to protect you from sand particles. Hiking the dunes in the heat is much more tiring than hiking in the mountains. An hour – two is enough to climb to the top of one of the dunes and admire the views.

stream and dunes with mountains in the backdrop in the Great Sand Dunes National Park.
dunes in Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado.

Sandboarding & Sand Sledding in Great Sand Dunes

They are trendy sports in the national park and provide a lot of fun. From the main Dunes Parking Area, it’s a minimum 0.7 mile (1km) hike to get to the small or medium-sized slopes. The top of the first high ridge is 1.25 miles.

Sand Sledding in Great Sand Dunes
Sand Sledding in Great Sand Dunes

Splashing in Medano Creek

Splashing at Medano Creek is very popular with children. It’s a seasonal stream. But always check the weather and water levels before you decide to have fun.

Ranger Programs

There are also free Ranger programs in the high season. So you can check their schedule before your visit.

Great Sand Dunes National Park with mountains peaks covered by snow in the backdrop.

Medano Pass Primitive Road

If you have a 4-wheel drive and driving experience in deep sand, you can do Medano Pass Primitive Road. But it’s a high-clearance 4WD only.

Hike to Zapata Falls

Another option is to hike to Zapata Falls. It is a short but beautiful trail outside the park area. It leads to a 30-foot waterfall. The waterfall was still icy in May, but it is worth seeing this place regardless of the season. It was amazing to experience one day walking in the cold and admiring a frozen waterfall, and moments later wandering into the sand of the desert.

The trail also offers beautiful panoramic views of San Luis Valley and the Great Sand Dunes National Park. The Zapata Falls Recreational Area is approximately 3 miles south of the Great Sand Dunes National Park entrance. The sign and road for Zapata Falls will be on your right. The road is a rough gravel surface and steep for 3 miles to the parking lot. The hike distance is a 0.8-mile round trip.

Agnes Stabinska, the author, is hiking on ice to Zapata Falls. water in falls is frozen, as we were there in late April.
Agnes Stabinska, the author, is hiking in the Great Sand Dunes National Park.

Day 12 Colorado Road Trip Itinerary – Westcliffe and Colorado Springs

Colorado Road Trip – Visiting Westcliffe

We suggest you add a less popular but charming town to Colorado Itinerary – Westcliffe.
From Great Sand Dunes National Park, take US-160 E and CO-69 N. It’s about 2 hours and 15 minutes, or 93 miles. The road is very picturesque, and the views are simply spectacular.

Picturesque Westcliffe is tucked between the Wet Mountains to the east and the Sangre de Cristo Range to the west. The town has several cozy pubs and souvenir shops. Just next door, the historic Silver Cliff former mining camp offers stunning views of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.

prairie dog in Colorado.
rulal view in Westcliffe: a man is driving a green tractor in the background there are majestic snow-capped mountain peaks
historic mining items and inscription: thanks for visiting historic Silver Cliff.

Colorado Springs

After visiting Westcliffe, we suggest heading toward Colorado Springs. It’s an hour and a half drive and 77 miles via CO-96 E and CO-115 N. The road, like almost all routes in Colorado, is picturesque. If you have time on the way, it is worth stopping at Beaver Creek State Wildlife Area.

The Beaver Creek canyon is a remote and quiet wilderness destination with great opportunities for birding and wildlife viewing. You can spot bighorn sheep, elk, deer, beavers, mountain lions, coyotes, foxes, rattlesnakes, and even bears.

And just in front of Colorado Springs, Cheyenne Mountain State Park is worth a visit if you have more time. Cheyenne Mountain offers superior facilities and recreational opportunities. Foremost among the park’s offerings is the trail system consisting of 28 miles of hiking and biking trails. Moreover, it’s a perfect place for camping.

Where to eat in Colorado Springs?

We recommend Urban Egg, a daytime eatery, and the excellent Carlos Bistro.

Where to stay in Colorado Springs?

You will find large selections of hotels in Colorado Springs. During our Colorado road trip, we stayed in budget Mecca Motel, close to Garden of the Gods. See the best deals.


prairie dog in colorado is in dry grass and holds a lot of dry grass in his mouth and cheeks.

Day 13 Colorado Road Trip Itinerary- Pikes Peak and Manitou Springs

Pikes Peak Highway

The Colorado Road Trip would be incomplete without the famous Pikes Peak Highway. The serpentine rises the 14,115-foot (4,302 m) summit of America’s most famous mountain. It is worth adding this trip to your Colorado Itinerary. The road is paved but full of bends. The views are stunning.

Check out detailed tips on how to prepare for the Pikes Peak Highway adventure.

The Pikes Peak Highway is a 19-mile one-way (31 km) toll road that runs from Cascade near Colorado Springs to Pikes Peak. It cost $15 per adult (16+), $5 per child ( 6 to 15 years old), or $50 per car (up to 5 passengers).

Reserve at least 3-4 hours for driving there and back, including taking photos and some stops to enjoy the beauty of nature. Remember to stay hydrated at this altitude. There are no gas stations along the highway. Start your trip early in the morning.

You can book the Cog Railway to the top if you don’t want to drive.

Pikes Peak highway serpentine.
the mountain view from Pikes Peak Highway
the lake and forest view from Pikes Peak Highway

Relax in Manitou Springs

After the route to Pikes Peak, we suggest short rest in Manitou Springs. The town is beautifully situated, you can walk here for an hour or two. You will find plenty of good food, restaurants, shops, and other attractions. The best we suggest is below.

Visiting Manitou Cliff Dwellings

Manitou Cliff Dwellings would be a perfect option if you could not get your Mesa Verde National Park guided tour ticket. The site is not as impressive as the national park. It only has one cliff. But if you haven’t had the chance to get a closer look at the cliff dwellings – it’s worth adding it to your Colorado itinerary.

The visit will take you up to an hour or a half. The admission cost is $12.75 for adults and $8.00 for kids. In addition to cliff dwellings, you will find a fascinating museum and a good-quality gift shop.

orange buildlings in the rock in Manitou Cliff Dwellings

Cave of the Winds Mountain Park

Another option to consider when visiting the Manitou Springs area is the Cave of the Winds Mountain Park. But if you’ve ever been to the phenomenal Carlsbad Caverns National Park in New Mexico, you might be disappointed in Cave of the Winds.

Especially since the admission ticket is quite expensive. 45 minutes tour cost $28 for ages 13 & Up and $18 for ages 4-12. We think it’s worth adding to your Colorado itinerary only if you haven’t seen other spectacular caves before.

Colorado Road Trip – Garden of the Gods

Another attraction worth seeing located right next to Manitou Springs is the Garden of the Gods. It is a wonderful park with amazing red rock formations. Add it to your Colorado itinerary. There is a car route with numerous viewpoints and many hiking trails.

Admission to the park is free. You need 2-3 hours to see this place. The park offers the possibility of cycling and rock climbing. There are also various educational events and programs that you can check on the official website.

rocks in Garden of the Gods
Garden of the Gods
rocks in Garden of the Gods

Where to stay?

The best option is to stay for the last night in Denver. For sure it is the cheapest and the city by night is also amazing.


Day 14 Colorado Road Trip Itinerary – Return to Denver

Our Colorado itinerary ends in Denver. Depending on how much time you have, go back to the first day and choose the attractions in Denver that best suit your interests.

We hope you found inspiration for your trip in our Colorado itinerary. We wish you a fabulous Colorado road trip.
If you like our post – share it, please.

car on the sharp bend on Pikes Peak Highway


  1. We never did more than drive through Colorado.  So it was great to see a road trip itinerary that we could follow to take in all the sights.  We might actually stretch our trip to 3 weeks and take it at a bit of a slower pace.  Good tip about packing for any kind of weather.  We forget that sometimes road tripping in the summer.  I was nodding as I read this post.  Saving it for future planning.

  2. I have not been to Colorado since I was
    camping with my parents 40 years ago. I remember many parts of the state and it
    is always in the back of my mind to return. Surprisingly, I haven’t spent any
    real time in Denver, it would be a lot of fun to see a Rockies game. Would love
    to visit Rattlesnake
    Arches and drive the million dollar highway. Bookmarked, I love this itinerary! 

  3. I’ll have to look into the America the Beautiful pass before our next trip! I haven’t ever done a true road trip, but it looks like Colorado is a great place to start. Honestly, I haven’t even been to Colorado, so I need to put it on my list – road trip or not! 

  4. My husband’s daughter lives in Denver so we have covered a lot of the area. But on July 17-24 we will be staying at the Grand Junction Area. We will definitely explore the Colorado National Monument and more because we have a week!

  5. As many times as I have traveled to and through Colorado as I zigzagged the US on petsitting adventures, I have never been on the Million Dollar Highway.  Now I have to go back!  The information about the parks that are requiring reservations is very valuable.  Not knowing that could spoil an entire day and create a huge disappointment.  So, thanks for that info!

  6. Wow, I had no idea there’s so much nature & such lovely national parks and hiking trails in Colorado. The Rocky Mountain National park looks awesome, and I’d love to do this kind of road trip some time. Bear Lake Road also looks great, the hiking trails must be awesome, I can see. The exclamation point is one to head to for sure, the views look stunning!

  7. This looks like a great plan. We haven’t been to Colorado so, this is going to be so exciting. Did not realize that there is so much to see and do. Thank you for this detailed post and the tips. Bookmarking this for future reference. 

  8. This definitely sounds and looks like an epic road trip full of gorgeous landscapes! I love all the different activities along the way, hiking to sand sledding which would be so fun to watch. It’s a great tip you shared to pre-book due to availability, unfortunately spontaneous road trips are not possible in a lot of places now with Covid. 

  9. Drove through Colorado a few times for work and yep it’s one of the most beautiful states I’ve seen. Would love to go back for leisure. So much wildlife it seems! Love the photos thanks for sharing 

  10. Thank you for the detailed descriptions of your road trip! The photos look wonderful and it’s a good way to spend time out and embracr the nature! 

  11. I have never been to Colorado but have had it on my list of places to see. I will remember to do the road trip while I am there. Such amazing places to see and do. I would definitely love to spend time at Rocky Mountain national park, looks stunning. I will make sure to be there for a few weeks to hike around the national parks.

  12. I’m always in love with road trip itineraries where you get to spot animals, birds, just wildlife in general. My toddler would totally love to spot them all. Thanks for the info about having to get the timed entry permit and tip about packing enough food and drinks. The cliff dwelling at Mesa Verde is very very interesting. I wouldn’t miss that. My toddler would go nuts over the steam engine railways!!!

  13. I always love going on a good road trip with family and friends. Colorado is also the perfect destination because of all the scenic highways to take. Rocky National park is beautiful and I would love to visit the cliff dwelling at Mesa Verde. I prefer being outside on vacation so this blog is perfect for that. Thanks for sharing!

  14. Wow Colorado looks stunning. What an epic adventure and it is a beautiful road trip and I love the way you have mapped out a perfect 10 days itinerary. Just for the wild life (which are so amazing) and snow capped mountains, I want to visit this part of the world. I will surely visit the Rocky mountain national park and Denver.

  15. Wow! I didn’t realie Colorado had so many varied landscapes, from sand dunes, to rocky mountains, to beautiful lakes and sandstone arches. I’ve only been once to Colorado (in Denver) for a weekend. Clearly I have so much more to see. This road trip looks incredible. I’ll probably never have two weeks to do it all, but you’ve introduced so many options for shorter road trips.

  16. I love Colorado. Reading your itinerary brought back so many memories from our trips there. We didn’t make a loop like you did, but we visited several times. Too bad we couldn’t go back this summer. Maybe next year.

  17. These canyons look just amazing – and a bit scary since I broke a leg in a gorge recently 😉 I always thought of Colorado being exclusively for skiers – but I definitely stand corrected. Also, the cute wildlife looks pretty….wild – and very impressive.

  18. These ideas are great! Colorado looks like a beautiful and unique place to visit. I wish to spend weeks or even months exploring this scenic state. Without a doubt, Rocky Mountain National Park is an unmissable stop on Colorado Road Trip Itinerary.

  19. I have wanted to do a road trip in Colorado for the longest! Some of these sights are really incredible; I really want to visit Rocky Mountain National Park and Colorado National Monument. Your itinerary for 10 days sounds perfect for a nature lover and hiking enthusiast like me.

  20. This Colorado Road Trip Itinerary is incredibly helpful. You’ve really thought through everything you need to know before planning a trip. Thank you for this helpful resource. Saving this guide for later!

  21. I am based in Dubai and have applied for my USA tourist visa. I have heard a lot about USA trips, however I was unaware that the landscapes across the highway are quite impressive. The mountains in the distance look stunning.

  22. From the majestic Rocky Mountains to the charming towns, your post paints a vivid picture of the diverse landscapes and experiences Colorado has to offer. Your personal anecdotes and travel tips add a delightful touch, making readers feel like they’re embarking on this epic journey with you. Thanks for sharing this incredible road trip, which has undoubtedly earned its place on my travel bucket list!

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