5-Day Bucket List Road Trip Circuit: Explore Colorado


Quick Links

  • Day 1: Denver
  • Day 2: Rocky Mountain National Park
  • Day 3: Telluride
  • Day 4: Buena Vista
  • Day 5: Back to Denver

Colorado is known as a destination for skiers but it's so much more than that. Using the Rocky Mountains cutting through it, there is an abundance of high elevation adventure to be had here.This five-day journey will take travelers on a circuit throughout the mountains of Colorado. The drives themselves through passes and mountain roads is going to be full of sights and wonder.

First day: Denver

Denver is a big city as well as a natural wonder. Referred to as “Mile High City,” Denver offers all of the ease of a metropolis together with great use of nature. Famous as a place to go for skiers, Denver also offers other forms of entertainment within its various neighborhoods.

  • Must-See – Denver Botanic Gardens, Denver Union Station, Denver Museum of Nature & Science

Root Down

Aiming to connect their neighborhood to the food they serve, Root Down is an excellent destination that provides a number of choices to fulfill any palate’s desires.

  • Address – 1600 W 33rd Ave, Denver, CO 80211-3507
  • Contact – (303)993-4200
  • Cost – $$-$$$
  • Must-Try – Rockfish Tom Kha and Steak
  • Menu

Corinne Restaurant

Corinne Denver aims to bypass complexity and serve its patrons what it is they actually desire. This is among the best restaurants in Denver, with their modern yet comfortable feel.

  • Address – 1455 California St Le Meridien Hotel, Denver, CO 80202
  • Contact – (720)996-1555
  • Cost – $$-$$$
  • Must-Try – Wild Mushroom Bolognese
  • Menu

Day 2: Rocky Mountain National Park

The first destination of the Road trip after Denver is Rocky Mountain, National Park. It's one of the most visited parks in the US and one of the very most stunning locations within the entire state. Not too far from Denver itself, this destination is first out there, so travelers may have sufficient time look around the wonder from the park.

  • Accommodations – Campgrounds, hotels/cabins
  • Travel Distance – 69.5 miles, 1 hour 23 minutes
  • Google Maps

Hiking the Park

With so many great hikes obtainable in this park it might be difficult to choose. First Travelers make the decision which kind of hike they would prefer then decide how long and just how difficult of a hike they wish to do. You will find lake hikes, waterfall hikes, and summit hikes obtainable in the park. Some hikes are as short as 0.6 miles plus some are as long as six miles. You may even be able to fit multiple into your day. A link to the Rocky Mountain National Park’s website, where they break down each hike, is below.

  • Types – Lake, Waterfall, Summit
  • Distance – 0.6 to 6 miles
  • Park Trail Guide

Wildlife Viewing

Rocky Mountain National Park is a superb place for catching glimpses of wildlife. It's not only the home of megafauna, but it is also the residence of over 60 other species of mammals, more than 280 bird species, six amphibians such as the endangered boreal toad, the harmless garter snake, 11 species of fish, and countless insects.

  • Safety Advice – stay 70 feet from any animal, 120 feet from dangerous ones (bears, moose, and cougars)
  • Photography Advice – bring a camera with a zoom lens, so you don’t have to rely on your smartphone.

Day 3: Telluride

It's a six-hour plus drive to Telluride through the mountains so make sure to have an early start. The drive is half the experience though, and the afternoon and evening should be available for exploring the town. Being a ski resort town, travelers will have relief for a time as there are a surprising quantity of fine dining locations and accommodations to take comfort in upon your arrival.

  • Must-Visit – Telluride Mountain Village Gondola, Telluride Ski Resort, Telluride Historical Museum
  • Travel Distance – 355 miles, Six hours 23 minutes
  • Google Maps

Hiking Telluride

Telluride may be the home to many stunning hikes, a few of which include scenic waterfall vistas. Travelers need to pay focus on the length and difficulty of the hikes because they is only going to come with an afternoon to complete them.

  • Bear Creek Falls – (Easy) 1-hour climb 2 miles (3.2 km) map
  • Blue Lakes Trail – (Hard, only do if there’s enough sunlight left) 4 hours 36 minutes, 8.7 miles (14 km), map
  • Bridal Veil hike – (Moderate) 2 hours 32 minutes, 4.8 miles (7.7 km), map
  • Jud Wiebe Trail – (Moderate) One hour 51 minutes, 3.1 miles (5 km), map

Chop House Restaurant

A classic steak house having a tailored wine list, this is an excellent stop for just about any traveler's visit to Telluride. They do a lot more than steak though, so that you can be sure that you will enjoy your fine dining experience.

  • Address – 233 W Colorado Ave New Sheridan Hotel, Telluride, CO 81435
  • Contact – (970)728-9100
  • Cost – $$$$
  • Must-Try – Chop House Burger
  • Menu

Day 4: Buena Vista

Buena Vista is really a stunning high mountain city surrounded by peaks that stretch over 14,000 feet (4,267 meters) up. The city itself sits at 7,966 feet (2,428 meters) above sea level. This high mountain paradise may be the the place to find mountain sports, hot springs, and a whole lot.

  • Must-Visit – Hot Springs, Buena Vista River Park, Deerhammer Distillery
  • Travel Distance – 213 miles, 4 hours 2 minutes
  • Google Maps

Hiking Buena Vista

Travelers about this journey might be tired out from hiking already, but when they aren’t, then Buena Vista’s stunning high-mountain elevation has a variety of hikes. Here are a few to look at for that hearty traveler who still feels up to it.

  • Huron Peak via North Huron Trail – (Hard) 4 h 29 minutes, 6.6 miles (10.6 km) map
  • Mount Yale Summit Trail – (Hard) Six hours 14 minutes, 10.2 miles (16.4 km) map
  • Lost Lake Trail – (Moderate) One hour 12 minutes, 2.6 miles (4.2 km) map
  • Kroenke Lake Trail – (Moderate) 3 hours 57 minutes, 8.4 (13.5 km) map
  • Mount Harvard Trail – (Hard) 7 hour 46 minutes, 14.1 (22.7 km) map

Kayaking and Rafting Buena Vista

With the Arkansas River running next to the town of Buena Vista there are a variety of kayaking and rafting possibilities for visitors.

  • Noah's Ark Whitewater Rafting – 23910 US Hwy. 285, Buena Vista, CO 81211, [email protected]
  • Performance Tours Rafting – 107 Ski Hill Road, Breckenridge, CO 80424, [email protected]
  • Rocky Mountain Outdoor Center – 23850 Hwy 285 S, Buena Vista, CO 81211, [email protected]

Day 5: To Denver

With this journey ending you're ready to head back to Denver and enjoy one last day in the city. There is a lot to in Denver so travelers will be certain to find a few more ways to enjoy their trip before marking the official end.

  • Travel Distance – 123 miles, A couple of hours 16 minutes
  • Google Maps
  • Total Travel Time – 15 hours 32 minutes
  • Total Travel Distance – 814 miles
  • Route Map

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