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

Day 1: Denver

Denver is a big city as well as a natural wonder. Known as the “Mile High City,” Denver offers all the convenience of a metropolis along with great access to nature. Famous as a destination for skiers, Denver also offers a variety of other forms of entertainment within its various neighborhoods.

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Root Down

Aiming to connect their local community to the food they serve, Root Down is an excellent destination that provides a variety of options 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 one of 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 this Road trip after Denver is Rocky Mountain, National Park. It is one of the most visited parks in the US and one of the most stunning locations in the entire state. Not too far from Denver itself, this destination is first on the list, so travelers will have plenty of time to explore the wonder of the park.

Related: Visit Natural Hot Springs And More At Colorado's Buena Vista

Hiking the Park

With so many great hikes available in this park it may be hard to choose. First Travelers should decide which type of hike they would prefer then decide how long and how difficult of a hike they wish to do. There are lake hikes, waterfall hikes, and summit hikes available in the park. Some hikes are as short as 0.6 miles and 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.

Wildlife Viewing

Rocky Mountain National Park is an excellent location for catching glimpses of wildlife. Not only is it the home of megafauna, but it is also the residence of over 60 other species of mammals, more than 280 bird species, six amphibians including the endangered boreal toad, the harmless garter snake, 11 species of fish, and countless insects.

  • Safety Advice - stay 70 feet away 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 need to rely on your smartphone.

Day 3: Telluride

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

Hiking Telluride

Telluride is the home to many stunning hikes, many of which come with scenic waterfall vistas. Travelers need to pay attention to the length and difficulty of the hikes as they will only have 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) 1 hour 51 minutes, 3.1 miles (5 km), map

Chop House Restaurant

A classic steak house with a tailored wine list, this is an excellent stop for any traveler's visit to Telluride. They do much more than steak though, so 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

Related: 5-Day Bucket-List Road Trip Circuit: Explore Scenic Maine

Day 4: Buena Vista

Buena Vista is 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 is the home to mountain sports, hot springs, and so much more.

Hiking Buena Vista

Travelers on this road trip may be tired out from hiking already, but if they aren’t, then Buena Vista’s stunning high-mountain elevation comes with a variety of hikes. Here are a few to check out for the 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) 6 hours 14 minutes, 10.2 miles (16.4 km) map
  • Lost Lake Trail - (Moderate) 1 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 city of Buena Vista there are a variety of kayaking and rafting options available for visitors.

Day 5: Back to Denver

With this road trip coming to an end it's time to head back to Denver and enjoy one last day in the city. There is so much to in Denver so travelers will be sure to find a few more ways to enjoy their trip before marking the official end.

  • Travel Distance - 123 miles, 2 hours 16 minutes
  • Google Maps
  • Total Travel Time - 15 hours 32 minutes
  • Total Travel Distance - 814 miles
  • Route Map