Travel ▻ North America ▻ United States8-Day Colorado Mountain Loop Self-Drive
8-Day Colorado Mountain Loop Self-Drive

8-Day Colorado Mountain Loop Self-Drive

8 days

8-Day Colorado Mountain Loop Self-Drive
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See the best of the Colorado Mountains! Quaint mining towns, amazing mountain views, outdoor activities, and amazing dining options. If you have the time, we highly recommend spending 2 nights in each location.

In the summer, this is a great trip to get escape the heat and see the beautiful wildflowers. In the fall, this is a great trip to see the fall colors. In the winter, we can make a few changes to accommodate either Epic Pass ski areas or Ikon Pass ski areas.

We can customize your trip based on the activities you like most: Hiking, Biking, Fly fishing, Hot springs, 4x4 roads, Wine tasting, Rock climbing, Historic trains and mine tours.

This trip can start and end in Denver, Colorado Springs, and/or Pueblo.

Customize this experience to be as luxury or minimalist as you want. Let us know your preferred driving daily maximums, total number of travel days, preferred activities and choose to camp out, stay in hand-selected vacation homes or hotels. Our Colorado expert will help plan the perfect getaway for your exact interests and capabilities. From a 3-day culinary and wine retreat to a three-week action-packed mountain adventure, we have you covered!

Were you planning a trip to the French/Swiss Alps or the Dolomites? Colorado has the mountains are you looking for!

Full Itinerary DETAILED ITINERARY >> ITINERARY IN BRIEF >>

Day 1: Drive from Denver through Idaho Springs and Georgetown to Breckenridge (2h Driving)

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Drive 2 hours from Denver to Breckenridge. Stop along the way for lunch in the quaint mining town of Idaho Springs at the local's favorites, Tommyknocker Brewery or the Buffalo Restaurant. Another option en route is the historic Georgetown Loop Railroad that travels from Georgetown to Silver Plume with a visit inside a mine.

Once in Breckenridge, explore the beautiful Main Street, which is currently closed off as a pedestrian area with outdoor dining. Some options to consider this afternoon:

  • Drive up Boreas Pass for great views of the surrounding mountains.
  • Hiking and Biking -- So many options! The paved Blue River Recreation Path goes through town and along the river 9 miles to Frisco and all the way around Lake Dillon. There are hundreds of miles of mountain biking and hiking trails for beginners to experts.
  • Golf at the Breckenridge Golf Club and see if the balls do travel farther at altitude!
  • DON'T MISS: The Breckenridge Troll is a 15-foot scupture a short distance from the ice arena.

Overnight in downtown condo.

DRIVING:

  • Total Driving Time: 2 hours, 80 miles

Meals included: n/a

Day 2: Drive through Vail and Leadville to Aspen (3h30m Driving)

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The Blue Moose has an amazing breakfast with outdoor seating. Take a nice walk around the 1.2 mile Iowa Hill Mine Trail through an abandoned mining site, or add a day in Breckenridge and tackle the 14,265-foot Quandary Peak.

Drive 1 hour from Breckenridge to Vail. You will go through the cute town of Frisco, past the Copper Mountain Ski Area, and over Vail Pass. Vail is a cute Austrian village, great for strolling and an outdoor lunch. It is also popular to get dropped off with your bike a the top of Vail Pass and ride down to town.

Drive 1 hour from Vail to Leadville, the highest incorporated town in the U.S. at 10,200 feet. An optional add-on is spending a night in mountain hut. There are 4 huts within easy access from Leadville with amazing hiking, biking, and mountain views.

Drive 1.5 hours from Leadville to Aspen over Independence Pass (12,095 feet). The most iconic site near Aspen is the Maroon Bells (reservation required).

Overnight in B&B or rental downtown.

DRIVING:

  • Total Driving Time: 3.5 hours

Meals included: n/a

Day 3: Drive through Glenwood Springs to Palisade (2h Driving)

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After breakfast and stroll through downtown Aspen, Drive 1 hour from Aspen to Glenwood Springs. Glenwood Springs is famous for its hot springs, Hanging Lake, and Glenwood Caverns.

Drive 1 hour from Glenwood Spring to Palisade. Enjoy an afternoon of wine tasting at some of the over 30 wineries. It is also famous for its peach orchards and other fruits, so be sure to stop at one of the many fruit stands. Follow the "Fruit and Wine Byway" which has 3 popular routes with orchards, farms, wineries, and local stops. This is a great option for road biking as well.

Overnight B&B or rental property, or at the historic Four Mile Creek B&B near Glenwood Springs

DRIVING:

  • Total Driving Time: 2 hours, 116 miles

Meals included: n/a

Day 4: Drive to Ouray (2h Driving)

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For the avid mountain biker, we recommend adding a night in Palisade and spend the day biking in Fruita, or the Palisade Plunge with 32 miles of downhill single track. There are over 51 mountain bike trails within 1 hour of Palisade.

Drive 2 hours from Palisade to Ouray. Ouray boats 5 local hot springs, miles of 4-wheel-drive mountain roads, world-class fly fishing, rock climbing, and extensive mountain biking and hiking trails. Or try the new Via Ferrata!

Overnight in B&B, rental downtown, or Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs.

DRIVING:

  • Total Driving Time: 2 hours, 101 miles

Meals included: n/a

Day 5: Drive to Telluride or Durango/Pagosa Springs (1-2h Driving)

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You have 2 options from Ouray -- Telluride or Durango/Pagosa Springs.

1) TELLURIDE

Drive 1 hour one-way to the beautiful Victorian mining town of Telluride. Besides the incredible views, Telluride offers amazing dining, shopping, and outdoor activities like horseback riding, 4x4 and ATV roads, biking, and hiking. This is also a great place for a hot air balloon ride!

2) DURANGO & PAGOSA SPRINGS

Drive to Durango and Pagosa Springs before heading to Crested Butte via South Form and the back road through the Rio Grande National Forest.

The Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad is currently operating from Rockwood to Cascade Canyon, which takes about 2 hours. It is a 1.5 hour drive from Ouray to Rockwood. Then you can continue another 18 miles to Durango, and 1 more hour to Pagosa Springs.

Overnight B&B or rental property

DRIVING:

  • Total Driving Time: 1-2 hours

Meals included: n/a

Day 6: Drive to Crested Butte (3h30m Driving)

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Drive to Crested Butte through the college town of Gunnison. Although it boasts an incredible ski area, Crested Butte still maintains the small-town feeling. In the afternoon, explore the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, or take the chairlift up to hike the 1.25 mile trail to the Mt. Crested Butte summit.

There are so many mountain biking trails, there is a separate app. Crested Butte also has an 18-hole Robert Trent Jones Jr. Championship Golf Course.

There is a hike from Crested Butte to Aspen over West Maroon Pass that is about 12 miles one-way. You can hike one-way, spend the night in Aspen, and then hike back the next day.

Overnight in B&B or vacation rental.

DRIVING:

  • Total Driving Time: 3.5 Hours

Meals included: n/a

Day 7: Drive to Salida (2h Driving)

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Drive to Salida over Monarch Pass. The Arkansas River is a real highlight here with river rafting and fly fishing.

Check out River's Edge Restaurant for patio dining, Soulcraft Brewing for a local beer, and Wood's High Mountain Distillery for hand-crafted cocktails.

Overnight B&B, rental property, or Mount Princeton Hot Springs Resort.

DRIVING:

  • Total Driving Time: 2 hours, 92 miles

Meals included: n/a

Day 8: Drive to Denver, Colorado Springs, or Pueblo (2-3h Driving)

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Drive back to Denver, Colorado Springs, or Pueblo.

DRIVING:

  • Total Drive Time: 2-3 hours

Meals included: n/a

Pricing

8-Day Colorado Mountain Loop Self-Drive
Contact Us for Pricing
*** Contact Us for other itinerary and lodging options! ***

NOTE: Prices are per person in U.S. dollars based on double/triple occupancy. All quotations are based on the current rates of park fees, VAT, other government taxes, and current exchange rates. Should any of these be increased or a new tax introduced, these increases will be added on even if your trip has already been paid for.

INCLUDES:
  • All accommodations per itinerary
  • All meals per itinerary (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
  • All tours and entrance fees per itinerary (unless listed as excluded)
  • All transportation and transfers per itinerary
EXCLUDES:
  • International and domestic flights
  • Meals not listed
  • Beverages and alcohol
  • Tips for guides, drivers, hotel staff
  • Optional tours
  • Single room supplement
  • Personal expenses (visas, airport taxes, Internet, etc.)

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