Flyover Adventures has finally collected ten articles on Colorado destination, so it’s time for a compilation list. I would call it 10 GREAT Colorado Road Trip Ideas, but one of these destinations was definitely a disappointment.
Sometimes you just need a place to stop and look at something when you’re driving between major destinations, and this list has a good geographic distribution of offbeat destinations.
10. Drive up Pike’s Peak – Right in the heart of Colorado, the plains of the east turn to the mountains of the west, and Colorado Springs is at the base of the 14,114-foot Pike’s Peak. The drive up the mountain is definitely an adventure for your average flat-lander or city dweller.
Save your energy for the drive down, though, because while it’s scary to see the road curving into the sky, it’s TERRIFYING to see the road curving down into a ravine – especially if you can’t remember the last time your brakes were replaced.
9. See the World’s Largest Mushroom Can – While this rates low on the adventure-o-meter, the Savery Savory Mushrooms water tower is one of those quintessential American road trip items.
The suburban town of Westminster Colorado is north of Denver, and though it no longer has a Savery Savory Mushroom farm, the site does have a nice municipal park winding under the iconic water tower.
8. Relax at Dripping Springs Resort in Estes Park – There are tons of lodging destinations to choose from in the vacation town of Estes Park. This happens to be my favorite for three reasons: private cabins, private hot tubs with each cabin and amazing breakfast. We’re not talking big-chain dry breakfast buffets. Every morning is a home-made gourmet treat.
Your hostess can even perform weddings on Big Thompson River if you’re ready to take the leap!
7. Spook yourself at the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park – If you are looking for a paranormal adventure in Estes Park, try the Stanley Hotel. It is widely known as the haunting inspiration for Stephen King’s The Shining, and the place is filled with ghost stories.
If the place doesn’t creep you out on its own merits, just turn on the TV. The movie adaptation of King’s work is on constant loop on the default channel. Spooky, indeed.
6. Watch Bugling Elk Flirt in Rocky Mountain National Park – Most visits to Rocky Mountain Park feature some elk sightings, but catch them in the fall, and you will witness their fascinating and unusual rutting ritual, which includes plenty of chases, fights and eerie noises.
From dinnertime through sundown, the action gets really intense, and crowds of people line the roads to catch the action. It can be dangerous if you aren’t careful, and it can be tricky to find the best viewing spots, so do some research on elk viewing tips for the best results.
5. Explore the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park – The Grand Canyon gets all the press, but Colorado’s Black Canyon is called black because it’s so deep and steep that the sun barely touches much of its floor.
With over a dozen scenic overlooks, you will have tons of photo opportunities, but be sure to pack a lunch if you’re planning to stay awhile – the place does not have any dining services. It’s remote and beautiful, and it’s definitely worth the drive if you have the time while in Southwest Colorado.
4. Try to Find Animals in the Gunnison State Wildlife Area – If you’re staying in Gunnison while visiting the Black Canyon, you’ll need to find some other things to do. We tried to find some animals in the Gunnison State Wildlife Area, but we came up pretty empty. This was the disappointment I mentioned at the top of the article.
Maybe you’ll have better luck, though.
3. Find THE OTHER Chimney Rock in Colorado – Definitely off the beaten path, and definitely not as popular as the Chimney Rock in southern Colorado, this mountaintop chimney feature sits between Kremmling and Steamboat Springs Colorado, about 10 miles off the highway, up some mountains on gravel roads through ranch land and government forests.
Fog or an inattentive drive could easily make this a disappointment, and the way we went wouldn’t get you close enough to climb it or anything, so this isn’t something to get the kids all excited about. It’s a nice diversion, though, if you have the free time.
2. Eat Terrible Mexican Food in a Weird Environment at Casa Bonita in Denver – Unfortunately, you have to order a meal to participate in the cliff-diving, arcade-gaming spectacular that is Casa Bonita. The place isn’t known for it’s food, but it is known for its unusual mix of entertainment attractions.
It’s Like Showbiz Pizza, Sea World and Taco Bell had a baby. The resulting abomination is an out-of-time 1980s relic that will make you smile with kitschy delight.
1. Shut Yourself in a Small Room with Thousands of Clowns – Grampa Jerry’s Clown Museum in Arriba, Colorado, started out as a sweet family bonding activity – collecting clowns.
The danger with collections of clowns is that the larger they grow, the creepier they become. This one-room museum definitely has a creepy vibe, but it definitely has the heart of a family honoring Grampa Jerry’s wacky hobby. It’s definitely worth a stop while you’re traveling down I-70.