The 5 Best Colorado Road Trips

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From Mesa Verde to Aspen to the Garden of the Gods, it’s easy to turn a trek through Colorado into an exciting road trip.
Driving through Colorado is beautiful no matter which direction you go, but you might miss out on some seriously incredible stops if you don’t know what to look for. If you’re about to hit the road through Colorado, make sure to put these must-stops on your itinerary.
Before you head out, make sure you’ve got good roadside assistance to help you through breakdowns and lockouts. The car insurance comparison and broker app Jerry offers an affordable program that includes towing, tire changes, Uber credits, and more for just $6.99 for one car.
Ready to really see the Rockies? Here are five of the best Colorado road trips.
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Pikes Peak

Why go to Pikes Peak

Pikes Peak is one of the most visited mountaintops in the world—and for good reason. The summit offers an unforgettable view of the Rocky Mountains.
Even driving Pikes Peak Highway up to the summit gives drivers 19 full miles of unique mountain scenery to enjoy, as well as frequent stops to pull over, stretch a little, and take some photographs.

What to do at Pikes Peak

A panoramic view from rocky Pikes Peak, Colorado
Pikes Peak, Colorado
  • Take a hike: Simply head out from Colorado Springs and enjoy the ride. Once you’re there, you’ve got a bunch of options for fun ways to spend the day. There are many hiking trails to take for great views.
  • The Broadmoor Manitou & Pikes Peak Cog Railway: If you don't feel like hiking, you can also take a 3-hour train journey through the mountain, stopping at the summit around an hour into the ride.
  • Summit View House: On the summit, you can enjoy hot coffee and a freshly made donut at Summit View House. On the clearest days, you can see Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, Kansas, and Arizona from this 14,000-foot vantage point.
  • Lake activities: Just outside the area, anglers can cast a line and fish for trout in three different lakes from May to October.
Pro Tip North Slope Recreation is a good place to get a meal and spend some time in local shops.

Garden of the Gods

Why go to Garden of the Gods

Garden of the Gods Park sits at the junction of Great Plains grasslands, mountain forests, and pinion-jumper woodlands characteristic of the American Southwest. The park’s most distinctive feature is huge rock formations jutting out of the landscape, making it a rock climber’s paradise.
Plus, it’s only about ten minutes outside of town, making it an easy trip with a big, beautiful payoff.

What to do at Garden of the Gods

Sign for the entrance of the Garden of the Gods Park in Colorado Springs, Colorado
Garden of the Gods Park, Colorado Springs, Colorado
  • Climb: As we mentioned, Garden of the Gods is excellent for rock climbing. You don’t need to be an expert as there are plenty of local outfitters who offer guided rock climbing lessons in the park.
  • Tour other ways: If you aren’t feeling like getting vertical, there are tons of hiking trails plus guided electric bike tours, horseback riding, and even Segway tours available.
  • Visitor and Nature Center: If you want to learn about the area, the Garden of the Gods Visitor & Nature Center offers a variety of fun, educational experiences like group painting and yoga classes.

Mesa Verde

Why go to Mesa Verda

Mesa Verde was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1978 in recognition of its amazing archaeological value. The park protects thousands of archaeological sites, including hundreds of dwellings dug by the Ancestral Pueblo into the sides of cliffs more than 700 years ago.

What to do in Mesa Verde

Mass group of tourist exploring the ruins of Mesa Verde
Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado
  • Take a historical tour: A Mesa Verde trip is all about relishing in local history. We recommend taking a tour of Cliff Palace, Long House, or Balcony House. Tours of all three sites can be booked with Mesa Verde National Park.
  • Take a hike: In addition to touring the cliff dwellings, you can take a short hike that showcases petroglyphs, local wildlife, ancient farming terraces, and the stone homes the Ancestral Pueblo people used before moving into the cliffs.
  • Chapin Mesa Archeological Museum: Afterward, visit the Chapin Mesa Archeological Museum to learn more (and enjoy a bit of A/C).
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Aspen

Why go to Aspen

Aspen is world-famous for its skiing, but the beautiful mountain resort town has plenty to offer visitors year-round. Originally a silver-mining town during the mining boom of the late 1800s, Aspen was revitalized as a destination city in the 1940s and features enough events and attractions to rival many major cities.

What to do in Aspen

Two people relaxing on rocking chairs enjoying the view in Aspen, Colorado
Aspen, Colorado
Your itinerary is prone to change drastically depending on whether or not you’re visiting in the summer or winter.
  • Aspen Snowmass Resort: In winter, visitors can enjoy hitting the slopes on any of the four peaks at the Aspen Snowmass resort. The base of Aspen Mountain actually rises directly out of downtown, making it incredibly easy to get to the lift and hit up a restaurant after a hard day’s play. Those who are looking for something less extreme can look forward to cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and even hot-air balloon rides.
  • In summer, outdoors-oriented visitors can hike, rock climb, go horseback riding, golfing, paragliding, or ride a raft down one of the local rivers.
  • Explore downtown: In town, there’s an extensive events calendar that features programming from the city’s diverse cultural and arts institutions, and even musical theater in a local park.

5. Dinosaur National Monument

Why go to Dinosaur National Monument

Dinosaur National Monument is the prime destination in the United States for dinosaur fanatics. The park is located in the desert near the Utah border and features over 800 sites with preserved fossils from various species of eons-old megafauna including allosaurus, diplodocus, and stegosaurus.

What to do in Dinosaur National Monument

A hay farm near the mountains in Dinosaur National Monument
Dinosaur National Monument, Colorado
  • The Quarry: Visit The Quarry at the monument for a museum exhibit featuring fully reconstructed dinosaur skeletons and interactive exhibits about the ancient giants.
  • Take a hike: After that, put on some sunscreen and a hat and take a hike through one of the park’s trails to see real dinosaur bones and other fossils sticking out of the excavation sites.
  • Go whitewater rafting: To make your trip even more exciting, visit either the nearby Green or Yampa rivers for whitewater rafting. Both rivers contain challenging Class 3 and 4 rapids, as well as a few spots to go for a relatively relaxed swim.

Why you need roadside assistance

A road trip should be a joy ride, but it only takes locking your keys out of your car to turn it into a disaster. If you want your Colorado road trip to go smoothly, it’s best to make sure you’ve got excellent roadside assistance.
Jerry’s roadside assistance program is there to get you out of a jam. It offers towing, lockout assistance, battery jumps, and even Uber credits so you can get to town and stay in a hotel while you’re car is in the shop.
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