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Road Trips from Vail, CO: Discovering Scenic Routes and Nearby Destinations

By Sarah Johnson, Posted on 29 May, 2023 at 09:49 am

Road Trips from Vail, CO: Discovering Scenic Routes and Nearby Destinations

Road Trips from Vail, CO: Discovering Scenic Routes and Nearby Destinations

Vail, CO, is not only a destination in itself but also a perfect starting point for unforgettable road trips. Just a short drive away, you'll find scenic routes and nearby destinations that offer breathtaking landscapes, charming towns, and a chance to explore the surrounding beauty. In this blog post, we will guide you through some of the best road trips from Vail, perfect for day trips or weekend getaways.


The Scenic Splendor of Rocky Mountain National Park

Located just a couple of hours from Vail, Rocky Mountain National Park is a must-visit destination for nature lovers. The journey itself is part of the experience, as you drive along the Trail Ridge Road, one of the most scenic drives in the United States.


Once you arrive at the park, you'll be greeted by breathtaking mountain vistas, alpine meadows, and an abundance of wildlife. Explore the park's network of hiking trails, ranging from easy walks to challenging treks, and be rewarded with stunning views of snow-capped peaks, crystal-clear lakes, and cascading waterfalls.

Don't forget to keep an eye out for wildlife, including elk, moose, bighorn sheep, and even the elusive Rocky Mountain goats.


The Quaint Charm of Glenwood Springs

Just an hour's drive west of Vail lies the picturesque town of Glenwood Springs, known for its hot springs and charming downtown area. Start your visit with a relaxing soak in the Glenwood Hot Springs Pool, the largest mineral hot springs pool in the world.


Afterward, take a stroll along the historic streets of downtown Glenwood Springs, lined with boutique shops, art galleries, and inviting restaurants. Don't miss a visit to the historic Hotel Colorado, where you can admire its Victorian architecture and learn about its rich history.


For the adventurous souls, a visit to Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park is a must. Take a thrilling ride on the Glenwood Canyon Flyer, the park's cliffside swing, or explore the stunning underground formations in the Fairy Caves.


Unforgettable Landscapes in Aspen

Located just 40 minutes east of Vail, Aspen is renowned for its luxurious resorts, world-class skiing, and vibrant cultural scene. But beyond its glamorous reputation, Aspen offers stunning natural beauty that is well worth exploring.


Take a scenic drive along Independence Pass, a high mountain pass that offers breathtaking views of the surrounding peaks and valleys. Stop along the way to admire the alpine wildflowers, cascading waterfalls, and the pristine beauty of the White River National Forest.


Once in Aspen, explore the Maroon Bells, two iconic peaks that reflect in the crystal-clear waters of Maroon Lake. This postcard-perfect setting is one of the most photographed places in Colorado and is equally stunning during the summer and fall seasons.


The Historic Mining Town of Leadville

If you're interested in history and want to experience the authentic charm of a historic mining town, a road trip to Leadville is a must. Located about 90 minutes north of Vail, Leadville offers a glimpse into Colorado's mining heritage.


Explore the National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum, where you can learn about the pioneers who shaped the mining industry and discover the rich history of Leadville. Take a walking tour through the town's well-preserved Victorian architecture and visit the Tabor Opera House, a testament to Leadville's vibrant past.


For outdoor enthusiasts, Leadville provides access to numerous hiking and biking trails, including the scenic Mineral Belt Trail, a 12-mile loop that offers panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.


The Majestic Beauty of Mount Evans Scenic Byway

For those seeking awe-inspiring views and a thrilling drive, a trip along the Mount Evans Scenic Byway is a must. Starting just outside of Idaho Springs, this iconic road winds its way up to the summit of Mount Evans, one of Colorado's tallest peaks.


As you ascend, you'll witness the dramatic change in landscapes, from lush forests to alpine tundra. Keep an eye out for wildlife, including mountain goats and bighorn sheep, which are commonly spotted along the road.


Once you reach the summit at over 14,000 feet, you'll be rewarded with panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. On a clear day, you can even see the Denver skyline in the distance.



Vail, CO, serves as an ideal base for exploring the surrounding areas and embarking on unforgettable road trips. From the scenic splendor of Rocky Mountain National Park to the charming towns of Glenwood Springs and Aspen, there is an abundance of natural beauty and cultural experiences just a short drive away. So hit the open road, enjoy the journey, and uncover the hidden gems waiting to be discovered on your road trips from Vail.


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About Author

Sarah Johnson

Sarah produces creative and informative content based on her travel experience. She keeps her blogs up-to-date with the latest information. 

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