Solitude & Scenery: Our Southwestern Colorado Road Trip
By Allison Fitts & Lillian Robinson
If Interstate’s 25 & 70 are the North-South and East-West gateways through Colorado, respectively, then places like Denver, Fort Collins, Vail, Colorado Springs, and Grand Junction are its landmark towns. These hot spots have so much to offer travelers, but the same travelers would be remiss to only travel to places like this when there are gorgeous places in the state that are found via less traveled roads. Case in point, the heart of Colorado across Gunnison, Rio Grande, San Juan, and Uncompahgre National Forests. This beautiful and less visited area of the state is worth a visit of its own, or perhaps individual visits to some of its coolest little mountain towns. So grab a campervan from the Denver rental location and hit the road on this southwestern Colorado road trip!
Known as the most posh and celebrity-filled of Colorado’s mountain towns, Aspen is a unique blend of upscale and backcountry. Spend time in the downtown and enjoy dozens of nice restaurants, riding around using the free bike share program and fantasy house hunt through all of the town’s beautiful properties. Venture a bit outside of town to enjoy the Maroon Bells Wilderness Area and its namesake peaks. Parking is limited at the peaks, so take the low-cost bus ride there from Aspen. Plus, at this time of year, the Aspen trees are turning their signature yellow color for fall.
This classic Mountain West town is tucked away in the Rockies and not easy to get to from anywhere, but once you arrive, you will see it was well worth the journey. No matter the time of year, the must-do activity is the hot springs right along the main stretch of town. We promise you won’t find a better view while sitting in hot springs anywhere else!
Once you enjoy your soak in Ouray, take a drive around Mt. Sneffels and dip down into Telluride, the festival capital of Colorado. Enjoy the Telluride Bluegrass Festival in June, the Telluride Film Festival over Labor Day Weekend or one of the many events that call this place home. Outside of all the wonderful festivals, there are unparalleled views, lovely hikes and outdoor opportunities galore!
While we cannot speak much to the activity going on Gunnison, we can mention it’s beautiful bluffs as well as its easy access to nearby Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. It is well worth a stop, if for no other reason than grabbing some gas and a meal between the mountains few and far between towns.
By far the tiniest of the places on our list (though none are booming metropolises), Saguache has a population of 488. A drive through this quaint place will lead to one of Allison’s personal favorite parts of Colorado, the San Luis Valley. Drive for miles and miles along county roads, enjoying expansive views of the valley, the neighboring Sangre de Cristo Range of the Rockies and see hardly a car or a single soul pass you by for miles on end.
Are you intrigued by diverse desert landscapes, river canyons, and snow-capped mountains? Book your Escape campervan and discover the beauty of southwestern Colorado today!