The Only 4-Day Colorado Road Trip Itinerary Youll Ever Need

If you happen to solely have 4 days in Colorado, you’ll see fairly a bit with this locally-curated Colorado highway journey itinerary.

Consider me, there are such a lot of totally different stops to make on a Colorado highway journey, that it’s arduous to boil it down to simply 4 days. Like me, you would spend a lifetime right here and nonetheless not see every part.

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This 4 day Colorado highway journey itinerary delivers you a style of the totally different areas of Colorado with out feeling too rushed. You’ll be in a brand new place every day so you possibly can actually get a taste for the epic magnificence the Centennial State has to supply.

There may be quite a lot of floor to cowl with simply 4 days in Colorado so be ready to drive and spot superb surroundings alongside the best way.

I’ve lived in Colorado for over 12 years and I highway journey on this state continuously – in the summertime, I’m on the highway each 4 days. As soon as a weekend warrior, I turned my ardour for road-tripping Colorado right into a full-time gig as a author for the outside trade.

As a seasoned professional and native, it’s my mission to empower you to benefit from your 4 days in Colorado like a neighborhood, not a vacationer.

I do know all the greatest Colorado highway journey spots and also you gained’t discover higher recommendation about touring in Colorado wherever else on the internet.

So right here’s methods to see essentially the most of Colorado in simply 4 days.

Learn how to Use this Colorado Street Journey Itinerary Information

This 4-day Colorado highway journey itinerary brings you a style of the highlights. Are there different amazingly stunning place in Colorado to discover?

Positive, however this 4-day itinerary is designed to offer you a style of the distinctive landscapes of Colorado and maximize your time exploring this superb state. This itinerary contains:

  • Learn how to benefit from 4 days in Colorado
  • 2 of the very best nationwide parks in Colorado
  • Extremely Instagrammable views
  • Scrumptious eats
  • Colorado sizzling springs
  • 2 of essentially the most scenic drives in Colorado
  • Fast tricks to benefit from your Colorado highway journey
  • Concepts for added superb Colorado highway journey stops when you have extra time

When is the Finest Time to Go on a Colorado Street Journey?

The Rocky Mountains of Colorado usually have snow from October by means of June. Though it’s a fairly time to go to, it’s additionally a harmful time to hike because of avalanche hazards and most of the scenic drives shut down for the season. Subsequently, the very best time to go on a Colorado highway journey is from July by means of early September.

lake hikes colorado
Lone Eagle Peak. Often known as essentially the most stunning mountain in Colorado is correct close to Grand Lake (day 2).

Colorado Street Journey Map

Though this route has ample driving, you’ll see loads of superb surroundings alongside the best way. This numerous itinerary spans many distinctive landscapes in your 4-day itinerary in Colorado.

4 days in colorado itienrary map
Get the interactive map!

Day One: Denver to Estes Park

Because you’ve solely obtained 4 days to discover Colorado, choose up your car and drive straight to Estes Park – one of the crucial stunning Colorado mountain cities. Be sure that to drink loads of water and take issues gradual to get correctly acclimated to the altitude.

Consider the Denver Worldwide Airport (DIA) is fairly removed from…properly…something. If you happen to’re arriving late, take into account spending the evening in Denver, and put together for an early morning to benefit from Estes Park, Colorado.

Issues to do: Catch a sundown at Sprauge Lake or the Many Parks Curve Overlook in Rocky Mountain Nationwide Park, spot wildlife in Estes Park, take a brief hike at Lumpy Ridge, calm down and seize a drink on the Stanley Resort (the inspiration for The Shining – some say this place is haunted if you happen to’re in search of spooky vibes).

Drive time: 1 hr 40 minutes

The place to Keep: Camp at a campground close to Estes Park, discover dispersed tenting alongside Freeway 34, keep in Estes Park (usually fairly expensive in the course of the excessive season), or keep in close by Lyons, Colorado (cheaper, nice AirBnBs).

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The place to eat: Smokin’ Daves BBQ and Brew (mid-range brewhouse), Scratch Deli and Bakery (breakfast, lunch, espresso), Burgers and Gyros on Moraine (low-cost lunch or dinner), Notchtop Bakery and Cafe (wonderful breakfast or brunch).

Day Two: One Day in Rocky Mountain Nationwide Park

Rise and shine earlier than the solar to benefit from your time on this 4 day Colorado itinerary.

As one of the crucial stunning nationwide parks within the US, Rocky Mountain Nationwide Park will get crowded year-round, however if you happen to’re keen to stand up earlier than daybreak, you possibly can savor a couple of moments of solitude within the park.

Right this moment you’ll go for a hike at one of many many superb mountain climbing trails in Rocky Mountain Nationwide Park, then proceed onwards alongside Path Ridge Street – one of the crucial scenic drives close to Denver – to the west finish of the park.

Native Tip: Path Ridge Street just isn’t maintained within the winter. All the time you’ll want to examine that the highway is open earlier than heading out. You may nonetheless hike, however you’ll must drive across the west finish of the park to get to Glenwood Springs if the highway is closed.

Issues to do in Rocky Mountain Nationwide Park: Dawn at both Bear Lake (no strolling) or proceed onwards to Dream Lake and Emerald Lake (3.2 miles RT). Hikers in search of a problem ought to take a look at Sky Pond through Glacier Gorge – a traditional Colorado lake hike, or the Loch Lake Path.

Drive time: Roughly 3 hr 30 min to Glenwood Springs with stops.

The place to eat: Pack snacks and seize a late lunch at Grand Lake. Try Cy’s Deli or Sagebrush BBQ and Grill.

Native Tip: Received additional time? You’ll discover loads to do with 3 days in and round Rocky Mountain Nationwide Park.

Best colorado road trip itinerary

Glenwood Springs In a single day with Scorching Springs

After a day in Rocky Mountain Nationwide Park, head to Glenwood Springs and calm down with a soak within the Iron Mountain Scorching Springs.

If you happen to’ve obtained some spare time and vitality, snag a allow to hike to Hanging Lake (e book at the very least 4 months prematurely), considered one of Colorado’s most stunning hikes.

Issues to do: Hike to Hanging Lake (close to Glenwood Springs, superior allow and paid parking or bus trip required), soak within the Glenwood Springs sizzling springs or trip the scenic Gondola to the highest of the Canyon.

The place to eat: Candy Coloradough (scrumptious donuts), Native Son Restaurant and Bar (tapas and nice drinks), Slope & Hatch (scrumptious road tacos).

The place to Keep: The Resort Glenwood Springs (expensive however handy), two relaxation areas simply east of city (free tenting, finances possibility. Loos are clear and it is vitally protected), Hanging Lake Inn (finances lodge).

4 days in colorado

Day 3: Black Canyon of the Gunnison

Within the morning, make the two.5-hour drive to the Black Canyon of the Gunnison. Touted because the “Grand Canyon of the Rockies” this stunning canyon plunges 2,722-feet down and is just 40 ft throughout at its narrowest part. It’s a must-see cease on any Colorado highway journey.

Drive Time: 2.5 hours to the extra developed south rim, or 2 hours to the extra distant north rim.

Issues to do: Snap photographs alongside the 12 scenic overlooks on the Rim Drive (Chasm and Sundown view are spectacular), hike to the underside of the canyon (troublesome, 5 hours, receive a allow on arrival), go fishing, go to a ranger program and study in regards to the space (the evening program is superb), go for a scenic boat trip or white water raft, rock climb within the canyon (intermediate stage), take a look at the historic city of Cimarron and see what life was like in 1882.

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The place to eat: Crash Burger (informal, tasty burger joint), Colorado Boy Pizzeria, Guru’s Nepalese Restaurant (tasty Nepali meals), Mimo’s (breakfast burritos, a Colorado breakfast staple).

The place to Keep: Reserve a camp spot on the East Portal Campground or keep in close by Montrose. Keep on the Canyon Creek Mattress and Breakfast (extremely rated, however pricier), The Nation Lodge (mid-range), or one of many many commonplace lodge chains.

Native Tip: With additional time in your Colorado highway journey you possibly can discover close by Crested Butte (a captivating mountain city well-known for mountian biking) or the jaw-dropping San Juan Mountains.

best colorado road trip itinerary

Day 4: Discover Breweries in Denver

It’s time to move again to Denver in the present day. If you happen to’re brief on time, make your means on to DIA (consider visitors is poor within the metropolis round rush hour, and it’s a mean of 45 minutes to the airport from Denver) or cease by considered one of Denver’s most superb native breweries for a scrumptious beer and a few meals.

Drive Time: 4 hrs and 45 minutes to downtown Denver. 5 hours and 20 minutes to Denver Worldwide Airport

Issues to do: There’s a big selection of issues to do in Denver, however if you happen to’re brief on time take a look at Purple Rocks Amphitheater in close by Morrison (you’ll go it on the best way to the town), seize a drink at a neighborhood brewery, go to the Denver Botanical Gardens, or wander across the RiNo District or Union Station space.

The place to eat: Lowdown Brewery (tasty pizza and beer), The Nice Divide Brewery (a Colorado traditional), The Submit Brewing Co (the very best fried hen and soul meals).

Native Tip: If you happen to’re coming dwelling on a Sunday and also you’re touring alongside I-70 the visitors is extraordinarily unhealthy from 11 am till 5 pm each weekend. You’ll want to plan accordingly!

4 day colorado road trip itinerary

Colorado Street Journey Fast Ideas

Visiting Colorado in simply 4 days is a tall order. There’s so much to see and do. For the very best journey, journey like a Colorado native. While you’re planning a Colorado highway journey, you’ll wish to preserve a couple of issues in thoughts to make your expertise higher. Listed here are a couple of helpful native ideas:

Mountian visitors is an actual drawback year-round. Construct in additional time if you’re touring on Interstate 70 (getting back from the Gunnison).

Colorado locals drive shortly and go on the left. Please don’t drive within the left lane except you’re seeking to go.

Hearth bans are frequent in Colorado. If you happen to plan on tenting in Colorado, examine the newest hearth ban rules for the place you’re touring.

Colorado is a naturally stunning place, you’ll want to do your half and apply Depart No Hint. Pack out your trash (this contains fruit peels, wrappers, used rest room paper whereas mountain climbing, and canine poop).

The airport is somewhat removed from Denver (40 minutes at the very least), e book in some additional time for journey.

The climate is usually unpredictable and wild in Colorado, particularly in the summertime be ready with a correct Colorado highway journey packing listing.

Weed is authorized and might be discovered just about in every single place in Colorado, nevertheless it nonetheless unlawful to smoke in public and smoke and drive. Respect weed legal guidelines.

4 days in Colorado

Spend One Week in Colorado

If you happen to can swing it, it’s price it to spend a couple of extra days visiting Colorado. The perfect period of time for a highway journey in Colorado can be one week.

This fashion, you may get into the mountains even additional. Discover a couple of of essentially the most unbelievable locations within the Rockies that simply isn’t possible with solely 4 days.

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Though this itinerary covers some superb locations, if you happen to’ve obtained additional time, take a look at these superior Colorado getaway locations.

Further Stops for 4 Days in Colorado

Create your individual superb 4 day Colorado highway journey itinerary by swapping or including these unbelievable spots.

Ouray within the San Juan Mountains

Often known as the “Alps of America.” This place is a superb addition to your Colorado highway journey. Head right here to discover some stunning alpine lake hikes such because the well-known Ice Lake. Or take pleasure in unbelievable tenting, go ATVing and take a look at the city of Telluride. There are many issues to do in Ouray and round, particularly if you happen to’re into difficult hikes and off-road driving.

The Million Greenback Freeway Scenic Byway within the San Juan Mountains. Simply considered one of Colorado’s most scenic drives. Prolong your journey or swap the San Juans for Black Canyon of the Gunnison. (Word that drives occasions will improve drastically).

Crested Butte

Well-known for its world-class snowboarding, charming mountain city, and mountain biking spending the day right here after Gunnison can be an effective way so as to add a day to your journey.

Carbondale and Aspen

Peep the well-known Maroon Bells or embark on the 4 Passes Loop – one of the crucial stunning backpacking routes in Colorado. Accessible from Glenwood Springs and might be swapped for the Black Canyon on a 4 day Colorado highway journey.

Popular weekend getaways in Colorado

Buena Vista, Leadville, and Salida

A well-known weekend getaway from Denver, these cities are the gateway to the Sawatch Vary. Dwelling to a few of Colorado’s best 14er hikes – mountains that rise over 14,000 ft above sea stage.

Different actions embrace rafting, mountain biking, fishing, and tenting. Excellent place to cease after getting back from the Black Canyon of the Gunnison.

Grand Junction, Fruita, and Colorado Nationwide Monument

Cease right here in the course of the shoulder seasons (spring and fall, summers are sweltering) for epic desert surroundings. You would possibly simply suppose your in Moab! 1 hour and half-hour from Glenwood Springs.

Breckenridge, Frisco, and Dillon

There are many issues to do in Breckenridge from get up paddle boarding to amazingly scenic hikes in Breckenridge. One other nice stopover coming again to Denver through I-70 when you have an additional day.


A simple, 40-minute day journey from Denver the place you possibly can embark on one of many Boulder mountain climbing trails to see the well-known Flatirons up shut. Or browse the outlets at Pearl Road.

Colorado Springs

Made well-known by the gorgeous Backyard of the Gods, Pike’s Peak, and the Air Pressure Academy, Colorado Springs is one other superior cease. Completed both for an evening or as a day journey from Denver, there’s heaps to see.

If you happen to’re seeking to splurge, take into account staying on the well-known Broadmoor Resort. Ideally add Coloraod Springs to your itinerary on the return from Leadville to skip I-70 visitors.

Nice Sand Dunes Nationwide Park

Expertise the most important sand dunes within the Americas on the Nice Sand Dunes Nationwide Park. Seeing the monumental dunes with the Sangre de Cristo peaks towering within the background is kind of a web site. As the one dog-friendly nationwide park in Colorado, it’s enjoyable for fido too!

Add this leg to the journey after the Black Canyon of the Gunnison.

Different Colorado Journey Concepts

Planning an enormous journey to colorado? Listed here are some native assets that can assist you plan:

  • Finest Free Tenting Close to Denver
  • 29 of the Finest Day Hikes Close to Denver
  • The Most Superb Fall Hikes in Colorado

Take pleasure in your Colorado highway journey with this iconic 4-day itinerary. Journey like a neighborhood with this insider’s itinerary.

The perfect Colorado road trip itinerary for summer. Local advice on things to do in Colorado including Estes Park, hiking, camping, and more. The best things to do with 4 days in Colorado. #travel #colorado #USA
The perfect 4-day Colorado road trip itinerary. Includes the best way to spend 4 days in Colorado camping, hiking, visiting Estes Park, Rocky Mountain National park and more. The perfect Colorado road trip itinerary for summer. #colorado #travel #usa

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