Taylor-Alamosa4

A woman sitting in the middle of the road on a Colorado road trip

Colorado is one of the most beautiful states here in America to do a road trip.

Whether you live in the United States or are visiting, I recommend making your way out to the state that is dominated with breathtaking Rocky Mountains, stunning evergreen trees and other beautiful natural wonders.

A woman walking through Rocky Mountain National Park in the snow

During November 2019, I was invited by my friend Kristy of Ventre’s Adventures to do a Colorado road trip.

Kristy, Hannah of Don’t Blink Blog and myself started and ended in Denver and then made our way to Alamosa, Cañon City, Colorado Springs and Estes Park.

A woman exploring Zapata Falls on a Colorado road trip

Every place we went to during our Colorado road trip was very different from one another, but they were all absolutely beautiful.

In this blog post, read all about our epic road trip and the adventures we experienced in Colorado.

**Please note that this blog post uses affiliate links meaning that if you make a purchase via my affiliate link, I receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. I only promote and talk about products and services that I have used and like.


Pin the Below Image to Keep Handy

6-Day Colorado Road Trip

Getting to and around Colorado:

A woman enjoying her Colorado road trip

If you are traveling to and around Colorado, it is best to fly into Denver and start your trip there since you could find flights at an affordable cost through Skyscanner. (I flew from Newark Airport in New Jersey straight to Denver within 3 hours!)

If you are looking to fly into Aspen, Telluride, Steamboat Springs or anywhere else in the state, it is going to be much more expensive. In that case, I recommend flying into Denver, renting a car and heading to your destination from there.

A woman standing on a Jeep during a Colorado road trip

For those who are planning on doing a road trip through the state or even looking to get out of the city in general (which you should if you visit Colorado), I highly recommend renting a car; especially an SUV with 4-wheel drive.

(Click here if you are planning to road trip around the United States and want to rent an RV.)

We had a great Jeep Wrangler that got us through some pretty scary escapades such as low visibility, rough terrain and snowy/icy roads.

During my first evening in Denver, we ended up getting into a 50-car pile-up on an overpass that led onto Route 25. (Click here to learn more, plus you could even see our Wrangler in the pile-up.)

We were extremely fortunate that our Jeep was the ONLY vehicle that didn’t get hit, even though we were stuck there for a couple hours.

I will admit that it was pretty scary because so many vehicles were totaled, people were rushed to the hospital and a car even caught on fire.

The Denver police and fire departments did a great job making sure everyone was safe, but it was nerve wracking to think that this could happen to anyone during the winter.

6-Day Colorado Road Trip

Day 1: Arrive in Denver

The snowy Rocky Mountains in Colorado

Our first day in Colorado was spent exploring the capital city of Denver where we checked out a few foodie and drink spots, explored some of the city’s gems and more.

The snowcapped Rocky Mountains in Alamosa, Colorado

Our first night was spent at a Holiday Inn in Wheat Ridge, just outside of Denver. It was perfect because it was right off the highway we took to start our road trip the next day.

Throughout Denver and the state of Colorado, you could find hotels to suit all budgets along with Airbnb and Vrbo options. (You could even find hostels in Denver!)

Day 2: Alamosa and The Great Sand Dunes National Park

A woman exploring the sand dunes in Colorado on a road trip

The second day on our road trip in Colorado was when we finally hit the road after having breakfast at the hotel!

We started our journey in Wheat Ridge and then headed south from there. Our road trip from the Denver area to Alamosa was one of the most breathtaking drives I’ve ever experienced (behind New Zealand).

We drove through what felt like a snow globe at first where we were surrounded by beautiful snow-covered evergreen trees, sky high mountains and other stunning natural wonders.

Alamosa:
Great Sand Dunes National Park on a Colorado road trip

I will admit that the drive from Denver to Alamosa is quite long, around 4 hours to be exact. We also drove through some pretty bipolar weather conditions. In fact, it reminded me of Iceland where it would be super clear at one moment and then low visibility with some snow in other areas.

I recommend filling up on gas and grabbing snacks before you hit the road because you will drive through areas where you will be in the middle of nowhere for a while. Every so often, a gas station will pop up, but it is better to be safe than sorry.

A woman sleighing down the sand dunes at Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado

When we finally arrived in Alamosa, we stopped at Kristi Mountain Sports to rent a sleigh for the sand dunes.

Because of the crazy weather, we were unsure whether to get a sleigh for the sand or snow, since we didn’t know how much snow would be covering the dunes. It definitely makes a difference if you get a sleigh for the sand or for the snow since you will get a more thrilling experience when you get the right one based on the conditions.

The Great Sand Dunes National Park:
A happy women enjoying her sleigh riding adventure at Great Sand Dunes National Park during a Colorado road trip

Kristi Mountain Sports is located in downtown Alamosa, but The Great Sand Dunes National Park is located 45 minutes from the store. (You will obviously need to pick up the sleigh before you get to the dunes, so in our case we needed to go out of the way a little bit.)

When we arrived at the sand dunes, 90% of it was covered in snow and it was absolutely magical! We tried using the sled that we got (which was the one for the sand) and it barely got us anywhere.

A woman sleigh riding in the snow

I did experience something similar when I went to Cape Town, South Africa in February 2018, so I didn’t feel like I missed out on the experience. It was still so breathtaking and magical being there though because the dunes were so beautiful. We also got to watch the sunset at the dunes as well!

After our adventure at The Great Sand Dunes National Park, we made our way back to Alamosa where we grabbed dinner at Chili’s since there weren’t many other restaurants around.

I honestly have not eaten at a chain restaurant since my college days; which in fact, Alamosa definitely reminded me of Harrisonburg, Virginia (where my alma mater is located) because it was pretty much in the middle of nowhere and surrounded by mountains and farmland. It was cool though because I got to have a fresh glass of Coor’s beer (Colorado is where the Coor’s Brewery is located). I also enjoyed chicken and shrimp fajitas.

That evening in Alamosa, we stayed at the Best Western located in the heart of the town.

Day 3: Zapata Falls, The Royal Gorge and Colorado Springs

A woman exploring Alamosa, Colorado during a road trip

The third day on our Colorado road trip was spent enjoying the rest that Alamosa has to offer and then making our way to Cañon City and Colorado Springs.

Zapata Falls:
A woman admiring the frozen Zapata Falls

After waking up and having breakfast at the hotel, we made our way back to the sand dunes area to hike up to Zapata Falls.

This time, we weren’t going out of our way since we had to head back up north for our next destination. Zapata Falls is located right off the same road that the sand dunes are on, except it is a little before you reach the national park.

A woman exploring Zapata Falls in Alamosa, Colorado

You will need to turn onto a gravel road and drive a little way up the mountain to the parking lot where you could start your hike. The hike to the falls is around a half hour and you will need to walk over ice, shallow water, rocks and branches to actually see the waterfalls. It is so cool because you are also walking under rocks and boulders.

Zapata Falls is definitely more popular to visit during the summertime, but it was definitely a treat visiting it during the winter. The trails and trees were covered in glistening snow (it literally looked like everything was sparkling white), the views of the Rocky Mountains and snow-covered sand dunes from afar were absolutely breathtaking and the waterfalls themselves were also frozen and still running. It was gorgeous!

Royal Gorge Park, Cañon City:
A woman walking over the Royal Gorge Bridge in Colorado

After spending some time at Zapata Falls, we got back in the car and drove around 2 hours north to Cañon City where the Royal Gorge is located.

When we arrived at Royal Gorge Bridge and Park, we purchased a pass to take the gondola over the gorge, walk the bridge and visit the theater and playland.

The Royal Gorge in Canon City, Colorado

We first took the gondola over the gorge, which was pretty cool, but scary if you looked down (I sat next to the window since I’m not too afraid of heights). At the bottom of the gorge is Colorado’s premier scenic railroad (they have the Santa Express train during the holidays). The gorge is absolutely beautiful and we even got to see it with some snow!

When we got off of the gondola, we walked over to the bridge. The Royal Gorge Bridge is known as America’s highest suspension bridge where you could take in all of the breathtaking views.

A New Jersey sign on the Royal Gorge Bridge in Colorado

Please note that because it is a suspension bridge, it will rock back and forth on a windy day. What is also cool about the Royal Gorge Bridge is that it has a plaque for every U.S. state on there. I, of course, had to see the New Jersey sign!

In addition to taking the gondola and walking over the bridge, you could also go zip lining across the highest zip line in America, get a thrilling experience from the Royal Rush Skycoaster and more (at an extra cost).

A woman enjoying the views of the mountains on the Royal Gorge Bridge during a Colorado road trip

Our ticket included access to the theater and playland, but we decided to skip it. Unfortunately, it was way too windy outside, so the zip line and skycoaster were not running on that day. It’s okay though, because I was able to experience an epic zip lining experience when I did the Salkantay Trek in Peru in June 2019.

Two women on the Royal Gorge Bridge in Colorado

In addition to all of the fun activities, you could also look at the water clock and grab food and drinks at the visitor’s center. We got a comforting hot chocolate for the road!

(Side Note: Cañon City is around 2 hours south of Denver. Click here to discover more to do in Cañon City.)

Colorado Springs:
Colorado Springs during a road trip

When we were finished enjoying the epic views of Royal Gorge, we made our way an hour north to Colorado Springs, where we spent the night at Cheyenne Mountain, a Dolce Resort. I absolutely LOVED the views from our room and it was everything I pictured Colorado to be prior to visiting.

After we checked in and got settled, we made our way into downtown Colorado Springs where we grabbed dinner and beer at Phantom Canyon Brewing Company. I enjoyed an IPA with lemon tabasco fried chicken. It was absolutely delicious!

A fried chicken dinner

When we were finished with dinner, we walked around the beautiful downtown area that had a lot of Christmas lights and festive décor. We even got to see the Colorado Springs tree lighting. It was so magical.

A Christmas tree in Colorado Springs

When we got back to Cheyenne Mountain, we enjoyed the hotel grounds by cozying up at their outdoor fire pits with some wine and their s’mores kit. We shared stories, laughed and had such a fun night!

Day 4: Garden of the Gods, The Paint Mines, Back to Denver

Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs
Garden of the Gods:
A woman hiking Garden of the Gods

The next day, which was the fourth day on our Colorado road trip, we grabbed breakfast at IHOP (another spot I haven’t been to in many years) and then made our way to Garden of the Gods.

Known as one of the jewels of Colorado Springs, Garden of the Gods is a registered National Natural Landmark that includes cool sandstone rock formations against beautiful mountains.

A woman exploring Garden of the Gods on a Colorado road trip

Garden of the Gods has many hiking trails that you can do and since there was some snow on the ground, our hike was pretty muddy. It was still very beautiful and scenic and I was very happy I got to do a hike there since Garden of the Gods has been on my Colorado bucket list for a while. (You could also horseback ride at Garden of the Gods.)

Since Garden of the Gods is a popular attraction in Colorado, there will be a lot of tourists and families hanging out in the main areas, but if you decide to do a hike, it will be a lot more peaceful.

Garden of the Gods during winter

Overall, you cannot skip out on Garden of the Gods when you visit Colorado.

(Another awesome thing to do in Colorado Springs is hike Pikes Peak, which is the highest summit of the southern Front Range of the Rocky Mountains. It is a 14-mile hike that reaches 14,115 feet above sea level. It is definitely a hike where you need to consider the altitude and take a day or two to do. I really wanted to hike Pikes Peak, but we unfortunately didn’t have the time.)

The Paint Mines Interpretive Park:
A woman having fun at the Pine Mines Interpretive Park in Colorado

On our way back to Denver, we stopped almost halfway at The Paint Mines Interpretive Park in the town of Calhan.

The Paint Mines are not located in the mountains, instead, they are situated in the plains of Colorado. You could, however, do a mini hike around this area!

The Pine Mines in Colorado during a road trip

Known as one of the weirdest hikes in the state of Colorado, The Paint Mines are named for their colorful clays that were collected by Native Americans to make paint. This area also has evidence of human life as far back as 9,000 years ago and it features geological formations including spires and hoodoos that form through erosive action that creates incised gullies and exposed layers of selenite clay and jasper.

The Paint Mines are a cool site to see and there are also windmills surrounding the park (it reminded me of the Netherlands in a way).

Denver:
A woman holding a bottle of Champagne at Hotel Teatro in Denver during a Colorado road trip

When we arrived back in Denver, we checked into Hotel Teatro, where we stayed for the last two nights of our trip and then checked out the city’s Christmas markets and nightlife.

Day 5: Estes Park, Rocky Mountain National Park and Denver

A woman on a frozen lake in Rocky Mountain National Park during a Colorado road trip
Estes Park:
Banana Bread French Toast

After spending the night at Hotel Teatro, our fifth day on our Colorado road trip took us north to Estes Park where Rocky Mountain National Park is located.

It took us around an hour and half to drive from Denver to the downtown area of Estes Park. I loved how cute, western and festive the town of Estes Park was!

Our first stop in Estes Park was to get breakfast at Notchtop Bakery & Café. I enjoyed their delicious banana bread French toast!

Rocky Mountain National Park:
A woman enjoying Rocky Mountain National Park on a Colorado road trip

After breakfast, we made our way to Rocky Mountain National Park. We knew that we wanted to see Dream Lake, so we drove a half hour into the national park and parked our car near the Bear Lake Trailhead parking lot.

We hiked through the breathtaking woods that featured glistening snowy trails, beautiful evergreen trees, ice-covered lakes and magic all around. It was absolutely beautiful and we got to see the gorgeous Nymph Lake, Dream Lake and Bear Lake.

Even though these lakes are much more breathtaking in the summer when visibility is much more clear, it was absolutely amazing seeing it in a winter wonderland. I recommend visiting Rocky Mountain National Park at different times throughout the year to see all seasonal perspectives.

A woman walking through Rocky Mountain National Park during a Colorado road trip

Since there was a major snowstorm starting later that day, we decided to head back to Denver around 2pm (we got to Estes Park earlier because we knew the weather was going to get bad). It was fine though because we got to relax at Hotel Teatro, get a delicious dinner in Denver and watch Hallmark Christmas movies.

Rocky Mountain National Park during winter

(If the weather wasn’t going to be bad, we would’ve also visited the town of Boulder since you have to drive through it anyway to get to and from Estes Park. Unfortunately, the weather started to get scary on our drive back, but we made it to Hotel Teatro safely.)

Day 6: Morning in Denver and Fly Home

A woman on a frozen lake in Colorado during a road trip

During my time in Colorado, there was a major snowstorm the night before I was supposed to depart back home. I honestly did not think I was going to make it home in time for Thanksgiving, which was two days away from when I was leaving Denver. Luck was by my side and my flight left on time that afternoon.

A woman sipping coffee at Hotel Teatro in Denver during a Colorado road trip

In the morning, I cozied up at Hotel Teatro and enjoyed breakfast there while I watched the snow fall. It was the perfect way to end an epic Colorado road trip.


The Rocky Mountains in Colorado during a road trip

I hope you all enjoyed reading about my time road tripping through the state of Colorado with Kristy and Hannah.

A snow filled lane in Colorado

If you have any questions about my time in Colorado, please email me at [email protected]

Make sure to pin this post if you find it useful!

6-day Colorado road trip

Basic Facts of the United States:

Currency: United States Dollar, Capital: Washington D.C., CO State Capital: Denver, Time Zone: Mountain Standard Time

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*Anything could happen during your travels. Always make sure you are insured in case there are unforeseen circumstances such as lost luggage/theft, natural disasters, personal liabilities and more. Click here to get insured for your next trip.

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42 Comments

  1. Elena Pappalardo on December 2, 2019 at 12:19 am

    WOW, Colorado has such breathtaking landscapes! I especially loved learning about The Paint Mines Interpretive Park! Looks like you ladies had an amazing time 🙂

    • Taylor Deer on December 2, 2019 at 9:52 am

      Yes, everything was so amazing! You and your husband definitely have to go at some point! 🙂

  2. World of Lina on December 2, 2019 at 2:35 am

    Omg Colorado looks really super breathtaking and perfect for a road trip 😍

    • Taylor Deer on December 2, 2019 at 9:52 am

      It really was breathtaking and I highly recommend going if you come to the U.S. 🙂

  3. Brittany Sneller on December 3, 2019 at 3:00 pm

    I’d love to make it here! I’ve heard such good things about Denver and Boulder especially. Great post, Taylor!

    • Taylor Deer on December 3, 2019 at 4:23 pm

      Yes, you’d love Colorado Bri! Also thank you so much. 🙂

  4. Maria Stadler on December 6, 2019 at 6:21 am

    Wow this sounds like such a great adventure! The snowy landscape looks so beautiful, I totally need to visit Colorado someday!

    • Taylor Deer on December 8, 2019 at 2:37 pm

      It really was such a blast Maria! You would love Colorado! 🙂

  5. Aswani on December 10, 2019 at 1:11 pm

    I love Colorado but haven’t been there in winter. Your photos make me want to go there asap! Looks beautiful!

    • Taylor Deer on December 14, 2019 at 9:43 am

      Yes, I highly recommend it Aswani! 🙂

  6. Josy A on December 14, 2019 at 3:04 pm

    Those snow-covered mountains are stunning! It looks soooo different compared to when it is all hot orange/pink. I love that you got to try sliding down the sand dunes, even if you had the wrong equipment!

    That waterfall is spectacular too! <3

    • Taylor Deer on December 14, 2019 at 9:19 pm

      Thank you so much Josy! It definitely was a breathtaking and adventure-filled trip. 🙂

  7. Elizabeth on December 14, 2019 at 4:04 pm

    I’ve heard so much about Colorado, but I have never been. The scenery looks beautiful. I never knew you could sand board when the sand is covered in snow. That sounds like so much fun. It looks like you had a wonderful trip. I love your photos!

    • Taylor Deer on December 14, 2019 at 9:19 pm

      Thank you so much Elizabeth! It really is a beautiful state and it is filled with so much adventure! 🙂

  8. Anya on December 14, 2019 at 5:23 pm

    I’ve been absolutely dying to go to Colorado, and these photos make me want to jump on a plane right now! Love love love this itinerary and saving it for when I can follow it!

    • Taylor Deer on December 14, 2019 at 9:20 pm

      You would love it so much Anya! It’s such a beautiful state and there is so much to do! 🙂

  9. Brittany on January 9, 2021 at 10:16 am

    Colorado is so beautiful! I haven’t been in son long, and this post has me itching to go back. I love Denver, but I’d love to also visit Colorado Springs. I’ll definitely be using this blog when I visit!

    • Taylor Deer on January 9, 2021 at 11:17 am

      It really is a gorgeous state! I definitely want to go back and see more myself. Colorado Springs is beautiful and I loved Garden of the Gods. 🙂

  10. Ashley on January 9, 2021 at 10:25 am

    I need to get back to Colorado! There’s so many good places to explore there. Definitely want to get to the paint mines at some point!

    • Taylor Deer on January 9, 2021 at 11:17 am

      You totally have to! The Paint Mines were really cool to see. I still have a lot of great places on my Colorado bucket list as well. 🙂

  11. sydney on January 9, 2021 at 11:41 am

    This is an awesome article and your photos are amazing! I’ve got to get back to CO, it’s beautiful!

    • Taylor Deer on January 9, 2021 at 9:05 pm

      Thank you so much Sydney and yes, you totally have to go back. It’s so breathtaking! 🙂

  12. galatia savva on January 9, 2021 at 3:28 pm

    you guys seemed to have the best time – wow those landscapes!! Some gorgeous pictures too 🙂 Ive only visited NYC in the US, there is sooo much more to see!

    • Taylor Deer on January 9, 2021 at 9:07 pm

      Thank you Galatia! It was such a fun trip. 🙂

  13. Jenn - The Solivagant Soul on January 9, 2021 at 3:34 pm

    Going on a roadtrip in the US has been pretty close to the top of my bucket list for more years than I am willing to admit. Once these restrictions are lift, I will be visiting the US and using this great itinerary! THanks for sharing =)

    • Taylor Deer on January 9, 2021 at 9:08 pm

      You definitely do have to do a road trip once boarders open because we really do have a lot of great places to explore. I love our National Parks. 🙂

  14. Krista on January 9, 2021 at 4:52 pm

    I would love to go on a road trip in Colorado! All of your pictures are stunning and making me very jealous right now.

    • Taylor Deer on January 9, 2021 at 9:09 pm

      Thank you Krista! You totally have to go at some point. Colorado is such a beautiful state. 🙂

  15. Ophelie on January 9, 2021 at 6:33 pm

    Colorado really looks like a great place for an adventure! Love to read all about your road trip, it’s motivating!

    • Taylor Deer on January 9, 2021 at 9:09 pm

      Thank you so much Ophelie! It was a nice time. 🙂

  16. Emma on January 9, 2021 at 6:38 pm

    These pictures are unbelievably beautiful. I am absolutely adding this Colorado itinerary to my next USA trip when we can finally travel over there again! 🙂

    • Taylor Deer on January 9, 2021 at 9:10 pm

      Thank you so much Emma! It truly was a great trip. Colorado is such a beautiful state. 🙂

  17. Marika on January 9, 2021 at 7:04 pm

    I have family in Colorado, but I have never actually been. Now I just need to wait until it’s safe to travel so I can visit and do this road trip!

    • Taylor Deer on January 9, 2021 at 9:11 pm

      Yes, you totally have to go to Colorado and visit your family there. It is so beautiful! 🙂

  18. Olivia on January 9, 2021 at 9:04 pm

    The landscapes of Colorado looks totally different from where I live in Switzerland! I’m most fascinated by the Garden of the Gods I have family living in the US, your guide sounds like the perfect itinerary to follow for a fun family roadtrip in the future!

    • Taylor Deer on January 9, 2021 at 9:12 pm

      It is a really cool state to visit. I highly recommend doing a road trip out west once borders open. It is quite fascinating. Also thank you Olivia. 🙂

  19. Mona on January 9, 2021 at 9:46 pm

    Thank you for such an in depth guide! It’s the best one I’ve seen yet. I appreciate the foodie suggestions and love your photos

    • Taylor Deer on January 10, 2021 at 3:53 pm

      Thank you so much Mona! 🙂

  20. Jade on January 10, 2021 at 12:50 am

    Taylor this is such a gorgeous post! I love your photos. This road trip looks epic, despite having lived in the US for 30 years I still never made it to Colorado. It’s high on my bucket list for states. Thanks for sharing!

    • Taylor Deer on January 10, 2021 at 3:53 pm

      Thank you so much Jade! Colorado is such a beautiful state. I hope you get there sooner than later. 🙂

  21. Val on January 10, 2021 at 12:51 pm

    Wow, Colorado is a beaut and the Paint Mines sound like a great site to explore! I hope to visit this area one day.

    • Taylor Deer on January 10, 2021 at 3:57 pm

      You totally have to visit Colorado at some point. It is such a beautiful state with so much adventure. 🙂

Leave a Comment





Taylor-Alamosa4

A woman sitting in the middle of the road on a Colorado road trip

Colorado is one of the most beautiful states here in America to do a road trip.

Whether you live in the United States or are visiting, I recommend making your way out to the state that is dominated with breathtaking Rocky Mountains, stunning evergreen trees and other beautiful natural wonders.

A woman walking through Rocky Mountain National Park in the snow

During November 2019, I was invited by my friend Kristy of Ventre’s Adventures to do a Colorado road trip.

Kristy, Hannah of Don’t Blink Blog and myself started and ended in Denver and then made our way to Alamosa, Cañon City, Colorado Springs and Estes Park.

A woman exploring Zapata Falls on a Colorado road trip

Every place we went to during our Colorado road trip was very different from one another, but they were all absolutely beautiful.

In this blog post, read all about our epic road trip and the adventures we experienced in Colorado.

**Please note that this blog post uses affiliate links meaning that if you make a purchase via my affiliate link, I receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. I only promote and talk about products and services that I have used and like.


Pin the Below Image to Keep Handy

6-Day Colorado Road Trip

Getting to and around Colorado:

A woman enjoying her Colorado road trip

If you are traveling to and around Colorado, it is best to fly into Denver and start your trip there since you could find flights at an affordable cost through Skyscanner. (I flew from Newark Airport in New Jersey straight to Denver within 3 hours!)

If you are looking to fly into Aspen, Telluride, Steamboat Springs or anywhere else in the state, it is going to be much more expensive. In that case, I recommend flying into Denver, renting a car and heading to your destination from there.

A woman standing on a Jeep during a Colorado road trip

For those who are planning on doing a road trip through the state or even looking to get out of the city in general (which you should if you visit Colorado), I highly recommend renting a car; especially an SUV with 4-wheel drive.

(Click here if you are planning to road trip around the United States and want to rent an RV.)

We had a great Jeep Wrangler that got us through some pretty scary escapades such as low visibility, rough terrain and snowy/icy roads.

During my first evening in Denver, we ended up getting into a 50-car pile-up on an overpass that led onto Route 25. (Click here to learn more, plus you could even see our Wrangler in the pile-up.)

We were extremely fortunate that our Jeep was the ONLY vehicle that didn’t get hit, even though we were stuck there for a couple hours.

I will admit that it was pretty scary because so many vehicles were totaled, people were rushed to the hospital and a car even caught on fire.

The Denver police and fire departments did a great job making sure everyone was safe, but it was nerve wracking to think that this could happen to anyone during the winter.

6-Day Colorado Road Trip

Day 1: Arrive in Denver

The snowy Rocky Mountains in Colorado

Our first day in Colorado was spent exploring the capital city of Denver where we checked out a few foodie and drink spots, explored some of the city’s gems and more.

The snowcapped Rocky Mountains in Alamosa, Colorado

Our first night was spent at a Holiday Inn in Wheat Ridge, just outside of Denver. It was perfect because it was right off the highway we took to start our road trip the next day.

Throughout Denver and the state of Colorado, you could find hotels to suit all budgets along with Airbnb and Vrbo options. (You could even find hostels in Denver!)

Day 2: Alamosa and The Great Sand Dunes National Park

A woman exploring the sand dunes in Colorado on a road trip

The second day on our road trip in Colorado was when we finally hit the road after having breakfast at the hotel!

We started our journey in Wheat Ridge and then headed south from there. Our road trip from the Denver area to Alamosa was one of the most breathtaking drives I’ve ever experienced (behind New Zealand).

We drove through what felt like a snow globe at first where we were surrounded by beautiful snow-covered evergreen trees, sky high mountains and other stunning natural wonders.

Alamosa:
Great Sand Dunes National Park on a Colorado road trip

I will admit that the drive from Denver to Alamosa is quite long, around 4 hours to be exact. We also drove through some pretty bipolar weather conditions. In fact, it reminded me of Iceland where it would be super clear at one moment and then low visibility with some snow in other areas.

I recommend filling up on gas and grabbing snacks before you hit the road because you will drive through areas where you will be in the middle of nowhere for a while. Every so often, a gas station will pop up, but it is better to be safe than sorry.

A woman sleighing down the sand dunes at Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado

When we finally arrived in Alamosa, we stopped at Kristi Mountain Sports to rent a sleigh for the sand dunes.

Because of the crazy weather, we were unsure whether to get a sleigh for the sand or snow, since we didn’t know how much snow would be covering the dunes. It definitely makes a difference if you get a sleigh for the sand or for the snow since you will get a more thrilling experience when you get the right one based on the conditions.

The Great Sand Dunes National Park:
A happy women enjoying her sleigh riding adventure at Great Sand Dunes National Park during a Colorado road trip

Kristi Mountain Sports is located in downtown Alamosa, but The Great Sand Dunes National Park is located 45 minutes from the store. (You will obviously need to pick up the sleigh before you get to the dunes, so in our case we needed to go out of the way a little bit.)

When we arrived at the sand dunes, 90% of it was covered in snow and it was absolutely magical! We tried using the sled that we got (which was the one for the sand) and it barely got us anywhere.

A woman sleigh riding in the snow

I did experience something similar when I went to Cape Town, South Africa in February 2018, so I didn’t feel like I missed out on the experience. It was still so breathtaking and magical being there though because the dunes were so beautiful. We also got to watch the sunset at the dunes as well!

After our adventure at The Great Sand Dunes National Park, we made our way back to Alamosa where we grabbed dinner at Chili’s since there weren’t many other restaurants around.

I honestly have not eaten at a chain restaurant since my college days; which in fact, Alamosa definitely reminded me of Harrisonburg, Virginia (where my alma mater is located) because it was pretty much in the middle of nowhere and surrounded by mountains and farmland. It was cool though because I got to have a fresh glass of Coor’s beer (Colorado is where the Coor’s Brewery is located). I also enjoyed chicken and shrimp fajitas.

That evening in Alamosa, we stayed at the Best Western located in the heart of the town.

Day 3: Zapata Falls, The Royal Gorge and Colorado Springs

A woman exploring Alamosa, Colorado during a road trip

The third day on our Colorado road trip was spent enjoying the rest that Alamosa has to offer and then making our way to Cañon City and Colorado Springs.

Zapata Falls:
A woman admiring the frozen Zapata Falls

After waking up and having breakfast at the hotel, we made our way back to the sand dunes area to hike up to Zapata Falls.

This time, we weren’t going out of our way since we had to head back up north for our next destination. Zapata Falls is located right off the same road that the sand dunes are on, except it is a little before you reach the national park.

A woman exploring Zapata Falls in Alamosa, Colorado

You will need to turn onto a gravel road and drive a little way up the mountain to the parking lot where you could start your hike. The hike to the falls is around a half hour and you will need to walk over ice, shallow water, rocks and branches to actually see the waterfalls. It is so cool because you are also walking under rocks and boulders.

Zapata Falls is definitely more popular to visit during the summertime, but it was definitely a treat visiting it during the winter. The trails and trees were covered in glistening snow (it literally looked like everything was sparkling white), the views of the Rocky Mountains and snow-covered sand dunes from afar were absolutely breathtaking and the waterfalls themselves were also frozen and still running. It was gorgeous!

Royal Gorge Park, Cañon City:
A woman walking over the Royal Gorge Bridge in Colorado

After spending some time at Zapata Falls, we got back in the car and drove around 2 hours north to Cañon City where the Royal Gorge is located.

When we arrived at Royal Gorge Bridge and Park, we purchased a pass to take the gondola over the gorge, walk the bridge and visit the theater and playland.

The Royal Gorge in Canon City, Colorado

We first took the gondola over the gorge, which was pretty cool, but scary if you looked down (I sat next to the window since I’m not too afraid of heights). At the bottom of the gorge is Colorado’s premier scenic railroad (they have the Santa Express train during the holidays). The gorge is absolutely beautiful and we even got to see it with some snow!

When we got off of the gondola, we walked over to the bridge. The Royal Gorge Bridge is known as America’s highest suspension bridge where you could take in all of the breathtaking views.

A New Jersey sign on the Royal Gorge Bridge in Colorado

Please note that because it is a suspension bridge, it will rock back and forth on a windy day. What is also cool about the Royal Gorge Bridge is that it has a plaque for every U.S. state on there. I, of course, had to see the New Jersey sign!

In addition to taking the gondola and walking over the bridge, you could also go zip lining across the highest zip line in America, get a thrilling experience from the Royal Rush Skycoaster and more (at an extra cost).

A woman enjoying the views of the mountains on the Royal Gorge Bridge during a Colorado road trip

Our ticket included access to the theater and playland, but we decided to skip it. Unfortunately, it was way too windy outside, so the zip line and skycoaster were not running on that day. It’s okay though, because I was able to experience an epic zip lining experience when I did the Salkantay Trek in Peru in June 2019.

Two women on the Royal Gorge Bridge in Colorado

In addition to all of the fun activities, you could also look at the water clock and grab food and drinks at the visitor’s center. We got a comforting hot chocolate for the road!

(Side Note: Cañon City is around 2 hours south of Denver. Click here to discover more to do in Cañon City.)

Colorado Springs:
Colorado Springs during a road trip

When we were finished enjoying the epic views of Royal Gorge, we made our way an hour north to Colorado Springs, where we spent the night at Cheyenne Mountain, a Dolce Resort. I absolutely LOVED the views from our room and it was everything I pictured Colorado to be prior to visiting.

After we checked in and got settled, we made our way into downtown Colorado Springs where we grabbed dinner and beer at Phantom Canyon Brewing Company. I enjoyed an IPA with lemon tabasco fried chicken. It was absolutely delicious!

A fried chicken dinner

When we were finished with dinner, we walked around the beautiful downtown area that had a lot of Christmas lights and festive décor. We even got to see the Colorado Springs tree lighting. It was so magical.

A Christmas tree in Colorado Springs

When we got back to Cheyenne Mountain, we enjoyed the hotel grounds by cozying up at their outdoor fire pits with some wine and their s’mores kit. We shared stories, laughed and had such a fun night!

Day 4: Garden of the Gods, The Paint Mines, Back to Denver

Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs
Garden of the Gods:
A woman hiking Garden of the Gods

The next day, which was the fourth day on our Colorado road trip, we grabbed breakfast at IHOP (another spot I haven’t been to in many years) and then made our way to Garden of the Gods.

Known as one of the jewels of Colorado Springs, Garden of the Gods is a registered National Natural Landmark that includes cool sandstone rock formations against beautiful mountains.

A woman exploring Garden of the Gods on a Colorado road trip

Garden of the Gods has many hiking trails that you can do and since there was some snow on the ground, our hike was pretty muddy. It was still very beautiful and scenic and I was very happy I got to do a hike there since Garden of the Gods has been on my Colorado bucket list for a while. (You could also horseback ride at Garden of the Gods.)

Since Garden of the Gods is a popular attraction in Colorado, there will be a lot of tourists and families hanging out in the main areas, but if you decide to do a hike, it will be a lot more peaceful.

Garden of the Gods during winter

Overall, you cannot skip out on Garden of the Gods when you visit Colorado.

(Another awesome thing to do in Colorado Springs is hike Pikes Peak, which is the highest summit of the southern Front Range of the Rocky Mountains. It is a 14-mile hike that reaches 14,115 feet above sea level. It is definitely a hike where you need to consider the altitude and take a day or two to do. I really wanted to hike Pikes Peak, but we unfortunately didn’t have the time.)

The Paint Mines Interpretive Park:
A woman having fun at the Pine Mines Interpretive Park in Colorado

On our way back to Denver, we stopped almost halfway at The Paint Mines Interpretive Park in the town of Calhan.

The Paint Mines are not located in the mountains, instead, they are situated in the plains of Colorado. You could, however, do a mini hike around this area!

The Pine Mines in Colorado during a road trip

Known as one of the weirdest hikes in the state of Colorado, The Paint Mines are named for their colorful clays that were collected by Native Americans to make paint. This area also has evidence of human life as far back as 9,000 years ago and it features geological formations including spires and hoodoos that form through erosive action that creates incised gullies and exposed layers of selenite clay and jasper.

The Paint Mines are a cool site to see and there are also windmills surrounding the park (it reminded me of the Netherlands in a way).

Denver:
A woman holding a bottle of Champagne at Hotel Teatro in Denver during a Colorado road trip

When we arrived back in Denver, we checked into Hotel Teatro, where we stayed for the last two nights of our trip and then checked out the city’s Christmas markets and nightlife.

Day 5: Estes Park, Rocky Mountain National Park and Denver

A woman on a frozen lake in Rocky Mountain National Park during a Colorado road trip
Estes Park:
Banana Bread French Toast

After spending the night at Hotel Teatro, our fifth day on our Colorado road trip took us north to Estes Park where Rocky Mountain National Park is located.

It took us around an hour and half to drive from Denver to the downtown area of Estes Park. I loved how cute, western and festive the town of Estes Park was!

Our first stop in Estes Park was to get breakfast at Notchtop Bakery & Café. I enjoyed their delicious banana bread French toast!

Rocky Mountain National Park:
A woman enjoying Rocky Mountain National Park on a Colorado road trip

After breakfast, we made our way to Rocky Mountain National Park. We knew that we wanted to see Dream Lake, so we drove a half hour into the national park and parked our car near the Bear Lake Trailhead parking lot.

We hiked through the breathtaking woods that featured glistening snowy trails, beautiful evergreen trees, ice-covered lakes and magic all around. It was absolutely beautiful and we got to see the gorgeous Nymph Lake, Dream Lake and Bear Lake.

Even though these lakes are much more breathtaking in the summer when visibility is much more clear, it was absolutely amazing seeing it in a winter wonderland. I recommend visiting Rocky Mountain National Park at different times throughout the year to see all seasonal perspectives.

A woman walking through Rocky Mountain National Park during a Colorado road trip

Since there was a major snowstorm starting later that day, we decided to head back to Denver around 2pm (we got to Estes Park earlier because we knew the weather was going to get bad). It was fine though because we got to relax at Hotel Teatro, get a delicious dinner in Denver and watch Hallmark Christmas movies.

Rocky Mountain National Park during winter

(If the weather wasn’t going to be bad, we would’ve also visited the town of Boulder since you have to drive through it anyway to get to and from Estes Park. Unfortunately, the weather started to get scary on our drive back, but we made it to Hotel Teatro safely.)

Day 6: Morning in Denver and Fly Home

A woman on a frozen lake in Colorado during a road trip

During my time in Colorado, there was a major snowstorm the night before I was supposed to depart back home. I honestly did not think I was going to make it home in time for Thanksgiving, which was two days away from when I was leaving Denver. Luck was by my side and my flight left on time that afternoon.

A woman sipping coffee at Hotel Teatro in Denver during a Colorado road trip

In the morning, I cozied up at Hotel Teatro and enjoyed breakfast there while I watched the snow fall. It was the perfect way to end an epic Colorado road trip.


The Rocky Mountains in Colorado during a road trip

I hope you all enjoyed reading about my time road tripping through the state of Colorado with Kristy and Hannah.

A snow filled lane in Colorado

If you have any questions about my time in Colorado, please email me at [email protected]

Make sure to pin this post if you find it useful!

6-day Colorado road trip

Basic Facts of the United States:

Currency: United States Dollar, Capital: Washington D.C., CO State Capital: Denver, Time Zone: Mountain Standard Time

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42 Comments

  1. Elena Pappalardo on December 2, 2019 at 12:19 am

    WOW, Colorado has such breathtaking landscapes! I especially loved learning about The Paint Mines Interpretive Park! Looks like you ladies had an amazing time 🙂

    • Taylor Deer on December 2, 2019 at 9:52 am

      Yes, everything was so amazing! You and your husband definitely have to go at some point! 🙂

  2. World of Lina on December 2, 2019 at 2:35 am

    Omg Colorado looks really super breathtaking and perfect for a road trip 😍

    • Taylor Deer on December 2, 2019 at 9:52 am

      It really was breathtaking and I highly recommend going if you come to the U.S. 🙂

  3. Brittany Sneller on December 3, 2019 at 3:00 pm

    I’d love to make it here! I’ve heard such good things about Denver and Boulder especially. Great post, Taylor!

    • Taylor Deer on December 3, 2019 at 4:23 pm

      Yes, you’d love Colorado Bri! Also thank you so much. 🙂

  4. Maria Stadler on December 6, 2019 at 6:21 am

    Wow this sounds like such a great adventure! The snowy landscape looks so beautiful, I totally need to visit Colorado someday!

    • Taylor Deer on December 8, 2019 at 2:37 pm

      It really was such a blast Maria! You would love Colorado! 🙂

  5. Aswani on December 10, 2019 at 1:11 pm

    I love Colorado but haven’t been there in winter. Your photos make me want to go there asap! Looks beautiful!

    • Taylor Deer on December 14, 2019 at 9:43 am

      Yes, I highly recommend it Aswani! 🙂

  6. Josy A on December 14, 2019 at 3:04 pm

    Those snow-covered mountains are stunning! It looks soooo different compared to when it is all hot orange/pink. I love that you got to try sliding down the sand dunes, even if you had the wrong equipment!

    That waterfall is spectacular too! <3

    • Taylor Deer on December 14, 2019 at 9:19 pm

      Thank you so much Josy! It definitely was a breathtaking and adventure-filled trip. 🙂

  7. Elizabeth on December 14, 2019 at 4:04 pm

    I’ve heard so much about Colorado, but I have never been. The scenery looks beautiful. I never knew you could sand board when the sand is covered in snow. That sounds like so much fun. It looks like you had a wonderful trip. I love your photos!

    • Taylor Deer on December 14, 2019 at 9:19 pm

      Thank you so much Elizabeth! It really is a beautiful state and it is filled with so much adventure! 🙂

  8. Anya on December 14, 2019 at 5:23 pm

    I’ve been absolutely dying to go to Colorado, and these photos make me want to jump on a plane right now! Love love love this itinerary and saving it for when I can follow it!

    • Taylor Deer on December 14, 2019 at 9:20 pm

      You would love it so much Anya! It’s such a beautiful state and there is so much to do! 🙂

  9. Brittany on January 9, 2021 at 10:16 am

    Colorado is so beautiful! I haven’t been in son long, and this post has me itching to go back. I love Denver, but I’d love to also visit Colorado Springs. I’ll definitely be using this blog when I visit!

    • Taylor Deer on January 9, 2021 at 11:17 am

      It really is a gorgeous state! I definitely want to go back and see more myself. Colorado Springs is beautiful and I loved Garden of the Gods. 🙂

  10. Ashley on January 9, 2021 at 10:25 am

    I need to get back to Colorado! There’s so many good places to explore there. Definitely want to get to the paint mines at some point!

    • Taylor Deer on January 9, 2021 at 11:17 am

      You totally have to! The Paint Mines were really cool to see. I still have a lot of great places on my Colorado bucket list as well. 🙂

  11. sydney on January 9, 2021 at 11:41 am

    This is an awesome article and your photos are amazing! I’ve got to get back to CO, it’s beautiful!

    • Taylor Deer on January 9, 2021 at 9:05 pm

      Thank you so much Sydney and yes, you totally have to go back. It’s so breathtaking! 🙂

  12. galatia savva on January 9, 2021 at 3:28 pm

    you guys seemed to have the best time – wow those landscapes!! Some gorgeous pictures too 🙂 Ive only visited NYC in the US, there is sooo much more to see!

    • Taylor Deer on January 9, 2021 at 9:07 pm

      Thank you Galatia! It was such a fun trip. 🙂

  13. Jenn - The Solivagant Soul on January 9, 2021 at 3:34 pm

    Going on a roadtrip in the US has been pretty close to the top of my bucket list for more years than I am willing to admit. Once these restrictions are lift, I will be visiting the US and using this great itinerary! THanks for sharing =)

    • Taylor Deer on January 9, 2021 at 9:08 pm

      You definitely do have to do a road trip once boarders open because we really do have a lot of great places to explore. I love our National Parks. 🙂

  14. Krista on January 9, 2021 at 4:52 pm

    I would love to go on a road trip in Colorado! All of your pictures are stunning and making me very jealous right now.

    • Taylor Deer on January 9, 2021 at 9:09 pm

      Thank you Krista! You totally have to go at some point. Colorado is such a beautiful state. 🙂

  15. Ophelie on January 9, 2021 at 6:33 pm

    Colorado really looks like a great place for an adventure! Love to read all about your road trip, it’s motivating!

    • Taylor Deer on January 9, 2021 at 9:09 pm

      Thank you so much Ophelie! It was a nice time. 🙂

  16. Emma on January 9, 2021 at 6:38 pm

    These pictures are unbelievably beautiful. I am absolutely adding this Colorado itinerary to my next USA trip when we can finally travel over there again! 🙂

    • Taylor Deer on January 9, 2021 at 9:10 pm

      Thank you so much Emma! It truly was a great trip. Colorado is such a beautiful state. 🙂

  17. Marika on January 9, 2021 at 7:04 pm

    I have family in Colorado, but I have never actually been. Now I just need to wait until it’s safe to travel so I can visit and do this road trip!

    • Taylor Deer on January 9, 2021 at 9:11 pm

      Yes, you totally have to go to Colorado and visit your family there. It is so beautiful! 🙂

  18. Olivia on January 9, 2021 at 9:04 pm

    The landscapes of Colorado looks totally different from where I live in Switzerland! I’m most fascinated by the Garden of the Gods I have family living in the US, your guide sounds like the perfect itinerary to follow for a fun family roadtrip in the future!

    • Taylor Deer on January 9, 2021 at 9:12 pm

      It is a really cool state to visit. I highly recommend doing a road trip out west once borders open. It is quite fascinating. Also thank you Olivia. 🙂

  19. Mona on January 9, 2021 at 9:46 pm

    Thank you for such an in depth guide! It’s the best one I’ve seen yet. I appreciate the foodie suggestions and love your photos

    • Taylor Deer on January 10, 2021 at 3:53 pm

      Thank you so much Mona! 🙂

  20. Jade on January 10, 2021 at 12:50 am

    Taylor this is such a gorgeous post! I love your photos. This road trip looks epic, despite having lived in the US for 30 years I still never made it to Colorado. It’s high on my bucket list for states. Thanks for sharing!

    • Taylor Deer on January 10, 2021 at 3:53 pm

      Thank you so much Jade! Colorado is such a beautiful state. I hope you get there sooner than later. 🙂

  21. Val on January 10, 2021 at 12:51 pm

    Wow, Colorado is a beaut and the Paint Mines sound like a great site to explore! I hope to visit this area one day.

    • Taylor Deer on January 10, 2021 at 3:57 pm

      You totally have to visit Colorado at some point. It is such a beautiful state with so much adventure. 🙂

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