Colorado is a gorgeous place for a road trip no matter the time of year. However the fall season brings cool brisk air and color to the Rocky Mountains. In order to catch the best fall colors from the changing aspen trees in the high mountains, the best time to road trip through Colorado is mid-September to early October. This particular road trip is on one of Colorado’s most popular and scenic roads, Interstate 70, which runs from Denver to Grand Junction. These stops make for the perfect fall road trip on this iconic highway.
Your first stop on I-70 will be a coffee shop in the town of Golden. Bean Fosters is the perfect place to fuel up on caffeine for the journey ahead. Snag a great coffee from single-origin coffee beans or choose to drink a specialty hot tea. This locally-owned and operated coffee shop also doubles as a bookstore with over 10,000 books for sale. Grab a book and a sweet treat to go before hitting the road.
If the weather is good, take a scenic stop at Echo Lake, which is only a 25-minute detour from I-70 along Mount Evans Scenic Byway. Mount Evans is Colorado’s highest mountain. Although the summit of this massive mountain can be reached by car during the summer, the summit closes in early September. However this byway remains open up to Echo Lake during the fall and winter months. Echo Lake is at 10,500 feet, making it one of the highest bodies of water in the state. You’re sure to catch some gorgeous views of fall foliage here.
Smokin’ Yards BBQ, located along I-70 in Idaho Springs, is a popular pit stop for hungry motorists. Serving up southern barbecue and home cooked sides, it’s the perfect place to refuel for your road adventure. From brisket to pulled pork to burnt ends, you’ll definitely be full at this spot known to be one of the best barbecue places in the Centennial State.
After a two-hour drive west on I-70 from Smokin’ Yards BBQ, you’re probably ready to stretch your legs. Therefore enjoy the cool autumn air by hitting up one of Colorado’s most popular hikes, Hanging Lake. This moderately challenging hike is only 2.8 miles roundtrip but will be an uphill walk bringing you to a beautiful lake and waterfall.
After a long day of beautiful Colorado scenery, a stay at Glenwood Hot Springs Resort is sure to be relaxing. Rest your sore hiking muscles in the world’s largest hot springs pool, located at Glenwood Hot Springs Resort. This 107-room lodge is located in downtown Glenwood Springs, so dining, shopping and bars are only a short walk away.
Enjoy a great local brew along with dinner at this local brewpub that is only a 10-minute walk from Glenwood Hot Springs Resort. There are 24 beers on tap at Glenwood Canyon Brewing Co. Now this brewery actually closes at 10 p.m. If you’re looking for a bar that is open later, simply walk to Doc Holliday’s Saloon, which is one of the only bars open late every night in Glenwood Springs. And luckily, Doc Holliday’s Saloon is only a block away from Glenwood Canyon Brewing Co.
Daily Bread is one of the most popular places to have breakfast and brunch in Glenwood Springs. This restaurant is the perfect start to your morning as you plan the big day ahead of you. The menu is complete with breakfast favorites from banana pancakes to crepes to even huevos rancheros. Although serving American favorites, Daily Bread also features a number of Polish dishes too.
After your filling breakfast at Daily Bread, hit I-70 again and drive toward Grand Junction. After an hour and half, you should reach Fruit Baskets Orchards, where you can pick your own apples. Apples are ripe during the fall months, therefore this is the perfect time to pick them. This you-pick orchard has 18 different varieties of apples, along with peaches, cherries, plums and nectarines.
One of the most scenic spots in the area is at Colorado National Monument, only a short drive outside of Grand Junction. Drive on the Historic Rim Rock Drive or choose to hike over 40 miles of trails here. However if you just want to stop and enjoy the natural landscape, there are a number of picnic areas to soak in this scenic spot.
End your road trip with a fright at Studt’s Dark Acres Haunted Corn Maze. Once day turns to night, the corn maze at Studt’s turns terrifying. You’ll be running through the maze as there is a scary attraction around every bend. Make sure to arrive early at this popular haunted corn maze.