colorado sand dunes

Colorado Road Trip Itinerary – Great Sand Dunes National Park

Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado offers one of the state’s most magnificent sights: endlessly rolling sheets of sand backed by towering snow-capped mountains – it is truly unforgettable and should be visited during any road trip adventure! It should not be missed.

Start your Colorado adventure in Denver, where you can grab some green chile lunch and explore Larimer Square before driving southwestward on I-25!


The Mile High City is an ideal starting point for exploring Colorado by road trip. There are a wide array of activities and sights, such as the iconic Flatirons – giant tilted rock slabs that make for stunning views – hiking and mountain biking, plus lots of other outdoor pursuits such as Eldorado Canyon State Park with beautiful landscapes perfect for picnicking, climbing, kayaking or paddle boarding; plus plenty of restaurants such as Urban Egg or Avanti in Lower Highlands for dining experiences!

Frisco, Colorado is the next stop on this Colorado road trip itinerary and boasts not only an outstanding ski resort but also numerous other adventure offerings. Hiking trails for all skill levels are easy to access while there are beautiful lakes in the area like Sapphire Lake with blue waters that seem surreal.

Frisco provides some sightseeing opportunities, but the primary goal should be a trip to Rocky Mountain National Park nearby. Estes Park provides an ideal place from which to make the most of your experience at this national park.

Glenwood Springs

Glenwood Springs is an unforgettable mountain town offering visitors an abundance of unforgettable experiences, from luxurious hot spring baths with breathtaking teal lake waters to exploring an intriguing underground cave system. Don’t miss this charming mountain town filled with natural wonders!

Glenwood Springs is a four-season destination, giving visitors plenty of activities to choose from in every season. Summer brings the Colorado River through picturesque Glenwood Canyon for rafting adventures; biking paved and unpaved trails is another popular activity around town; autumn brings leaf-peepers and big game hunters; while skiing/snowboarding at Sunlight Mountain Resort dominate winter plans.

Hanging Lake and the Grizzly Creek Trail are among the area’s most beloved hikes, offering gorgeous, breathtaking views of surrounding rocky mountains and waterfalls. Mountain bike enthusiasts should make time for Wulfsohn Trail; its short length makes it perfect for daylong mountain bike adventure!

Glenwood Springs boasts an outstanding selection of restaurants. From casual fare at Slope & Hatch to delicious Colorado Ranch House elk burgers, there is something here for every palette. Or for something a bit fancier try Riviera Supper Club and Piano Bar which features breathtaking river views!

Black Canyon of the Gunnison

Colorado is a paradise of breathtaking natural landscapes for any outdoorsy adventurer, from National Parks and scenic byways, to charming mountain towns, with so much to discover! If you want an edgier and rugged adventure, Black Canyon of the Gunnison offers just that with its staggering network of hiking trails, stunning cliff walls, and endless mountain peaks to gaze upon.

Once you’ve explored this breathtaking National Park, travel one hour and 20 minutes south to Montrose as your base. This lovely, authentic mountain town offers plenty of accommodations and restaurants that tourists love; plus it is the ideal place for stocking up supplies before setting out into Black Canyon of the Gunnison.

There’s so much to do and see in this picturesque, historical town of Black Canyon City – from exploring countless relics of mining settlements scattered throughout to taking a boat tour on the Gunnison River for up-close views of its towering cliff walls to hiking along its south rim for breathtaking panoramas and wildlife watching – keeping an eye out for black bears, mule deer, and bighorn sheep; just make sure that their space is respected when visiting.

Great Sand Dunes National Park

Great Sand Dunes National Park boasts the tallest sand dunes in North America, making this playground as massive and surreal. Exploring these vast dunes is free, but what really adds the thrill is traversing them either on foot or mountain bike – make sure you bring a map and can read a compass because navigating them may prove disorienting!

Hiking, sledding, and sand-boarding are popular activities at the park. If you can time your visit during Medano Creek’s peak flow in spring and summer (check your park system for updates), the dunes become something like an outdoor waterpark with waves that splash across them like waves from an amusement park ride.

Fall is an incredible season in Colorado’s mountains as aspen trees turn vibrant golds and yellows. Fall is also an excellent opportunity to visit Colorado’s iconic Maroon Bells; photographers line up before dawn to witness it illuminate South Maroon Peak with alpenglow.

If you have extra time in the area, take a day trip to Creede for an authentic mining culture experience and breathtaking views of Rio Grande River’s headwaters. Or take the Silver Thread Scenic & Historic Byway up to Silverton to experience some of the state’s most spectacular alpine lakes!


Telluride offers plenty of activities, from outdoor adventure to sightseeing from above on a scenic gondola ride. This historic mountain town consists of two villages–original, adobe-built Telluride and more modern Mountain Village–both offering numerous attractions and experiences.

Summer hiking trails amidst towering peaks and serene lakes are popularly enjoyed. Biking, horseback riding and white water rafting are also available; white water rafting is most commonly done during the wintertime months. And for a treat if you have a sweet tooth try Sweet Cow for some of the region’s best ice cream!

Telluride’s historic downtown district boasts boutique shopping and an engaging past to explore. A great starting point is the Telluride Historical Museum, with exhibits detailing mining past and ski culture of Telluride.

Ouray, known as the self-declared “Switzerland of America”, lies nestled into an intimate canyon, framed by dramatic cliffs towering into the sky on all sides. Famous for its hot springs and skiing, Ouray also makes for great hiking with unparalleled mountain views. In autumn, vivid hues come to life in Ouray’s canyon walls as vibrant hues illuminate all corners – ideal viewing on one of Ouray’s guided off-road tours or hiking trips listed above; anyone seeking a complete Colorado experience must visit Ouray before embarking on their road trip itinerary!

South Fork

South Fork, Colorado is an outdoor recreation paradise offering river rafting, fly fishing and hiking activities. Its mountainous landscape and historic towns boast wildlife viewing areas as well as geological marvels like hot springs, meandering lakes and scenic vistas – providing plenty of opportunity for exploration along its 117-mile Silver Thread Scenic Byway.

South Fork is home to 350 year-round residents who thrive off nature. From hiking and river rafting in the Weminuche Wilderness to fly fishing on Rio Grande River tributaries in summer months. Golfers will appreciate Rio Grande Club course’s challenging but spectacular challenge while Lake City Historic District contains many preserved buildings from mining era days, thanks to South Fork’s remote location helping preserve these historical structures.

This area is an excellent location for big game hunting of deer, elk and other species, while winter sports enthusiasts have plenty of opportunities such as downhill/cross country skiing, snowmobiling and sledding. A section of the Continental Divide Trail passes through this town providing hikers with endless hiking adventures; additionally it was here that western guide and explorer John Freemont and his party survived a harsh winter in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains at Freemont Camp; one of Colorado’s most significant historic sites.