Colorado is considered a playground for adventurers, featuring spectacular natural scenery that includes bucket-list hikes, gorgeous lakes and the captivating Rocky Mountains. A Colorado road trip offers access to some of the best stretches of highway in the U.S. where you can explore the state’s array of exciting cities, national parks, pioneer towns and mountain resorts.
With over 400 million annual visitors to HotelsCombined, we’ve created the ultimate Colorado road trip itinerary, highlighting where to stop, what to do and more. Regardless of what destinations you choose to visit, you’ll quickly learn why Colorado is perfect for an adventure on the open road.
It only makes sense to start your Colorado road trip in Denver, the state’s capital and biggest city. Not only is the Mile High City home to Denver International Airport, but it also boasts galleries, museums, kid-friendly attractions and serves as the perfect home base for exploring the Rocky Mountains.
Best Experiences in Denver
- Browse the buzzing restaurants, shops and nightlife venues at Larimer Square.
- Take a break in the tranquil green spaces at Denver Botanic Gardens or the sprawling City Park.
- Sample craft beer at local breweries, such as Wynkoop and Cerebral Brewing.
Top Hotel in Denver
Just minutes from Larimer Square, Four Seasons Hotel Denver boasts a luxe spa, rooftop pool and mountain-view rooms. As well as in-room dining, travellers can dine at the hotel’s signature steakhouse Edge, which has a menu of Colorado-ranched beef and an extensive wine collection. Wrap up your evening with a handcrafted cocktail or local microbrew at the bar.
Enjoy an aromatherapy massage or an innovative Emsculpt body shaping treatment at the spa, then retreat to a spacious Premier Studio with a king-size bed and deep soaking tub. Alternatively, the luxe Suites add living and dining rooms, fireplaces and Rocky Mountain views from floor-to-ceiling windows.
Star Rating: 5*
Price: USD 364 – USD 5,915
Guest Rating: 9.2
Address: 1111 14th Street, Denver, CO 80202, United States
Boulder is Colorado’s free-spirited college town, home to the University of Colorado and over 480 kilometres of hiking trails. Sitting at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, it’s the perfect stop on your Colorado road trip, offering a dizzying array of activities for nature lovers, a thriving culinary scene, open-air music festivals and shopping streets.
Best Experiences in Boulder
- Hike the trails at Eldorado Canyon State Park or Chautauqua Park for rewarding Flatirons views.
- Go window shopping among the historic storefronts at Pearl Street Mall.
- See how the world’s most popular tea is made at the Celestial Seasonings.
Top Hotel in Boulder
A top-rated historic hotel in Colorado, Hotel Boulderado boasts elegant Victorian-inspired rooms with sweeping views of Downtown Boulder, the Rocky Mountain foothills and the Boulder Flatirons. Most rooms feature oversized seating areas, premium HD cable channels and king-size beds.
This hotel is a delight for food-loving travellers, with its on-site restaurant Spruce Farm & Fish featuring lobster pot pop-ups and a menu of seasonal dishes, while the Corner Bar serves late-night meals and perfectly-poured martinis. For a quick pick me up, the Boxcar Coffee Bar offers coffee, tea and juice paired with freshly-baked pastries.
Star Rating: 3*
Price: USD 151 – USD 438
Guest Rating: 9.2
Address: 2115 13th Street, Boulder, CO 80302, United States
Less than an hour from Boulder, Estes Park is the next stop on our exciting Colorado road trip. Surrounded by the state’s most majestic peaks, this quaint town is beloved for its rock climbing opportunities, scenic mountain trails and the popular Aerial Tramway that travels to the summit of Prospect Mountain.
Best Experiences in Estes Park
- Tour the Stanley Hotel, the inspiration behind Stephen King’s novel “The Shining”.
- Marvel at waterfalls and local wildlife at the renowned Rocky Mountain National Park.
- Pass through Trail Ridge Road, one of the most beautiful drives in the U.S. (open from May to October).
Top Hotel in Estes Park
A short walk from downtown Estes Park, Murphy’s Resort has spacious rooms, studios, suites and vacation home rentals. Some come with Jacuzzis and fireplaces, and many offer sweeping Longs Peak views, while families can choose from log cabins and a Grand Estates home with extra bedrooms, full kitchens and living rooms.
Families will love the long list of on-site recreation available, from an outdoor pool, playground and giant Jenga to corn hole, giant checkers, bicycles and barbecue grills. Join fun Sip-N-Paint events, listen to storytelling by Cowboy Rodger or relax by one of the fire pits or in the hot tub.
Star Rating: 3*
Price: USD 155 – USD 256
Guest Rating: 8.9
Address: 1650 Big Thompson Avenue, Estes Park, CO 80517, United States
Steamboat Springs is the perfect stop for outdoor lovers, offering fun activities in both the winter and summer seasons. You can spend your time exploring the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forests, hiking the family-friendly paths at Fish Creek Falls or take a break by strolling through more than 50 gardens at Yampa River Botanic Park.
Best Experiences in Steamboat Springs
- Spend a day hiking, fishing, kayaking or tubing at Yampa River Core Trail.
- Enjoy a sleigh ride, snowmobiling and dogsledding at Steamboat Ski Resort in winter.
- Relax in the 104-degree mineral pools at Strawberry Park Hot Springs.
Top Hotel in Steamboat Springs
A friendly atmosphere, prime location and affordable rates are what makes Nordic Lodge a popular choice in Steamboat Springs. It also offers on-site perks, such as an indoor hot tub, outdoor heated pool, complimentary breakfast and free ski bus to the Steamboat Ski Area every 10 minutes.
Pet-friendly rooms boast refrigerators, flat-screen TVs and complimentary Wi-Fi. The 2 Bedroom Suite is ideal for families with a spacious living room and two queen-size beds, while the luxe King Apartment adds stunning Howelsen Hill views, a full kitchen and dining table.
Star Rating: 2*
Price: USD 95 – USD 269
Guest Rating: 9
Address: 1036 Lincoln Avenue, Steamboat Springs, Colorado, United States
Travellers flock from around the world to experience the geothermal hot springs at the aptly-named Glenwood Springs. Set where the Colorado and Roaring Fork Rivers meet in the rugged Rocky Mountains, it offers a variety of outdoor recreation such as hiking trails, horseback riding and white water rafting.
Best Experiences in Glenwood Springs
- Enjoy a relaxing soak in the natural mineral pools at Glenwood Hot Spring Resort and Iron Mountain Hot Springs.
- Get your adrenaline pumping on the thrilling family-friendly rides at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park.
- Enjoy hiking, kayaking, wildlife viewing and river rafting at Glenwood Canyon.
Top Hotel in Glenwood Springs
Courtyard by Marriott Glenwood Springs offers easy access to some of the top attractions in Glenwood Springs. Visit the on-site Bistro for healthy breakfast and dinner options, an evening bar and Starbucks coffee, then swim laps in the indoor pool or work up a sweat in the fitness centre.
Comfy rooms offer a peaceful night of sleep with their plush bedding and soundproof windows, while free Wi-Fi, mini fridges, coffee makers and sitting areas make it the perfect home away from home. Upgrade to a One-Bedroom King Suite for mountain views and a separate living room with a sofa bed.
Star Rating: 3*
Price: USD 186 – USD 253
Guest Rating: 8.4
Address: 105 Wulfsohn Road, Glenwood Springs, Colorado, United States
Telluride and Ouray are two of Colorado’s most charming mountain villages, located just a few hours from Glenwood Springs. You can travel back to the Wild West days in these small-town gems, from browsing the historic relics in the Ouray Alchemist Museum & Penthouse to joining a mining tour in Telluride.
Best Experiences in Telluride/Ouray
- Hit the slopes at Telluride Ski Resort, one of the best skiing and snowboarding destinations in Colorado.
- Snap photos of the 25-metre waterfall at Ouray’s Box Canyon Waterfall & Park.
- Ride the free gondola over the San Sophia Ridge into Telluride’s Mountain Village.
Top Hotel in Telluride/Ouray
Adventurers love Madeline Hotel & Residences, as it’s steps away from where hiking trails start and offers ski-in, ski-out access. Enjoy casual, modern mountain dishes served on fire-tables at Black Iron Kitchen & Bar or visit M Lounge for apres shared plates, local beers and shuffleboard, foosball and pool. Afterwards, unwind with a nature-inspired treatment at the spa.
King Balcony rooms boast floor-to-ceiling glass doors and a balcony with mountain or village views, while large Two Bedroom Suites add a gas fireplace, kitchenette and living room. Alternatively, multi-room Residences are private homes that cater to families and friends travelling together.
Star Rating: 4*
Price: USD 306 – USD 4,201
Guest Rating: 9.2
Address: 568 Mountain Village Boulevard, Mountain Village, Colorado, United States
Mesa Verde National Park
Showcasing ancient Native American culture, Mesa Verde National Park is a must-stop for history lovers embarking on a Colorado road trip. Once inhabited by cliff-dwelling ancestors of the Pueblo people, it boasts extraordinary sandstone homes built into the cliffs and mesas.
Best Experiences in Mesa Verde National Park
- Visit Cliff Palace, one of the park’s most well-preserved and beautiful cliff dwellings.
- Take a drive on Mesa Top Loop Road, which winds past notable archaeological sites and offers panoramic canyon views.
- Browse the ancient Native American artefacts at Chapin Mesa Archeological Museum.
Top Hotel near Mesa Verde National Park
Far View Lodge is the only accommodation actually inside of Mesa Verde National Park, located just 24 kilometres from the park entrance. Step inside to admire the traditional Western decor of this hotel, which features the award-winning Metate Dining Room, an inviting lounge/bar area and gift shops for souvenirs.
All rooms feature modern amenities such as mini fridges, coffee makers and complimentary Wi-Fi, with Kiva Rooms boasting handcrafted furniture, air conditioning and a private balcony. You can enjoy unobstructed views from your private balcony in a Kiva Deluxe View room, which is perfect for wildlife watching and stargazing.
Star Rating: 2*
Price: USD 143 – USD 194
Guest Rating: 8.1
Address: Mile Marker 15, Inside, Cortez, CO 81330, United States
Located in southwestern Colorado, Durango combines outdoor adventures with historic landmarks and cultural attractions seamlessly. Skiing at Purgatory Ski Resort is popular in winter and fishing, zip-lining and river rafting are top choices in summer. At the same time, the city’s cosmopolitan side boasts museums, art galleries and music venues available year-round.
Best Experiences in Durango
- Hop aboard the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad for a leisurely trip through the canyons of south-west Colorado.
- Explore the historic downtown area full of restaurants, museums, shops and galleries.
- Visit shooting locations for Hollywood Westerns such as “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid”.
Top Hotel in Durango
HotelsCombined visitors highly recommend staying at the historic Strater Hotel when visiting Durango, as this grand hotel is an iconic downtown landmark. Considered Durango’s living history museum, it boasts multiple on-site dining options, from the traditional steakhouse experience at Mahogany Grille to the Old West Diamond Belle Saloon with live music and entertainment.
Each of the individually-styled, antique-filled rooms boast Victorian furniture, flat-screen TVs, air conditioning and Wi-Fi. Named after a person or business that had an impact on Southwest Colorado, the Premium Guestrooms add small sitting areas and elaborate wall coverings.
Star Rating: 3*
Price: USD 169 – USD 231
Guest Rating: 8.9
Address: 699 Main Avenue, Durango, Colorado, United States
Great Sand Dunes National Park
One of Colorado’s best-kept secrets, Great Sand Dunes National Park offers activities for the whole family. Offering a unique landscape of dunes that reach up to 228 metres tall, most visitors make it a priority to try sand sledding at this iconic U.S. national park.
Best Experiences in Great Sand Dunes National Park
- Rent a 4WD vehicle and go on an off-road adventure along the Medano Pass Primitive Road.
- Stay after sunset to admire the star-filled sky over the highest dunes in North America.
- Follow the trailhead for Zapata Falls, an easy one-kilometre round trip hike.
Top Hotel near Great Sand Dunes National Park
The perfect choice for budget-savvy travellers, Comfort Inn Alamosa offers a collection of spacious rooms that are family-friendly. Take advantage of the complimentary breakfast, as well as the indoor pool and kids playground with picnic tables. Getting around is a breeze with the complimentary daytime shuttle to the Rio Grande Scenic Railroad or San Luis Valley Regional Airport.
Pets are welcome in the cosy rooms, which feature premium bedding, free Wi-Fi, coffee makers, refrigerators and flat-screen TVs. After a long day of road tripping, you can kick back by the hotel’s fireside sitting area or enjoy a soak in the indoor hot tub.
Star Rating: 2*
Price: USD 76 – USD 131
Guest Rating: 9.1
Address: 6301 Us 160, Alamosa, Colorado, United States
Wrap up your epic Colorado road trip in Colorado Springs, the state’s second-largest city best known for its variety of outdoor adventures that cater to all types of travellers. Nature lovers are spoilt for choice in Colorado Springs with some of the country’s most impressive natural landmarks nearby, from the captivating mountain views at Pikes Peak to the magnificent red rock formations at Garden of the Gods.
Best Experiences in Colorado Springs
- Browse the independent boutique shops and trendy restaurants in Downtown Colorado Springs.
- See the collection of cascading waterfalls from a viewing platform at Seven Falls.
- Tour top-rated attractions such as the Olympic Training Center and Cheyenne Mountain Zoo.
Top Hotel in Colorado Springs
One of the top luxury golf resorts in the United States, The Broadmoor boasts two award-winning golf courses ranked among the best in the world. Take a swing where Presidents and celebrities once played, then enjoy the hotel’s long list of luxe facilities, such as its zero-entry infinity pool, posh spa and multiple on-site restaurants and bars, cafes and lounges. Adventurous travellers can sign up for unique experiences such as rock climbing, fly fishing and zip lining.
This elegant resort offers a range of spacious rooms, suites, cottages, brownstones and a lavish Estate House to choose from, each featuring plush furnishings and cosy sitting areas. Stay in a luxe suite with mountain views or enjoy the privacy of a multi-bedroom cottage or Wilderness Cabin.
Star Rating: 5*
Price: USD 305 – USD 1,239
Guest Rating: 9.3
Address: 1 Lake Avenue, Colorado Springs, Colorado, United States
The Ultimate Colorado Road Trip for Adventurers
See what makes Colorado so special on this road trip itinerary, or depending on how much time you have, choose a few of your favourite destinations and create your own. The perfect Colorado road trip has got a little bit of everything – snowy peaks, sand dunes and beautiful cities, but it’s hard to go wrong exploring this stunning state. Afterwards, retreat to one of these top hotels for a chance to recharge with inviting perks and luxe facilities.
Which stops are your favourite on our Colorado road trip? Let us know in the comments below.