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Colorado Road Trip: The Best Day Trip Ideas From Vail

by | May 31, 2021 | Vail

Summertime is here! And after all the chaos and stress of 2020, there’s no better way to relax and unwind than with a scenic Colorado road trip.

There’s so much to learn about our beautiful state and so many amazing destinations to choose from. If you’re using the Vail Valley as your vacation base, you’re in luck! Many of the most interesting places to visit are easy day trips from Vail.

Here are three must-see destinations just a short drive away from Vail.

1. Drive Through History From Minturn to Leadville

Just 15 minutes from Vail Village, US Highway 24 offers a fascinating journey through Colorado’s past. Take the highway south and you’ll drive through the historic mining towns of Minturn and Red Cliff. They look much the same as they did during the railroad boom of the 1870s!

Continue south and you’ll pass through Camp Hale and over Tennessee Pass. These are the former sites where the 10th Mountain Division troops trained for winter combat in World War II.

After a scenic drive past the epic 14ers of the Collegiate Range, you’ll arrive in the historic silver mining town of Leadville. At 10,200 feet above sea level, Leadville is the highest incorporated town in North America!

2. Marvel at the Splendor of Glenwood Canyon

From Vail, head west on I-70 for about an hour. As the highway winds along the beautiful Eagle and Colorado Rivers, you’ll soon be greeted by an even more impressive sight: Glenwood Canyon.

Carved over millennia from the Colorado River, this epic gorge is 12.5 miles long. The railroad has passed through here since the 1880s, but the interstate only came through in 1992.

During this unforgettable drive, you’ll pass over bridges and through tunnels that seem to defy gravity. Stop to enjoy the views at one of the four rest stops in the canyon or take a hike to the spectacular Hanging Lake. When you emerge on the other side, you’ll love exploring the artsy historic town of Glenwood Springs.

3. Soak Your Worries Away in Steamboat Springs

Mining and railroads weren’t the only draws for Colorado’s first settlers. For a true taste of “wild west” history, take Highway 131 two hours north to the ranching town of Steamboat Springs.

The town gets its name from one of its hot springs that makes a loud chugging noise, similar to the sound of steamboat paddles. First settled by hunters and trappers, the area quickly became a thriving ranching community. Professional rodeo got its start here in the 1890s, along with Howelsen Hill — a site that would train many future Olympic ski jumpers.

You’ll love exploring this town where the wild west is still alive and well. And when you’re ready to get away from the crowds, book a soak in the natural Strawberry Park Hot Springs tucked away deep in the woods.

Where Will Your Colorado Road Trip Take You?

We hope our list of Colorado road trip ideas has inspired you for your upcoming Vail vacation!

Of course, there’s no shortage of fantastic things to do in Vail too. After you’ve gotten your fill of hiking, biking, and road trips, you’ll probably be ready for a little rest and relaxation.

Recharge your batteries with us at Apres Massage, the best (and most affordable) boutique day spa in Vail. Click here to view our luxurious spa menu or give us a call at 970-445-2114 to learn more.