Road Trip Anyone?

Peering out of the western-facing windows of our office I can see I-25, one of Denver's vital arteries, and I wonder if any of those people are headed to the scenic byways that make for an epic drive. I think to myself, roads like the million-dollar highway are the reason why I stupidly own two cars -- one being a Mazda MX-5 Club Manual and the other being an old beat up Chevy Silverado. If only it was the new GMC Sierra or Canyon Denali, then would I consider taking that, but then I fear it might turn into more of a camping, boating, and off-roading enterprise. Nonetheless, I'd still take the same routes to get there and go out of my way to take these scenic drives:

Guanella Pass

[caption id="attachment_38806" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Photo: Georgetown-Colorado.org[/caption] Cruise down Highway 285 to Grant, CO and take Guanella Pass all the way up to Georgetown. It's about 22 miles of elevation changes, curves, and breathtaking views of Mt. Evans and Mt. Bierstadt. Perfect if you're looking to make it back to Denver that night, but it'll still take a while. The road from Grant to Georgetown will take approximately an hour, so plan accordingly.

Trail Ridge Road

[caption id="attachment_38809" align="aligncenter" width="1000"] Photo: NPS.gov[/caption] You'll have to pay the entrance fee to Rocky Mountain National Park and put up with a little bit of traffic, but it's a drive every Coloradan should take at least once.

Mt. Evans Road

[caption id="attachment_38811" align="aligncenter" width="764"] Photo: Denver.org[/caption] Again, you'll have to pay the entrance fee, but it's technically the highest paved road in the USA and there's something to be said for that. However, if you're not comfortable with heights then you might want to avoid this one.

Million Dollar Highway

[caption id="attachment_38813" align="aligncenter" width="3504"] Photo: Wikimedia[/caption] The Million Dollar Highway is technically U.S. route 550 and the "Million Dollar" part is really the 12 miles south of Ouray through Uncompahgre Gorge and up to Red Mountain Pass. Characterized by steep drop-offs, tight hairpin turns, and varying road conditions, it's not for the less-than-confident driver. However, as you may have guessed, the views are amazing and so are the surrounding towns.

Lookout Mountain Road

[caption id="attachment_38815" align="aligncenter" width="409"] Photo: Colorado Bike Law's Lookout Mountain Hill Climb Bicycle Race (Facebook)[/caption] If you need a quick drive close to Denver, then look into Lookout Mountain Road. A favorite of cyclists and hikers alike, Lookout Mountain has long been a place to get a good view of either the mountains or Denver. If you're into history, you can also pay your respects to Buffalo Bill Cody.

Alpine Loop

[caption id="attachment_38817" align="aligncenter" width="550"] Photo: Trip Advisor[/caption] Not exactly a road, the Alpine Loop requires a high clearance 4x4! So bring the Wrangler or your lifted GMC Canyon for 63 miles of desolate backcountry adventure. The views are some of the most spectacular in the country and worth every bump. We warn you though, it's not for the inexperienced off-roader.

Independence Pass

[caption id="attachment_38818" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Photo: Summit Biking[/caption] Going from Aspen to Twin Lakes, Independence Pass is another high-mountain pass route that offers excellent views. It has even been part of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge for the past 7 years and takes you well above the tree line. That's all! What are your thoughts? Do you have any routes or drives you'd like to share? If so, let us know in the comments below!

Want to hear more about what's going on in Colorado? Have you heard about DCPA's $36 million renovations?