How to Plan the Ultimate Road Trip from Denver to Aspen, CO

From cross-country adventures to weekend getaways, road trips are an American tradition. Packing your bags up and hitting the road is a rite of passage that makes for some unforgettable memories. Crank up the tunes, roll the windows down, and embark on the ultimate road trip from Denver to Aspen 

The open road is waiting.  

Planning Your Denver to Aspen Road Trip: 10 of the Best Stops There and Back 

A straight shot from Denver to Aspen would take you roughly three and a half hours via I-70 W. Whether you plan on renting a car after flying into Denver or you’re driving your own vehicle through the Mile High City on your way to Aspen, why not make an adventure out of your drive? We’ve mapped out some of the best stops to consider taking along the way.  

 Map It. 

On the Way to Aspen 

Denver Union Station

1. Denver Union Station 

Did you know that Denver Union Station is a “green” building? Union Station’s Bus Concourse received Gold LEED certification thanks to recycled materials, increased ventilation, natural light, and a green cleaning policy. Before leaving Denver, be sure to stop and have your photo taken outside this iconic attraction. 

2. Idaho Springs 

Idaho Springs is a historic mountain town right outside of Denver that is worth a stop. If you have the time, visit the Argo Mill and Tunnel, a four-mile underground highway, to learn more about the region’s rich mining history. If you’re hungry, be sure to grab a slice of pizza at Beau Jo’s 

3. Georgetown 

The next stop on your way to Aspen is Georgetown, CO, situated up high in the Rocky Mountains. If you’d like to take in the region’s natural beauty, climb aboard the Georgetown Loop Railroad! The engineer will take you over the Devil’s Gate Bridge and through the mountains.  

4. Dillon Reservoir  

This large and beautiful lake sits with stunning alpine scenery as a backdrop. Whether you’d like to get out on the lake, go fishing, or simply take in the views, you don’t want to miss this stop along your road trip to Aspen.  

5. Glenwood Canyon 

Glenwood Canyon in Glenwood Springs is up next on your road trip itinerary. The Colorado River carved this 16-mile canyon over the course of three million years. If you’d like to rest your muscles consider stopping by the Glenwood Hot Springs Pool 

6. Maroon Bells 

Before heading to your home base in Aspen, make one last stop. Pictures will never do Maroon Bells any justice. You simply have to see this marvel for yourself. The 14,000-foot peaks are located just 10 miles west of Aspen or 16 miles east of Snowmass up Maroon Creek Road off Highway 82 in a glacial valley and truly epitomize the beauty of the Rocky Mountains. 

Stay a While  

Stay a While in Aspen

7. Aspen 

Aspen Signature Vacation Rentals provides you and your loved ones with the ideal home away from home experience. Experience our lovely town and surrounding mountains in luxurious and high-end settings. And, with our Concierge Services, you can make the most of your trip by planning everything from grocery delivery to childcare, unique activities, and more!  

Begin planning your road trip from Denver to Aspen today by booking one of our premium vacation rentals. We are excited to welcome you to our mountain paradise. 

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Need Additional Help Planning Your Visit to Aspen?  

If you’re looking for some local insight on the best things to do during your stay in Aspen, CO, be sure to request a free copy of our Travel Guide 

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On the Way Back to Denver  

Independence Pass

8. Independence Pass  

Driving through the Independence Pass will offer some of the most beautiful scenery throughout the course of your trek. This 32-mile stretch will take you roughly 45 minutes to an hour and a half to traverse. The road is narrow, but it’s completely safe if you drive carefully. 

9. Twin Lakes  

Venture on to the base of Mount Elbert, where you will find two glittering lakes reflecting some of the nation’s tallest peaks. Stretch your legs and hike around Twin Lakes, where you will encounter unspoiled nature, curious wildlife, and breathtaking scenery. 

10. Leadville 

Make one last stop before you return to Denver. Leadville, CO, is a charming and historic mining town. We recommend grabbing a bite to eat at the El Mexicano restaurant on Main Street for authentic Mexican food.  

Travel Tip: If you’re planning a road trip in the fall, you’re in for a treat. This return route boasts stunning scenes of fall foliage for all you leaf-peepers.