One of the best ways to take in the splendor of the Rocky Mountains is from behind the wheel of your car! Driving in your car or RV across Colorado is one of the most scenic trips in the United States that anyone can take by vehicle. And – if you’re driving through – why not spend a night or two in the crown-jewel of Colorado: Aspen. There are a couple of beautiful journeys that will bring you to Aspen, but no matter which way you access this amazing mountain town, you’ll be glad you did.
Driving to Aspen via Interstate 70 West (from Denver): Aspen is 220 miles, or approximately a 4-hour drive, from Denver in winter via I-70 West to Glenwood Springs, then east of Highway 82.
What to do along the way:
- Denver – The largest city in Colorado offers five-star dining, professional sports and all the amenities of an American first-class city.
- Idaho Springs – Founded in 1859 by prospectors during the Pike’s Peak Gold Rush, Idaho Springs was the center of the region’s mining district throughout the late 19th century. Be sure to look into the Argo Gold Mine and Mill and the Charlie Taylor Water Wheel, a water wheel built in 1893.
- Silverthorne – A great place to stop for some outlet shopping. Silverthorne boasts some of the best outlet stores around, including many name and luxury brands. Definitely worth a stop!
- Hanging Lake – About 7 miles east of Glenwood Springs is Hanging Lake a very popular summer tourist spot. The lake is reached via a trailhead located along the Glenwood Canyon Bike and Pedestrian Path that runs along the north side of I-70 in the bottom of the canyon. The trail follows Dead Horse Creek, a tributary of the Colorado River and ascends some 1,000 feet in elevation for 1.2 miles from the trailhead to the lake.
Driving to Aspen via Independence Pass from Leadville (91 South to 24 South to Highway 82): During summer (late-May through late-September) the scenic route from Denver is I-70 West to 91 South through Leadville to 24 South, then west onto Highway 82 over Independence Pass.
- Independence Pass is one of the world’s most scenic journeys. So much so, that we devoted an entire blog to it! Read more about discovering Independence Pass!
- Important note: “The Pass” is open only during warm-weather months. GPS systems have recommended this route in winter, so be sure to double-check to see if “The Pass” if open before heading out the door.
Driving to Aspen via Grand Junction (I-70 East to Highway 82): If you’re headed in from the West, there’s plenty to see and do! Here’s a few stopping points:
- Grand Junction – The gateway to the West! Grand Junction offers shopping, wineries,dining and outdoor adventure, and popular Utah destinations such as Moab are not far away.
- Glenwood Springs – Glenwood Springs is renowned for its amazing hot springs. While passing through Glenwood Springs, be sure to stop at the hot springs as well as the burial site of famous gunslinger “Doc” Holliday.
Where to stay in Aspen: We offer more than 200 condominiums, townhouses and private homes in downtown Aspen, close to all of the town’s amazing shopping, culture and nightlife. If you really want to be in the heart of it all, check out the Independence Square, a historic 19th-century lodge hotel in downtown Aspen. The Independence Square is located right in the middle of town, and offers lodge rooms (traditional hotel rooms), a 1-bedroom and a 2-bedroom unit. The Independence Square can also accommodate shorter stays, like 1-3 nights. Summer rates are surprisingly affordable!
Lodging note: All Frias Properties of Aspen guests receive complimentary passes to the Aspen Club & Spa, the valley’s premier full-service spa and workout facility, offering everything from state-of-the-art exercise equipment to relaxing spa treatments and massages. Passes to the Aspen Club & Spa can be obtained from any Frias front desk during regular business hours.