Colorado is a large, geographically diverse state that’s best explored by car.
If you’re planning to stay in one place for most of your trip, however, you can easily get around by walking, biking and taking public transit. From Denver, it’s also possible to take buses or fly to other Colorado destinations — and, if you’re not comfortable navigating curvy mountain roads, especially during snow or icy conditions, it’s best to leave the driving to the professionals anyway. The Centennial State also has numerous sightseeing trains that are worth basing a trip around.
As you start planning your next trip, here’s everything you need to know about getting around in Colorado.
Colorado spans 103,641 square miles, which makes it the 8th-largest state in the nation. It also encompasses many diverse landscapes, from craggy peaks to flat plains to red rock formations. If you’re planning to see multiple different parts of the state during one vacation, then driving is your best bet — whether you road trip from home or fly into Denver International Airport and rent a car.
Two of the major thoroughfares in Colorado are Interstate 25, which runs north and south, and Interstate 70, which runs east and west. Many popular Colorado destinations are accessible via these two well-traveled routes, which means you’ll find plenty of services, restaurants and scenic overlooks along the way. On the flip side, however, because so many drivers use these interstates, they regularly get backed up with traffic in certain spots.
For a more peaceful road trip, consider driving along one of Colorado’s 26 scenic and historic byways (13 of which are also designated as such by the federal government). They can’t take you everywhere within the state, but they can get you pretty close to most destinations — and you’ll see some truly stunning sights and learn something new along the way.
Parking is generally abundant in Colorado, with a few notable exceptions. You may find yourself driving around the block a few times in many downtown Denver neighborhoods, especially on the weekends. However, with enough patience (and a willingness to spend some cash), you’ll eventually be able to find a spot in a garage or lot.
Parking can also be an issue in many mountain towns and at most ski resorts, which are strapped for space because of their rugged surroundings. Most resorts have now added satellite parking lots and free shuttles to bring you right to the chairlift, which can add a little extra time to your ski day. If you’re planning to spend the night, you’ll likely have to pay to park your vehicle at your hotel’s garage (and some only offer valet parking).
If you don’t want to pay to rent a car or you’re just not comfortable driving, buses can be a good
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Peak fall foliage is popping in Estes Park, the mountain town just outside of Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park. Soon, the elk will be bugling as part of their annual mating ritual, a wildlife spectacle that draws tourists to the mountain town for “Elktober.” Down in southern Colorado, the “ring of fire eclipse” is projected to pass directly through Mesa Verde National Park on Oct. 14, drawing tourists eager to catch the rare celestial event among the Ancestral Puebloan cliff dwellings.
Hyatt said on Thursday it would shift its strategy in marketing vacation rentals. It plans to launch before year-end a short-term vacation rental platform called Homes & Hideaways by World of Hyatt.
From the surf beaches of the Pacific coast and the snow-capped peaks of the Andes to the Galapagos Islands and the humid Amazon Basin, Ecuador serves up epic travel experiences in every season and all in an area only slightly larger than Colorado.
As bellhops grabbed my bags, a valet driver swiped my car keys, and a receptionist handed me a key to my room at The Little Nell, a five-star hotel in Aspen, Colorado, I was already feeling the pressure of time.
This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with Martha Pierce , a 34-year-old former marketing agency owner, who started her own business coaching practice this year and left Denver, Colorado for Santa Teresa, Costa Rica.
The best time to visit Colorado depends on how you want to spend your time in the Centennial State. From world-class skiing and snowboarding in the winter to picturesque hiking and mountain biking in the summer, Colorado is all about outdoor recreation, which is largely seasonal and weather-dependent.
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