SUMMER ROAD TRIP, DAYS 62 – 70
Most people think of Colorado as a winter destination for skiing or snowboarding, but we found summer is a great time of year to visit. The temperature is mild, the flowers are blooming and there’s a long list of things to do! On week nine of our road trip, we met up with family for some rest and relaxation in central Colorado.
Colorado Summer Family Fun – 6 Things to Do
1. Climb a Mountain… without the Effort and Sweat
During the summer, many of the chairlifts are still operating. Instead of heading up with skis, take a camera and enjoy the views. We visited Copper Mountain and with a $12 purchase in the Copper Village, the ride is free. We bought some hiking socks and enjoyed a few drinks before gliding up.
2. Take a Thrilling Scenic Drive
What is more exhilarating than climbing up to 12,095 feet to meet the almighty mountains eye to eye? Independence Pass is one of the highest paved roads in the state and it was an exciting and beautiful ride to the top.
3. Visit a Delightful Small Town
You can take your pick of charming towns complete with eclectic stores, adorable villages, and unique restaurants. Minturn, Aspen, Glenwood Springs, and Vail were just a few we explored.
4. Get your Heart Pumping on a Hike
Central Colorado is home to rocky mountains and crisp air. A perfect combination for a hike! We’ve been on the road for a while and have been hiking a ton so I thought I had my trail legs. Then we get to Colorado and all of a sudden a walk around a fairly level lake seems to be a challenge. Be aware flatlanders, it takes time to get used to the change in altitude. Vail sits at over 8,000 feet in elevation and it can affect people differently.
5. Indulge Your Inner Cowboy/girl with a Horseback Ride
Even though I came to the conclusion that my calling is not to be a cowgirl, I had a blast riding my calm and collected buddy for the day. With the name like Hatchet, I didn’t have high hopes. We saddled up on a half day ride with A.J. Brink Outfitters at Sweetwater Lake Resort and reached amazing views on our trip.
6. Soak in a Hot Spring
I know what you are thinking, “It’s summer, why would you go to a hot spring?” Mountains equal moody temps, no matter the season. After a half day of horseback riding, we rested our sore knees and behinds at Glenwood Hot Springs. It is the world’s largest known outdoor thermal pool.
Know Before You Go
- Copper Mountain American Eagle Lift:
- Open June 10th – September 11th
- 10 am – 4 pm daily
- A.J. Brink Outfitters
- 3406 Sweetwater Road, Gypsum, CO 81637
- 8am – 8pm Memorial Weekend through mid November
- Piney River Ranch
- 700 Red Sandstone Road, Vail, CO 81658
- Glenwood Hot Springs, Glenwood Springs
- 401 N. River Street
- Pool Hours: 7:30 am – 10 pm (Memorial Day – Labor Day), 9 am – 10 pm (rest of the year)
And so our epic 80 day summer road trip continues – 12 U.S. states, 2 Canadian province and 13 national parks. For the upcoming months, I will be sharing with you our highlights, lowlights, adventures, favorite spots, best tips and our thoughts on three months of road tripping and living in a pop up. I’ll try to answer any and all of your questions too! You can also follow our journey via Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
Miles Driven: 400
Total Road Trip Miles Driven: 9,468
Average Gas Price per Gallon: $2.46
If you would like to see our full itinerary, start at the beginning here. And Start at Day One here.
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Next: Rocky Mountain National Park
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Would you do this type of trip again?
The road trip or the week in Colorado? I would do both again. We are having an unforgettable time. It’s a little too fast paced for me and I woukd have liked a few more down days, but other than that, it has been awesome!
I’m Australian so I definitely associate Colorado more with snowy mountains but it looks & sounds incredible in the summer as well! It looks like you had a busy week & it must’ve been lovely to catch up with family. Awesome photos, you look great on horseback! 🙂
Thanks Sheena! We figured out Colorado is pretty much great any time of year!
Colorado looks so stunning in summer. It is nature at its best. Would love to head out there for a leisurely hike and also get on horseback and relive cowboy stories from my childhood fantasies.
Nature at its best…so true!
Colorado seems like a wonderful destination year-round. Funny, I think this is the first picture of Vail without snow that I have seen. The path to the gardens looks lovely.
I want to ride those chairlifts too, but aren’t they a bit scary? But looking at your photos, I must say Colorado looks beautiful indeed. It’s like those pictures that you see on postcards. So much green and it looks really clean. The outdoor thermal pool looks interesting. If I did all those hikings that you did, I’d like to end the day with a dip in the thermal pool too.
I didn’t think the chairlift was scary BUT if you are afraid of heights it may be. Oh yea, the hot springs was a great way to end the day after hiking and horseback riding.
The hanging lake is very interesting! Who wouldn’t love to visit it? It’s really beautiful. Love it!
I used to just read about Colorado in books. And more often that not, it’s a winter destination specially skiing. Seeing it now through your photos in summer made me see the other side of Colorado. It’s so lush and scenic! Hope to road trip there someday!
Thanks Darlene. Colorado has a lot to offer all year round. Hopefully you can make it over here at some point!
Oh my was blown by the more than 12k meters to climb.. I have no idea how exhausting it would be, yet, seems really interesting..