Travel looks a little different these days but one thing remains the same – Colorado staycations are always a good idea. A nice spin on the traditional staycation is to turn it into a mini road trip. Road trips are a great way to respect social distance and take control of your travel experience. What better way is there to enjoy a long weekend than to hit the road to explore wonders just hours from your own home!
Last month, my husband and I set off on a road trip to Breckenridge and Aspen to kick off the fall season and enjoy the colorful changing leaves. With the guidance of Colorado Tourism, we adventured on an action-packed 4-day itinerary through two of Colorado’s most charming and well-known mountain towns. Safety was priority at every location and masks were required when indoors and when unable to maintain social distances outdoors. Read on for all the details of our daily activities and be sure to bookmark this post so you can start planning your own Colorado staycation today!
Road Trip DAY 1 – Breck
We hit the road from Southern Denver to Breck after work and made it there in about 3 hours (thanks rush hour traffic for the extra 45 minutes…). Thankfully the drive was scenic and we got our first views of the colorful aspens along the way. Breck is our favorite mountain town so the drive is always worth it!
HOTEL: Residence Inn by Marriott Breckenridge |600 S Ridge St, Breckenridge, CO 80424
We had a sizeable suite at the Residence Inn Breckenridge with separate living quarters, a full kitchen, 2 large televisions and a spacious bathroom with frameless shower. The hotel has several amenities worth mentioning: there’s full complimentary breakfast, a gym, hot tub, pool, free wi-fi, free on-site parking, and it is dog-friendly. The Residence Inn is in an ideal location – it’s directly behind the Breckenridge Brewery and just steps away from Main Street where all the shops and restaurants are located.
DINNER: Ollie’s Pub & Grub |180 W Jefferson Ave, Breckenridge, CO 80424
DESSERT: I Scream Gelato | 105 S Main St, Breckenridge, CO 80424
After freshening up we explored Main Street by foot, stopping in a few shops along the way. The streets were lively with live music and excited visitors enjoying drinks and dinners in the extended patio seating along the road. A majority of downtown Breck is blocked off to motor traffic to allow for social distancing and outdoor restaurant and bar seating. Signs are posted on every door and along the sidewalks reminding patrons to commit to safety and social distancing.
After exploring, we settled in for dinner by the water at Ollie’s Pub and Grub. We started with a couple of tasty Colorado cocktails: the Dredge Daquiri and the Gold Dust. For dinner, hubs enjoyed the Bacon Mac & Cheese burger while I delighted in the Cali Club Burger – both were fantastic as well as the fries! For dessert, we recommend gelato from I Scream Gelato!
Road Trip DAY 2 – Breck
BREAKFAST: Amazing Grace | 213 Lincoln Ave, Breckenridge, CO 80424
We started our day with breakfast at Amazing Grace, a natural foods eatery with a menu of tasty and healthy foods. The Opus was phenomenal – scrambled eggs with melted cheese on a deliciously decadent house-made biscuit, topped with spinach & tomato. The B.O.B is a classic option with three eggs scrambled with cheese, spinach and tomato. Served with whole wheat toast and your choice of chicken apple or vegan sausage (Travis opted for sliced turkey). Such a quaint place with indoor and outdoor seating, and great customer service. A great way to start the day.
HIKE: Wire Patch Trail is found near the end of French Gulch Road
Elevation: 10,340-10,559 vertical feet, single track with two trailheads
Next we drove 10 mins up to the Wire Patch trail for a 1.25 mile hike within the French Gulch. What a beautiful and peaceful trail lined with tall aspens and full evergreens. These photos are just a peek at how gorgeous the French Gulch is!
TOUR: Country Boy Mine | 0542 French Gulch Rd, Breckenridge, CO 80424
We hiked for about 2 hours and then drove a few minutes down the road to the Country Boy Mine. This is such a fun, family-friendly experience where you can tour 1000ft into the now inactive gold mine and learn all about the life of a miner. After the tour, we panned for gold, posed with oldie props, and slid down the ore chute!
LUNCH: Giampietro Pasta & Pizzeria | 100 N Main St #212, Breckenridge, CO 80424
For lunch, we stopped by Giampietro Pasta & Pizzeria for the biggest calzone we ever had! No doubt, big enough for at least 2 people to share. Highly recommend because it was delicious and great value!
ART EXHIBIT: Isak Heartstone | Trollstigen Trail in Breckenridge, Colorado
Next, we took the 15 minute walk from the restaurant to see Isak Heartstone. Along the way, we spotted a moose!
Isak Heartstone is the Breckenridge Troll and is a 15-foot tall wooden troll sculpture. Located along the Trollstigen Trail, he is a great photo op!
SHOPPING: Main Street
Next, we burned a few calories with some shopping along Main Street. A few of our favorite shops include:
- Maggie Pond Boutique
- Arctic Attitude
- Cabin Fever
- Mountain Tees
Dinner: Aurum Food & Wine Breckenridge| 209 S Ridge St, Breckenridge, CO 80424
For dinner, we had patio reservations at Aurum. The drinks and appetizers were spectacular. We started with a Smoked Orange Old Fashioned for me and the Aurum Manhattan. Both came with special ice cubes with the Aurum logo. The Crispy Curried Cauliflower was unlike anything we’ve ever had and it is a must try app. The warm chocolate chip cookies and coffee are were the perfect end to a lovely dinner.
Road Trip DAY 3 – Aspen
BREAKFAST: The Crown | 215 S Main St, Breckenridge, CO 80424
Before hitting the road from Breckinridge to Aspen – we started our morning right with breakfast at The Crown. When I tell you they have the BEST breakfast sandwiches ever, you cannot just take my word for it. Looking for suggestions on what to order? Grab The Watson bagel sandwich and a Cubano latte. They’re my favorites!
RIDE: Silver Queen Gondola | 611 E Durant Ave, Aspen, CO 81611
Next stop on our road trip: ASPEN! It took us around 2.5 hours to get there from Breck. The first thing we did when we arrived in Aspen was take a sight-seeing gondola ride up Aspen Mountain on the Silver Queen Gondola. The 2.5 mile ride takes you up to the summit of Aspen Mountain at a breathtaking 11,212 feet. The stunning views along the way and at the top are worth it.
At the summit, there is a LOVE metal art display and an elevation sign making for a great photo opportunity. There’s a sundeck restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating, a bar, cafeteria style food options, a central fireplace, a gift shop, and floor to ceiling windows with mountain views.
The summer sightseeing gondola rides run from June to early October and a single-ticket is $29. Children under age 3 ride free. Face coverings are required when you cannot maintain 6 feet of physical distancing outdoors, in designated areas, and when inside Aspen Snowmass buildings.
Lunch: Tatanka | 308 E Hopkins Ave, Aspen, CO 81611
When you’re ready to stop for lunch, I highly recommend grabbing drinks and a bite at Tatanka. This restaurant’s modern saloon decor and chill ambiance is one of a kind. The food and cocktails are insanely good. Look at the short rib grilled cheese and that delectable crispy chicken parmesan sandwich… WOW! You won’t be disappointed.
HOTEL: Limelight Hotel | 355 S Monarch St, Aspen, CO 81611
This hotel is a true gem in the heart of downtown and within walking distance to the slopes. The luxurious hotel features spacious rooms and suites with quality finishes, comfy beds, cozy fireplaces, and our room had a balcony with views of the mountains. It was a true resting place. Click here for a tour of our amazing room.
Other amenities that make this hotel an ideal place to stay in Aspen: outdoor pool and hot tubs open ’til 10pm daily, two rooftop terraces, an enormous complimentary breakfast in the lounge every morning, a well equipped fitness room, garage parking, and a shuttle to take you to and from the airport and all around Aspen.
DINNER: French Alpine Bistro | 400 E Hopkins Ave, Aspen, CO 81611
Dinner at French Alpine Bistro was a true delight! With beautiful outdoor seating and elegant lighting and décor, this restaurant is a true escape within the city. Everything we ordered from the wine to the dessert was spectacular. If you’re a fan of French cuisine, be sure to make a reservation there! Recs: Escargots en brioche, chevre chaud, kaiser-schnitzel caesar salad, and the midnight in paris crepe. SO GOOD!
Road Trip Day 4 – Aspen
After filling up on the excellent complimentary breakfast at the Limelight Hotel, we drove over to the Maroon Bells Basecamp to pick up our e-bikes. Four Mountain Sports took care of us and ensured we were fitted for the bikes that best suited our needs. I will say this is the ultimate way to travel to and from Maroon Bells.
The scenic views along the way are picturesque and the feeling of accomplishment when you reach the destination is incomparable. The e-bike gives you the support and boost you need to make the uphill ride easier (even for someone who hasn’t ridden a bike in years)! Tip: order your tickets and reserve your e-bikes as early as you can, these tickets sell out quick and months early.
Ready to plan your own Colo-road trip or staycation? Remember to Care for Colorado by leaving no trace behind during your adventures, wear your mask, wash your hands, respect social distance, and follow the 5 Commitments Of Containment.
Click here for 3 more outdoor activities to enjoy in Colorado while social distancing.
Check out https://www.colorado.com/explore for more tips and itineraries to create your own Colorado staycation this fall!