Start location: Hyatt Regency Denver Tech Center, Denver, Colorado
Destination: Vail Village, Vail, Colorado
Detour: Mount Evans Road
It takes a little under two hours to drive from Denver to Vail, Colorado. However, there’s a stop along the way to Vail that is worth the detour.
I liked Mount Evans Road in Idaho Springs better than Colorado’s most recognized attraction, Pikes Peak Road. At Mount Evans there are fewer people/cars present, two lakes, and more wildlife. In my opinion, the end of Mount Evans Road was nicer than the summit at Pikes Peak, too.
On the drive up Mount Evans, there are great views of trees, huge rocks, lots of snow, and marmots. You will pass Echo Lake and reach Summit Lake. From the parking lot, we saw a man snowshoeing and a couple of snowboarders getting out of their car. We got out of the car to walk around and take pictures in the snowy scenery. If you have time, you can take the trail from the parking lot to wherever it is that it leads to.
At the summit, a staff member welcomed us and continued shoveling ice so that visitors would not slip. On the top of Mount Evans lies the “Castle in the Sky,” the ruins of a castle-like house. Walk in, read the history, and have fun taking cool photos. Stick around for a couple of minutes and you are bound to see a mountain goat :).
Then, get back on the highway to Vail.
Once there, eat at a restaurant in Vail Village or, if you booked a hotel, take a nap.
Summary: Mount Evans was a great stop, you may want to switch drivers halfway through the road trip, and the small town of Vail was a nice change from Denver city
Travel Tip #2: Sometimes, it’s worth stopping along the way.