Big mountains, please.
January 16, 2012 7:11 PM   Subscribe

Headed to Colorado Wednesday... looking for a couple suggestions...

I will be staying at the Keystone resort with a toddler. I have never seen the mountains out there and was hoping there was a really scenic drive that is doable in the winter. IS here a WOW drive non more than an hour or so from Keystone?

And which town should I head to to wander around a bit and have a cup of coffee? I would like to see what some of the larger resort towns are like (and would be glad which one I should go to I think I am closest to Vail and Breckenridge) but love doing the off the path/non touristy too. Historic architecture a bonus.
posted by beccaj to Travel & Transportation around Colorado (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Breckinridge has an awesome gondola that you can ride for free. I went with my three year old and we rode it a million times. There are also a bunch of little stores that you can wander through. Also the Butterhorn bakery in Frisco is really yummy. Just be sure to go after the breakfast rush.
posted by dawkins_7 at 8:25 PM on January 16, 2012

Best answer: I would go up Loveland Pass, as Keystone is on US 6. Up to 12,000 feet and it's a wonderful view. Get a photo of you by the sign! Don't go, if the weather is blah, since you won't get the view. Earlier is a better option than later.

posted by alex_skazat at 9:38 PM on January 16, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Breckenridge is definitely the place in the mountains you want to be in to wander around. It was an old mining town and retains a lot of its character and charm. You aren't going to get that at Keystone and Vail. They are far too new and far too purpose built as resorts to have that kind of vibe.

There are few historic sites in Breck (and environs) including the Barney Ford House. It was a pretty interesting story. Breck History has more information and more sites. There was a small free musuem right on Main St as well that undoubtedly can point you towards lots of other sites.

As for Loveland Pass, it will closed during snow storms so keep that in mind. There will be signs well in advance of the pass telling you if it is closed or not.

The free town Gondola in Breckenridge runs from a parking lot to the base of Peak 7 and then Peak 8. You can ride as much as you want although you will want to avoid 9-10am and 3:30ish-5 at night. If you go snow tubing at Keystone, you get to ride a gondola as their tubing hill is located at the peak of the first mountain. If you are in the mood for a fancy multi-course lunch or dinner or a fondue dinner, Alpenglow Stube is two dramatic Gondola rides away from your base at Keystone.
posted by mmascolino at 10:10 PM on January 16, 2012

Best answer: Yup, you want to drive over Loveland Pass. That will run you over the great divide, and will be as senic as anything else within an hour's drive. Also seconding breckenridge for wandering around; you may also want to wander around Vail Village if you want to see Fancy Stores.

Driving south from Breckenridge will also give you some good views. Doesn't really have much on Loveland pass though.

Oh, also, DO NOT drive from Denver to the mountains on Saturday morning, or from the mountains to Denver on Sunday afternoon if at all possible. Traffic on ski weekends can be a nightmare on I-70.
posted by craven_morhead at 1:40 PM on January 17, 2012

Best answer: Depending on how long you are around, Breck also hosts an annual snow sculpture competition. I loved seeing it when I was a kid.
posted by nat at 1:44 PM on January 17, 2012

Response by poster: Thank you everyone for some good info to go on.
posted by beccaj at 6:25 PM on January 17, 2012

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