Where to stop in Colorado?
May 7, 2008 11:36 AM   Subscribe

Where do we stop on a roadtrip through Colorado? Kitchy, awe inspiring, vomit inducing, we're up for whatever.

I'm headed off on a multi-state roadtrip with my pops. We're starting in West Texas and then going up through NM, out to the grand canyon, up into Bryce, etc... Plenty to do in those states, but I'm having trouble finding sweet stuff to stop and hit on the way through Colorado, basically from Bryce Canyon on out to CarHenge in Eastern Nebraska.

Any Ideas?

We're then going back to Boston, so any ideas along the way (Iowa, Illinois, Ohio, etc...) would be great.

posted by Bill Katz to Travel & Transportation around Colorado (13 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I recommend Roadside America for all of your kitschy travel needs.
posted by Sophie1 at 11:55 AM on May 7, 2008

Sand Dunes National Park is really cool. There's almost nothing around it, but it's definitely a fun morning. Get there early though, because it gets hot around midday.

Additionally, near the national park there is a gator farm *and* an "alien watchtower." It's really something else.
posted by Nelsormensch at 12:02 PM on May 7, 2008

I just mentioned this in another thread, but absolutely do not miss the Swetsville Zoo if you love kitsch. And the New Belgium Brewery is a must if you like beer.

Also, if you don't mind a slight thread hijack I'd love it if people would list favorite camping places or other cheap accommodations in or around the Rocky Mountain National Park area, as I'm planning a trip out there this summer too.

Carhenge is also awesome. Take the time to read the graffiti for maximum hilarity.
posted by MsMolly at 12:09 PM on May 7, 2008

Mesa Verde National Park has some really nice hiking trails.
posted by JaredSeth at 12:18 PM on May 7, 2008

Previously. And here. And here.


Grand Lake, Colorado - check out the ice cream parlor (or the caramel apples mmmm) on main street then drive through Rocky Mountain National Park, one of the most beautiful places on earth. Spend a day or two if at all possible. Spend more time on the Grand Lake side than the Estes side which is kinda less interesting and sort of dumpy.
posted by arnicae at 12:40 PM on May 7, 2008

Fort Uncompahgre is a low-key sort of recreation of a trappers' fort, where the tour guide looks exactly like Uncle Jesse from DUKES OF HAZARD and they try to get visitors to participate in a tomahawk-throwing contest.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:04 PM on May 7, 2008

This thread may have some good suggestions. I mentioned there and I'll mention here too that if you can fit Colorado highway 550 in there anywhere it's beautiful and fabulously intense. One of my favorite drives. Have a great trip!
posted by dog food sugar at 3:44 PM on May 7, 2008

Mesa Verde National Park also has the Cliff Palace, a must-see if you're into native american ruins.
posted by tachikaze at 4:54 PM on May 7, 2008

2nding Hwy 550 for a great scenic drive though I don't know how that would be on your route. Really if you could give more specifics of where you'll be that would help--it is kind of a big state.

If you do end up at the Great Sand Dunes National Park...I recommend the relatively nearby Valley View Hot Springs also called Orient Land Trust a natural and naked-friendly hot springs place--they have lots of rules to try to preserve the place but it is certainly worth it, just call ahead to see if they have availability. Actually, I really like that whole area, the San Luis Valley, and it isn't so touristy...no Starbucks or other creature comforts. Salida, Penitente Canyon, Buena Vista area, Arkansas River are all around there and great.
posted by fieldtrip at 5:05 PM on May 7, 2008 [1 favorite]

If you get around Cortez, stop at Almosa (almost a) Ranch. It's just a couple of miles north of town. (You'll be around Cortez if you go to Mesa Verde, which is full of awesome.) Ask the locals just how to get there; IIRC, you head north on the road to Dolores and turn west on County Road G. But check to be sure. This place is a couple of acres of metal sculptures, made mostly out of mufflers. Everything is tounge in cheek.

And there ya go - instant roadside kitsch.
posted by azpenguin at 11:54 PM on May 7, 2008

Glenwood Springs has an enormous hot springs pool with a water slide. So awesome. Only kind of stinky.

Casa Bonita in Denver is super-kitchy and there was even a Southpark episode about it (and a song!). As a kid who grew up in Denver, I can tell you this place really is the end all and be all at age 8. It's a little depressing to visit as an adult, but worth a stop. Oh, and the food is terrible.
posted by jrichards at 6:48 AM on May 8, 2008

Response by poster: We'll go pretty much anywhere, but our last stop in Utah will be Canyonlands, and then we make our way out the northeast corner into Nebraska. So if something's realliy cool, we'll make a detour for it, but other than that, we'll come in on 70 and come out on 25. Thanks for all the great ideas!

Any other cool stuff we could do on through Nebraska and Iowa?

Thanks Hive!
posted by Bill Katz at 7:43 AM on May 8, 2008

If you're going to Carhenge, you're not that far from Rapid City. I'd recommend going up and across on I-90 through South Dakota. It has way more interesting stuff than I-80 through Nebraska. In the Black Hills you can see Rushmore, Crazy Horse, some wacky WPA-built dinosaurs, Sturgis, and Deadwood. Then driving on I-90 you get Wall Drug, the Corn Palace, the Jolly Green Giant, and the Spam Museum.
posted by MsMolly at 9:02 AM on May 8, 2008

« Older Connect Landline to PC?   |   Do professional baseball players pee on their... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.