Pick Your Perfect Mountain Getaway

    When the mountains are calling, it’s time to go. Here's where to hit the road for an easy road-trip from Colorado Springs. Whether your'e into music, food, wine, adventure or all of the above, here's a summer escape for you.

    Crested Butte wildflowers
    Wildflowers in Crested Butte. Photo by Kurt Schmidt

    Colorado Springs is a summer paradise, but we all know that when the mountains call, it’s time to go. Fortunately we’re surrounded by amazing destinations within easy road-trip distance. Whether your ideal involves nature, music, indulgence, adventure or all of the above, we’ve got a summer escape for you.

    If You Like…
    Wildflowers: Crested Butte

    Drive Time:* 4 hours (200 miles)

    If Aquilegia coerulea and Sedum rhodanthum speak your language, then the official Wildflower Capital of Colorado is for you. The hills of this ski-town-by-winter and self-proclaimed birthplace of mountain biking bloom like no others. Enjoy the blossoms throughout the summer, or plan to attend the Crested Butte Wildflower Festival, July 5-14, where you’ll find hikes, garden tours, culinary experiences and art classes. Go a day early to celebrate Independence Day CB style, but plan ahead as you won’t be the only one on Elk Avenue for the one-of-a-kind parade. While you’re feasting your eyes on wildflower beauty, don’t miss the creative pizzas at the Secret Stash, craft rum drinks at Montanya Distillers and ice cream that’s second to none at Third Bowl.

    If You Like…
    Fruit and Wine: Palisade

    Drive Time: 5 hours (275 miles)

    Spoke and Vine
    Photo courtesy of Spoke and Vine

    The mesas towering above the Colorado River are a grand backdrop to Colorado’s Orchard and Wine Country. This is the place to truly eat and drink local—everything from the produce stands and restaurants, to the wineries and distilleries make the most of what’s grown right outside their doors. Love peaches? Celebrate the icon at the Palisade Peach Festival, Aug. 15-18, or enjoy the bounty of orchards, lavender gardens, vineyards and farm markets all summer long. Book a room at the completely renovated and recently opened Spoke and Vine Motel, where you can rent a cruiser bike and pedal the Palisade Fruit and Wine Byway. Three routes offer tours of local wineries (there are 20 nearby!) including national award-winning Debeque Canyon Winery. In town, don’t miss Peach Street Distillers for an orchard-infused cocktail, and Inari’s for a bistro patio dinner (Wednesdays-Saturdays). Have more time to explore? Add on a hot springs soak in Glenwood Springs, a mountain bike ride in nearby Fruita, or a sunrise at the Colorado National Monument.

    If You Like…
    Fishing: Creede

    Drive Time: 4 hours (234 miles)

    UR Ranch
    Photo courtesy of UR Ranch

    Do cutthroat, rainbow, splake and brook all mean trout to you? Then head to this fishing hot spot along the Rio Grande River. Gear up in town at the Ramble House or the Rio Grande Angler fly shop, where you can also get your caffeine fix at Coffee on the Fly. And if you ever tire of hooking fish in the creeks, rivers and reservoirs surrounding Creede—the headwaters of the Rio Grande and San Juan rivers—the scenery is world-class too. Drive the Silver Thread Scenic Byway (South Fork through Creede, northwest to Lake City) which serves up some of the most majestic mountain peaks and valleys in all of Colorado. Lodging is limited in this small town, so plan ahead. If your calendar is clear, consider a week-long stay at the upscale 4UR Ranch—a dude ranch, complete with hot springs and private fishing access, which was once owned by Colorado Springs founder General William Palmer Jackson.

    If You Like…
    Country Music: Buena Vista

    Drive Time: 2 hours (94 miles)

    House Rock Kitchen
    Photo courtesy of House Rock Kitchen

    Wrap up summer surrounded by the Collegiate Peaks and country music at the Seven Peaks Festival. Join country star and organizer Dierks Bentley, plus 10,000 fans as they descend on the Meadows west of town over Labor Day weekend, Aug. 30–Sept. 1. This year’s lineup includes the likes of Luke Bryan, Maren Morris, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, The War and Treaty, Diamond Rio and Tenille Townes. Not typically filled with the rich and famous, BV is best known for its laid-back adventure vibe and easy access to hiking, biking and water sports on the Arkansas River. Summer days invite you to grab a cup of Joe at the Buena Vista Roastery, enjoy drinks and dinner by House Rock Kitchen’s outdoor firepit, or join the always long line for a classic burger, milkshake and fries outside K’s Dairy Delite. If you can’t make Seven Peaks, check the Lariat for an always-full lineup of mountain-made music.

    If You Like…
    Stargazing: Great Sand Dunes National Park

    Drive Time: 3 hours (171 miles)

    Sand Dunes
    Photo courtesy of Sand Dunes National Park

    As the rangers say, “Half the park is after dark.” The combination of dry air, high elevation and lack of light pollution have made the dunes an astronomer’s dream destination for years. (Thanks Sangre de Cristo Mountains for blocking the Front Range glow!) But its recent designation as an International Dark Sky Park makes it official. Camping, a night hike or a ranger-led program will provide the best views. If sleeping bags aren’t your jam, the Great Sand Dunes Lodge provides basic accommodations and spectacular views just outside the park entrance. Calvillo’s, San Luis Valley Brewing Company or Rubi Slipper in Alamosa are good dining bets, but you can maximize your dune time by bringing your own food. Park picnic areas include charcoal grills and are open sunrise to sunset.

    If You Like…
    Food and Libations: Keystone

    Drive Time: 2.5 hours (122 miles)

    Photo by Curtis DeVore

    No matter your taste, Keystone has a pairing for you. Come summer, the ski resort serves up a full plate of music, food and drink festivals. Choose from Bacon and Bourbon, June 22-23; Wine and Jazz, July 13-14; or Bluegrass and Beer, Aug. 3-4. And while you’re at it, there are plenty of other summertime pairings to enjoy: streams and snacks for the hikers, chairlifts and downhill bike trails for the adrenaline junkies, gondola rides and scenic views for the photographers, and sunshine and snow tubing—yes, in summer—for kids of any age.

    If You Like…
    Mountain Biking: Gunnison

    Drive Time: 3.5 hours (172 miles)

    Escape the pavement and feel the dirt beneath your tires (mountain bike tires that is) at Hartman Rocks Recreation Area, an 8,000-acre high-desert biking paradise just outside of town. You’ll find both challenge and flow on 40 miles of singletrack, rated green to black according to terrain difficulty. And if you want even more variety, Crested Butte’s legendary trails are only about a half-hour north. Not a fan of two-wheeled travel? The Rocks, as locals call it, is also open to hikers, trail runners, horseback riders and some motorized vehicles. The area takes its name from the nearby granite ridge that also provides technical rock climbing routes alongside the network of biking and hiking trails. Get your morning fix—for you and your bike—at Double Shot Cyclery, which includes a coffee cafe. At the end of the day, wash the grit from your teeth with a craft beer from High Alpine Brewing Company on Main Street.

    mountain biking
    Photo courtesy of Mevyn Creative, Crested Butte

    *Drive time is based on approximate one-way travel from downtown Colorado Springs.