Most scenic route from Denver to Steamboat Springs

Not only is it simple to get to Steamboat, but it is also simple to get around in Steamboat. You don’t need weeks of vacation time to escape your daily Denver routine. Mountain experiences are only a short drive away in the Mile High City. Steamboat Springs is only a three-hour drive from the city, and with the correct planning, you can fit a lot of memories into a single easy trip. Steamboat Springs is 157 miles west of Denver. The vistas along the I-70 corridor and Rabbit Ears Pass are breathtaking, and it is not uncommon for passengers to observe wildlife such as elk, mountain goats, bighorn sheep, eagles, and deer. We’ve produced a list of the gorgeous highways you’ll encounter from Denver to Steamboat Springs. Here you have it. 

Highlights

  • Lariat Loop Scenic & Historic Byway
  • Virginia Canyon Road
  • Mount Evans Scenic Byway
  • Colorado River Headwaters Byway

Denver, CO to Lariat Loop Scenic & Historic Byway

Starting in Denver, drive to the Lariat Loop Scenic and Historic Byway. The Lariat Loop Scenic and Historic Byway run from Golden, in the foothills of the Rockies, past the friendly historic communities of Evergreen and Morrison. Enjoy breathtaking mountain vistas, as well as plenty of possibilities for outdoor activity and downtime. This 40-mile drive from downtown Denver takes only 20 minutes, making it an ideal day vacation or weekend retreat.

Train and history enthusiasts will enjoy the Colorado Railroad Museum. More than 100 narrow and standard gauge steam, and you can see diesel trains here all year. The Depot Museum has an extensive collection of antiquities. At the Robert W. Richardson Railroad Library, you may see a working roundhouse, train restorations, and learn more about railroad history. Take a train trip, or participate in renowned activities like the famed Day Out with Thomas, Ride the Rails or Polar Express in the winter.

Lariat Loop Scenic & Historic Byway to Virginia Canyon Road

Virginia Canyon Road follows the Lariat Loop Scenic and Historic Byway. This twisty route between Idaho Springs and Central City is a little crazy, but the thrill and magnificent sights are worth it. The way is an exciting and nerve-racking shortcut to adjacent Central City. This historic gold rush town is the “richest square mile on the planet.” The stunning views and tight and twisting lanes of this beautiful dirt/gravel route earned it the nickname. The canyon is full of historic mine sites, and many people drive the road in quest of gold as they go between Idaho Springs and the casino towns of Central City and Blackhawk.

Virginia Canyon Road to Mount Evans Scenic Byway

The Mount Evans Scenic Byway is up next. And this is the drive for you if you prefer your roads squiggly and cliff-hugging with spectacular vistas of mountains, alpine meadows and lakes, mountain goats and bighorn sheep. The highest predated road in North America climbs more than 7,000 feet in just 27 miles, with breathtaking views around every bend. Furthermore, there is no easier way to summit a 14er. And this is a beautiful day excursion less than an hour from Denver.

The journey begins in Idaho Springs and ends at Mount Evans. Idaho Springs’ downtown has been designated a National Historic District and serves as an excellent starting point for exploring the surrounding area. Stroll the streets and observe the Victorian structures converted into restaurants, stores, breweries, and a whiskey distillery.

Stop into the Heritage Visitor Center and Museum in Idaho Springs for area information and fascinating displays on the region’s rich gold mining history, pioneer life, and Native American artifacts.

Echo Lake Park, at an elevation of 10,600 feet, is also located along the road. The lake is a spot for fishing or simply relaxing, picnicking, and walking the short trail around the lake. The weather can suddenly change here, so dress in layers and be ready for wind, rain, lightning, snow, and hail; there are tent and RV campsites; book ahead of time or try your luck on a first-come-first-served basis. Echo Lake Lodge, which opened in 1926, now features a gift shop and restaurant.

Mount Evans Scenic Byway to Colorado River Headwaters Byway

The Colorado River runs into the Gulf of California from Rocky Mountain National Park on the west side of the Continental Divide. The Colorado River, most known for cutting the Grand Canyon, had created several smaller canyons in its journey and was noted for its unpredictable flash floods or drought periods before segments of the river were dammed.

Before you start the drive, take a stroll down Grand Avenue and explore the stores, galleries, and restaurants. As you go south on US-34, you will pass Grand Lake, Colorado’s largest natural lake. Grand Lake is about 20 miles south of the Colorado River’s headwaters. Adams Falls, located on the east side of Grand Lake, is easily accessible through a short stroll and is surrounded by breathtaking vistas of the Rockies. Following that are two larger artificial lakes, Shadow Mountain Lake and Lake Granby, where you may swim, fish, boat, or enjoy a picnic with postcard-perfect views.

The little community of State Bridge is the first stop along the byway as you travel west to east. A younger demographic is frequently drawn to this town, and for good reason: a meandering part of the Colorado River runs gently by the town’s banks, making it a great staging site for novice boaters. While in town, see the State Bridge Lodge, one of the area’s original constructions. While it retains its identity as a lodge, it is also a major music venue. From the large deck overlooking the Colorado River, enjoy a show featuring nationally known and local talent.

Colorado River Headwaters Byway to Steamboat Springs, CO

You’re only a few kilometers away from Steamboat Springs. Steamboat Springs is a beautiful spot to visit. Steamboat Springs has something for everyone, from horse-drawn sleigh excursions to winter fly-fishing, exquisite boutiques and day spas to scorching live music and nightlife. Powderhounds go to Steamboat for skiing and riding, but the genuine ranching community with a wide range of adventure-filled activities turns tourists into long-term residents. Try soaking in the famed natural hot springs, riding a snowmobile through the Continental Divide, or viewing the Rocky Mountains from a hot-air balloon. You can even polish your abilities at the Winter Driving School.

Buffalo Pass is one of the places you can visit in Steamboat Springs. You can start this drive only a few miles outside downtown Steamboat Springs. This drive, which leads to Summit Lake, is ideal for seeing the fall foliage. A few miles up the dusty road, you’ll see Aspen groves exploding with color. High-clearance vehicles are suitable for the entire journey to the peak.

Steamboat Springs and the Walden/North Park area offer a tranquil respite with expansive ranches, aspen-draped mountains, and oxbow rivers, but there’s also plenty of adventure.

FAQs

Flights from Denver to steamboat springs

You can fly from Denver to Steamboat Springs in 1h 35m. Alternatively, you can drive from Denver to Steamboat Springs in about 4h 57m.

What is the best time of year to visit Steamboat Springs?

The best time to visit Steamboat Springs is in the summer when the weather is warm and dry. However, winter is also a great time to visit if you want to take advantage of the ski resort.

Driving from Denver to steamboat springs in winter

Driving from Denver to Steamboat Springs in winter is not for the faint of heart. The road can be icy and dangerous, so make sure you’re prepared before making the journey. You should allow for extra time to get to your destination and be sure to pack plenty of warm clothes and blankets.

Is there a train from Denver to steamboat springs

No, there is no direct train from Denver to Steamboat Springs. However, you can take the bus from Denver to Steamboat Springs. The journey takes about 5h 45m.

How far is steamboat springs from Denver airport

The distance from Denver International Airport to Steamboat Springs is about 160 miles.

How do I get from Denver airport to steamboat springs

There is no direct connection from Denver International Airport to Steamboat Springs. However, you can take the bus from Denver to Steamboat Springs. The journey takes about 5h 45m.

Things to do between Denver and steamboat springs

There are plenty of things to do between Denver and Steamboat Springs. You can stop in the town of Fraser to go hiking or mountain biking in the summer or cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in the winter. You can also visit Rocky Mountain National Park, about halfway between the two cities.

The closest airport to steamboat springs

The closest airport to Steamboat Springs is the Yampa Valley Airport, located about 10 miles from the city center.

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