Denver Aspen Three Day Round Trip
Independence Pass
3 Day Denver-Aspen trip with Rafting and Zip Line.

Beautiful ride through the Colorado Mountains great twisty roads and partly highways.
I didn’t ride it myself, but created it based on information I found on a website of the Colorado Department of Transportation.

It’s a combination of Interstates, Highways and several scenic Byways in North-Central Colorado, like;
• Independence Pass (closed from October till May)
• Colorado River Headwaters Scenic Byway
• Trail Ridge Road
• Peak to Peak
• Lariat Loop

The ride starts in Denver at the Quality Inn Hotel near the Airport. Near the hotel is a Harley rental, if you want another brand you can rent a BMW or Triumph at RP3.

The roads are of good quality, but can be muddy. The view along the ride is amazing, al lot of beautiful mountain views and you’ll ride along several rivers, like the Colorado River, and lakes. You will see a lot of beautiful nature and there are a lot of interesting stops along the way, some of them are highlighted in the review and marked with a Route Point.

The ride is in total 570 mls (918 km) and planned as a three day Road trip with two overnight stays in hotels (RP13 and 22). Feel free to adjust as you like, there are multiple camp and lodging sites.
At the end of the first day or start of the second day you can choose to go Rafting and use the Zip Line at RP11, make sure plan enough time as this takes half a day.

Between Twin Lakes (RP13) and Aspen (RP18) you will ride the famous Independence Pass. This is a beautiful Mountain pass with some nice switchbacks, the elevation is 12,095 ft (3,687 m). Take your time to stop at RP14 and 15, where you can admire the view and take some pictures. At RP16 you can visit the Ghost Town Independence which served as a mining town in the 1880's. Because of the harsh and long winters and the bust of good mining opportunities, the town was eventually abandoned, with many seeking better mining opportunities in Aspen and elsewhere.

The next stop is at RP17 The Devils Punchbowl and the Grottos. The Devil’s Punchbowl, a popular cliff jumping spot, is a section of large rocks where water pools along the Roaring Fork River, if you dare you can take a jump or dive from the cliffs into the Punchbowl. The Grottos Trail is a 1.1 mile heavily trafficked loop trail that features a waterfall and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from June until September.
Next town on the tour is Aspen (RP18), if you’d like you can stop here from some sightseeing.

After Aspen the ride continues alongside the Roaring Fork River to Glenwood Springs (RP19) where you can schedule a short stop for a drink and if needed to fuel up the bikes. From Glenwood Springs we will take the Interstate 70 to Wolcott. It’s about 50 mls (70km) of Interstate, but with a great scenery.
At RP20 you can plan a short stop to take pictures of the Grizzly Creek, if you have the time you can also go for a hike. Grizzly Creek is one of several tributary streams that feeds into the Colorado River. The out and back trail meanders along the creek for several miles of spectacular, towering cliffs. Easily one of the best hikes in Colorado, picnic spots and plenty of places to enjoy river views make this a popular choice for a summer outing.

In Wolcott we turn onto the Colorado State Highway 131, which is again a beautiful scenic ride through the Colorado Mountains which some nice twisty sections and beautiful views.
At RP21 you can visit the 4 Eagle Ranch where you can enjoy different types of Outdoor Activities. It’s an authentic ranch experience full of fun family activities. They provide a unique blend of outdoor activities including Zip Lining, Horseback Riding, 4×4 Jeep, and ATV tours, Wine Tasting and more.
The ride continues through the Mountains and Routt National Forest to our second overnight stop in Kremmling (RP22).

The last day of this three day road trip continues on Highway 40, the 16 mls (26 km) section from RP23 to RP24 is also called the Colorado River Headwaters Scenic Byway as it flows the banks of the Colorado River with some amazing views, so plan time to stop and enjoy.
The ride continues on the Trail Ridge Road, another scenic Byway, through the Rocky Mountains, with a stop at the Forest Canyon Overlook (RP26), where you can enjoy the amazing view of the Rocky Mountains.

You can stop at the Beaver Meadows Visitor Center (RP27) to view the short Park Orientation Film. Information about the Park and its interpretive activities, maps, and books are also available. The central office for back country camping reservations is reached by a footpath to a small building just east of the Headquarters.

On our way back we’ll ride the scenic Peak To Peak Highway (RP28-31), established in 1918 this is Colorado's oldest scenic byway. We will have a lunch break in the town Nederland (RP30). For Dutch travellers it’s a tip to take a picture at the Road Sign (RP29).
Via nice twisty road we continue the ride to Black Hawk (RP32), which is one of Colorado's top destinations with a lot of Casino's, over a Dozen Hotels and Countless Restaurants.

Next interesting stop to take some pictures, and if you want go for a short hike, is the Cleer Creek Greenway (RP34). The ride continues along a part of the Lariat Loop Scenic & Historic Byway (RP33-37). You can have a short stop to take a picture of Evergreen Lake (RP35). You can stop to have dinner at the end of the Lariat Loop in Morrison (RP37) or continue the ride and plan dinner in one of the many restaurants in Down town Denver.

I rate this tour with 5 Stars as it combines so many beautiful roads, scenery and interesting activities
RP21 Forest Canyon Overlook
RP11 till RP17 State Highway 82
Useful links:
Source; Colorado Department of Transportation
Harley Rental Denver (RP42)
BMW and Triumph Rental Denver (RP3)
AVA Rafting and Zip Line (RP11)
4 eagle ranch (RP21)

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Waypoint, used to construct the route
Sight, here you can see something
Viewpoint, a short stop for taking a picture
Stopping point, for hotel, lunch, etc
Attention, see the text in the waypoint for more information

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René Plücken (RouteXpert)
Colorado
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About this region
Colorado ( (listen), other variants) is a state of the Western United States encompassing most of the southern Rocky Mountains as well as the northeastern portion of the Colorado Plateau and the western edge of the Great Plains. It is the 8th most extensive and 21st most populous U.S. state. The estimated population of Colorado was 5,695,564 on July 1, 2018, an increase of 13.25% since the 2010 United States Census.The state was named for the Colorado River, which early Spanish explorers named the Río Colorado ("Red River") for the ruddy silt the river carried from the mountains. The Territory of Colorado was organized on February 28, 1861, and on August 1, 1876, U.S. President Ulysses S. Grant signed Proclamation 230 admitting Colorado to the Union as the 38th state. Colorado is nicknamed the "Centennial State" because it became a state one century after the signing of the United States Declaration of Independence. Colorado is bordered by Wyoming to the north, Nebraska to the northeast, Kansas to the east, Oklahoma to the southeast, New Mexico to the south, Utah to the west, and touches Arizona to the southwest at the Four Corners. Colorado is noted for its vivid landscape of mountains, forests, high plains, mesas, canyons, plateaus, rivers and desert lands. Colorado is part of the western and southwestern United States, and is one of the Mountain States. Denver is the capital and most populous city of Colorado. Residents of the state are known as Coloradans, although the antiquated term "Coloradoan" is occasionally used.
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