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  • Using the Denver B-cycle bike-sharing program to tour the Highlands neighborhood
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    Denver: Urban Gateway to the Rocky Mountains

  • Geologic wonders in Garden of the Gods park in Colorado Springs
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    Colorado Springs: Craft Brews and Artisan Spirits

  • Strolling through the Benson Sculpture Garden in Loveland
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    Loveland and Fort Collins: Cultural Gems and Colorado’s Beer Capital

Overlooking a portion of the 10.4-kilometer Horsetooth Reservoir near Fort Collins
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AJ Cohen

Traveling Colorado’s Front Range: Food, Brews and Scenic Views

By Idoia Gkikas

  • Route distance:
  • Suggested Time:
    4 days

Discover destinations that embrace exploration, from the great outdoors to great cuisine.

Located in the southern portion of the Rocky Mountains, Colorado’s Front Range region is a gateway to the state’s natural and cultural diversity. It’s home to the outdoor paradise of Rocky Mountain National Park – as well as bustling cities of all sizes, full of amenities and attractions to keep you entertained. On this easy Front Range road trip, you’ll savor the creative cuisine of Denver, sip locally distilled spirits in scenic Colorado Springs, and dabble in culture and craft beer in Loveland and Fort Collins – all with a backdrop of the towering Rocky Mountains.

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Using the Denver B-cycle bike-sharing program to tour the Highlands neighborhood
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Visit Denver

Denver: Urban Gateway to the Rocky Mountains

Denver International Airport (DEN) offers nonstop service from many worldwide destinations, and rental cars are readily available. Start your trip by staying put, right here in Colorado’s capital city, which blends a pioneering history and love of the outdoors with a diverse array of neighborhoods and attractions. Pick up a bicycle at one of 88 Denver B-cycle bike rental stations to explore eclectic neighborhoods, from the lively city center of downtown to the funky murals and art galleries in the RiNo (River North) Arts District. Get a taste of Denver’s dining scene at Denver Central Market, a food hall featuring nearly a dozen restaurants that focus on farm-fresh fare. Try the small-batch roasted coffee at Crema Bodega, handmade pastries at Izzio Artisan Bakery, wood-fired pizza at Vero and homemade ice cream at High Point Creamery. Wash it all down with a craft beer from nearby Ratio Beerworks, which has one of the most popular outdoor patios in town. Your next stop in Colorado Springs isn’t far, but Denver’s many attractions definitely merit an overnight stay.

135 km
1.5 hours by car
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Geologic wonders in Garden of the Gods park in Colorado Springs
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Colorado Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau

Colorado Springs: Craft Brews and Artisan Spirits

With the iconic 4,300-meter-high mountaintop of Pikes Peak at its doorstep, Colorado Springs is as scenic as it is outdoorsy. Rock climbing, hiking, off-roading, horseback riding and dozens of parks will help work up a thirst and an appetite. For creative beer, spirits and food, don’t miss a stop at Colorado Springs’ Ivywild School, a mixed-use building that was, in fact, an elementary school from 1916 - 2009. The classrooms have been repurposed to house inventive culinary enterprises such as Bristol Brewery & Pub, Axe & The Oak Distillery Whiskey House and The Old School Bakery. You can even order a cocktail at the old Principal’s Office and hang out in the former teachers’ lounge or study hall. In addition to a burgeoning craft beer and spirits scene, Colorado Springs also has a growing craft coffee culture with places like Urban Steam Coffee Bar & Café and Loyal Coffee sourcing fair-trade beans from small and sustainable farms around the world. While in Colorado Springs, be sure to visit Garden of the Gods, a park famous for its red sandstone geological formations and ranked #1 in the U.S. by TripAdvisor.

212 km
2.25 hours by car
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Strolling through the Benson Sculpture Garden in Loveland
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Visit Loveland
Rafting trip along the Cache la Poudre River in Fort Collins
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Richard Haro

Loveland and Fort Collins: Cultural Gems and Colorado’s Beer Capital

Drive back north, passing Denver on the way to Loveland and Fort Collins. Recently named the second best small arts town in the USA, Loveland has a thriving arts scene, particularly in its public sculpture gardens. Stroll the scenic grounds of Benson Sculpture Garden to discover more than 150 unique sculptures, most of which were cast at one of three Loveland foundries. Benson is home to the largest juried outdoor sculpture show in the USA every August. In the heart of the retail district, you can also tour Chapungu Sculpture Park, featuring 82 stone sculptures by Zimbabwean artists. Then, browse the historic downtown’s shops and galleries. Enjoy an ale from one of the city’s eight craft breweries (don’t forget to grab a beer passport first at the Loveland Visitors Center) or a flight of local wines from Sweet Heart Winery.

If you’re a beer fanatic, the neighboring city of Fort Collins is considered the beer capital of Colorado. There are more than 20 breweries, from big names like New Belgium Brewing Company and Anheuser-Busch, to craft specialists such as award-winning Odell Brewing or Equinox Brewing, where you can enjoy an outdoor beer garden and live music on the weekends. When the weather is nice (which is often), join the locals for swimming and stand-up paddleboarding at Horsetooth Reservoir and Carter Lake, or ride the whitewater rapids on the Cache la Poudre River, the state’s only designated “Wild and Scenic” River. From Fort Collins, it’s just over an hour to Denver for your return flight.

Official Colorado Travel Site