Updated: Nov 25, 2019
Colorado has some pretty incredible mountains. We started our journey driving alongside the picturesque Provo River. We took highway 191 to Vernal Utah and then took highway 40 to Dinosaur, Colorado. Highway 40 took us through Craig, Hayden and then to Steamboat Springs, Colorado. We arrived in Steamboat around 10pm. The rustic town was incredible. Every store on main street was lit up with beautiful lights, there was music and people biking and walking around everywhere. We should have gotten gas in Hayden because gas in Steamboat was about a dollar more expensive. While we were filling up, we researched some places to camp. Up the road 12 miles was a campground called Dry Creek Campground. Information on that campground is here: https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/mbr/recarea/?recid=22662. The campground was full, though it wasn’t a problem because there were plenty of other places to camp. The Routt National forest was all around us, so all we really needed to do was pick a spot.
We found a spot not too far up the road and made camp for the night. We decided that for this trip, we would just sleep in the back of the bronco. Some of the best nights of sleep we have ever had were sleeping in the back of the bronco. In the morning, we drove past the Green River to Kremmling and then past the Green Mountain Reservoir to Leadville. I would recommend taking your time on this route. There are a lot of pullouts to take some stunning photographs. Leadville has a population just under 3,000. All together the town was eclectic. Mainstreet was busy and featured old, brick architecture. Throughout the neighborhoods stood tall, colorful houses spaced within feet of each other and an old cemetery overgrown with trees. We couldn’t find anywhere within Leadville to camp for the night, so we made the drive to Twin Lakes, Colorado.
Twin Lakes is nestled between White River National Forest and Gunnison National Forest and at the base of Mt. Elbert. It has a population of about 171. We found free camping on the south side of the lakes. We parked the bronco in the middle of some pine trees and made camp for the night. For dinner we made grilled cheese and tomato soup. Usually I cook for the dogs; however, I decided that canned chicken and green beans for would be okay for the night. The Colorado Trail snakes around the lake. We took the dogs for a little hike that evening and let them dip their toes in the water.
We would have loved to spend more time in Colorado, but plans change, and obligations required us to make our way back to Utah. We took highway 82, Independence Pass, all the way to Aspen, Colorado. This drive is one of the most beautiful drives I have ever been on. The road switches back and forth up the mountain. At the top you have stunning views of the Roaring Fork River and the Green Mountain. Historic Ute homes are scattered at the banks of the rivers. Part of the road is one lane and vehicles have to take turns passing. At the end of the pass you will reach Aspen, Colorado. Aspen is another ski-resort town. Many townhomes, hotels and restaurants support the town’s economy. The town’s population is just under 8,000. Even though we had to cut the trip short, just road tripping through Independence Pass made the whole trip worth it.