Colorado Road Trip – Denver to Glenwood Springs (Part 1)

After an exhausting 13 hour flight (HKG-LAX), a brief 5 hour snooze at the Courtyard Marriott LAX followed by a morning flight to Denver, we had arrived!  Here’s a map of our route, slightly complicated by the fact we needed to return to Denver during the middle to meet friends.

Colorado Road Trip Route

Car Hire
No road trip can start without a painful trip to the car hire office.  In this instance, the guilty culprit was Avis.  Even though we had everything booked, it still took a good 45 minutes until we were able to set off in our Chevy Traverse (my husband’s job is to pick the car, my only rule is he has to know how to park it).

The Road To Glenwood Springs (approx. 3 hours)

The plan was to head out West to Glenwood Springs where I had booked our first night’s accommodation.  Knowing we would be tired, we broke up the journey in the pretty town of Idaho Springs, founded by prospectors in 1859.

Our main reason for stopping in Idaho Springs?  Beau Jo’s.  A Colorado pizza restaurant famous for its mountain pie (as featured in our Road Trip Handbook, Man Vs. Food).  This is mountain pie and yes it is delicious.  They even serve honey with the pizza for you to dip the crust in.  Obviously.

Beau Jo's Mountain Pie

Beau Jo’s Mountain Pie

Idaho Springs is a great place to kill a few hours. We wandered around the town and the kids played in the local park (we were trying to overcome jetlag with lots of daylight!).  The highlight was a trip to Argo Gold Mine where we panned for precious gems.

Argo Panning for gems

Glenwood Springs

Glenwood Springs was originally known as ‘Defiance’, a rather salubrious frontier town.  These days it’s a charming place where the only defiance we encountered was our two jetlagged daughters.  We spent the first two nights of our road trip here enjoying Colorado’s ubiquitous blend of gorgeous scenery, hot springs, mining town museums and a quaint Main St.

Where we stayed
Part of the Marriott chain, the Residence Inn is a great choice for families.  We had a spacious one bed suite so the kids where able to sleep in a travel cot and sofa bed in the lounge.  The kitchen is large and there is also a free breakfast where you can stock up on fruit and milk for the rest of the day.

What we did

  • You must take a trip up the mountain to the Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park.  Set on top of the mountain, this is one of the more picturesque theme parks I have been to!  There are lots of rides for the kiddies including rollercoasters, carousel and a maze.  For adults there are fascinating tours of the ‘fairy’ caves, even our 4 yo was captivated for the 45 minute guided tour.

    The Maze - took ages to figure out

    The Maze – took ages to figure outStalactites!Stalactites!

  • While away an afternoon at Glenwood Hot Springs.  There are huge pools including the main hot springs, separate kiddie pool and water slides (extra cost).

Where we ate

  • Feted by the food blogs, the Pullman is well worth a visit.  Despite the seemingly fancy exterior, it is family friendly with a kids menu and colouring/crayons.  The food is absolutely delicious.
  • Whilst the Glenwood Brewery has a fun atmosphere, the food is nothing to write home about (think lots of fried things).  Although the kids were delighted that their food was served on a frisbee.

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