Colorado - New Mexico: Journey Through National Parks – Road.Travel

Colorado - New Mexico: Journey Through National Parks

Road Trip Route. The most beautiful national parks, Bathing in hot springs, Rafting, .

This is a very intense journey for nature lovers! We suggest you drive through the two states, from Colorado to New Mexico. Every day of the trip prepares new emotions and new impressions, from quiet walks in parks to rafting on the river, from swimming in hot springs, to climbing the rocks and ruins. We enjoyed the trip very much! It's been a long time since we've visited such places at once. In some cases, it would have been time, even delayed. We advise you to take your comfortable shoes with you, or you'll have a hard time in the parks. Have a good trip and new emotions!

Uninhabited Nature. From: Denver

Matthew Evans. Blogger.

Travel Itinerary and Road Trip Route

Day 1: Denver

Here we are in Colorado! Came to Denver for a one-night stay to embark on a fascinating journey through the natural beauty of the state in the morning. Tomorrow we'll be in a completely different city!


After the flight I was hungry and decided to stop by the restaurant on the way to the hotel. We were met by friendly staff and very tasty food, cocktails are also served here. The acquaintance with Colorado was quite pleasant, and, full of excitement, we went to rest.

Day 2: Beginning of the adventure!

We left Denver early to be able to get to the next hotel in time to see the interesting places on the way. We walked in the park on the lake shore and reached the observation deck with stunning views.


We woke up early enough and the mood was very positive. A cereal breakfast with fresh berries and smoothies made the morning even more pleasant. With our vitamins on all day long, we're on our way.

St. Mary's Glacier

When we arrived on the glacier, most of the parking spaces were already occupied. So, it is better to come here as early as possible to feel the atmosphere and stay alone with nature, rather than walking with other holidaymakers. It's not snowing much closer to summer, and you can walk without getting your sneakers wet. You must have comfortable shoes, and in some places it is very difficult to pass through, and also take water.

River Run Village

We stopped by the local recreation area. We decided to take a walk, take a look at her. The area turned out to be nice, cozy. A lot of different cafes and restaurants. The ski season starts in October and in the summer you can rent bikes to ride through the rough terrain. River Run Village is also home to music and gastronomic festivals, but it's better to check the schedule on the website before you go.

Pizza On The Run

After looking for a place to eat, we stopped at the pizza place. Cooked very quickly, and most importantly, it's delicious. Prices are average, but this is compensated by service quality products. Anyway, if you want to eat a really good pizza, this way!

Marina Park

Today, we decided to do without long journeys and decided to see what's around. Found a small but beautiful park on the shore of the reservoir. Here you can sit on benches and enjoy the beautiful views, as well as walking along the paths. There is also an amphitheatre in the park, as we understand that sometimes concerts and performances are held here. The water body is very beautiful, and from the shore you can enjoy a great view of the mountains. You can ride a catamaran or sail.

Sapphire Point Overlook

Next we went to one of the most famous lookout points in the region. It is a favorite place for wedding photos, and it is clear that the views here are amazing. Also, as it turns out, there are a lot of chipmunks in here. If you want to feed them, don't forget to take the nuts with you.

Bighorn Bar & Bistro

Very nice restaurant, perfect place for an evening visit! The food here is delicious, well fried steaks. In general, the menu is not very large and for lovers of culinary delights it will be difficult to find something unusual here. But for those who just want to eat in a pleasant environment, there's everything for it!

Day 3: Through the lakes to Aspen

Today, our way was through a few lakes that we had to stop by. They had a picnic on one of the shores, and by evening they were in Aspen. It's even time to walk around the city and see the architecture.

Edgewater Cafe

Before leaving, it was necessary to have a rich breakfast so as not to stop on the way and not to look for suitable cafes. We ordered toast with French fries, the portions were very large, we even took the rest of the potatoes with us.

Turquoise Lake

The first stop on the way was Lake Turkvois. We decided to take a walk along the shore of this beautiful place. There are specially designated places on the shore for fishing, picnics and tents, as well as signs and signs where to be, so that tourists do not get lost.


We decided to stop by the shop and get some food for a picnic, which we will organize at the next point of the route. Today we're having a day dedicated to the Colorado Lakes.

Twin lakes

Beautiful lakes surrounded by mountains. The territory is well-groomed, there are a lot of hiking trails for tourists. You can relax on the beach, or book a boat trip. We liked the first option, we sat by the water itself and got our picnic provisions, bought in advance in the store. The landscape here is amazing, of course. You can sit and admire the trees, the mountains and the water playing in the sun for a long time.

Aspen Art Museum

When we arrived in Aspen, we went for a walk around the city and stopped at the Museum of Art. Unfortunately, time was later and it was closed, but the building itself made us stay here. Amazingly designed, with elements of illumination. The photos against this background are very unusual.

Independence Pass

It's another beautiful place to take cool photos against the backdrop of nature. And in general, Aspen, of course, captivates by the fact that modern architecture here is quite well combined with untouched nature, it looks unusual, but very harmonious.

Home Team BBQ

A cafe with a beautiful view of the mountains was chosen for dinner. As in most of these places, the menu is small. It doesn't have to be, as long as it tastes good! This place definitely deserves a higher score! If you choose where to have dinner in Aspen, you should definitely come in here!

Day 4: Black Canyon

The main purpose of today's journey was the Black Canyon. We spent most of our time here, except for the time on the road. The scenery is amazing! This is one of those places worth seeing for once in your life.

Paradise Bakery

Breakfast at the nearest bakery. Coffee is what I need personally every morning! And if coffee comes with delicious bagels, then breakfast is a success! Get in the car and get on the road!

Don's Super Market

On the way to Black Canyon stopped by the shop to buy picnic products and water. Water is a prerequisite for a long journey by car.

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

When we got to the park, we weren't expecting this magnitude! The main picturesque object is a deep canyon in which the river flows. He's fascinating with his splendor, you should see this miracle of nature with your own eyes! If you have any questions about this place during your stay in the park, you can ask them at the tourist assistance centre, where they will kindly help. By the way, there are not many people in the park, which significantly improves the perception of wildlife in its original form.

The Outlaw

After walking down the canyon, we were very hungry and went to look for a restaurant for dinner. We stopped by a little steakhouse on the way. Quite an interesting place, combining bar and restaurant. The facility is made in the traditional Texas style, which we personally liked very much. In the evening, as it turned out, there were a lot of people in this place and almost all the tables were busy. The atmosphere here is fun, bar, food is delicious, and the staff is very hospitable.

Day 5: Rafting

On this day, one of the most emotional adventures in the journey awaited us. River rafting! Before that, we stopped at a couple of interesting places, visited the observation deck and hot springs.

Backstreet Bistro

We stopped by the local bakery for breakfast this morning. The institution is not distinguished by its unique design or exquisite dishes. It's just a good, very cozy place to eat and drink a cup of coffee.

Duckett's Market

Before the long journey, we always go to the store to buy food and water for the journey, in case there are no snack bars along the way, and to have a picnic in one of the parks.

Molas Pass Summit

The way to the main point of our route today ran through the observation deck. It offers stunning views of the valley and mountains. Here we spent about an hour walking the paths around and photographing the landscapes of Colorado.

Pinkerton Hot Springs

We also stopped by the hot springs. This unique natural phenomenon is located very close to the road, which greatly simplifies the stop. By the way, there aren't many parking spaces, so be careful. We looked at the sources, had a bite to eat and moved on.

Mild to Wild Rafting & Jeep Trail Tours - Durango, CO

And now we've reached the place we've been wanting to go for a long time! Rafting! It was our first experience of river rafting. It's been a long time since we've had such emotions! The guides are great, and they've helped and told us everything. Employees of the company explain safety procedures and closely monitor their observance. We'll definitely come back here again! Note: it is better to book such an adventure in advance in order to adjust your trip to this place.

Serious Texas Bar-B-Q

After that adrenaline spill, we're so hungry! Got burgers with potatoes and cheese sauce and a brisket. The burgers are delicious, the brisket is tender! Eat everything we've got!

Day 6: The road to New Mexico

Previous hot springs were not allowed to bathe, today we will visit those that can and even should be visited after long trips in the car. A good rest for the body is necessary! Also, it's not without nature. We have waterfalls and mountain trails waiting for us!

College Drive Cafe

There aren't many places open in the morning. Asked people and they told me to go to the College Drive Cafe. It doesn't look very tidy on the outside, but the food here is delicious. Portions are large and prices are acceptable! Anyway, the locals won't recommend anything bad!

Piedra Falls

After breakfast we went to the Piedra Falls national park. This place is great! We climbed the stories, walked along the river and on the bank of a large lake, took very beautiful photos of waterfalls.

Kip's Grill and Cantina

Before visiting the hot springs we decided to have lunch in a nearby cafe. Got an assortment of tacos. If you suddenly want Mexican cuisine, this place is perfect. There are all the famous Mexican dishes here, and most importantly, everything is delicious.

Pagosa Hot Springs

These springs are located on the hotel's premises, but anyone can visit them, of course, on a paid basis. A great place to relax and let your body rest after a long trip and busy days. There are swimming pools with different temperatures and a spa on the territory. Anyway, everything's for a comfortable vacation.

High Country Restaurant & Saloon

We already had dinner in New Mexico. Lucky place, it was an old-fashioned movie restaurant. I liked the design of the place both outside and inside. The food was delicious, the staff was friendly. It's great to see places like this with their own twist.

Day 7: Hot springs

Our route is through another hot spring, which is worth a ride. No rock climbing today, just rest and quiet walks. We need to save some energy for tomorrow.

Elk Horn Restaurant

There's a pretty good cafe near the farmers' market. Without wasting time, we took a few sandwiches and coffee to have breakfast and picked up food for a picnic in one of the parks.

Heron Lake State Park

Beautiful lake! Here we stopped for a few hours to walk along the coast and enjoy the beauty of nature. The place is well-groomed, quiet, a lot of campsites. Someone was fishing, someone like us was just out walking.

Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs Resort & Spa

Before we visited the springs, we had a bite to eat with the sandwiches we bought this morning. Overall, it's a good place, with big pools and a spa. There's a café on site where you can have a snack if you didn't bring food with you. For rest in between walks and climbing the mountains, a great option!

Tune-Up Cafe

And here we are in Santa Fe, the capital of New Mexico. We decided to have dinner at a local institution with traditional cuisine. The menu is big, there's plenty to choose from. There were a lot of people in the cafe, but we didn't wait very long for the order. We were pretty tired during the day, so when we brought food, we ate very quickly and went to the hotel.

Day 8: Bandelier National Park

One of the most interesting national parks in New Mexico is Bandelier Park. We will go there and spend almost the whole day in it! The place is really unique and must be visited.

Krispy Kreme Doughnuts

Had breakfast with sweets at Krispy Cream. This place probably needs no introduction. They have very tasty doughnuts with various fillings, toppings and sprinkles, and also excellent coffee and tea. Is there anything better for breakfast?

Whole Foods Market

Before we left, we went to get groceries because we were planning to spend most of the day in the park. We took everything we needed and went on an adventure.

Bandelier National Monument

When we arrived at the park, we went to the tourist center. It provides general information and also shows an introductory film. This place is awesome! Here you can climb rocks and ruins, look at ancient drawings and look at caves that used to be inhabited by Indians. Be sure to bring plenty of water, wear sportswear and shoes!

Red Lobster

Tonight we decided to have a seafood night. Found a restaurant called Red Lobster on the way to the hotel. We ordered tiger shrimps, which are served immediately with sauces, and pasta with seafood. They cook well here, the staff is friendly. We sat there for hours, had enough to eat and went to the room.

Day 9: Albuquerque

So we've reached Albuquerque! The final point of our adventure. Before that, we will visit another no less interesting national park.

Panera Bread

We had breakfast in a simple and cozy bakery. It is quickly served and cooked deliciously, and most importantly, the bakery was still hot in the morning. You could have stayed here longer and taken desserts, but we decided to save time and get on the road as soon as possible.

Pecos National Historical Park

The tourist center of the park has a small museum, which is definitely worth the time. And of course, the park itself! Everywhere there are signs with the description of the place, everything is neat and well-groomed. You can climb through the ruins and see what they looked like before. There are not many people, which allows you to see all the locations and quietly walk along the paths of the park.

Jambo Cafe

It's time to go to Albuquerque, but you have to eat before the long drive. We didn't have to choose much, so we went to the first restaurant we liked. Turns out, besides everything else, they serve African cuisine here. Pretty interesting and delicious.

Civic Plaza

When we arrived in Albuquerque, we decided to take a little walk around the city and take a break from the rocks and parks. We walked through the square and the streets, saw the architecture of the city. There are a lot of interesting museums in the area, and it's a pity they're closed in the evening. But if you have a lot of time and energy left for the evening, you can go to the movies.

Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen

For the last meal of this trip, we chose a seafood restaurant. It was based on feedback, and it wasn't a mistake. It's a very good place to cook! Service at the top! Anyway, the final night was a success!

Day 10: Time to go home.

I don't want to, but it's time to go home. The journey was very intense! We've seen so much and learned so much! Before we left, we stopped at a bookstore and bought souvenirs for friends and relatives.

Panera Bread

When we woke up, we had a quick breakfast, and since it wasn't long before the flight, we went to look for souvenirs for our friends.

Barnes & Noble

Where else to look for souvenirs, no matter where else in the bookstores. There are always a lot of interesting things here. Magnetics, postcards, books, board games, gifts for all tastes!