Summer road trip tips for Colorado

Back in January I wrote, “Winter road trip tips – Colorado,” so I thought that a summer oriented road trip post was appropriate.

I put thousands of HeidiTown miles on my car every year and we’ve learned a thing or two about Colorado travel via the open road.

Independence Pass, Colorado. Scenic byway. Summer road trip tips - Colorado.
Independence Pass in early June.

Whether you’re planning an hour or seven hour drive, my hope is that these tips will help your next road trip across Colorado be fun and worry free.

1. Check in with your car. Before heading out across the hot asphalt this summer, make sure that your car is in good working order. If that check engine light has been on, you need to have that checked before you go. Also, make sure your tires have the right amount of air and that all your fluids are topped off. Nothing ruins a road trip like a breakdown – nothing!

2. Be prepared for Men at Work. Summer is festival season in Colorado and it’s also construction season, and you’ll find it all over the state, not just in cities. We’ve ran into major construction zones in the Middle-of-Nowhere, Colorado. It’s wise to be mentally prepared for these situations because there’s absolutely nothing you can do about it. I find that a good book on Audible makes construction wait times go by much more quickly.

Tarryall Ranch along Hwy 285. Summer road trip tips - Colorado.
One of those random photo ops around Colorado. Tarryall Ranch along Hwy 285 near Fairplay.

3. Take the high road. If you are traveling in the mountains and have the option to take one of the state’s scenic byways to your destination, do it. Earlier this month, on our way to Snowmass, we took Independence Pass as an alternative route to I70. From Denver this only adds about 20 minutes of travel time to Snowmass and the views are more than worth it. For a list of all of Colorado’s most scenic routes, go to

waterfall on Independence Pass. Summer road trip tips - Colorado.
Waterfall on Independence Pass. Photo taken from the passenger’s window as we drove by.

4. Stay hydrated. I also included this tip in my “Winter road trip tips.” Colorado summer get hot and sitting in an air conditioned vehicle is dehydrating. I already knew that thirst causes grumpiness, but I recently learned that your body can misinterpret thirst as hunger, so staying hydrated (with water!) is a very good idea all the time.

5. Take your time. Give yourself plenty of time to get to your destination. There are so many photo opportunities around Colorado and you may find a small town or museum to stop and explore along the way. The art of the road trip is not to rush. People who take it easy have much more fun, and you’ll find it’s those people who have all the best road trip stories.


  1. Truly take your time! The road trip should be part of the getaway


  2. I’m surprised you left off plan the right music. Colorado driving, especially in the mountains means you might not get any signal on the radio, but planning ahead means you can have the “right” soundtrack playing as you travel.

    I’d also point out that it is important to get off the highways, rolled the windows down, turn off the music altogether and take in the sounds and smells of Colorado in summer.


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