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Best Drive - Cortez to Denver

Columbus, Ohio
Level Contributor
77 posts
91 reviews
Best Drive - Cortez to Denver

The day after visiting Mesa Verde, we will be driving back to Denver for a flight home the next day. Not looking for the quickest way but a nice scenic way. Do not mind a full day drive back, possibly with a few stops to stretch the legs. What is the suggested, scenic drive to Denver from Cortez?

Thanks.

2 replies to this topic
WestSlope,CO
Destination Expert
for Colorado
Level Contributor
11,562 posts
178 reviews
1. Re: Best Drive - Cortez to Denver

Are you first driving to Cortez from Denver? If so, which route are you taking? You'll probably want to take a different route back! When is this trip?

If this is summer or fall:

Get a really early start for a full day drive to have a bit of time for sightseeing. I like the drive from Cortez to Dolores (Anasazi Heritage Center) to Rico> Telluride (ride free gondola between town and Mountain Village, take a look around historic town). Then over Dallas Divide (pull off at large scenic pullout to take in the view) to Ridgway> Montrose. (Probably no time to see the Black Canyon Natl Park but if you got a super early start, you can get a good sample of views in an hour or two)

At Montrose you have a choice of Delta>Paonia> McClure Pass>Redstone (quaint, historic, picturesque!) > Carbondale and there either to Aspen>Independence Pass or Glenwood Springs then Interstate 70 to Denver; or east to Blue Mesa> Gunnison> Monarch Pass, and then either Salida>Canon City>Colorado Springs or almost to Buena Vista > Hwy 285 > Denver or opt to go through either Leadville or Breckenridge then intersect I-70 eastbound.

Columbus, Ohio
Level Contributor
77 posts
91 reviews
2. Re: Best Drive - Cortez to Denver

Some more background, sorry I left this off. The trip will be at the end of May on the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend. We'll be in Moab before Cortez. So the first part of the trip will be Denver to Moab via 70.

I'll check out the route you laid out. Thanks.

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