Denver and Steamboat Colorado Itinerary A guest post from Rebecca Dolan

Hello all, I’m Rebecca Noelle and I am your guest blogger today! I’m sharing my trip itinerary for a long weekend trip to Denver and Steamboat Colorado.There was a short window for planning this trip. I gave notice at my job and had a month between that job and starting my next job.

I knew I wanted to travel somewhere during that time period, but I couldn't plan till the weekend after my last day of work. I sat down and went through so many different locations I wanted to visit. After throwing out a few ideas, and awaiting word from friends I could stay with or see, Steamboat Colorado become my destination. I flew from Newark, New Jersey to Denver, Colorado and drove 4 hours to Steamboat. Now, Steamboat does have an airport, however, I was going in November, if a snowstorm were to come, my flight would be canceled. There are not many flights to Steamboat, it is a smaller airport and Denver is an international airport which means it has more flight options. The cost point to Denver is much better.

I booked the flight, got my rental car, and confirmed dates with my friend I was staying with and everything just fell into place within a few short hours! My flight out was direct, I had a checked bag knowing I would buy gifts for all my family members and my backpacking bag. November in Steamboat is essential winter. The average temperature was 30 degrees, with those temperatures, layers are a must! Since you’re in the mountain there, the days are short.

Something to keep in mind, November is the off-season for Steamboat.

Not everything you’ll want to do will be accessible. This helps keep costs low, however, Steamboat is a resort town, so meals, coffee shops, etc are resort pricey. This was a quick trip, here is the day break down, which I hope is a helpful itinerary for you!

Day 1

Travel, the flight is 4 hours and 25 minutes. Then, landing in Denver my first thought after getting my luggage was to get to the Hertz desk and get my car. The Hertz location was not on site. I thought it was, but was informed it's actually 45 minutes away. I needed to take a tax that was $50. When I got to the spot, the owner of the Hertz location said he has heard of people being charged upwards of $70 or more. Use an Uber! Or really research where your car rental location is, in comparison to the airport. My drive to Steamboat was closer to five hours from Denver. This is not from traffic, it was the pulling over, taking photos, face-timing my family and just being in awe of all the beautiful scenery! I arrived at my friend's home, walked her neighborhood which was a nice change from the day of sitting.

Now, don’t forget to drink water!

Steamboat is at a high elevation so you want to prevent elevation sickness.

Day 2

Since my body was three hours ahead due to the time zone change, I woke up around 4:30 AM drove out to catch the sunrise at the viewpoint around the beginning of Routt's National Forest. It was stunning! After spending about two to three hours enjoying the sunrise. I returned to enjoy breakfast with my family friends. They live right by Bruce Trail with is a popular snowshoeing and cross country skiing trail. The loop is about 3.1 to 5 miles long depending on the loop you choose. Even though it is a popular trail, you do get to enjoy the quiet and stillness of the forest. Bruce Trail is in Routt Forrest.

Day 3

This day was my favorite day and ended up being my last full day and night in Steamboat from a massive snowstorm that was to hit Steamboat and I was to fly out on Day 5. This day was going to Rocky Mountain National Park! 

Remember - this was off-season and the park was closed due to snow closure.

I still go hiking in Rocky Mountain National park due to a drive on the outskirts of the park but it is in the park! Here’s a fun tip though, look up East Inlet! There are hiking trails there that are in Rocky Mountain National Park. When you google directions from Steamboat to Rocky Mountain National Park, it will say 4 hours. If you go to the East Inlet entrance, it’s just 2 hours! Adams Falls is a quick hike, but fun with a limited time period. Rocky Mountain National Park was beautiful. On the way or way back, spend time at Grady Lake. The views with the surrounding mountain ran and the reflection of the lake is wonderful!

Day 4

Exploring the town! I walked through the town, there is a nice walking trail. On the trail, you get to stumble upon all these hot springs. For those who don’t know, Steamboat is known for its hot springs. There is a walking trail through the center of the town. Returned to the house to finish up packing and doing a quick hiking trail at the Emerald Mountain Trail Network, there are 3 trail options and it is a popular spot for locals to walk, trail run, or mountain bike! Lookout in the distance for the sleeping man in the distance. It has a beautiful lookout and was a great finish to my time in Steamboat. Then, with the impending storm and 4-hour drive back to Denver. I looked forward to the drive and wonderful views that caused me to repeatedly pull over for photos.

Day 5

Early rise and spent time at the Garden of the Gods. It is an hour's drive outside of Denver. This spot is beautiful! It is also free to enter. I got there in time for the sunrise, which thankfully there were other people there doing a morning group race together. This helped make me comfortable for the spots, which if you are first time solo traveling, you know the unsure feeling I’m talking about. Now, the views! It is spectacular. The clay red stones, with the distance view of greens, is so special.

I suggest just sitting for a while and enjoy the quiet space.

Be mindful of the surroundings since it is the dessert. While wandering the paved walking paths in the center I stumbled sign saying "Beware of rattlesnakes!" I instantly panicked since the first hour of me being there it was completely dark and I was all alone. I know you’re supposed to hear the rattle and that’s a warning, but OH MY GOODNESS! I’m very grateful not encounter happened. I share things with you because I had no idea! Be mindful as you explore this beautiful spot. Now came the sad moment to return my rental car, which brought me on my first adventure. Then wait for the flight back to Jersey with a trip that will stick with me for so long!

Visit Rebecca Noelle's Website