When you make you way west through Colorado on I-70, half the time it’s a straight shot to Summit County, Vail Valley, and further. But if you plan on traveling over weekends or holidays, you should definitely reconsider your route. I-70 gets jam packed with cars, and there are a few alternate routes that end up being a better option. Here are 5 reasons why you should take Highway 285 instead of Interstate 70 this summer.
1. Less Traffic
Interstate 70, which connects the front rage metropolitan areas (Denver, Boulder, and Fort Colins) to the Rockies, is known amongst Coloradan locals for its traffic and frequent stoppages. I-70 gets particularly bad during weekends, holidays, and periods of bad weather. In fact, a crash near either the Eisenhower tunnel or sometimes the twin tunnels can result in an eastbound, westbound, our entire shutdown of the highway. Highway 285 is an excellent way to avoid this madness altogether and get to the mountains worry free. The last thing you need when you are trying to relax on vacation is stressful traffic!
2. The Views
I-70 runs inside a canyon and does offer some great views at times (especially when exiting the Eisenhower tunnel and entering Summit County). However, its lack of openness on most sections results in fewer opportunities for the great vistas that Colorado is known for. Highway 285 offers views of large swaths of land, where the sky seemingly goes on forever. Driving west into the mountains can be a magical experience on this road, as you watch the sky change colors, from yellow, to red, and finally to that famous Rocky Mountain Purple. The lack of light pollution at night allows for the stars and moon to shine through the night sky, creating a far more enjoyable drive for red eye travelers.
3. The Gram
Due to its more remote and open nature, Highway 285 is a great road to take lots of stops and take photos. Wildlife such as moose, deer, bighorn sheep, and the rare elk can be spotted from this highway. Not to mention the vistas of Colorado’s renowned Rocky Mountains that are just begging for likes on the gram. Highway 285 is a great road for grabbing photos without the exertion of a hike or hassle of off roading. Don’t forget to put your phone down and appreciate the view yourself, too! Nothing beats the real thing.
4. Camping and Public Lands
Highway 285 is lined with some great campgrounds, such as Meridian Campground. These are great options for people with RV’s and camping gear who may be road tripping through Colorado. There is no better way to experience the natural beauty of Colorado than to spend at least one night in the outdoors, especially by a fire. Staunton State Park is also right by Highway 285 and a great option for a pit stop on your way to the mountains. Take a hike and stretch out those legs before you settle in for the long haul, whether you are headed to Breckenridge, Buena Vista, or Aspen.
5. A Sense of Adventure
A trip to Colorado should be an adventure. Take the long way. Stop at the small town. Chat up the locals. Highway 285 is going to offer these opportunities, especially as opposed to the major interstate of I-70. From its remoteness, to its beauty, to the unknown behind every curve, Highway 285 is a road worth adventuring.
Be sure to triple check your route next time you’re headed to the mountains in Colorado, it could save you some time stuck in traffic and you’ll get to explore new corners of the beautiful state. If you just want to start your trip off on the right foot, consider a charter or shared shuttle with Peak 1 Express. You’ll be able to hop on after your plane lands and enjoy the views on the way to your destination.