3 Ideas for a Western Slope Road Trip | Rocky Mountain Health Plans Blog



Spend a Long Weekend in Palisade, Steamboat Springs, or the North Fork Valley


Colorado’s Western Slope is teeming with weekend adventures, whether you want a rough and rugged outdoors expedition or a food-filled excursion featuring some of the area’s best flavors. Grab your calendar, because you’ll want to make room in your schedule for each of these 3 memorable long weekend trips on the Western Slope.


1. Sip wine and hang out with alpacas in Palisade


Palisade is known for its wineries and abundance of orchards, and the 25-stop Fruit and Wine Byway makes it easy to visit them all via car or bike. You’ll travel past farm market fruit and veggie stands teeming with delicious local produce, quaint orchards, aromatic lavender gardens, and world-class vineyards. The route also travels through lovely downtown Palisade.

After a day of viewing orchards and vineyards, head over to SunCrest Orchard Alpacas to spend some quality time with alpacas. If agricultural learning experiences like this one sound like your idea of a good time, you also have options for wine making classes, harvesting your own peaches, and lavender farm tours to choose from during your visit. You could easily spend an entire long weekend learning the ins and outs of the industries that make this part of the Western Slope so special.


2. Soak and stroll in Steamboat Springs


Ski towns aren’t just for winter. Most towns have tons of activities to keep visitors entertained all year long, and Steamboat Springs is no exception.

There are world-class snowshoeing trails in the winter, with routes to suit all experience levels. The same goes for hiking — just pull up the area in the AllTrails app to see your options. After you’ve worked up a sweat, take a relaxing soak at Strawberry Hot Springs, a natural mineral hot spring that’s equally beautiful during the day as it is at night. Consider taking a soak right before sunset to enjoy the daytime views as the sun sets while also getting a chance to look up at the nighttime stars.

There’s also plenty to explore in town, including great restaurants and iconic stores

like F.M. Light & Sons, a western wear outfitter that’s been around for more than 100 years. For more affordable lodging, see if you can find a peaceful vacation rental in nearby Milner or Hayden.


3. Get away from the crowds in Crawford, Hotchkiss, and Paonia


For those looking for a less-crowded getaway, it’s hard to beat these three Western Slope towns. Collectively, they make up the North Fork Valley, a stunning agricultural region that’s also teeming with creativity and opportunities for outdoor adventure.

On the artsy side, check out the latest events from the North Fork Valley Creative Coalition. The organization also maintains a directory of creatives, including maps for each town. You’ll find beautiful works of art at places like K Dahl Glass Studios in Crawford and the Church of Art in Hotchkiss.

After gallery hopping, visit Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park for vertigo-inducing views that will leave you speechless. For an action-packed day on the water, visit Crawford State Park.