2020-2021 has spawned a lot of new experiences for us all, one of which the simultaneous experience of wanderlust and hodophobia (yes, I just learned that word existed today). Luckily, road-tripping is the perfect antidote to that fear and longing for travel, since it allows you to mostly stay in your own space, but also get out of the four walls you’ve been staring at for nearly a year now. And particularly luckily for us Northern Coloradans, we have multiple out-of-state locations that are relatively close and well worth the drive.

So, if you’ve got a three-day weekend coming up and a hankering for travel, consider hitting up any of these adventurous spots to get away for a while.

  1. Flaming Gorge, Utah – 5 hrs., 22 min.
    1. Main attractions: Rafting, Fishing, Hiking, Camping

Flaming Gorge Reservoir is an outdoorsman’s paradise that (technically) straddles the Wyoming-Utah border, which just goes to show that there’s plenty of nature to go around. Featuring three full-service marinas for boating, water skiing and featuring, you could easily spend a weekend floating across this reservoir’s surface. Flaming Gorge is also famous for its lake trout, the largest of which weighted 51 lbs. and 8 oz. Then, if you tire of the lake, you can keep your adventure going with hiking, camping, and rafting along the Green River below the reservoir. Needless to say, it a getaway that packs in plenty of activity to make up for the hours of car time.    

  1. Blanding, Utah - 7 hrs., 36 min.
    1. Main attractions: Four Corners Monument, Cedars State Park Museum, The Dinosaur Museum, House on Fire Ruins, Natural Bridges National Monument

 

 

 

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Although the trek to Blanding, Utah is a bit heftier than the one to Flaming Gorge, it’s well worth it for the sheer number of adventures this little backcountry town leads to. Billed as the basecamp to Utah’s outback, Blanding offers a host of lodges and inns to return to after you’re done gallivanting around the various museums, monuments and state parks that pepper the area like daisies. From hiking the Natural Bridges National Monument to viewing ancient ruins in the Shash-Jaa Section of Bears Ears National Monument, you’ll never be short of stories once you return from Blanding.

  1. Santa Fe, New Mexico – 6 hrs., 49 min.
    1. Main attractions: Art markets, bike trails, historic sites, museums, nightlife

Known as The City Different, Santa Fe is a hub for art, culture and history. Exploring the city alone would take someone weeks, let alone a single weekend. From visiting the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center to viewing the soaring Loretto Chapel, followed by strolling through the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum and picking up a souvenir at one of Santa Fe’s many art markets, this road trip would be one where the destination far outstrips the journey.

  1. Hole-In-The-Wall, Wyoming – 4 hrs., 57 min.
    1. Main attractions: Fishing, camping, horseback riding, biking, history

 

 

 

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So, you want to get away, right? And when we say away, we mean really away? The outlaws Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid did, too, and they found the perfect spot to hide from the eyes of the law (or uncle who still hasn’t figured out how to unmute himself on Zoom). Located on the picturesque Willow Creek Ranch, you can visit this historically remote natural area while partaking in all the great activities the ranch has to offer in what their website proclaims as a “working cowboy vacation.” From camping in tents or tepees, fishing, driving cattle, bird watching or even just taking a little R&R with that book you’ve been meaning to read, Hole-In-The-Wall’s got it all, and is the shortest road trip included on this list.

  1. Badlands National Park, South Dakota – 5 hrs., 3 min.
    1. Main attractions: Horseback riding, hiking, camping, museum exhibits, Night Sky Viewings

Contrary to its name, Badlands National Park is actually pretty great and includes some of the most striking geologic formations around. The park offers multiple driving routes with which to explore the area (as long as you’re not tired of sitting in the car yet), as well as ample opportunity for hiking, biking and camping. It’s also one of the best places to view the night sky, as the Badlands offers a Badlands Astronomy Festival in the summer, where rangers and astronomers come out to help you learn about the heavens above. Or, if you think the Badlands aren’t living up to their intimidating title, you can go visit the Fossil Preparation Lab and check out the park’s dinosaur fossil and human history collections.

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