It’s not hard to stumble upon unique mountain towns as you gallivant across the Rockies. A short drive from Denver reveals stunning landscapes and picturesque mountain ranges for as far as the eye can see. Coming from Florida, where the elevation tops out at about 345′ above sea level, it was easy to get distracted by the views. I recommend factoring in extra travel time to give yourself a chance to pull over and enjoy the sights during any Colorado adventure, especially en route to the beautiful Georgetown, Colorado.
Luckily, Georgetown, Colorado (elevation 8,530′) is situated just off of Interstate 70 and only approximately an hour’s drive from Denver. Easy access from the city makes this small historic mining town a perfect place to set up camp if your plans include spending time in the outdoors or any other mountain town activity.
Although we did not experience traffic or any other inclement conditions during our drive, I have heard that Interstate 70 can get busy especially on weekends and holidays. Try to avoid heading out to the mountains during Friday evening rush hour as well as driving back to the city on a Sunday afternoon. It’s hard for me to imagine the traffic being any worse in the mountains than it is in Orlando at any point during the day…
When To Visit Georgetown, Colorado
I may be biased because my first and only trip to Colorado was during autumn, but the vibrant colors and crisp air was exactly what I imagined a weekend in the mountains to entail. The fall not only offers the leaves changing colors but also the potential of snow-capped mountains without the frigid temperatures at slightly lower elevations. The nights are still cold, but the days warmed up nicely. All in all, September has a variety of temperatures and conditions that can make a trip exciting and adventurous.
What To Do In Georgetown, Colorado
Staying anywhere within Georgetown’s city limits offers a plethora of outdoor activities for people of all ages. There is a small visitors center just as you exit off the highway with plenty of information as well as gifts and other fun mountain themed souvenirs.
From Georgetown, you can ride the historic railroad loop that runs out to Silverplume and back. We didn’t have time for this excursion, but if I am ever back in the area I will indeed splurge for this experience. Panning for gold or tours of the mines in the area are a few other options to add to your itinerary.
There is also a winding road that weaves its way into the nearby mountains with spectacular viewpoints along the way called Guenella Pass Scenic Byway that deserves an hour or two of your time. As you drive, be aware of cyclists as well as pedestrians since this area seems to get busy on a beautiful weekend afternoon. When you are finished cruising, head to the Guenella Pass Brewing Company for an excellent craft beer in a unique setting.
Most Importantly: The 14ers
My friends and I specifically traveled to Colorado to grab as many 14ers as we could in one weekend. Our plan included Mount Elbert out by Leadville as well as both Gray’s and Torrey’s Peaks just outside of Georgetown. When we arrived in Georgetown, we had already checked Mount Elbert off our list and planned to do the next two in the same morning, which is possible, since they are connected by a saddle.
Both Gray’s (14,270′) and Torrey’s (14,267′) Peaks are only a short drive from Georgetown and only a few miles off of Interstate 70. I was able to grab directions with my phone fairly easily by plugging in Gray’s Peak. Once you get off the highway by exit 221, there is a gravel/dirt road that you’ll take for the next few miles. Most likely you’ll start in the dark so take your time because the road is fairly rugged. I recommend a high clearance vehicle although there were some smaller cars at the trailhead.
This is a hike you’ll want to start early since these peaks are fairly close to Denver and are considered “easy” which makes them both very popular. The trailhead has limited parking so if you don’t want to add extra miles to your hike arrive well before sunrise. Remember that weather in the mountains can change at any moment and always be aware of your surroundings and the environment. We had an epic adventure during our climb up Gray’s and Torrey’s Peaks.