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The town of Silver Plume is a must-stop for pre- or post-weekend cocktails
Bread Bar/Facebook

16 Mountain Stopovers for Your Next Colorado Road Trip

Only the best eating and drinking for intrepid travelers

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The town of Silver Plume is a must-stop for pre- or post-weekend cocktails
| Bread Bar/Facebook

Weather, traffic, construction, tourists — they all come into play when road tripping from Denver into the mountains. Luckily for Coloradans and visitors, these re-fueling options dot the way, making the journey taste just as good as the destination.

Starting just outside Denver, ending as far as Grand Junction, on the way to distant ski resorts, and well into the mountains, these 16 bars, breweries, distilleries, and restaurants are worth the pull-off. They serve hand pies, tacos, barbecue, cocktails, even coursed backcountry dinners.

Have another favorite mountain stopover? Send us a tip.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

Bin 707 Foodbar

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The first restaurant of chef Josh Niernberg’s Grand Junction empire (see also a food truck, Taco Party, and Dinner Party), Bin 707 is our farthest west destination for all-day seasonal fare from beet and chicory salads to butter and radishes and striped bass with caviar and potato waffles. Road trip passengers can order a house cocktail or whiskey flight before heading on to Utah.

Bin 707 Foodbar [official]

Provisions at the Barbershop

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The last stop before Telluride, Ridgway is a surprising little food destination all its own. Among the many options in this walkable town is Provisions Cafe, located in an 1894 barbershop. Amie Minnick, a longtime Telluride private chef to the stars, now runs this unassuming restaurant. She serves brunch Wednesdays to Sundays and dinner Thursdays to Saturdays. Start with local coffee and breakfast hash.

Provisions/Facebook

Taqueria El Nopal

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For lunch or dinner, diners heading toward Aspen should stop in this relaxed Glenwood Springs restaurant that serves some of the very best Mexican food in Colorado. Don't miss the carne asada tacos, pozole, and pupusas.

Casey Brewing and Blending LLC

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Also in Glenwood Springs, Casey Brewing is a stop to plan ahead of time — the taproom only opens for drinkers who purchase tickets to access intimate group tasting sessions. These are offered Thursdays to Sundays on the first and third weekends of the month only. But those who snag them can learn about blending in the barrel cellar, and try beers like oak barrel-aged apricot farmhouse ale and blackberry whiskey sour.

Casey Brewing/Facebook

Woody Creek Distillers

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Located between Carbondale and Aspen, and just down the road from its own potato farm, Woody Creek makes some of the best spirits in the state. Drinkers pulling off in this industrial enclave can taste distiller Dave Matthews’ now-famous potato vodka, his floral and citrus-forward gin, and a taproom-only High Rye whiskey.

Woody Creek/Facebook

Minturn Saloon

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Just beyond Vail, the former mining town of Minturn maintains its historic Saloon, where clandestine drinking and gambling date back to 1901. Flair and margaritas are the main reasons to visit, but a mixed grill for dinner is a more filling option. And après ski hour is popular for those skiing the Minturn Mile.

Minturn Saloon/Facebook

Tennessee Pass Cookhouse

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Way off the beaten path, between Cooper ski area and Leadville, this yurt restaurant is accessible by backcountry hike in the summer or scenic snowshoe walk in the winter. Reservations are required for lunch and a four-course dinner ($89 for the latter, gear and headlamps included). Once inside, diners are greeted by a wood stove and candlelight. Entrees include Colorado lamb, grilled elk, and stuffed pheasant.

Tennessee Pass [official]

Treeline Kitchen

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On down to Leadville, Treeline is a newer addition to the country’s highest elevation food scene. It opens daily for happy hour and dinner and serves a comforting new American food menu alongside an extensive wine list and winter cocktails. Come warmer weather, the rooftop patio is a nice perch overlooking this historic city.

Dominique Taylor/Treeline Kitchen

The Jailhouse Craft Beer Bar

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Colorado’s best craft beer bar is lantern-lit and hiding inside this 1880s-era Buena Vista town jailhouse. There’s only room for 10 well-selected taps featuring beers from Colorado and beyond (see currently breweries such as Aspen, Weldwerks, Melvin, and Logsdon). Seating is equally cozy, and the bathrooms are their own adventure off the back patio.

The Jailhouse [official]

Hungry Moose Caboose

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A summers-only spot, the drive here is worth it just for a cheeseburger. This side-of-the-road pit stop offers a classic American creation at a cheap price and best washed down with a milkshake. Pro tip: If you need to use the bathroom, be sure to bring some quarters.

Yelp

Plume Coffee Bar

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Silver Plume’s latest addition is this mountain minimalist coffee bar in the old Knights of Pythias building. Weekends only, find pour-overs and espresso drinks as well as local breakfast burritos and morning pastries.

Plume Coffee Bar [official]

Bread Bar

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Down the road from the coffee shop is this old-timey cocktail bar that started Silver Plume’s ongoing hipsterization and garnered a cult following for its drinks served in a vintage-chic setting (the word “bread” on the back of the former bakery building worked wonders). It’s only open Fridays to Sundays, and visitors should plan ahead to arrive on live music nights — they can be magical — as well as for food and craft goods pop-ups.

Bread Bar/Facebook

The Shaggy Sheep

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Open Thursday through Sunday in the winter and through Monday come summer, this “casual mountain cookhouse” is a pleasant surprise along Highway 285. A previously Denver-based couple (he, a chef, she, a produce purveyor) run the cabin restaurant, serving pan-seared fish, spinach and kale salad, and short rib sandwiches. A lounge area offers beer, wine, and cocktails.

The Shaggy Sheep [official]

Westbound & Down Brewery/The Buffalo

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Winter or summer, this modern brewery and restaurant is a breath of fresh air just 40 minutes up I-70. Brewed on the premises, the beers are a great compliment to Southern-influenced dishes. Highlights include the fried chicken and biscuits.

Westbound & Down/Facebook

Smokin Yard's BBQ

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For some of Colorado's finest barbecue on the road, Smokin Yard's offers platters of pulled pork, ribs, and whole chickens, as well as not-to-be-forgotten savory sides, such as mac and cheese, mashed potatoes, and collard greens.

Tip Top Savory Pies

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Lafayette’s newest eatery is cupboard sized and serving handheld pies that make for perfect portable road trip snacking. The New Zealand-inspired treats come in all savory varieties — mincemeat, steak and cheese, mushrooms and beer, cauliflower tikka masala. They’re selling for now on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays only.

Tip Top Savory Pies [official]

Bin 707 Foodbar

Bin 707 Foodbar [official]

The first restaurant of chef Josh Niernberg’s Grand Junction empire (see also a food truck, Taco Party, and Dinner Party), Bin 707 is our farthest west destination for all-day seasonal fare from beet and chicory salads to butter and radishes and striped bass with caviar and potato waffles. Road trip passengers can order a house cocktail or whiskey flight before heading on to Utah.

Bin 707 Foodbar [official]

Provisions at the Barbershop

Provisions/Facebook

The last stop before Telluride, Ridgway is a surprising little food destination all its own. Among the many options in this walkable town is Provisions Cafe, located in an 1894 barbershop. Amie Minnick, a longtime Telluride private chef to the stars, now runs this unassuming restaurant. She serves brunch Wednesdays to Sundays and dinner Thursdays to Saturdays. Start with local coffee and breakfast hash.

Provisions/Facebook

Taqueria El Nopal

For lunch or dinner, diners heading toward Aspen should stop in this relaxed Glenwood Springs restaurant that serves some of the very best Mexican food in Colorado. Don't miss the carne asada tacos, pozole, and pupusas.

Casey Brewing and Blending LLC

Casey Brewing/Facebook

Also in Glenwood Springs, Casey Brewing is a stop to plan ahead of time — the taproom only opens for drinkers who purchase tickets to access intimate group tasting sessions. These are offered Thursdays to Sundays on the first and third weekends of the month only. But those who snag them can learn about blending in the barrel cellar, and try beers like oak barrel-aged apricot farmhouse ale and blackberry whiskey sour.

Casey Brewing/Facebook

Woody Creek Distillers

Woody Creek/Facebook

Located between Carbondale and Aspen, and just down the road from its own potato farm, Woody Creek makes some of the best spirits in the state. Drinkers pulling off in this industrial enclave can taste distiller Dave Matthews’ now-famous potato vodka, his floral and citrus-forward gin, and a taproom-only High Rye whiskey.

Woody Creek/Facebook

Minturn Saloon

Minturn Saloon/Facebook

Just beyond Vail, the former mining town of Minturn maintains its historic Saloon, where clandestine drinking and gambling date back to 1901. Flair and margaritas are the main reasons to visit, but a mixed grill for dinner is a more filling option. And après ski hour is popular for those skiing the Minturn Mile.

Minturn Saloon/Facebook

Tennessee Pass Cookhouse

Tennessee Pass [official]

Way off the beaten path, between Cooper ski area and Leadville, this yurt restaurant is accessible by backcountry hike in the summer or scenic snowshoe walk in the winter. Reservations are required for lunch and a four-course dinner ($89 for the latter, gear and headlamps included). Once inside, diners are greeted by a wood stove and candlelight. Entrees include Colorado lamb, grilled elk, and stuffed pheasant.

Tennessee Pass [official]

Treeline Kitchen

Dominique Taylor/Treeline Kitchen

On down to Leadville, Treeline is a newer addition to the country’s highest elevation food scene. It opens daily for happy hour and dinner and serves a comforting new American food menu alongside an extensive wine list and winter cocktails. Come warmer weather, the rooftop patio is a nice perch overlooking this historic city.

Dominique Taylor/Treeline Kitchen

The Jailhouse Craft Beer Bar

The Jailhouse [official]

Colorado’s best craft beer bar is lantern-lit and hiding inside this 1880s-era Buena Vista town jailhouse. There’s only room for 10 well-selected taps featuring beers from Colorado and beyond (see currently breweries such as Aspen, Weldwerks, Melvin, and Logsdon). Seating is equally cozy, and the bathrooms are their own adventure off the back patio.

The Jailhouse [official]

Hungry Moose Caboose

Yelp

A summers-only spot, the drive here is worth it just for a cheeseburger. This side-of-the-road pit stop offers a classic American creation at a cheap price and best washed down with a milkshake. Pro tip: If you need to use the bathroom, be sure to bring some quarters.

Yelp

Plume Coffee Bar

Plume Coffee Bar [official]

Silver Plume’s latest addition is this mountain minimalist coffee bar in the old Knights of Pythias building. Weekends only, find pour-overs and espresso drinks as well as local breakfast burritos and morning pastries.

Plume Coffee Bar [official]

Bread Bar

Bread Bar/Facebook

Down the road from the coffee shop is this old-timey cocktail bar that started Silver Plume’s ongoing hipsterization and garnered a cult following for its drinks served in a vintage-chic setting (the word “bread” on the back of the former bakery building worked wonders). It’s only open Fridays to Sundays, and visitors should plan ahead to arrive on live music nights — they can be magical — as well as for food and craft goods pop-ups.

Bread Bar/Facebook

The Shaggy Sheep

The Shaggy Sheep [official]

Open Thursday through Sunday in the winter and through Monday come summer, this “casual mountain cookhouse” is a pleasant surprise along Highway 285. A previously Denver-based couple (he, a chef, she, a produce purveyor) run the cabin restaurant, serving pan-seared fish, spinach and kale salad, and short rib sandwiches. A lounge area offers beer, wine, and cocktails.

The Shaggy Sheep [official]

Westbound & Down Brewery/The Buffalo

Westbound & Down/Facebook

Winter or summer, this modern brewery and restaurant is a breath of fresh air just 40 minutes up I-70. Brewed on the premises, the beers are a great compliment to Southern-influenced dishes. Highlights include the fried chicken and biscuits.

Westbound & Down/Facebook

Smokin Yard's BBQ

For some of Colorado's finest barbecue on the road, Smokin Yard's offers platters of pulled pork, ribs, and whole chickens, as well as not-to-be-forgotten savory sides, such as mac and cheese, mashed potatoes, and collard greens.

Related Maps

Tip Top Savory Pies

Tip Top Savory Pies [official]

Lafayette’s newest eatery is cupboard sized and serving handheld pies that make for perfect portable road trip snacking. The New Zealand-inspired treats come in all savory varieties — mincemeat, steak and cheese, mushrooms and beer, cauliflower tikka masala. They’re selling for now on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays only.

Tip Top Savory Pies [official]

Related Maps