Avon Road Trip Routes: Scenic Drives and Stops


Avon, Colorado, serves as the perfect base camp for unforgettable road trips through the state’s most breathtaking landscapes. With its prime location in the heart of the Vail Valley and easy access to multimodal transportation options like ECO Transit, Avon is the ideal starting point for adventures big and small. Whether you’re seeking outdoor thrills, historical insights, or picturesque mountain towns, these Avon road trip routes showcase the best of Colorado.


  • Avon's central location and transportation options make it the ultimate Colorado road trip hub.
  • Diverse routes offer access to world-class skiing, hiking, fishing, and more in the surrounding mountains.
  • Charming mountain towns like Aspen, Breckenridge, and Leadville provide history, culture, and amenities.

Route 1: Vail Valley Loop

Begin your journey by exploring the wonders right in Avon’s backyard. Head east on I-70 to the world-renowned ski resorts of Vail and Beaver Creek. In the summer, these mountains transform into a hiker’s paradise with trails for all skill levels. Don’t miss a scenic ride on the Beaver Creek Gondola for panoramic views of the valley.

Continuing west, detour to the quaint town of Edwards for lunch at a local cafe before venturing south to Sylvan Lake State Park. Spend the afternoon fishing, canoeing, or simply relaxing by the tranquil shores. Loop back towards Avon, stopping at the stunning Nottingham Lake for a picnic dinner and breathtaking sunset reflections of the Gore Range.

Route 2: Twin Lakes to Aspen

Embark on a journey through the heart of the Rockies, beginning with a drive south on Highway 24 towards Twin Lakes. These glistening glacial lakes sit at the base of Mount Elbert, Colorado’s tallest peak. Hike a section of the Colorado Trail or cast a line in the trout-filled waters.

Continue west over Independence Pass, a breathtaking drive that crests at 12,095 feet. Stop at the Continental Divide sign for an obligatory photo op before descending into Aspen. This iconic mountain town boasts world-class dining, shopping, and cultural events. Take a stroll through the historic downtown, visit the Wheeler Opera House, or hike the scenic Rio Grande Trail.

Route 3: Leadville and Buena Vista

Head south from Avon on Highway 24, climbing towards the historic mining town of Leadville. At 10,152 feet, Leadville is the highest incorporated city in North America. Explore the well-preserved Victorian architecture, visit the National Mining Hall of Fame, or tour the Matchless Mine.

Continue south to the Arkansas River Valley and the charming town of Buena Vista. Known for its whitewater rafting, hiking, and hot springs, Buena Vista offers a perfect blend of adventure and relaxation. Soak in the Cottonwood Hot Springs, hike the Collegiate Peaks, or raft the exhilarating Browns Canyon National Monument.

Route 4: Frisco and Breckenridge

Travel east on I-70 to the laid-back mountain town of Frisco, settled on the shores of Dillon Reservoir. Rent a kayak or stand-up paddleboard to explore the serene waters, or cycle the paved rec path that winds around the lake’s perimeter.

Just south lies Breckenridge, a historic mining town turned ski mecca. Stroll down Main Street, lined with colorful Victorian buildings housing boutiques, galleries, and restaurants. Take a tour of the Country Boy Mine, pan for gold, or hike the wildflower-filled trails of the White River National Forest.

Route 5: Maroon Bells and Ashcroft

For a truly iconic Colorado experience, drive to the Maroon Bells Scenic Area near Aspen. These twin 14,000-foot peaks are reflected in the serene waters of Maroon Lake, creating a photographer’s dream. Hike the Maroon Lake Scenic Trail, a gentle 1-mile loop with stunning views of the peaks.

On your return, stop at the Ashcroft Ghost Town, a former silver mining settlement now preserved by the Aspen Historical Society. Walk among the weathered wooden buildings and imagine life in this once-thriving mountain community.


What is the best time of year for an Avon road trip?

The best time for an Avon road trip depends on your interests. Summer offers ideal conditions for hiking, fishing, and camping, with wildflowers in full bloom. Fall brings stunning foliage and fewer crowds. Winter is perfect for skiing and snowboarding, while spring offers a mix of winter sports and emerging greenery.

Do I need a car to explore Avon and the surrounding areas?

While a car provides the most flexibility, Avon’s multimodal transportation options make it possible to explore without one. ECO Transit offers bus service throughout the Vail Valley, connecting to trailheads, ski resorts, and nearby towns. Many hotels also offer shuttle services to popular destinations.

What should I pack for an Avon road trip?

Be prepared for variable mountain weather by packing layers, including a waterproof jacket, warm hat, and gloves. Sturdy hiking shoes, sunscreen, and a reusable water bottle are must-haves for outdoor adventures. Don’t forget a camera to capture the stunning scenery along the way.

Are there any must-see attractions in Avon?

Nottingham Lake is a centerpiece of Avon, offering paddleboard and kayak rentals, fishing, and a paved path for walking or cycling. The Avon Performance Pavilion hosts summer concerts and festivals, while the Vail Valley Trail System provides miles of scenic hiking and biking trails right from town.

What is the driving distance between Avon and other notable Colorado destinations?

Avon is centrally located in the Colorado Rockies, with easy access to many popular destinations. Vail is just 10 miles east, while Beaver Creek is 3 miles west. Aspen is 66 miles southwest, Breckenridge is 36 miles southeast, and Denver is 120 miles northeast.


About the author

James Ranson

I’m an editor, traveler, and fan of the great outdoors. I’ve been to all 48 continental US states, and my drives through Colorado’s rugged peaks and snowy forests (not to mention whiskey tastings in Denver!) still stand out in my memories. I’m excited to use my ten years of editing experience to develop engaging and informative guides and articles that enhance the outdoor experiences of both Colorado residents and visitors. Whether a piece is about exploring the best ski resorts, uncovering scenic trails for hiking, or finding the most inspiring drives through the Colorado Rockies, my aim is to provide comprehensive and accessible content that encourages adventure and exploration.