Black Hawk Road Trip Routes: Scenic Drives and Tips


Black Hawk, Colorado, located just 40 miles west of Denver, attracts over 20,000 visitors daily. This former mining town turned gaming hub offers a unique blend of outdoor adventures, historical sites, and entertainment, making it an ideal destination for a memorable road trip. Whether coming from nearby cities like Denver and Boulder or embarking on a scenic drive along the Peak to Peak Byway, Black Hawk promises an unforgettable Colorado Road trip experience.


  • Black Hawk offers outdoor activities, historical sites, and gaming entertainment.
  • The Peak to Peak Scenic Byway is a popular route to Black Hawk, showcasing stunning Rocky Mountain scenery.
  • Plan your trip based on seasonal weather conditions and personal preferences for activities and crowds.

Planning Your Trip to Black Hawk

Choosing the Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit Black Hawk depends on your preferences for weather and activities. Summer (June-August) offers warm temperatures and ideal conditions for outdoor adventures, but it also brings more tourists. Fall (September-November) showcases stunning foliage along the scenic historic byway drives, while winter (December-February) attracts visitors for snow-based activities and fewer crowds.

Mapping Your Route

  • From Denver: Take I-70 west to CO-119 south, passing through Clear Creek Canyon.
  • From Boulder: Follow CO-119 south through Nederland and the scenic Peak to Peak Byway.
  • Peak to Peak Scenic Byway: This 55-mile route starts in Estes Park (CO-7), continues through Allenspark (CO-72), and ends in Black Hawk (CO-119).

Transportation Options

  • Driving: Black Hawk is easily accessible by car, with ample parking at casinos and resorts.
  • Public transportation: Bustang, a state-run bus service, offers daily routes from Denver to Black Hawk.
  • Chartered buses: Many casinos provide chartered bus services for guests from nearby cities.

Staying in Black Hawk

Accommodation Options

Black Hawk offers a range of lodging options to suit various preferences and budgets.

  • Luxury resorts: Ameristar Casino Resort Spa and Monarch Casino Resort Spa offer upscale amenities and on-site gaming.
  • Hotels: Several hotels in Black Hawk provide comfortable rooms and easy access to attractions.
  • Cabins and vacation rentals: Nearby towns like Nederland and Estes Park offer cozy cabins and vacation homes for a more secluded stay.

Local Dining Experiences

Black Hawk’s dining scene caters to various tastes and budgets.

  • Casino restaurants: Many casinos feature upscale dining options, buffets, and 24-hour cafes.
  • Local favorites: Crook's Palace and the nearby Miner's Saloon in Golden offer casual dining with a historical atmosphere.
  • Specialty dishes: Try the famous prime rib at Timberline Grill or the all-you-can-eat crab legs at Monarch Buffet.

Activities and Attractions

Outdoor Adventures

  • Hiking and biking: Explore nearby Golden Gate Canyon State Park's trails, showcasing aspen trees, granite boulders, and wildflowers. Rocky Mountain National Park is another favorite destination nearby.
  • Fishing: Cast a line at Barker Reservoir in Nederland, stocked with rainbow trout
  • Rafting: Enjoy whitewater rafting on Clear Creek, with various difficulty levels available

Historical Sites and Cultural Experiences

  • Mining history: Take a guided tour of the historic Hidee Gold Mine or visit the Central City Opera House
  • Ghost towns: Explore the remnants of mining towns like Nevadaville and Apex
  • Scenic drives: Traverse the Peak to Peak Byway, Colorado's oldest scenic byway, for breathtaking mountain vistas

Entertainment and Nightlife

  • Casinos: Black Hawk is home to over a dozen casinos, offering slot machines, table games, and poker rooms
  • Live entertainment: Enjoy concerts, comedy shows, and performances at casino venues
  • Special events: Attend annual festivals like the Boom Days Mining Festival or the Mardi Gras Casino Crawl

Travel Tips and Resources

Packing and Preparation

  • Pack layers for varying mountain weather conditions, including a jacket for cool evenings.
  • Bring comfortable shoes for walking and hiking and sun protection (hat, sunscreen).
  • Remember your camera to capture the stunning scenery along the scenic drives.

Safety and Navigation

  • Be prepared for winding mountain roads and potential weather changes.
  • Check road conditions and closures, especially during winter months.
  • Use a GPS or map to navigate, as cell service may be limited in some areas.


What is the best way to travel to Black Hawk without a car?

Bustang, a state-run bus service, offers daily routes from Denver to Black Hawk. Many casinos also provide chartered bus services for guests from nearby cities.

Are there family-friendly activities in Black Hawk?

While Black Hawk is primarily known for its casinos, families can enjoy nearby outdoor activities like hiking in Golden Gate Canyon State Park or exploring the historic mining towns.

What are the top must-visit attractions in Black Hawk?

The Monarch Casino Resort Spa, the historic Central City Opera House, and the scenic Peak to Peak Byway are top attractions.

Can I visit Black Hawk during winter?

Yes, Black Hawk is accessible year-round. Winter offers snow-based activities and fewer crowds but be prepared for potential road closures and weather changes.

What are some tips for first-time visitors to Black Hawk?

Plan your trip based on your preferences for weather and activities, pack layers for varying mountain conditions, and be prepared for winding roads and potential weather changes. Remember to explore the scenic drives, historical sites, and casinos.

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About the author

Simone Weisman

My deep appreciation for nature and active living strongly aligns with the vibrant outdoor culture of Colorado. My enjoyment of yoga, hiking, and exploring scenic trails provides me with a unique perspective that I bring to This personal passion enriches my ability to connect with and inspire our audience, whether they’re local residents or visitors seeking to explore all that Colorado has to offer.