I just made the drive to Colorado Springs. In the good ol' days, I would take I-70. Those days are over. This time around, I drove from Colorado Springs back to Grand Junction via Highway 50. I now understand why people take this route.

The blue line on the map above indicates the route most of us take when heading from Grand Junction to Denver or Colorado Springs. The two grey lines represent two popular alternate routes. For the first time in my life, when heading to Colorado Springs, I took I-70 and then turned off at Frisco and took Highway 9 through Breckenridge. This is far more enjoyable than I-70 to Denver, but mildly challenging after dark

On the way back, I took the route from Colorado Springs heading to Gunnison, then Montrose, and back to Grand Junction. The next time you make the trek to Denver or Colorado Springs, I recommend you take this route. Here are my top five reasons why.

1. Ultimately, it's not that much longer.

As you can see on the map above, Grand Junction to Colorado Springs via I-70 comes in at 4 hours and 53 minutes, if you're lucky. Making the trip via 285 and Highway 50 comes in at 5 hours and 32 minutes.

2. It's infinitely more peaceful.

Driving I-70 will make you a nervous wreck. It can be bumper to bumper the entire way, and that's assuming you don't have to stop for construction. When taking Highway 50, you find at times you have the road to yourself.

3. You can visit the Royal Gorge.

With only a slight detour you can enjoy the Royal Gorge. The sign indicating where to turn is hard to miss. You're looking at going only a few miles out of your way. Trust me, it's worth it.

4. You can stop off in Manitou Springs.

If you're into healthy food, small town atmosphere, and the overall hippie experience, you'll want to stop off in Manitou Springs.

5. The views are magnificent.

Okay, so the drive down I-70 offers some great scenery too. This goes without saying. If you really want to take a drive through the Colorado mountains, though, you should consider taking Highway 50.

Obviously, weather plays a major role when choosing your route over the mountains. Taking that into account, the next time you make the drive to Denver or Colorado Springs, consider following my suggestion, and take Highway 50. You'll be glad you did.

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