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Itineraries

Use this sample guide to plan your own Colorado Creative Corridor road trip!

Sarah Uhl
The Colorado Creative Corridor travels some 331 miles through a handful of state certified Creative District destina­tions including Carbondale, Crested Butte, Paonia, Ridgway and Salida. These five towns combine to offer a collective experience of unique event programming and activities, alongside mountain town eclecticism, majestic vistas and outdoor recreation, and authentic Colorado mountain culture.

CARBONDALE sits on the confluence of the Crystal and Roaring Fork Rivers at the foot of the mighty Mount Sopris where over 200 creatives reside. Rich agricultural history and a little hippy flair combine to form a community focused on health and wellness, local food production and four-season recreation to boot.

Tucked in the North Fork Valley under the watchful eye of Mt. Lamborn and surrounded by the beauty of the West Elks Wilderness, PAONIA has a thriving arts community and has the largest number of natural and organic farms, per capita, in Colorado.

Once described as a surf town in the moun­tains, CRESTED BUTTE features a National Historic District with vibrant Victorian storefronts and expressive local characters. With over 2 million acres of public land surrounding town, enjoy legendary skiing and snowboarding, unparalleled mountain biking, or a secluded fly fishing experience.

Nestled in the picturesque Uncompahgre Valley and surrounded by the majestic snow­capped peaks of the Cimarrons and San Juans, the RIDGWAY experience satisfies art lovers, foodies, history buffs, and outdoor enthusiasts. Day-trip for adventure, soak in hot springs or tour the town, enjoying public art and creative surprises, even in our alleys.

SALIDA falls along the Collegiate Peaks Scenic and Historic Byway and is a short drive from Browns Canyon National Monument. While in town visit one of Salida's artist studios and galleries, kayak, tube or raft the Arkansas River, climb a 14er in the Collegiate Range or unwind with a soak at one of 3 area hot springs.

ROAD TRIP!

Grab friends, family or both and prepare yourself for five days of stunning landscapes & creative inspiration around every corner.

CARBONDALE 

Colorado Creative Corridor

Day 1 

Activity

SUSTAINABLE SETTINGS: Pick fresh vegetables, watch the animals, see a dairy in action and leave with delicious foods to prepare.

Lunch

THE BEAT: Carbondale's newest eatery, offering a vegan and vegetarian menu with locally-sourced ingredients and $10 “Beat Box.”

Activity

RIO GRANDE ARTWAY: Enjoy unique ARTway community parks and gardens (don't miss True Nature Healing Arts' Peace Gardens or the new mural at S.A.W.) as you bike along the Rio Grande Trail in Carbondale.

Activity

GET YOUR ART ON: Make a vase at Carbondale Clay Center, join Roaring Fork Drawing Club for an evening of fun & friendship, see an art exhibit at The Launch­pad or find a kids class at Handmakery.

Dinner

PHAT THAI: innovative classic Asian dishes by Carbondale’s local food trailblazer, chef Mark Fischer.

Drinks

BATCH PROVISIONS: curates and serves classic cocktails with a modern riff, small production wineries, a unique beer list, and house-made mocktails.

Lodging

MARBLE DISTILLERY: INN is the only inn in the world housed within a working distillery. Here guests can ‘Sleep with the Stills’ in a relaxed, state-of-the-art room with refined amenities.

Day 2 

Breakfast

THE VILLAGE SMITHY: Classic American fare sourcing fresh, local ingredients, produce and meat from our valley's ranches and farms.

HEAD SOUTH! Make your way an hour and 15 minutes south to the lovely enclave of Paonia, passing by lush orchards and vineyards as you go.

PAONIA

Activity

THE CIRQUE BOUTIQUE: Shop handmade artist produced clothing, jewelry & accessories as well as EcoBaby and internationally textiles and organic home gifts.

Lunch

NIDO TACOS: mouthwatering selection of tacos & tamales made to order in the heart of downtown

Activity

ORCHARD VALLEY FARM & BLACK BRIDGE WINERY: you-pick fruits and veggies or head inside for olive oil & vinegar tasting or wine tasting and enjoy the riverside picnic area.

Drinks & Dinner

Chrysalis Barrel Aged Brewery: Award winning brewery host live music, food trucks and saison style beer flights.

FLYING FORK CAFE: Italian inspired fare with daily specials & corner bar with craft cocktails

Activity

PARADISE THEATRE: Dance at an outdoor concert or snuggle up for a movie on the big screen at Paonia's legendary cultural spot.

Lodging

WISEHARTS SPRING INN: One-of-a-kind structure located on a 40-acre ranch which features natural springs.

*Add An Extra Day

BLACK CANYON OF THE GUNNISON: Big enough to be overwhelming but still intimate enough to feel the pulse of time. Visitors are exposed to some of the steepest cliffs, oldest rock and craggiest spires in North America, with many scenic rim trails to hike. Take a full day to explore this National Park.

Day 3 

Breakfast

SWEETGRASS PAONIA: Paonias newest eatery by former Courdon Bleu chef & educator; epic pastry with keto & gluten free options

HEAD EAST! In summer and early fall head east two hours over scenic Kebler Pass, featuring the largest Aspen Grove in Colorado, to the active and creative town of Crested Butte. In the winter, during the pass closure, take CO-92 to US-50 & then drive north from Gunnison to Crested Butte.

CRESTED BUTTE

Activity

ICONIC HIKES: Get out into nature and see the landscapes that have inspired so many CB artists, explore one of the famed wildflower­ filled hikes near downtown Crested Butte.

Lunch

THE PUBLIC HOUSE: The Public House celebrates local Colorado craft breweries, wineries, and distilleries, seasonally relevant and farm-driven food, generous lodging, and the conviviality of live music.

Activity

THE CENTER FOR THE ARTS CB: Take a class! The Center for the Arts CB offers classes in the visual and literary arts in addition to a full line-up of music performances.

Activity

CRESTED BUTTE MOUNTAIN HERITAGE MUSEUM: Take a tour! Either a historic walking tour of Crested Butte with museum staff or a self-guided tour of the Crested Butte Creative District.

Dinner & Drinks

SECRET STASH PIZZA: Crested Butte's best loved pizza joint since 2002.

MONTANYA RUM DISTILLERS: World­ renowned rum distillery, offering daily tours, tastings and a full rum bar with artisan cocktails.

Lodging

OLD TOWN INN: Family-owned and eco-friendly guest house located in the heart of downtown.

Day 4 

Breakfast

THE SUNFLOWER: The daytime baker creates a variety of breads, pastries, desserts, breakfast and lunch options sure enslave the senses.

HEAD SOUTH & WEST! Drive 2 hours and 15 minutes south and west to the mountain-cradled town of Ridgway.

RIDGWAY

Colorado Creative Corridor

Activity

ORVIS HOT SPRINGS: Especially rewarding after biking the Ridgway Area Trails or taking a long hike in the mountains, rejuvenate at Orvis Hot Springs, a clothing-optional natural hot springs with massage, lodging and camping (clothing required indoor pool and private tubs also available).

Lunch

EATERY 66: It all started with a vision –­ and a 1966 Vintage Airstream, to bring "farm to trailer" cuisine to Ridgway.

Activity

ALPENGLOW ARTS ALLIANCE: An informal coalition of Ouray County based arts-focused organizations promote the daily, weekly and annual cultural programming, festivals and classes via a special calendar.

-OR- RIGS ADVENTURE: Book a fishing adventure on the river with RIGS, offering paddleboarding, white water rafting and premier guided fly-fishing.

Dinner & Drinks

FOUR CORNERS RESTAURANT: Now featuring dishes by Chef Drake in a relaxing southwestern setting with a beautiful view, plus live music several nights a week from May to September.

STEPS TAVERN: Offering everything from domestic beer and cocktails to craft beer, handcrafted Martinis and Moscow Mules. Also visit STEPS on the Patio, a great outdoor hangout for you and your friends.

Lodging

RIDGWAY LODGE AND SUITES: Conveniently located in the midst of all the action, offering travelers comfortable rooms, great rates and plenty of upgrades.

Day 5 

Breakfast

KATE’S PLACE: Enjoy breakfast or lunch inside the cozy restaurant or out on the large patio. Definitely check out the specials, and it’s all great!

HEAD EAST! There's lots to do and see on the way to Salida including National Forests, Wilderness Areas, scenic mountain passes and hot springs. Consider taking a day to explore the Curecanti National Recreation Area.

SALIDA

Colorado Creative Corridor

Activity

RAFT THE ARKANSAS RIVER: Deep in the heart of land-locked Colorado sits 148 miles of river park, providing a challeng­ing playground of world-class water for rafters, kayakers, and standup paddleboarders.

Lunch

SWEETIES SANDWICH SHOP: A local favorite, serving up a tasty range of hot and cold sandwiches and homemade baked sweets.

Activity

RIVERSIDE PARK: Enjoy one of many annual festivals that cater to your love of craft beer (Brewers Rendezvous in July), local music (JazzFest in August) or regional wines (WineFest in September).

Dinner & Drinks

WOODS HIGH MOUNTAIN DISTILLERY: Featuring craft gin and whiskey brewed on the premises, Wood's Distillery takes the art of cocktails to another level.

AMICAS: Favored among locals and visitors alike, Amicas offers creatively-inspired, wood­fired pizzas and craft brews in a lively setting.

Activity

STEAMPLANT THEATER & EVENTS CENTER: The hub of creativity and cultural concerts, performances, film screenings and artist receptions at this multi-use facility.

Lodging

THE MANHATTAN HOTEL: Located just steps from the banks of the Arkansas River, the newly-opened Manhattan Hotel offers boutique caliber lodging and great riverside scenery.

Breakfast On The Way Home

THE LITTLE RED HEN BAKERY: Fresh baked bread every morning along with pastries and other treats is the order of the day.

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