Getting Oriented

The Front Range mountains, the easternmost mountains in Colorado, stretch more than 180 miles from the Wyoming border to Cañon City. The Continental Divide flows along much of the northern portion of this spine, which includes several "Fourteeners," 14,000-foot or higher peaks. A boon for high-country lovers, the Rockies near Denver are easily accessed from the metro area via I–70, Colorado's major east–west interstate, or U.S. 285, the major route heading southwest into the mountains toward Fairplay in the now infamous South Park, one of the largest high-altitude valleys in the country. (Trey Parker, co-creator of the animated sitcom South Park, went to Evergreen High School.) Interstate 70 stitches together Denver, Golden, Idaho Springs, and Georgetown before crossing the Continental Divide through the Eisenhower Tunnel, right next to Loveland Ski Resort.

Foothills Near Denver. Less than 40 minutes from the city's heart, there are fast, cooling escapes in the mountain towns of Golden, Morrison, and Evergreen. Try your luck at the gaming towns of Central City and Black Hawk, or explore the former mining town of Idaho Springs.

Continental Divide Area. Colorado's gold- and silver-mining heritage is the highlight of Georgetown, within an hour's drive of Denver along I–70. Highway 40 climbs northwest from I–70, west of Idaho Springs, making a switchback ascent up Berthoud Pass before dropping into the resort town of Winter Park.

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