Great Motorcycle Routes – Aspen to Vail

Parked motorcycle on side road

Known as top skiing destinations, Aspen and Vail combined have more than 7,000 skiable acres and 345 total ski trails. But did you know that the area is also teeming with some of the state’s best motorcycle routes?

We’ve outlined two alternative routes between Aspen and Vail, as well as a Denver to Aspen journey that should be at the top of your bucket list.

Notes Before You Ride

You already know the basics about packing layers, having extra emergency supplies on hand, and booking overnight accommodations in advance. We’ve also put together some helpful tips with the Aspen to Vail routes in mind.

1. Bring your camera: The scenery on these gorgeous mountain passes is second to none. Be prepared to stop and take some photos along the way.

2. Follow the speed limit: This common-sense mantra applies anytime you ride, but it’s especially important on these winding roads at high elevations.

3. Be prepared for tolls: If you drive in the Express Lane on the I-70, there’s a toll that’s based on traffic volume. You don’t have to stop at a toll booth. Instead, you can opt to have an ExpressToll account or opt to pay online later.

Best Aspen to Vail Motorcycle Routes

Depending on your appetite for adventure and what destinations you’d like to see, two main routes will take you between Vail and Aspen.

Independence Pass

If you’re starting west, the I-70 W and 82 E route will take you from Aspen to Vail in one of the most scenic mountain passes the state has to offer. There’s a stunner of a view every single mile of the 102-mile journey.

Check for road closures before you start your journey. Independence Pass (covering a portion of State Highway 82) is usually closed during winter months, and it will sometimes randomly close at other times. The road is full of fun twists and turns, but the lack of guardrails means you should exercise extreme caution.

Top of Rockies Byway

An alternate to the stomach-churning (but exhilarating) Independence Pass is to start in the opposite direction, heading east on I-70 and then continuing to Highway 91.

Classified by the National Department of Transportation as a National Scenic Byway, this path will take you on a journey of exploration of Colorado’s rich mining history. Another positive is that the route is open year-round, but it’s definitely “safer” during warmer months.

You can easily make the trip in a couple of hours, but you might want to extend the route to a full day of adventure due to all the fun stops you can make along the way.

Denver to Aspen

If you’re in Denver, a trip to Aspen may be just what the doctor ordered for fun and adventure. Ride alone, with friends, or have your family follow in the station wagon. Must-see stops along the way include:

–   Idaho Springs: Great for mining tours and historical insights

–   Mt. Evans Scenic Byway: At an elevation of 14,260 feet, the views are breathtaking

–   Georgetown: A fun, kitschy place where the family can meet up for some fun

–   Dillon Reservoir: Take a break for snow kiteboarding (in the winter) or paddle boarding and boating in the summer. Then take in a concert or play at the amphitheater.

The route is nearly 200 miles, and you can choose between an I-70 and Route 82 pathway that takes you along Independence Pass or the shorter, more direct route (which is partially closed during the winter).

One of the best things about hitting the open road is the sense of freedom and community. When you ride with Law Tigers, you never ride alone. Sign up for our free rider benefit card today for immediate benefits and resources, including a toll-free hotline and free legal advice.