In your fantasies, a weekend in the ski country ends with an empty freeway and a straight shot back to Denver. In reality, an exit is often required—to stave off road rage, sate hunger, or wait out a snowstorm. Here are some great stopping points along the way, along with the hottest brunch destination in town:
Frisco (on the way back to Denver from Vail): The Butterhorn Bakery has been winning raves for more than 40 years for its french toast and Eggs Butterhorn.
Silverthorne (from Breckenridge): Timberline Craft Kitchen + Cocktails is the new kid in town; we’d try the fried chicken biscuit sandwich smothered in pork green chile, along with one of the six flavors of mimosa.
Glenwood Springs (from Telluride): The CO Ranch House’s Bloody Mary Bar of mixes, spices, and garnishes is famous, along with local game dishes. Elk Quesadilla, anyone?
Fort Collins (from Steamboat): Try Lucile’s Creole Café, especially when you’re craving down-home Cajun-Creole cuisine like beignets and biscuits.
Buena Vista and Pueblo (on the two routes from Wolf Creek): The Buena Vista Roastery Café is a popular stop off Highway 24 for its craft coffee and tea blends and baked goods. Off I-25 in Pueblo, the Hanging Tree Café will please lovers of vegan cuisine and burritos.
Idaho Springs (from Winter Park): Hearty eaters will love the eggs benedict options at Main Street Restaurant.