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:
1Frisco (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.
2Silverthorne (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.
3Glenwood 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?
4Fort Collins (from Steamboat)
Try Lucile’s Creole Café, especially when you’re craving down-home Cajun-Creole cuisine like beignets and biscuits.
5Buena 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.
6Idaho Springs (from Winter Park)
Hearty eaters will love the eggs benedict options at Main Street Restaurant.