4 Days, 11 Ice Cream Cones

A couple years ago, rather than the typical birthday celebration for my wife, I have to admit I came up with a genius way to celebrate. Ok, it wasn't entirely my idea, but still going with it and adapting it for good, there are element of genius thinking there, I believe.

It started with a map on Out There Colorado. And the question, "How about we give this a shot?"

Armed with a laminated map of Colorado from Target and a Sharpie, we plotted a slightly different course. Mainly because, no offense to this nice town, but we didn't want to go all the way Grand Junction for a chain ice cream place.

This is the route we ended up taking.

We started at Little Man Ice Cream in Denver. This is an iconic ice cream place--also where our youngest son went on his first date with his now wife. It's a one of a kind place with the milk jug building. And really good ice cream too. From there we headed up to Sweet Cow in Louisville, then ended in Fort Collins at Walrus with some good friends. All excellent ice cream places. But not the best.

The next day we rerouted from the original plan to go straight east and into Steamboat Springs and instead rode along the foothills north of Denver than up I-70 to Glenwood Springs. The first stop was soft ice cream in Loveland, then we hit one of several choices in Estes Park--Hayley's. (Which, by the way, was definitely the right choice.) Then on to Glenwood Springs. There the recommended ice cream place sold Blue Bunny ice cream. Not doing store ice cream at an ice cream place. Sorry. So we took a long walk to another that made their own ice cream, Kaleidascoops. And it was worth the walk. Definitely. But still not the best ice cream yet.

The next day we had ice cream for breakfast at the Creamery & Cafe in Carbondale. Then, we dropped onto Highway 133 and headed towards Montrose. By the time we hit Paonia, and Ollies Ice Cream, it was warm--in the 90s. And that is where we had the best ice cream I have ever had. Peach flavor for me. It was amazing. That's all I will say. Totally worth the drive into the middle of Colorado no where to hook up with it.

That night, after a harrowing drive along the Gunnison Canyon, where nary a guardrail separated us from certain death a couple thousand feet below, we hit The Third Bowl in Crested Butte. Great ice cream, and they favored my wife with a bowl of hot fudge to dip her cone into, like fry sauce, only chocolatey.

These are what I am talking about with the kind of off the side of the road drop offs that make me not want to confront my fear of heights, rather just curl up in a ball and cry.

But worth the harrowing experience for some of this Third Bowl deliciousness.

The next day we drove to Salida, where we hit Here's the Scoop and then, unplanned, hit The Hunger Trailer for burgers and guess what's on the menu for dessert? You got it, ice cream.

After burgers at the Hunger Trailer, soft-serve ice cream, of course.

We skipped the Pueblo and Colorado Springs destinations at that point on the way home--only because we discovered that 11 stops in 4 days was our limit. So one day we plan to go counter-clockwise and hit those places at the start of another ice cream journey.

If you love ice cream, definitely recommend doing something like this, either here in Colorado, or near wherever you are.

Oh, and you have to balance the sweet with the savory. Good finds on the way--The Hunger Trailer in Salida, Smokin' Yards BBQ in Idaho Springs, 133 Burger in Hotchkiss, and last, but probably the best, amazing Fried Chicken at Slogar in Crested Butte.