I admit, I didn’t make many stops after leaving Rocky Mountain National Park, headed west on US 40. In Hot Sulphur Springs, the neat old neon sign at the Ute Trail Motel caught my eye. I would have love to have seen it illuminated at night. Aside from the paint flaking off the funky neon sign, the rest of the motel appears to be in good condition.
US 40 squeezes through a small canyon, alongside a river and on the opposite side, railroad tracks.
The next town along US 40 is Kremmling. The federal highway forms its main business district, and although there are some old storefronts, the wide 5-lane highway makes it a bit too spread-out to feel like a cozy main street. There are lodging options, though, including the Hotel Eastin (the pink building with the red sign). It opened in 1906.
Bob’s Western Motel offers some vintage neon, and 33 rooms (13 in winter). It first opened in 1944.
The Grand County Historical Association operates three museums, and you’ll find one of them in downtown Kremmling. Heritage Park preserves the McElroy livery and barn (which dates back to the turn of the 20th century), as well as the old town jail, and a 1906 train depot. There’s also an old homestead moved here from about five miles away — if not relocated, it would have been flooded by the Wolford Mountain Reservoir.
On the outskirts of town, across from a gas station, another old building provides a photo opportunity.
US 40 is a fun ride from Kremmling to Steamboat Springs. It’s not too curvy, but there are enough hills and turns to keep things interesting. And of course, the scenery never stops changing.
Just north of town, you’ll get to see the Wolford Mountain Reservoir, because it’s located right alongside US 40. Its namesake mountain is the prominent hill that rises over the lake. The town of Kremmling is tucked away on the other side.
Another thing you’ll see on the drive up to Steamboat Springs: signs for F.M. Light and Sons. It’s an authentic western store, stocked with boots and jeans — the real things that the cowboys wear. Signs for F.M. Light & Sons are just as prevalent here, as signs for Wall Drug in South Dakota, or Rock City in Tennessee.
On up the road, 10,075 foot (3,070 meter) Whiteley Peak looms over the north side of US 40. Just beyond this point, the highway enters the Routt National Forest, and slips through Rabbit Ear Pass. I didn’t get a good picture of the rabbit ears, because I kept expecting to find a better view, but before I knew it, they were behind me…
… and I was on my way downhill. US 40 drops down into this valley, then runs north into Steamboat Springs.
Here’s a time-lapse dash-cam video of the drive from Kremmling to Steamboat Springs, Colorado: