Being a native Coloradan, I'm truly embarrassed to say this. Until yesterday, I had never used Highway 50 to travel to Denver/Colorado Springs. I now understand why people take this route. The next time you make the trek, I encourage you to use this route. Here are my top five reasons why.

The blue line on the map above indicates the route most of us taken when heading from Grand Junction to Denver or Colorado Springs. The two grey lines represent two popular alternate routes.

In this case, I took I-70 when heading to Denver. On the return trip, I stopped off in Colorado Springs, and then took I-25 South and then to Highway 285. From there, I took the route heading to Gunnison, then Montrose, and back to Grand Junction.

The next time you make the trek to Denver or Colorado Springs, I recommend you take this route. Here are my top five reasons why.

1. Ultimately, it's not that much longer.

As you can see on the map above, Grand Junction to Colorado Springs via I-70 comes in at 4 hours and 53 minutes. Making the trip via 285 and Highway 50 comes in at 5 hours and 32 minutes.

2. It's infinitely more peaceful.

Driving I-70 will make you a nervous wreck. It can be bumper to bumper the entire way, and that's assuming you don't have to stop for construction. When taking Highway 50, you find at times you have the road to yourself.

3. You can visit South Park.

Okay, so I'm an idiot. Until a few years ago, I didn't know South Park was a real Colorado town. You'll have to make a slight detour at Hartsel, taking 9 up to Fairplay. From there, you can then jump on to 285 and get back on course.

4. You can stop off in Manitou Springs.

If you're into healthy food, small town atmosphere, and the overall hippie experience, you'll want to stop off in Manitou Springs.

5. The views are magnificent.

Okay, so the drive down I-70 offers some great scenery too. This goes without saying. If you really want to take a drive through the Colorado mountains, though, you should consider taking this route.

Obviously, weather plays a major role when choosing your route over the mountains. Taking that into account, the next time you make the drive to Denver or Colorado Springs, consider following my suggestion, and take Highway 50. You'll be glad you did.