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Some of the best road trip stories come when you detour away from your expected route. These pit stops just happen to be delicious, too. Make time to visit these charming, out-of-the-way Colorado bakeries, diners, and country stores for slices of pie made with flaky crusts and farm-plucked ingredients—served with a side of homestyle love, of course.
This pie-lover’s sanctuary serves a rotating menu of more than two dozen pie flavors, hitting every craving from banana-coconut cream to the bakery’s famous crumble-topped caramel-apple pecan pie. The Estes Park diner is known for its homemade crust (which is based on a recipe passed down from owner Val Thompson’s mother), cinnamon rolls, stacked biscuits and gravy breakfast, and its classic 1950s diner ambience. 509 Big Thompson Ave., Suite 300, Estes Park
Kathy Keyes baked her first cake when she was five years old, and she’s been hooked on pastry ever since. Her community cafe, housed in a pastel yellow cabin built in 1906, nourishes hungry visitors with locally sourced, organic ingredients. Regulars clamor for Pagosa Baking Company’s raspberry-rhubarb pie (find the recipe here), featuring hearty pink stalks of rhubarb grown in the cafe’s garden. Before you leave, check the freezer for bake-at-home ginger-chocolate cookie dough and chicken pot pies. 238 Pagosa St., Pagosa Springs
The Bennett family, who operates this Paonia market–cafe along with the adjacent Qutori Wines, knows how to curate an afternoon of sipping and nibbling. Browse the market’s hand-woven baskets, candles, jewelry, and other local crafts before ordering a tall, shareable slice of seasonal pie, often made with Western Slope fruit. (The cherry-peach rendition is especially good.) Pair the rich, buttery crust with a glass of Qutori Chardonnay, and savor each blissful bite while looking at the West Elk Mountains and the abundant valley below. 40823 Highway 133, Paonia
If you’ve driven on I-70 toward Palisade, you’ve likely noticed a soaring red warehouse on the side of the road just as you reach town. That’s Kokopelli Farm Market, run by the Harrison family. It’s famous for its powdered-sugar-doused, cinnamon-peach fried pies. With 55 acres of fruit trees, the Harrisons are one of the largest certified organic peach producers in Colorado, and they have perfected these crispy, handheld treats. While you’re there, pick up some handmade fudge and cider donuts, and let the little ones play in the dried corn bin (it’s like a sandbox for farm kids). 952 I-70, Palisade
Twenty minutes west of downtown Loveland, this fourth-generation roadside cafe and retail store bakes legendary, six-ingredient tart cherry pies in a signature butter crust. Pull up to the Lehnert family’s bright red storefront to shop all things cherry—black Bing cider, jams, syrups, and even a salsa—then grab a cherry streusel pie to impress at your next dinner party. Far from Loveland? Good news: Colorado Cherry Company also operates locations in Lyons, Estes Park, and Windsor, as well as Legacy Pie Co. in Denver’s Berkeley neighborhood. 1024 US-34, Loveland
A campground respite for travelers exploring Owl Creek Pass, Blue Mesa Reservoir, or Black Canyon of the Gunnison, this homey cafe and country store has served its seasonal pies since 1946. Co-owner and baker Cydney Siri hasn’t been there quite as long: She’s been baking homemade pie crusts based on family recipes for the past 16 years, drawing regulars through the door for slices of her summer “fruit of the forest” pie made with fresh apples, strawberries, rhubarb, raspberries, and blackberries. In the autumn, place an order for her traditional apple pie and juicy blackberry cobbler. 84100 E. U.S. Highway 50, Cimarron
If you don’t have a sweet tooth, there’s a whole range of comforting meat- and veggie-based pot pies to explore at Heather’s in Basalt, a small town roughly halfway between Aspen and Glenwood Springs. Traditionalists will love co-owner Heather Lujan’s chicken pot pie served with a side of cranberry sauce, while adventure-seekers should try the slow-roasted pulled pork tamale pie or the shepherd’s pie filled with ground lamb, eggplant, tomato, and Pecorino Romano mashed potatoes. Catch free live music most Wednesdays through Saturdays and a daily happy hour from 4 to 6 p.m. 166 Midland Ave., Basalt