There are a few things that are fairly typical in the mountains during the summertime. One bit of advice that I will constantly remind everyone about is the weather pattern for this time of year. Right now, in mid-July, you can expect to see clear skies and sun in the mornings, while the afternoons will be partly cloudy with a chance for rain. No matter where you go, I strongly suggest packing a rain jacket regardless of what the weather is like when you leave, because mountain weather can be unpredictable.
The other typical pattern you'll see is the mass exodus from Denver to the mountains on Fridays which can make for a slow trip up to the mountains. On the weekends, day trippers and vacationers alike will usually create a bit of congestion on the roads, and usually moves much slower than you would like.
Today's technology now allows for no more guessing about what's happening on the highway, and allows you access to real-time information about the major travel corridors. Two Twitter accounts that I try to share information and RT (ReTweet) whenever possible are @goI70 and another statewide Twitter handle to check out is @ColoradoDOT.
You can't get any better information than real-time travel cams and twitter feeds sharing updates about travel flows and any accidents on the roads. Please let us know if you find anything else that will help others find their way in the mountains. I guess you can always ask your friends on Facebook to see if they're on the highway.
There are lots of things you can do to chew up some time while you wait for traffic to disperse itself. Either start early (before 11 am) or head out later (after 4, maybe even as late as 6 pm). You can also take the road less traveled, and that's to head south towards Alma and Fairplay over Hoosier Pass and then take Highway 285 back towards Denver. Or you could head west and hit the hot springs near Buena Vista, but we'll save that for another blog...
PS - we're big online wiki fans, so here's one last online resource that we found that could be helpful for families planning their destination wedding near Breckenridge, Colorado, as Denver is the closest metro area where the major airport is just over 2 hours away. http://wikitravel.org/en/Denver