CDT= Cinnamon Delicious Treat
What’s your favorite town food? Are you a pizza fiend? Perhaps a taco king? I have a few friends who love fish tacos. But me, I’m a cinnamon roll queen. My sweet tooth dominates my cravings, even when I’m salt deprived. I’d casually order cinnamon rolls along the Pacific Crest Trail, and I always toyed with the idea of posting about it, but by the time I gave it some serious thought, I was too far in to turn it into something. However, starting fresh on the Continental Divide Trail, I seized my opportunity. I gobbled as many cinnamon rolls as I could in as many towns along my journey, rated them, and shared to instagram. What a hit! I had friends who didn’t give two shits about the stunning views in the Wind River Range, but when I posted that initial reaction video to the first roll in Lander, their eyes were glued to my story. People sent me videos and gave me recommendations- I started a cinna-craze.
Now, I am sharing all of the knowledge I collected (as well as some knowledge from another few friends) with you, so that you too can join the cinna-lution… or just know where is worth going for a good roll on the CDT. Here’s the deal: #soboforlife, so y’all are going to head South with me! Keep in mind, I missed rolls in some towns and took the Big Sky Alternate. If you prefer to watch the journey, I have included 5 links to my Youtube series with a video for each state and a top/bottom 5 video. Alright! Let’s roll!
Breaking down the score: Brownies caramel icing (7/10) is what makes this roll unique. It’s better than that overly sugary shit, but not quite as good as a cream cheese frosting. The bread (6/10) was nothing special. It wasn’t dry, rather fluffy, but not gooey like I like. Size was medium/small. I forgot to take a picture and make a video for this roll, so my friend Mooney did for me! Shout out to Mooney and her friends!
Lazy B Cafe- 6/10
For a regular vanilla icing (5.5/10), it was fairly tasty or maybe I was just craving extra sugar after the Bob Marshall Wilderness. The bread (7/10) was better- doughy with decent cinnamon coverage, although there could’ve been more. Very different vibe than Brownies, but of a similar quality. I was disappointed that the product came disassembled even though I was eating in. I suppose I could’ve asked them to heat up the frosting and smother the roll for me, which might have made it slightly better, but oh well. Size was good, large enough for a hiker.
Augusta’s General Store- 2/10
This is one of my favorite initial reaction videos! My friend Stamps is like, “you don’t have to finish it,” and I reply, “Oh, I will!” Just your small town version of a day old gas station donut style cinnamon roll! The icing (2/10) was just a glaze, which sometimes I really like, but not here. Worse, the bread (1/10) was dry- especially the outside layer. However, there was a bit more gooeyness towards the center- not enough to save the score, but made me think it could be better when fresher. It was like a glorified Big Texas packaged roll. Size- small.
I didn’t take detailed notes for this one, but score breakdown is icing (5/10), bread (6/10), and a note that even better than the roll itself is getting the cinnamon roll French toast! Size- large.
Firetower Coffee- 6.5/10
There are other bakeries and breakfast places in this larger Montana city, but Firetower was close to the Budget Inn where most hikers stay in town. The icing (6/10) was a glaze- a much better glaze than Augusta General Store, but it wasn’t overdone. I wrote down that the bread (7/10) was “classic,” whatever the fuck that means. Ok, I think I meant that it wasn’t dry but it wasn’t gooey- just sort of standard. The roll surprised me! I wasn’t expecting much, but I thought it was pretty tasty. I mean, at this point 6.5 is the highest score. Size- small.
406 Bistro- 6.5/10
What is with Montana rocking the 6-6.5 range? The picture makes the icing look good, and it was (7/10), which is not surprising because we have our first CREAM CHEESE FROSTING! Bread (6/10) was doughy but needed a little bit more cinnamon flavor. Size- medium.
Town Talk Bakery- 7.5/10
This Persian fried cinnamon roll with maple frosting (7/10) is the highest score to this point! The maple is subtle but unique. The bread (8/10) is fried, making this roll more of a donut style roll, which they did phenomenally. The bread melted in my mouth. For a donut style roll, this one is damn good. Size- medium/small.
The Daily Grind- 5/10
Cream cheese frosting (8/10) again! However the bread (3.5) was airy and dry, bringing the score down. The sticky buns looked better, same with the bagels and cream cheese. Size- medium/small.
Old Faithful Village, Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone General Store- 3.5/10
Despite that there was hardly any icing (3/10), what was there was too sweet- and that’s coming from me! Therefore, I guess it was good that there wasn’t much of it… The bread (4/10) was inconsistent- mostly dry but an occasional gooey bite. Probably would be better if they were fresher- I wasn’t sure how long they had been on the shelf. Size- small.
Lander Bake Shop- 5.5/10
Again, the icing (3.5/10) was way too sweet and dominating, bringing down the rating. At first the bread (6.5/10) was meh, but the center was gooey and delicious with a good amount of cinnamon. My recommendation for this roll- get it heated up without the frosting. Size- medium.
The Oxbow- 8/10
Standard sweet icing (6/10), but bread (8/10) with fluffy and gooeyness that carried the score. And here, size helped- this big ass roll was just what the doctor ordered after Knapsack Col and de Cirque de Towers. Size- large.
Breakfast Buffet @ EconoLodge- 4/10
No icing, making this roll more like a sticky bun. The bread on top (2/10) was harder and worse from sitting under the hot light, but the bread (6/10) on bottom was gooey. Not too shabby for a crappy buffet attached to a cheap motel. Size- small.
Penny’s Diner- 9.7/10
Woowee! We have ourselves a cinnamon roll. Buttery cream cheese frosting (10/10) takes the cake. I’d chug a glass of that shit- it tasted like heaven. The bread (9.5/10) was good too- soft with the right amount of cinnamon. Size- medium/large.
Daylight Donuts- 4/10
Cameo from my friend Starburst with their partner Marathon and pup Truman! This is definitely a donut style cinnamon roll with a typical glaze, but Starburst said that they prefer a thicker, creamy glaze, so we will say 4/10 even though I didn’t try it. They also said that the bread was a little dry, but Truman seemed to love it, so we will also go with 4/10 for that. However, for consistency, I won’t include this roll in the top/bottom 5 rankings. Thanks Starburst, Marathon, and Truman! Size- medium.
Another great roll! Winona’s icing (9/10) is, you guessed it, cream cheese frosting! It’s just the superior topping for a cinnamon roll. The bread (8/10) was good. I liked the cinnamon content and fluffiness, but it did have sunflower seeds in it. For some people, this might make the roll unique and more appealing. For me, I’m not a huge sunflower seed fan, so it detracted. Size- large.
Smell the Bread- 7.5/10
This roll looks fucking delicious, and while it was pretty tasty in comparison to a lot of the other rolls, I felt like it was more a work of art than a cinnamon roll. The icing (6.5/10) was a simple sweet frosting, and the bread (8.5) was higher quality, which makes sense given the type of bread bakery this place is. Size- medium.
Blue Water Bakery- 6/10
Just average more of a glaze icing (5/10). The bread (7/10) had a gooey center that made the roll more delicious. I enjoyed it, but it wasn’t anything special. Size- medium.
Sunshine Cafe- 10/10!!!
MONEY IN THE BANK! Or more like ROLL IN THE BELLY! Buttery cream cheese frosting (10/10) that I wanted to soak all my food in.. and maybe my body. I know, I’m a fucking weirdo, but it was that good. I wanted to take the plate home with me and chemically analyze the molecules to get the recipe. Anyways, moving onto the bread (10/10). This gooey, doughy roll melted in my mouth and proceeded to melt my heart. What is love? Love is this cinnamon roll. Size- medium/large.
Blue Moon Bakery- 3.5/10
Hard to compete when you’re following a 10! Standard icing (4/10). Bread (3/10) was dry and lacking enough cinnamon flavor. Probably some of the other baked goods here are better.I should note that I packed this one out though, which may have contributed to it being dry. Size- small.
City on a Hill- 9.5/10
Colorado- you so good to me! Cream cheese frosting (9.5/10) holding down the fort, and doughy bread (9/10). This roll is a great big one, too. When I went back for SOBO Trail Days, I wanted to get it again, but I resisted in order to try some other yummy goodies that they have here. Size- large.
Buena Vista Roastery- 8.5/10
We have a unique one here! No icing, which actually really worked for this roll. The bread (9.5/10) was cinnamon greatness with crystallized sugar. It was fluffy, butter, and gooey, while having a nice pastry outer layer going on. I deducted for the no icing, but maybe I shouldn’t have… Size- medium/small.
Little Red Hen- 6/10
Standard sweet icing (7/10). Apparently the bread (6/10) is made with a sweet dough, but parts were hard and it seemed like a wheat dough. I did like some of the crystalized cinnamon sugar, but there was a pure column of it in the middle, which was too much. Someone had recommended this bakery to me, and I think some of the other goods may be better. Size- small.
Lake City Bakery- 5/10
A glaze icing (4/10) and bread (6/10) that was not dry but not gooey. It also had some sporadic raisins, which I don’t really care for, but they didn’t detract from the roll. Size- medium/small.
Pagosa Baking Company- 7/10
I realllllyyyyyy wanted to go a place called Two Chicks and a Hippie, but it was on the other end of town and I couldn’t get there. However, this roll was pretty good with a light drizzle of traditional vanilla icing (5/10), which did not overpower the roll with too much sweetness. The bread (7/10) was denser than normal but kind of in a good way with a crispy edge. Size- medium.
Fina’s Diner- 5/10
I wanted to love this roll, but the icing (4/10) was too sugary, with additional caramelized sugar on the bottom, which was yummy in small amounts, but there was way too much of it. Sugar overload. Honestly, this roll would’ve been better without any of the vanilla white icing and just with the caramelized sugar. The bread (5/10) was dry in some spots, and I only enjoyed the caramelized bits that were in balance with the bread and not too sweet. Overall, okay, but not worth it. Size- large.
Boxcar Cafe- 7/10
Maybe this was just in comparison, but after Fina’s, this icing (7/10) was not too sweet or overpowering. The bread (7/10) was fluffy and doughy. Size- medium.
Michael’s Kitchen- 8.5/10
Here we have a cameo from my friend Stamps! He went into Taos, where he enjoyed this roll with delicious looking icing (8.5/10) and bread (8/10). By the sound of it, I missed out on this one!
Here we have another cameo from Starburst and Marathon, joined not only by their pup Truman, but also by their pup Cooper! They gave the icing a 9/10 and the bread a 9/10. I didn’t try the roll, so I am solely going off of looks, but they might be a little more generous than me! For consistency, this roll will not be considered for the top/bottom 5. Size- medium.
Diane’s Bakery and Cafe- 5/10
It had been so long since I had a cinnamon roll, so I was super excited about this one, but unfortunately is was just ok. The icing (5/10) was too sugary and sweet. At least it was just a drizzle. The bread (5/10) had an interesting airy texture. I think I’m being generous with this score. Size- medium/small.
The roll you’ve all been waiting for! McDonald’s is in quite a few towns, so there’s lots of opportunity to get a cinnamon roll if you have a craving, and theirs is pretty good, especially for a chain! Cream cheese frosting (7/10) and bread (3/10) that was ok- slightly stale, but it may have been sitting all day since I got it at night. Maybe opt for a morning cinnamon roll from McDicks. Size- medium/small.
Icing (5/10) was the sweet stuff. Bread (7/10) had a little burn spot, but despite that was pretty good. They have lots of delicious treats at Kranberry’s though. Size- large.
Before I hit the airport, I went to this popular spot known for their homemade tortillas, chili and cinnamon rolls. The icing (9.5/10) was buttery and delicious with some crystallized brown sugar that added just the right amount of sweetness. The bread (9/10) was pretty good around the outside, but as I moved towards the center, it had a melt in the mouth sensation going on. Size- medium. Overall, a great way to wrap up my Cinna journey!
- 2/10 at Augusta General Store, Augusta, MT
- 3.5/10 at Yellowstone General Store, Old Faithful Village, WY
- 3.5/10 at Blue Moon Bakery, Silverthorne, CO
- 4/10 at the Econolodge Breakfast Buffet, Rawlins, WY
- 5/10 at Diane’s Bakery and Cafe, Silver City, NM
- 10/10 at Sunshine Cafe, Silverthorne, CO
- 9.7/10 at Penny’s Diner, Rawlins, WY
- 9.5/10 at Frontier, Albuquerque, NM
- 9.5/10 at City on a Hill, Leadville, CO
- 9/10 at Winona’s, Steamboat Springs, CO
After eating 29 cinnamon rolls myself (plus Starburst and Marathon eating 2 and Stamps eating 1), I’d say the best, most consistent quality rolls can be found in Colorado, with the occasional stunner in Wyoming and New Mexico. Montana didn’t really do it for me- although I think Brownies is worth trying. It’s not often that you get a caramel icing. Thank you for following along, and I hope you enjoyed! Now go out there and eat some cinnamon rolls!
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