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Larger groups and families on longer stays can choose to stay in private, fully-equipped condos overlooking the park, all of which feature spacious living areas, superior facilities, and a complimentary gourmet breakfast each day. Dine in style at one of four restaurants and bars that serve an array of seasonal cuisine, unwind in the exclusive Aspire Spa with an indulgent treatment or massage, and enjoy a range of fantastic outdoor activities throughout the year, including hiking, biking, fishing, horseback riding, skiing, snowboarding, ice skating, and sleighing. Read more about Estes Park, one of the top Colorado destinations.
My mind calm, the knitting absorbed any excess energy and left my senses free to absorb the stunning surroundings. Feeling no need to move, I watched the silhouettes of fish moving upstream, hummingbirds zip over my head, and a northern harrier cruise over the grassland, looking for prey. Months later, I can imagine every detail of that spot on the bank anytime I close my eyes.
In the shadow of Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve, the quirky town of Hooper sits atop a natural artesian hot spring, with water flowing year-round into the family-friendly Sand Dunes Pool. On the same property, The Greenhouse is an all-indoor, all-adult oasis with three small soaking tubs and a 10-by-75-foot zero-entry pool. The Greenhouse also has a 10-person sauna, indoor gardens and an onsite bar to help you stay even toastier.
Southern ColoradoKnown as a heritage town with grand nineteenth-century architecture and brick streets that date to the early 1900s, Trinidad is set in a green valley halfway between Denver and Santa Fe. The town is surrounded by vast state and national recreation areas, including two state parks. Trinidad is the gateway to the Scenic Highway of Legends, where travelers find lakes and stunning dikes that radiate out from the ancient Spanish Peaks. Historic and prehistoric sites abound in every direction.
Located off Lift 8 on Hook em’ Horns, the Ginny Lee Cabin offers skiers & snowboarders a place to hang out on the far north side of the mountain. Newly built in 2014 and named after Virginia Upham, Ginny Lee is quickly becoming one of the favorite cabins on the mountain. Be sure to check out the new Tommyknocker’s Ginny Lee IPA brewed only for Loveland Ski Area.
Rocky Mountain National Park is an American national park located approximately 76 mi (122 km) northwest of Denver International Airport in north-central Colorado, within the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains. The park is situated between the towns of Estes Park to the east and Grand Lake to the west. The eastern and westerns slopes of the Continental Divide run directly through the center of the park with the headwaters of the Colorado River located in the park's northwestern region. The main features of the park include mountains, alpine lakes and a wide variety of wildlife within various climates and environments, from wooded forests to mountain tundra.
About 300 million years ago, the land was uplifted creating the ancestral Rocky Mountains. Fountain Formation was deposited during the Pennsylvanian period of the Paleozoic era, 290–296 million years ago. Over the next 150 million years, the mountains uplifted, continued to erode, and covered themselves in their own sediment. Wind, gravity, rainwater, snow, and glacial ice eroded the granite mountains over geologic time scales. The Ancestral Rockies were eventually buried under subsequent strata.
The weather in RMNP is extreme—and unpredictable. Ranging from snowstorms in the winter to hot, clear days in the summer, Rocky Mountain’s got it all. Summer is quick—just July and August—but beautiful, as temperature ranges from 40s at night and up to the 80s during the day. The rest of the year, expect snow at most elevations, and definitely up on Trail Ridge Road.
Summer nights are long in Colorado, and after dinner Brian and I still had time for a shoreline walk around the Barker Reservoir, rimmed by mountains and fed by a cool and clear river. I took photos of the baby Canada Geese near shore, a speck of black in the middle of the water that turned out to be a cormorant, a hummingbird settled against a tree branch, while Brian cast a line. But I really didn’t want to move.
Visiting several national parks, including Rocky Mountain National Park, is easy or make the most of the abundant outdoor activities, which include hiking, biking, rafting, kayaking, fishing, golf and horseback riding. There are several fascinating museums and over 15 galleries to visit on the First Friday Gallery Walk. Round off the day with a Local Table foodie tour or take in a Canyon Concert Ballet or the Fort Collins Symphony Orchestra. Things to Do in Fort Collins
You have never seen a Y like this! We offer over 200 family cabins ranging from 2-4 bdrms, which can hold up to 10 people. Be close to the main campus & activities or far from it all, in secluded woods. Our cabins are fully furnished and include eating & cooking utensils, plus linens & towels. Many free activities are available - we offer more activities onsite than any other area property! YMCA of the Rockies - Estes Park Center Details
No trip to Estes Park would be complete without a leisurely drive along the Trail Ridge Road at Rocky Mountain National Park, with its winding scenic views of craggy peaks. Park your vehicle and take a hike through one of the many pine-scented trails bordered by forests and tundra. Keep an eye out for elk and other wildlife as you go! Roosevelt National Forest is another wilderness area worth exploring, Meanwhile, you can enjoy the breathtaking views over the valley on the Estes Park Aerial Tramway, which connects the town to the summit of Prospect Mountain. Down Estes Park has lots of options for one-off shopping and dining, whether you feel like chowing down on a handmade pizza or a juicy elk burger. Afterward, quench your thirst with a pint of Colorado craft beer at one of Estes' local breweries.
We really enjoyed our stay at the Solitude Cabins! We stayed in the Dalton's cabin which had very comfortable and clean accommodations with lots of room. The kitchen was complete with everything we needed. With our stay being in December, we were especially excited to see our cabin so adorably decorated for the Holidays, it was so festive! It totally exceeded our expectations! We will most definitely be back!
As of 2010, the preceding one hundred years of records indicated an increase in the average annual temperature of approximately 3 °F (1.7 °C).[a] The average low temperature has increased more than the average high temperature during the same time period. As a result of the temperature increase, snow is melting from the mountains earlier in the year, leading to drier summers and probably to an earlier, longer fire season. Since the 1990s, mountain pine beetles have reproduced more rapidly and have not died off at their previous mortality rate during the winter months. Consequently, the increased beetle population has led to an increased rate of tree mortality in the park.
The house also features a hot tub on the second-floor deck, a modern entertainment living room with a large, flat screen television for movie watching and a lovely terraced back garden with a gazebo. Winter Park Chateau enjoys a prime downtown location within walking distance to many restaurants, cafés, and bars, as well as nightclubs. It is within walking distance of the ski mountain and close to four championship golf courses and Rocky Mountain National Park.
An excellent vacation destination for visitors who are ready to hit the slopes, winter enthusiasts flock to Telluride every year for its 1,700 skiable acres that cater to both experts and novices alike. Visitors flock to Town Park on the southeast edge of town for its abundance of activities available, such as swimming pools, tennis courts, fishing ponds and campgrounds that are popular for the city’s annual festivals and events. Bear Creek Falls and Bridal Veil Falls offer a variety of scenic hiking trails, while the Telluride Historical Museum and Historic Sheridan Opera House are two cultural attractions that shouldn’t be overlooked.
Whether you like to ski, hike, or just take in the jaw-dropping mountain scenery with a craft beer in hand, you’ll find the perfect weekend getaway in Colorado. From lively cities like Denver and Boulder, to more laid-back locales like Golden and Pagosa Springs—and plenty of world-class ski resorts in between—we’ve compiled a list of 17 of the best weekend getaways in The Centennial State.
Trail Ridge Road is 48 miles (77 km) long and connects the entrances in Grand Lake and Estes Park. Running generally east–west through many hairpin turns, the road crosses Milner Pass through the Continental Divide at an elevation of 10,758 ft (3,279 m). The highest point of the road is 12,183 feet (3,713 m), with eleven miles of the road being above tree line which is approximately 11,500 feet (3,505 m). The road is the highest continuously paved highway in the country, and includes many large turnouts at key points to stop and observe the scenery.
If you are planning a romantic trip, ask for one of the Mediterranean suites which have two-person whirlpool tubs. For the basketball players in the family, Tall Rooms with extra-long beds and heightened showerheads are also available. Panzano is a 210-seat Italian restaurant serving a selection of gourmet dishes. The hotel is located in the heart of Denver's central business district and is within easy walking distance of 16th Street Mall, lower downtown and Larimer Square. Rates start at around $115 per night.
Garden of the Gods, a registered National Natural Landmark, is a unique landscape of jagged stone towers and fins jutting up 300 feet from the earth, and giant balanced boulders and rock piles dotting the landscape, with distant mountains completing the scene. Fifteen miles of trails, most of which are short and easy, allow you to get up close to the dramatic rock formations and wander through the surreal scenery. The park is a popular area for rock climbing, but other activities in the park include road biking in designated biking lanes, mountain biking, horseback riding, and Jeep and Segway tours.
Dream Lake is one of the most-photographed lakes and is also noted for its winter snowshoeing. Emerald Lake is located directly below the saddle between Hallett Peak and Flattop Mountain, only a short hike beyond Dream Lake. The shore of Lake Haiyaha (a Native American word for "big rocks") is surrounded by boulders along with ancient, twisted and picturesque pine trees growing out of rock crevices. Nymph Lake is named for the yellow lily, Nymphaea polysepala, on its surface. Lake Helene is at the head of Odessa Gorge, east of Notchtop Mountain. Two Rivers Lake is found along the hike to Odessa Lake from Bear Lake, and has one backcountry campsite. The Cub Lake trail passes Big Thompson River, flowery meadows, and stands of pine and aspen trees. Ice and deep snow are present during the winter, requiring the use of skis or snowshoes.
Situated in Southern Colorado, the Great Sand Dunes National Park is an impressive sight. Shaped by winds blowing from and against the nearby Sangre de Cristo Mountains, the piles of sand climb to more than 750 feet (230 meters), making them the tallest dunes in North America. Sand-boarding, skiing and sledding on the dunes are the park’s most popular activities, and there are medium-size slopes to slide on located near the main parking area. A longer hike to the north brings thrill seekers to a 300-foot (90 meter) slope that tumbles onto into Medano Creek.
The famous hot springs of Glenwood is a must-see and do for all romantics. Located in Glenwood Springs, less than 3 hours from Denver, the historic and local family-owned Hotel Denver spans more than 100 years with many stories to tell, including Colorado immigrants, prohibition, gangsters, world wars, and even a Wild West shooting or two. This Colorado hotel has bragging rights to prime real estate in historic downtown Glenwood Springs, close to the train, many restaurants, shopping, the Hot Springs Pool, and our personal favorite, the Iron Mountain Hot Springs.
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Fort Collins is the perfect base camp for your trip, located just 35 miles from the peaks of Rocky Mountain National Park that soar to more than 13,000 feet and form the Continental Divide. The town of Estes Park sits at the eastern edge of the park. Rocky Mountain National Park covers 410 square miles and includes Longs Peak (14,255 feet high), 18 named peaks above 13,000 feet, 150 named lakes, and the highest continuously paved highway in the U.S. — Trail Ridge Road. The road is usually open from Memorial Day until early October. However, the park is open year-round and lower elevation roads are open during the winter.
Located 75 minutes west of the Resort along with a five-mile stretch of Colorado’s famed Tarryall River, The Broadmoor Fly Fishing Camp is a private escape that pairs world-class fishing with exceptional accommodations and dining. This outstanding retreat borders 120,000 acres of the Lost Creek Wilderness, offering honeymooners who love to fish together the opportunity to experience more than five miles of private waters under the guidance of professional Broadmoor guides. The picturesque camp features a beautifully restored Main Lodge with a wraparound deck and seven rustic yet well-appointed guest cabins dating back to the 1920s. During the evenings, guests gather in the Main Lodge for artfully prepared meals and relaxation. In addition to the exceptional fly fishing, camp guests can enjoy a variety of fun activities such as horseback riding, hiking, and the opportunity to see some of Colorado’s most spectacular wildlife.
The Pierre Shale formation was deposited during the Paleogene and Cretaceous periods about 70 million years ago. The region was covered by a deep sea—the Cretaceous Western Interior Seaway—which deposited massive amounts of shale on the seabed. Both the thick stratum of shale and embedded marine life fossils—including ammonites and skeletons of fish and such marine reptiles as mosasaurs, plesiosaurs, and extinct species of sea turtles, along with rare dinosaur and bird remains—were created during this time period. The area now known as Colorado was eventually transformed from being at the bottom of an ocean to dry land again, giving yield to another fossiliferous rock layer known as the Denver Formation.
You can climb and slide on the dunes or test your boarding skills cruising down the sand. On hot days, children and even adults enjoy splashing around in the Medano Creek that runs along the base of the dunes. Hiking trails run through the forest on the edge of the dunes. The four-wheel drive Medano Pass Primitive Road opens up some unique terrain, and car camping sites are located along the roadside. Regular camping is available at the Pinon Flats campground, which offers both tent and RV campsites.
Rooms enjoy large beds, plush décor, kitchenettes with microwaves and fridges, and cable TV and free wireless Internet, and guests have access to a year-round indoor heated swimming pool and an outdoor hot tub. Sip complimentary morning coffee accompanied by muffins in front a crackling fire in the inviting lobby before heading out to enjoy some of the many outdoor activities in the area.
Nestled below Colorado's radiant mountaintops is beautiful Lazy R Cottages in Estes Park. Just one mile from Rocky Mountain National Park, we offer one-, two- and three-bedroom cabins perfect for romantic escapes and family vacations. Our cabins have kitchens or kitchenettes, fireplaces, decks with mountain views, and some with personal hot tubs … perfect for relaxing after a day enjoying Estes Park and the National Park. Dog-friendly units available ($15 per dog/per night). Free Wi-Fi. View more about our Estes Park cabins.
19th-century ghost town, and hosts its own fabulous mineral hot springs. The five-star property enjoys a backdrop of aspens and the dramatic San Juan Mountain Range, situated about 30 miles southwest of Telluride. It’s the perfect place to disconnect from the chaos of the modern world and connect with the one you love. Nearby you can go heli-skiing, rock climbing or hike miles and miles of scenic trails. It hosts a ring of historic log cabins that now serve as luxurious retreats as well as other historic buildings that house a lavish spa, a well-stocked library and a saloon with wagon-wheel chandeliers.
Located 17 miles from the Winter Park ski resort and 16 miles from Vail, Frisco is the perfect small-town getaway. You can relive life as a miner in the Old West at Frisco’s historic park and museum or take a mountain bike ride that takes you over 55 miles of paved pathways. Strap on snowshoes or cross-country skis for a turn around the Frisco Nordic Center. During the summer, paddle or motor out to the Sentinel Island from the Frisco Bay Marina. Rent a cozy condo at Mountainside, or consider renting a lovely house on the Blue River. Warm up the evening with delicious farm-to-table fusion fare Italian-style at Bagalis Frisco.
Enjoy LUXURY mountain cabins at our resort with outstanding VALUE. "A Home Away from Home Getaway." 1, 2, and 3-bdrm condos available with fully applianced kitchens, living room fireplaces & private decks overlooking Fall River. Private hot tubs & spa suites are also available. Located only 1 mi. to RMNP, 3 mi. to Downtown. FREE: Stocked river fishing, Wi-Fi, local calls, movies, games, indoor & outdoor activities. Estes Park Condos Details
The first week of the park shutdown brought little financial impact, said town manager Frank Lancaster, probably because most tourists had already booked their Christmas stays and couldn't cancel. Along the town's main street Wednesday, tourists peered in candy store windows, shopped for T-shirts and rented snowshoes, and there was little sign the nearby park is largely inaccessible.
Settle into a cozy log cabin on Chicago Creek in Idaho Springs. An iconic historical marker, a water wheel that powered a stamp mill, is visible from US 6 and US 40. Idaho Springs abounds with places to hike, ride, view wildlife, or do some birding. In the winter, take some easy ski runs at the Echo Mountain Resort. Drive up the 14-mile-long Mount Evans road, the highest paved road in America, and enjoy the surrounding landscapes from 14,200 feet above sea level. When it’s time to relax, head over to the geothermal springs and caves at Indian Springs Resort.
The Alps Boulder Canyon Inn is an award-winning boutique bed and breakfast in the heart of scenic Boulder Canyon. Offering an unforgettable Boulder experience, the Inn features luxurious accommodations, excellent cuisine, and outstanding service. Surrounding by Boulder's magnificent mountain parks and just a short stroll from downtown Boulder and all its attractions, the Inn is an ideal place for both business and leisure travelers to take advantage of everything the town has to offer.
All this and more just moments from your dream mountain town home. Or, venture further into Rocky Mountain National Park and nearby high mountain ranges to find scenic drives and trailheads — with wild flower fields, lush basins and snowcapped massifs, world famous hiking, backpacking and mountaineering, pristine trails up bubbling brooks and cascading waterfalls, through chaos canyons to stair-stepping alpine lakes, frozen tarns, imposing glaciers, tantalizing 13’ners and 14,000′ sawtooth ridges — an adventure-filled vacation you’ll always remember.
The montane ecosystem is at the lowest elevations in the park, between 5,600 to 9,500 feet (1,700 to 2,900 m), where the slopes and large meadow valleys support the widest range of plant and animal life, including montane forests, grasslands, and shrublands. The area has meandering rivers and during the summer, wildflowers grow in the open meadows. Ponderosa pine trees, grass, shrubs and herbs live on dry, south-facing slopes. North-facing slopes retain moisture better than those that face south. The soil better supports dense populations of trees, like Douglas fir, lodgepole pine, and ponderosa pine. There are also occasional Engelmann spruce and blue spruce trees. Quaking aspens thrive in high-moisture montane soils. Other water-loving small trees like willows, grey alder, and water birch may be found along streams or lakeshores. Water-logged soil in flat montane valleys may be unable to support growth of evergreen forests. The following areas are part of the montane ecosystem: Moraine Park, Horseshoe Park, Kawuneeche Valley, and Upper Beaver Meadows.
That was not my intention. We planned a trip from Florida to the Rocky Mountains of Colorado for one of my freelance writing projects, and originally scheduled a day in Denver (at 5,280 feet in elevation) to acclimate. Frontier Airlines had a different idea. I heard alternatively that our plane had a mechanical issue, that weather in the Midwest grounded the flight, and that the crew went on strike. Regardless, the airline cancelled our original flight.
Just a few miles from the town of Estes Park, Rocky Mountain National Park is one of the most popular national parks in the United States. The soaring mountain peaks, alpine lakes and meadows, forests, and abundant wildlife showcase nature at its best. The park has more than 100 peaks over 10,000 feet, including Longs Peak, the highest in the park, at 14,259 feet.