Wildflower-lovers are never disappointed in June and July when the meadows and hillsides are splashed with botanical color. Autumn visitors can relax among the golden aspens or enjoy the rowdier antics of the elk rut during mating season. And those brave enough to venture into the cold during the winter are treated to snowscapes unlike any other, as the park is open year-round.
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.
Enos Mills, the main figure behind the creation of Rocky Mountain National Park, enjoyed walking to Lily Lake from his nearby cabin. Wildflowers are common in the spring and early summer. In the winter, the trail around the lake is often suitable for walking in boots, or as a short snowshoe or ski. Other lakes in the Wild Basin include Chasm Lake, Snowbank Lake, Lion Lakes 1 and 2, Thunder Lake, Ouzel Lake, Finch Lake, Bluebird Lake, Pear Lake, and Sandbeach Lake. Many of the lakes have backcountry campsites. Waterfalls include Ouzel Falls, Trio Falls, Copeland Falls, and Calypso Cascades.
Beaver Mountain Loop, also used by horseback riders, passes through forests and meadows, crosses Beaver Brook and several aspen-filled drainages, and has a great view of Longs Peak. Deer Mountain Trail gives a 360 degree view of eastern part of the park. The summit plateau of Deer Mountain offers expansive views of the Continental Divide. During the winter, the lower trail generally has little snow, though packed and drifted snow are to be expected on the switchbacks. Snow cover on the summit may be three to five feet deep, requiring the use of snowshoes or skis.
There’s no need to travel far from Denver unless you really want to. Boulder is less than an hour’s drive away and is home to the luxurious St. Julien Hotel and Spa. One of the state’s most romantic properties, by booking the St. Julien Suite you’ll enjoy an opulent two-room suite with a balcony, deep soaking tub and plenty of room and relax, unwind and enjoy your time together. You can even order up an in-room couples’ massage. When you do want to venture outside of your room, you’ll find lots to do in town and nearby. Hike the scenic trails that skirt its famous Flatirons Mountains, stroll through legendary open-air mall on Pearl Street, and dine at some fabulous restaurants like The Med, with its Greek Island-themed interior, fine wine and sumptuous Mediterranean small plates.
Visitors come from far reaches to travel America’s highest continuous paved highway. Not for the queasy and open only between Memorial Day — pending the towering walls of winter snow have melted — and Labor Day, two-lane Trail Ridge Road takes explorers across the Continental Divide, past weathered tundra overlooking sweeping valleys and into the clouds at 12,183 feet. The ribbon of a road covers the 46-mile stretch between Estes Park on the park’s east side and the marine town of Grand Lake at the park’s western entrance. There Peak to Peak Highway is another byway near the park, starting in Estes and going through Nederland, Black Hawk and Central City.
Colorado is a year-round destination that piques the imagination and inspires the soul with its dramatic landscape and natural beauty. The state is nothing less than stunning, with a diversity that ranges from the majestic Rocky Mountains to the rolling hills, rivers, streams, and high desert of the Colorado Plateau. Mountain towns beckon skiers, hikers, climbers, mountain bikers, and outdoor enthusiasts of all types, but are also great places to soak up some tranquility and enjoy the mountain vibe. Scenic drives through parks and along state highways are some of the best ways to see the amazing sites that the state has to offer. Remnants of the cultures that inhabited the area and the dinosaurs that once roamed the land can be seen and better understood by visiting some of the national parks and monuments. Colorado is an unbeatable destination that will make you rethink your future travel plans.
Endless mountain landscapes and sunny weather, Colorado is the perfect place to pack your backs and escape to for a few days. With an abundance of natural splendor, Colorado boasts a myriad of cities worthy of exploring. From luxury ski resorts to charming small towns and the world-famous Rocky Mountains, travelers are spoiled for choice with outdoor adventures. Get off the grid and soak in the crisp mountain air, where depending on the season, nature enthusiasts can hike through beautiful trails, go swimming in natural hot springs or hit the slopes. Cities filled with diverse wildlife and natural wonders, here are ten of the best weekend getaways in Colorado.
The Experience: Located in an 1882 converted saloon, the Sopris House is an upscale lodge full of character. It's operated by the aforementioned Eleven Experiences, a company that's amazing at curating travel adventures. Spend the day skiing greens, blues, and blacks. For skiers who love pristine powder and feel up for a challenge, you're in for a treat. Due to elevation, Crested Butte is known for its cat skiing (a term for superb, untouched-powder skiing) since it gets about 500 inches of snow each season, which is way above the average resort.
Estes Park vacation rentals are always worth considering, but be sure to check the calendar before you book and you could enjoy something even more special. Estes Park hosts a variety of events throughout the year, any of which would make a great addition to your vacation itinerary. For example, in early June, the Estes Park Jazz Fest takes place and features jazz musicians from across the country and beyond.
Tucked deep in the San Juan Mountains in southwestern Colorado, this carefully restored 19th-century ghost town and natural spa is surprisingly well appointed. The rugged, old-timey building exteriors hide high-end features such as cathedral ceilings, air conditioning, and gas fireplaces. Dolores has four parks and a peaceful bike trail that takes peddlers along the tumultuous Dolores River. You can enjoy hands-on exhibits and a nature hike at the Anasazi Heritage Center, or explore an exact replica of the original narrow-gauge rail car, the Galloping Goose. Share a romantic meal with tasty cocktails at Sophia’s Bistro.
Alta Lakes is a pristine and secluded wilderness setting situated 30 minutes outside the charming mountain town of Telluride, Colorado. The Observatory is nestled underneath the 13,000-foot peaks of the San Juan Mountains – it is one of only a few homes in the United States at 11,000+ feet! The backcountry cabin with charming rugged details serves as the perfect romantic mountain getaway for couples.
With its reputation for attracting celebrities and well-heeled travelers, Aspen is one of the world’s most famous ski resorts and one of the best places to visit in Colorado. There’s good reason for the all the hype. Four resorts offer great skiing for every level of skier, from the gentle slopes of Buttermilk Mountain to the ungroomed terrain on Aspen Mountain. During warm weather, visitors can fish for trout from the Roaring Fork River or take shuttles to the nearby 14,000-foot (4,300 meter) peaks of the Maroon Bells to enjoy leisurely hikes around Colorado’s most photographed mountains.