Trail Ridge Road will not open until at least Memorial Weekend but there are many amazing areas open year round in the park. Heavenly Valley is the one place in the park where sledding is allowed but you must bring your own tube or sled. Cross-country skiing is incredible with so many trails to choose from and snow shoeing is a great way to explore new areas. Stop at one of the visitor centers as you enter the park to find out what areas are open and it is always best to call ahead for weather and road conditions. Check forecasts before you go at weather.gov and insert "Trail Ridge, CO" for the location. For information about Rocky Mountain National Park call 970-586-1206 daily 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (Mountain Time).
Just outside the towns of Grand Junction and nearby Fruita is Colorado National Monument. A scenic road snakes its way through some outstanding scenery. This is not typical mountain scenery, but a landscape of huge rock spires, cliff walls, canyons, and desert-like surroundings with small trees and scrubby bushes. Most people drive through the monument along Rim Rock Drive and stop at the lookouts that peer over the landscape below. The road is also a popular road biking area, with hearty souls peddling their way up to the lookouts. A number of day hikes access some scenic areas of the monument, most of which involve moderate elevation changes that range from approximately 300 feet to more than 1,000 feet.
The unspoiled beauty of Rocky Mountain National Park draws thousands of visitors every year. With over 50 placid lakes and babbling streams, this is a popular fishing destination for both locals and visitors alike. In order to fish within the park, please note that you will need a valid Colorado fishing license. You can trek through over 355 miles of hiking trails or stick to the park roads for a bicycle ride suitable for all ages. After exploring, head to the Visitor Center to learn about the animals and plants you encountered on your hike or bike ride. If someone in your group loves horses, consider visiting the Glacier Creek Stables for the opportunity to see the area on four legs rather than two.
Diana Rowe is a freelance writer living in suburbia Denver, 20 minutes from downtown and under an hour to the Colorado Rockies. Finding the perfect hotel, whether for leisure or business travel, is an important part of Diana’s travels. Her articles have been featured in Global Traveler Magazine, Business Traveler, Away.com, TripAdvisor.com, Latitudes (American Eagle in-flight), American Cowboy, Persimmon Hill Magazine, Prevue Magazine, and Corporate & Incentive Travel Magazine. She’s also a blogger/writer for TravelingMom.com, TravelShark.com and Cvent.com. Catch up with Diana at www.dianarowe.com or follow her adventures at www.TravelingInHeels.com, Facebook fan page or Twitter @dianarowe
The Experience: Denver is the perfect urban adventure for anyone who likes midsize cities. It's easy to navigate and manage and doesn't feel at all claustrophobic, but offers endless cultural excursions, gourmet dining experiences, and a fun nightlife you'd expect from large cities. Make sure you visit the Denver Art Museum, check out the breweries in the RiNo neighborhood, and stay at the Crawford Hotel, which is in the old Denver Union Station. For a boutique hotel, stay at The Maven Hotel.