Salida is known for its white-water rafting and gorgeous mountain scenery in southeastern Colorado. Nature-lovers, adrenaline-junkies, and ski-bums alike will all enjoy this Colorado weekend getaway. Those who want a mellow weekend trip in Colorado can stroll through downtown galleries and museums, while adventure seekers will find no shortage of heart-thumping excursions.
Colorado’s only Relais & Chateaux dude ranch offers a seemingly endless list of things to do, but creature comforts abound, too — from the elegant Western accommodations nestled in aspen groves to the haute mountain cuisine that has been hailed by Bon Appétit and Gourmet. In addition to adult weeks offered August through October, Home Ranch in Clark also hosts yoga and horseback-riding retreats, perfect for girlfriend getaways.
Morrison is not a very far drive from Denver, but you’ll still feel like you’ve escaped for a special weekend away for two. This bed and breakfast is a beautiful spot to celebrate Valentine’s Day, an anniversary or any special occasion. You’ll love the amazingly breathtaking views from the hot tub suites, with stunning panoramas of the Colorado evergreens covered in snow. Plus, Arrowhead Manor is just a short drive to The Fort restaurant for an incredibly romantic meal. There are also many other fun things to enjoy during your escape for the weekend, as you’ll be close enough to enjoy any of the entertainment options in Denver, or even catch a show at Red Rocks, depending on the season.
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
Early to mid-summer brings endless fields of wildflowers to the Rocky Mountains, and you'll find plenty of backroads throughout the state where you can take in the view. Take a four-day drive from Denver to Aspen. The route initially heads north through Boulder up to Rocky Mountain National Park. Visit the alpine town of Estes Park and stay in the Stanley Hotel, featured in the movie, "The Shining." You'll see long-forgotten ghost towns, the tallest mountain in the state and more than 200 species of flowers from mid-June through early August. You'll also find scenic backroads in the southern part of the state winding through the San Juan and Sangre de Cristo Mountains.
A home base for travelers visiting the Rocky Mountain National Park, Estes Park is less than a 2-hour drive from Denver. The park offers 355 miles of hiking trails paired with stunning vistas and landscapes, from snow-capped mountains to picturesque lakes and valleys, where those who crave adventure will find a myriad of outdoor adventures. Estes Park itself is a great area to explore, as visitors can meander the Riverwalk in Downtown Estes Park or hop on the Estes Park Aerial Tramway to the top of a small peak. Estes Park boasts a variety of shopping and dining experiences, while movie enthusiasts will want to stop by the world famous Stanley Hotel that was the inspiration behind Stephen King’s “The Shining.”
Another one of the state’s most popular skiing and snowboarding destinations, Steamboat Springs may be a winter wonderland during the chillier months of the year, but the summer brings an endless landscape of green dotted with brilliant wildflowers. This is when this Wild West town really comes alive, with visitors enjoying fly fishing, inner tube rides and rafting trips on the Yampa River, endless scenic hiking and mountain biking trails, and natural hot springs that are ideal for soothing sore muscles afterward. If you can be here around late June/early July, you can attend the legendary annual Hot Air Balloon Rodeo and Art in the Park festival which boasts an extensive display of colorful hot air balloons along with some 50 artist vendors, live entertainment, food and drink vendors, and an interactive children’s art area.
We love Colorado Springs staples like the Garden of the Gods Park, The Pike’s Peak Cog Railway, U.S. Olympic Training Center and Manitou Cliff Dwellings but the big news this summer is Cheyenne Mountain Zoo’s new $13.5 million exhibit Encounter Africa. Highlights include an amphitheater that will allow guests to see elephant training, enrichment and husbandry, a new exhibit for the African lion pride and a “Skybridge” that will take guests from the exhibit to the barn, enabling them to see the elephants from above. www.cmzoo.org. For a thrill, check out the Cave of the Winds’ Wind Walker Challenge Ropes Course that is located on the rim of a 600-foot drop into Williams Canyon. Colorado Wolf Adventures have teamed up to host “Up Close with the Wolves” this summer. The new 4,400 square-foot Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument’s Visitor Center offers more fossils on display and interactive exhibits. If a train ride is on your bucket list, the South side of the Royal Gorge Bridge and Park takes on a new look with the addition of Pinon Ridge Play-Land, a 2,000-square foot playground built specifically to blend into the natural surroundings.
You can get maps and info at the Estes Park Visitors Center and catch a free shuttle bus to most main attractions. Intrepid adventurers will find an almost endless list of outdoor activities to try, including mountaineering on Longs Peak, thrilling white water rafting, hiking, biking, backpacking, skiing and snowshoeing. Less daring visitors can enjoy the River Walk, take a scenic drive, play a round of golf, or do some wildlife watching. Things to Do in Estes Park
The Fern Lake trail passes Arch Rock formations, The Pool, and the cascading water of Fern Falls. Two backcountry campsites are located near the lake, and two more are closer to the trailhead. Odessa Lake has two approaches: one is along the Flattop trail from Bear Lake while the other is from the Fern Lake trailhead, along which are Fern Creek, The Pool, Fern Falls, and Fern Lake itself. One backcountry campsite is available. Other lakes are Jewel Lake, Mills Lake, Black Lake, Blue Lake, Lake of Glass, and Spruce Lake.
Sleep helped the altitude sickness, and after a full night in one of the research site’s cabins, I felt much revived. Brian fished in the morning and I scrambled up a rocky outcropping with a graduate student studying pikas through their poop (a non-invasive way to analyze stress levels of this small mammal that looks like a cross between a rabbit and a mouse): but our afternoon was free. What to do?
The riparian ecosystem runs through the montane, subalpine, and alpine tundra zones and creates a foundation for life, especially for species that thrive next to streams, rivers, and lakes. The headwaters of the Colorado River, which provides water to many of the southwestern states, are located on the west side of the park. The Fall River, Cache la Poudre River and Big Thompson Rivers are located on the east side of the park. Just like the other ecosystems in the park, the riparian zone is affected by the climatic variables of temperature, precipitation, and elevation. Generally, riparian zones in valleys will have cooler temperatures than communities located on slopes and ridge tops. Depending on elevation, a riparian zone may have more or less precipitation than other riparian zones in the park, with the difference creating a shift in the types of plants and animals found in a specific zone.
This opened the Loveland Valley Ski Area in 1961 as well as some south-facing slopes to the north of Chair 2 in 1965. During the 1980’s, Loveland upgraded the old Chair 2 with a high-capacity Yan triple chair. This provided better, more reliable access to beginner and intermediate terrain. In 1989, a new Valley lodge was constructed, allowing for better guest services at the beginner and racing hills.
A small city that packs a lot of punch for its size, Vail is one of the most beloved ski destinations in the country, where its not uncommon to spot a celebrity or two. Nestled between the Gore Mountain Range and Sawatch Mountain Range, this narrow alley is home to the largest single-mountain resort in the United States. While most visitors come to Vail for its famous 5,289 acres of ski slopes, in the summer visitors can also explore the Eagles Nest Wilderness Area and Holy Cross Wilderness area to hike the area’s rugged mountainside trails.
Popular during both the winter and the summer, Crested Butte offers year-round activities that appeal to outdoor enthusiasts. Soak in the crisp mountain air after taking the Silver Queen lift up to 11,875 feet up to see Crested Butte from above, visit the pedestrian-friendly city center with its myriad of locally owned shops, or choose your pick between summer and fall mountain biking and the area’s numerous trails. Those with little ones can head to the Trailhead Children’s Museum, Crested Butte Mountain Heritage Museum or find swimming and hiking at Meridian Lake in the summer.
A nature lover’s paradise, Colorado is filled to the brim with beautiful landscapes, offering travelers over 300 days of sunshine to come and explore its diverse areas. From the majestic Rocky Mountains to picturesque prairies and cosmopolitan cities, Colorado is surrounded by vibrant outdoor attractions, diverse wildlife and scenic byways just begging to be explored. Whether you hit the slopes at a luxury ski resort, hike the trails at a National Park or take a scenic drive through the countryside, Colorado has so many great things to see and do throughout the year. Perfect for families, couples and solo travelers who are looking for an outdoor adventure, read on to discover the best places to vacation in Colorado.
While kids of all ages are welcome at this Ouray resort, you’ll will find multiple kid-free corners available around the clock. The adults-only indoor sanctuary is open 24 hours and filled with spa-like stonework, including a spring-fed tub built from river rocks. Outside, a 102-degree soaking tub implements adult time from 10pm to 8am, enough to make any couple starry-eyed under the night sky.
In the subalpine zone, lodgepole pines and huckleberry have established themselves in previous burn areas. Crystal clear lakes and fields of wildflowers are hidden among the trees. Mammals of the subalpine zone include bobcats, cougars, coyotes, elk, mule deer, chipmunks, shrews, porcupines and yellow-bellied marmots. Black bears are attracted by the berries and seeds of subalpine forests. Clark's nutcracker, Steller's jay, mountain chickadee and yellow-rumped warbler are some of the many birds found in the subalpine zone. Sprague Lake and Odessa Lake are two of the park's subalpine lakes.
Rocky Mountain National Park was selected to participate in a climate change study, along with two other National Park Service areas in the Rocky Mountain region and three in the Appalachian Mountain region. The study began in 2011, orchestrated by members of the academic scientific community in cooperation with the National Park Service and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The stated objective: "develop and apply decision support tools that use NASA and other data and models to assess vulnerability of ecosystems and species to climate and land use change and evaluate management options."
Rocky Mountain National Park, established in 1915, is a living showcase of the grandeur of the Rocky Mountains. Located outside Estes Park, Colorado, Rocky Mountain is a great family vacation destination, offering outdoor experiences for all—from easy nature hikes around crystal clear mountain lakes to daring rock scrambles up waterfalls and mountains.
The historic Brown Palace, located in downtown Denver first opened its doors in 1892. Since then, the hotel has accommodated celebrities, presidents and other dignitaries. If you are planning to do a lot of sightseeing on your trip, this unique property is conveniently located within walking distance of the pedestrian 16th Street Mall, the State Capitol, the Denver Center for Performing Arts and and Coors Field Baseball Park. The hotel is built around a central atrium; when in the lobby, you can enjoy soaring ceilings and when going to your room, you'll have a view of the classically furnished lobby below on your city vacation.
Our last (but definitely not least!) romantic hotel in Colorado is the Leroux Creek Inn & Vineyards. This secluded B&B is surrounded by vineyards and the valleys and mesas of the Grand Mesa located on 54 acres. Sip their wine while gazing from the Leroux Creek Inn’s flower-bedecked patio onto their vineyards. Near the small town of Hotchkiss, the acreage also includes a creek, dry arroyos, grass pastures, sagebrush, and trees.
Need to take a break, warm up or find that perfect place to have a picnic? All of Loveland’s on-mountain cabins are equipped with propane BBQ’s. What’s the catch? Nothing, these cabins are free to use. Loveland’s on-mountain cabins are just another reason why skiers and snowboarders love Loveland. Make sure you stop by and check one out on your next visit to Loveland.
Considered the base camp for the Rocky Mountain National Park, Estes Park is less than a 2-hour drive from Denver. Located near the east entrance to the Rocky Mountain National Park, Estes Park is a quiet area surrounded by protected land. Here you’ll find pristine wilderness with a myriad of both indoor and outdoor activities, from scenic hikes and bike trails to wine tasting and spa treatments. Take the Estes Park Aerial Tramway to the top of a small peak and soak in breathtaking panoramic views of the valley and downtown area, take a walk along the Riverwalk in Downtown Estes Park or take the kids to the Estes Park Ride-A-Kart & Cascade Creek Mini-Golf.