Gem Lake is high among the rounded granite domes of Lumpy Ridge. Untouched by glaciation, this outcrop of 1.8 billion-year-old granite has been sculpted by wind and chemical erosion into a backbone-like ridge. Pillars, potholes, and balanced rocks are found around the midpoint of the trail, along with views of the Estes Valley and Continental Divide. Potts Puddle trail is accessible from the Black Canyon trail.
Split down the middle by the vast Rocky Mountains and jam-packed with national parks and wilderness areas, Colorado is an ideal travel destination for outdoor pursuits in every season. From skiing and whitewater rafting to hiking, biking and camping, outdoor activities are a way of life in the Centennial State. The state’s fun-loving culture attracts visitors looking for a laidback vacation too. After all, Colorado produces more beer than any other state and is one of only two states in the Union that has legalized marijuana for recreational use. Rich in historical and cultural attractions as well as in natural beauty, the best places to visit in Colorado have something special to offer every visitor.
Buena Vista is an historic mining and railroad town that resoundingly lives up to its Spanish name meaning “good views” – you are surrounded by towering mountain peaks that provide a wonderful year-round playground for adventure seekers. The area boasts some of the best river rafting adventures in the country and you can also go hiking, biking, horseback riding, fishing and zip-lining.
The Experience: This gorgeous crystal-blue mountain scene captures Loch Lake, which is in the Rocky Mountain National Park. Take a day trip here to see the national wonder and spend the rest of your vacation enjoying the charming college town of Boulder. Stay at the St. Julien and enjoy a spa treatment or book a room at the hip, adult-only Basecamp Hotel for a quintessential Colorado vibe.
If you wish to have a romantic dinner outside of the hotel or resort you are staying at in Colorado Springs, you have to go to the Pepper Tree Restaurant. Its stylish architecture makes the restaurant one of the most beautiful in Colorado. You can enjoy spectacular views of the city skyline from the restaurant while feasting on a romantic dinner with your love. The restaurant serves high quality seafood, steak,s and legendary wines. Dining at the Pepper Tree Restaurant is a romantic and memorable culinary experience.
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.
Nature lovers can go hiking, white water rafting, horseback riding or climbing in one of the surrounding national parks, or you could choose to explore historic archaeological sites such as Hovenweep, Chaco Canyon and Mesa Verde. The Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad is a highlight of any visit and you can combine various adventure sports packages with your scenic train ride. Keep reading for more Colorado points of interest. Things to Do in Durango
Surrounded by over 100,000 acres of the Pike National Forest, the Ranch at Emerald Valley is an unmatched, all-inclusive retreat that combines the rustic charm of a wilderness enclave with The Broadmoor’s incomparable luxury and service. Honeymooners can indulge in one of 10 beautifully appointed cabins, featuring gas fireplaces, rich furnishings, and modern amenities. Couples can spend their days fly fishing in pristine mountain lakes, hiking and biking along scenic trails or exploring the mountains on horseback. Afterward, unwind by soaking in an outdoor hot tub and sipping fine wine on a panoramic terrace while enjoying the beauty of a Rocky Mountain sunset. All meals and ranch activities are included as part of the stay, making it an ideal setting for intimate getaways where every detail is thoughtfully handled.
Owners Wendye Sykes and Shelley Powers came to Estes Park from San Francisco looking for an escape from the grind of everyday city life — and that’s exactly what they’ve created at River Spruce. Offering nine different cabins, you’ll find lodgings suitable for couples and families all nestled amidst the scenic Rocky Mountain wilderness and along the Big Thompson River.
The A.R. Mitchell Museum of Western Art and the many galleries in the creative district are bound to thrill art lovers, while the Southern Colorado Repertory Theater provides live entertainment. Outdoor enthusiasts can go camping, fishing, hiking and boating in the Trinidad Lake State Park, seek dinosaur tracks in the Comanche National Grassland, or go trout fishing on the Purgatoire River.
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.
If you’re interested in visiting the iconic archaeological sites in Mesa Verde National Park, a trip to Durango is in order. This southwestern Colorado city is the closest town to the Puebloan cliff dwellings, and even offers convenient day trips for travelers who are strapped for time. While you’re in town, take the Million Dollar Highway through the San Juan National Forest for some of the best views in the region.
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.
Grand County is home to expansive views, rugged peaks and open countryside. Its premier resort, Winter Park, attracts travelers from all over for it’s world class ski slopes. Mary Jane, Winter Park’s other half, has premier bumps, tree skiing and a bowl. Situated north on Highway 40, Granby Ranch is geared for family fun, with easy learning trails, as well as night skiing on Friday and Saturday.
Join us on a magnificent day tour of the Rocky Mountain National Park from Denver. See the continental divide, the most prominent hydrological division and the world’s largest mountain barrier. On this day trip from Denver, we will take you to the “top of the world” in the park, filled with spectacular vistas. Experience the great outdoors and nature by walking along beautiful trails and watching the wildlife in its natural habitat. The Rocky Mountain National Park is considered to be one of the most majestic and breathtaking sights to behold in our country. On this Sightseeing tour, you be witness to once in a lifetime wildlife sightings, soaring mountain peaks, and come to understand the true meaning of “Purple Mountain Majesties”. Winter (November - May): In this mountain tour, we will explore the quaint and peaceful Bear Lake. Stop at Estes Park (lunch stop), Gateway visitor center, Moraine Park, Stanley Hotel (photo opportunity) and moreSummer (June - October): we will explore Trail Ridge Road, stop at the Alpine Visitors Center, which features extraordinary views of alpine tundra and full river cirque. Stop at Estes Park, Many Parks curve, Rainbow curve, Stanley Hotel (photo opportunity) and more. You’ll also have the chance to take in some local history about our beautiful state, and grab a snack and souvenir. This park is full of more wildlife and breathtaking views than most people see in an entire lifetime. Note: tour may be modified due to the weather and road closures.
“By 1900, the growing national conservation and preservation movement, led by Theodore Roosevelt, Gifford Pinchot, and John Muir, advocated an appreciation for nature. The Estes Park Protective and Improvement Association fostered local conservation efforts. "Those who pull flowers up by the roots will be condemned by all worthy people," they warned. In 1909, Enos Mills, a naturalist, nature guide, and lodge owner, championed the creation of the nation's tenth national park. He hoped that: "In years to come when I am asleep beneath the pines, thousands of families will find rest and hope in this park." Unleashing his diverse talents and inexhaustible energy, he spent several years lecturing across the nation, writing thousands of letters and articles, and lobbying Congress to create a new national park. Most civic leaders supported the idea, as did the Denver Chamber of Commerce and the Colorado Mountain Club. In general, mining, logging, and agricultural interests opposed it. On January 26, 1915, President Woodrow Wilson signed the Rocky Mountain National Park Act.”
Couples can share snowy adventures together, try out new activities, or split up and go different directions during the day. Meals with other engaging guests liven the conversation, and the dining room is always filled with laughter. Leisurely afternoon naps or late night soak in the hot tub give couples a chance to retreat from it all and focus on each other.
Rooms are beautifully decorated with plush furnishings and luxurious fabrics and boast private en-suite bathrooms and modern amenities, including air-conditioning, coffeemakers, and free high-speed wireless Internet access. Flat screen televisions and cable TV provides ample entertainment and a delicious home cooked breakfast is served each morning. The inn is within close proximity to several popular Golden attractions, including the world-famous Red Rocks Amphitheatre and Golden Gate State National Park.