I am convinced Chautauqua is Colorado’s best-kept secret and I’m amazed how few locals know about its charms. Located at the base of the Flatirons in Boulder, this National Historic Landmark has rental cottages that are surrounded on three sides with open space that includes 48 miles of hiking trails and thousands of acres of natural lands begging to be explored. On weekends in June, Theatre-Hikes Colorado will take audience members on a moderate hike amidst the scenic backdrop of Boulder Open Space while scenes from “Snow White” are performed along the way. On June 29, don’t miss the Colorado Music Festival’s Young People’s Concert, which is a is a narrated work about a cartoon score being performed at a symphony concert (tickets are $8). The historic Chautauqua Dining Hall (a tradition since 1898) has recently undergone a huge overhaul and the wraparound porch offers some of the best patio dining in Colorado. If you visit on a Saturday, be sure to also visit the Boulder’s Farmer’s Market (the largest in Colorado). Not to be forgotten are Pearl Street Mall’s restaurants, shops, people-watching and Pop Jet Fountain–they never fail to entertain.
Vail is one of the world’s most popular ski resort towns, but in the warmer months of the year, it draws visitors who come to mountain bike, hike, golf and ride whitewater rapids. Throughout the season, there are an abundance of music and dance festivals, including the Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival which features orchestras like the New York Philharmonic that performs at the outdoor Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater, as well as the Vail International Dance Festival and the Vail Jazz Festival. Just a few of the other highlights include botanical tours through the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens, rock climbing excursions in Vail Valley and the wealth of shops, bars and eateries in the village of Vail itself.
“We were on par for a good year but after the closure, we pretty much stopped. We didn’t hit our targets,” said Zach Zehr, manager at the Estes Park Mountain Shop who’s now pushing backcountry ski adventures. “People either cut their trips short or they were pure cancellations because they heard it was closed. Or they didn’t recreate as they thought they would. They shifted gears and did something else. They didn’t buy hats and gloves because they weren’t going to use them.”
Rocky Mountain National Park is home to many species of animals, including nearly 70 mammals and almost 300 species of birds. This diversity is due to the park's varying topography, which creates a variety of habitats. However, some species have been extirpated from the park, including the gray wolf, the wolverine, the grizzly bear, and the American bison.
Hilton Denver Inverness in Englewood is set at the foot of the Rocky Mountains. Located 20 minutes from Denver, the resort is a fun weekend getaway. Hotel activities include golf, tennis, walking and jogging. There is also an indoor and outdoor swimming pool, whirlpools, saunas and massage services. The Golf Course is a 18-hole PGA championship course, open an average of 300 days per year. There are 284 luxury guest rooms and 18 suites. The 32 Club Floor Rooms offer exclusive access to the Mountain View Lounge for continental breakfast, and scenic views of the Rocky Mountains from the top floor of the hotel.
Depending on when you choose to stay in an Estes Park vacation rental, you may be able to catch family-friendly events like the annual Teddy Bear Picnic or Longs Peak Scottish-Irish Highland Festival. If you aren't able to make it to those events, don't worry: you can always pick up some local history at the Lula W. Dorsey Museum or Stanley Steam Car Museum. Visit the local shops and galleries like the Wild Spirits Gallery or Alpenglow Images & Accents to see some local photography, woodworking, jewelry, and other crafts or pick up a souvenir or two for friends and family back home.
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
The Stanley Hotel is a luxurious hotel in the heart of Estes Park in Colorado that combines a particular style and sophistication with rich colonial charm. Featuring deluxe resort lodging, an exclusive day spa and wellness center, and an array of adventures and activities for the whole family, this hotel is the ideal place for a year-round mountain vacation. Guests can choose from deluxe rooms and suites at the main hotel or accommodations next door at the newly remodeled 40-room boutique hotel called The Lodge.
The main things to do here are to simply gaze out over the canyon and appreciate the environment or wander along the walking paths and short hiking trails on the rim. These are generally flat and easy trails. If you're adventurous, you can hike into the canyon, but trails are not maintained or marked, conditions are difficult, and you are basically on your own and responsible for the costs of rescue, should the need arise. Three campgrounds are located in the park; the North and South Rim campgrounds are open to tents and RVs but the East Portal is only open to tents.
Another benefit of staying in an Estes Park lodging is the proximity to a number of diverse restaurants. Everyone on your vacation will be sure to find something appealing. Try Himalayan Curry & Kebob, which offers authentic Indian food, or Nepal's Cafe for Nepalese food. Pasta lovers should pay a visit to Mama Rose's, with all manner of Italian dishes accompanied by an extensive offering of wine, beer, and spirits. Mama Rose's is also great for diners with food allergies or those who are vegetarian, vegan, or gluten-free.
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.
^ This article incorporates public domain material from the Library of Congress document: "Majestic view from the old, one-way, dirt Fall River Road in Rocky Mountain National Park in the Front Range of the spectacular and high Rockies in north-central Colorado". Library of Congress - Prints & Photographs Online Catalog. Retrieved October 28, 2016.
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.
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."
While it is possible to travel through Rocky Mountain National Park and not catch sight of any wildlife, we venture to say that is an unlikely experience. From everyday sightings of chipmunks and mule deer to the moving experience of viewing elk in rut (the mating season), the animals in the park let you know that you are part of something truly wild. Some of these critters are harder to spot than others - they might camouflage themselves in the trees or hide in the underbrush - but look closely and you may have an encounter unlike any other.