Telluride offers the quintessential Colorado mountain town experience. Not only are its streets lined with grand Victorian buildings, but it has become a hub for adventurers, athletes, and artists of all types, nestled in an isolated box canyon, far from the chaos of modern life. While there’s no skiing this time of year, visitors can still take a ride on the gondola up the mountain to get a bird’s eye view of the town and the breathtaking surrounding landscape. There’s also the opportunity to hike to the state’s longest free-falling waterfall, Bridal Veil Falls, enjoy fantastic fishing, golfing and biking. This little town is big when it comes to festivals too, with the annual Bluegrass Festival bringing a multitude of bluegrass bands to the area to enjoy the sun and the tunes in the outdoor amphitheater.
Whether you like to ski, hike, or just take in the jaw-dropping mountain scenery with a craft beer in hand, you’ll find the perfect weekend getaway in Colorado. From lively cities like Denver and Boulder, to more laid-back locales like Golden and Pagosa Springs—and plenty of world-class ski resorts in between—we’ve compiled a list of 17 of the best weekend getaways in The Centennial State.
The winter view of Longs Peak from the Dream Lake Trail at Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado is an epic sight. The wind kicks up a flurry of snow, sweeping the massive mountain and sending a chill we can feel through the screen. Does this make you want to put on your boots or slide under a blanket? Brandon Selinsky, www.sharetheexperience.org
Home to Colorado’s Vail Ski Resort, Vail is a trendy vacation town located at the base of Vail Mountain and attracts people for its skiing and snowboarding scene, as well as its dining, shopping and arts. It is also a popular summertime destination, offering golfing and hiking opportunities, along with cultural festivals. People also come her to go fly fishing at Gore Creek, which runs through the center of town.
At about 68 million years ago, the Front Range began to rise again due to the Laramide orogeny in the west. During the Cenozoic era, block uplift formed the present Rocky Mountains. The geologic composition of Rocky Mountain National Park was also affected by deformation and erosion during that era. The uplift disrupted the older drainage patterns and created the present drainage patterns.
Hands down, Crested Butte is my favorite summer destination in Colorado. In addition to world-famous mountain biking and hiking (the views from Snodgrass Mountain are second-to-none), don’t miss the four-week long Crested Butte Music Festival (with the free Divine Family Young People’s Concert July 13, 20 and Aug. 3) and the Wildflower Festival (July 8-14, 2013) where you’ll swear you climbed onto a Monet canvas of mad, extravagant colors. Last winter, CBMR purchased the Coke Zero Gravity BagJump; a 50 feet by 50 feet bag of air for guests to tube and ski and ride into. Come summer, the resort will be setting up two levels of scaffolding at 10 feet and 20 feet for kids and adults alike to jump into the cloud-like bag of air. The resort will also be building a dirt jump for biking enthusiasts to practice their jumping skills with their bicycles for an added adrenaline rush, as if the 25 miles of trails in the Evolution Bike Park isn’t enough. For younger kids, check-out the Trailhead Children’s Museum and big kids (must weigh at least 70 pounds) can try the Crested Butte Zipline Tour, which includes five zip lines ranging in length from 120 – 400 feet connected by features or “events” such as suspended wood bridges and towering platforms. P.S. A few years ago, my kids did Kids Nature Camp at world-renown Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory in nearby Gothic, Colo. and still rave about it.
The Olives Aspen restaurant, run by Chef Todd English, serves Mediterranean-inspired cuisine with a local flare. The Lobby Lounge features beautiful views, and offers a light menu with cocktails, aperitifs, wines, and beers. Doubles from $725 per night. The hotel is located 10 minutes from the Airport. You can contact the hotel to arrange transportation. Doubles from $725 per night. The hotel is located 10 minutes from the Airport.
The landlocked state boasts about four dozen major lakes where you'll find waterside recreation ranging from houseboating to fishing to waterskiing. In the southwest corner of the state, Navajo State Park boasts a 15,000-acre reservoir that extends into the state of New Mexico. Camp in one of 150 campsites, book a night at the Navajo Lodge, or explore the lake for days on a houseboat. Dillon Reservoir near Breckenridge tucks into pine-laden hills near some of the state's most renowned ski areas. Fish the lake for cutthroat trout, brookies or salmon, or take a sailing lesson at the Dillon Marina.
Pagosa Springs is a picturesque, off-the-beaten-path destination surrounded by the San Juan National Forest. It’s an ideal spot for a Colorado weekend trip, with beautiful hiking paths, numerous hot springs, and stunning spots like Chimney Rock National Monument and Treasure Falls. Or going off-roading for another fun way to make the most of this charming town’s personality and views.
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.