No matter the season, Crested Butte is one of the best weekend getaways in Colorado. It has some of the region’s most challenging ski runs in the winter at the Nordic Center or Crested Butte Mountain Resort (plus beginner and intermediate-level options), and offers a mix of hiking and water sports in the summer. Feeling lazy? One of Crested Butte’s most popular activities is driving down Kebler Pass for stunning mountain views—no walking required.
Straddling the Continental Divide, the Rocky Mountain National Park covers some of the most beautiful mountains in the world. There are 77 mountains in the park with elevations that range from 7,500 to over 12,000 feet (2,200 to 3,600 meters). Most of the more than 3 million people who visit the park each year spend at least one night in one of the park’s many drive-in campgrounds. More than 350 miles of hiking trails offer visitors the chance to view the park’s wildlife, which includes hundreds of elk, bighorn sheep and deer. There is also the specially built scenic Trail Ridge Road, the highest paved road in any of the National Park in the United States.
“This isn’t a furlough for us,” Oropeza said. “There are definitely folks who, if this continues into next week, they’ll have to forfeit their commitment. Some are exploring applying for other jobs. They have student loans, they have car payments and other bills. …There are ripple effects this is having down the road. Our seasonal contracts, we have to have our contracts for summer seasonal work signed soon. All these things are getting backlogged.”
A comfortable reading and DVD library serves as the perfect place to relax with a book and a glass of wine, and there is free high-speed Internet throughout the property. The Wild Horse Inn is surrounded by incredible natural landscapes that offer an array of activities to partake in, from hiking, mountain biking, and climbing to boating, rafting and fishing, and various snow sports in the winter. The inn is located 1 hour and 30 minutes from Denver.
Most visitors enter the park through the eastern entrances near Estes Park, which is about 71 miles (114 km) northwest of Denver. The most direct route to Trail Ridge Road is the Beaver Meadows entrance, located just west of Estes Park on U.S. Route 36, which leads to the Beaver Meadows Visitor Center and the park's headquarters. North of the Beaver Meadows entrance station is the Fall River entrance, which also leads to Trail Ridge Road and Old Fall River Road. There are three routes into Estes Park: I-25 to U.S. 34 west which runs alongside the Big Thompson River; U.S. 36 west (northwest) from Boulder connecting to U.S. 34 west; and the Peak to Peak Highway, also known as State Highway 7, from points south.
The park contains a network of trails that range from easy, paved paths suitable for all visitors including those with disabilities, to strenuous mountain trails for experienced, conditioned hikers as well as off-trail routes for backcountry hikes. Most trails are for summer use only, since at other times of the year many trails are not safe due to weather conditions. The park provides dozens of designated backcountry campsites and horseback riding is permitted on most trails. Llamas and other pack animals are also allowed on most of the trails.
“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.”
What is more romantic than spending the nights together with your partner in a private cottage located on a creek with views of waterfalls and Pike National Forest? It is more than possible to have a romantic getaway in this serene and beautiful Colorado cottage! Moreover, if you both love adventure, this vacation rental is perfect for hiking and biking together. Be healthy, be strong together!
Region 2 is the alpine region of the park with accessible tundra trails at high elevations—an area known for its spectacular vistas. Within the region are Mount Ida, with tundra slopes and a wide-open view of the Continental Divide, and Specimen Mountain, which has a steep trail and the opportunity to view bighorn sheep and marmots. Forest Canyon Pass is near the top of the Old Ute Trail that once linked villages across the Continental Divide.
Enos Mills, the main figure behind the creation of Rocky Mountain National Park, enjoyed walking to Lily Lake from his nearby cabin. Wildflowers are common in the spring and early summer. In the winter, the trail around the lake is often suitable for walking in boots, or as a short snowshoe or ski. Other lakes in the Wild Basin include Chasm Lake, Snowbank Lake, Lion Lakes 1 and 2, Thunder Lake, Ouzel Lake, Finch Lake, Bluebird Lake, Pear Lake, and Sandbeach Lake. Many of the lakes have backcountry campsites. Waterfalls include Ouzel Falls, Trio Falls, Copeland Falls, and Calypso Cascades.
Our warm and inviting Beaver Creek accommodations feature premium amenities that will make guests feel right at home, such as our Hyatt Grand Beds® with crisp linens, large flat-screen TVs, free Wi-Fi, and rich alpine views. Indulge in one of our luxury suites and enjoy extra perks, like a 500 sq. ft. terrace overlooking the entire valley, a kitchenette, and cozy fireplace for chilly nights.
More than 3,000 elk, 800 bighorn sheep and herds of mule deer and moose live in the park. For the best photography lighting and opportunities to spot massive bugling elk, head to Moraine Park just after sunrise. View bighorn sheep at Sheep Lakes May through mid-August and catch a glimpse of RMNP’s ever-elusive moose population along the Colorado River in the Kawuneeche Valley on the park's west side.
Every summer, Aspen gets taken over by classic music lovers during the renowned Aspen Music Festival and School with more than 300 concerts. Learn about Aspen from Dean Weiler during one of his popular Aspen Walking Tours and pay respect to John Denver at the John Denver Sanctuary you will pass by while hiking the picturesque Rio Grande Trail. Next read: best Aspen restaurants.
Take the world’s largest outdoor mineral hot springs pool (Glenwood Hot Springs), add an adventure park built on top of a mountain (Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park), sprinkle in the Roaring Fork Valley’s crimson rocks and emerald forests and you have a memorable family vacation just a few hours from Denver. The new Historic Fairy Caves Tour at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park has sections never opened to the public before, takes 50 minutes and has only 12 stairs (perfect for families with small children than the tour of King’s Row, which has 127 steps each way). Also, don’t miss the adventure park’s thrill rides including the Cliff Hanger Roller Coaster, bungee jumping station, zipling, giant canyon swing, alpine coaster, laser tag and much more. Glenwood Hot Springs is celebrating its 125th birthday this year, so guests get in free on their birthdays. Glenwood Canyon Resort has white water rafting on the Colorado River and for an extra thrill, soar on the zipline across the river or test your mettle on a ropes course. Grab your bikes and take the paved Rio Grande Trail, which winds along the Roaring Fork River from Glenwood to Aspen. If you visit mid-week, pack a picnic and enjoy free concerts at Two Rivers Park on Wednesday. For a night out on the town, your family will love the Glenwood Vaudeville Revue dinner variety show.
The Experience: Located in an 1882 converted saloon, the Sopris House is an upscale lodge full of character. It's operated by the aforementioned Eleven Experiences, a company that's amazing at curating travel adventures. Spend the day skiing greens, blues, and blacks. For skiers who love pristine powder and feel up for a challenge, you're in for a treat. Due to elevation, Crested Butte is known for its cat skiing (a term for superb, untouched-powder skiing) since it gets about 500 inches of snow each season, which is way above the average resort.
The complex interactions of elevation, slope, exposure and regional-scale air masses determine the climate within the park, which is noted for its extreme weather patterns. A "collision of air masses" from several directions produces some of the key weather events in the region. When cold arctic air from the north meets warm moist air from the Gulf of Mexico at the Front Range, "intense, very wet snowfalls with total snow depth measured in the feet" accumulate in the park.
Take in the beautiful scenery of Colorado's Front Range, the gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park, as you zip through the trees! Just a 30-minute drive from downtown Denver lie three of Colorado’s longest zipline tracks. 6-line Zipline: Enjoy 4 hours of fresh air, scenic views and thrills on the 6-line zipline in the Rocky Mountains. Ride on six lines that range from 850 feet (259 m) to 1,900 feet (579 m). Soar through the treetops and experience three of Colorado’s longest ziplines! There is a 10-minute uphill hike between the first and second zipline and minimal walking between the others; above-average physical condition is recommended.
Plan a weekend of pampering and relaxation at St Julien Hotel in downtown Boulder. The hotel features a 10,000-square-foot spa with 12 treatment rooms, and a two-lane infinity pool with a whirlpool and outside terrace. Guests can get in shape at the fitness center with the latest cardiovascular and aerobic equipment. Choose from 201 rooms and suites with luxury bathrooms with soaking tubs and separate glass showers. Ask for a view of the Flatiron Mountains when you book your stay. All rooms offer complimentary Internet access, wired and wireless.
Just a 5-minute stroll from downtown Estes Park, Fall River Village offers 66 luxury accommodations, including 60 two bedroom and two bathroom condos, a honeymoon suite, four three bedroom and four bathroom townhomes and a four bedroom townhome with panoramic views of the Continental Divide. Property amenities include a heated, outdoor pool, year-round, outdoor hot tubs, a community room, fire pit and grill areas as well as an outdoor recreation area with yard games and a hammock.
Located in in southwestern Colorado, Mesa Verde is home to the famous cliff dwellings of the ancient Anasazi people. It is one of the most significant archeological preserve of Native American culture in the US. In the 12th century, the Anasazi start building houses in shallow caves and under rock overhangs along the canyon walls. The most famous of these is Cliff Palace. The Ancient Puebloans constructed it from sandstone bricks, and mortar made from ash, clay and water. It encompassed 150 rooms and 76 open areas. Climatic change and increased population placed the communities under stress and by the late 1270s, the Ancestral Puebloan population began migrating to what is now New Mexico and Arizona.
If you are planning a romantic trip, ask for one of the Mediterranean suites which have two-person whirlpool tubs. For the basketball players in the family, Tall Rooms with extra-long beds and heightened showerheads are also available. Panzano is a 210-seat Italian restaurant serving a selection of gourmet dishes. The hotel is located in the heart of Denver's central business district and is within easy walking distance of 16th Street Mall, lower downtown and Larimer Square. Rates start at around $115 per night.
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).
Located at the foot of Pikes Peak, Colorado Springs draws visitors who come to see the view from the mountain that inspired the writing of the song “America, the Beautiful.” Some hike to the mountain’s 14,115-foot (4,302 meter) summit while others drive or enjoy a ride on the Pikes Peak Cog Railway. With its sculptural sandstone formations and balancing rocks, the Garden of the Gods is another popular natural attraction. This culturally rich city has many museums worth exploring too, including the Fine Arts Center, Pioneer Museum and the Rock Ledge Historic Site, an open-air museum where costumed docents depict life in Colorado Springs throughout its long history.
With breathtaking mountain scenery everywhere you look, even the journey to your Estes Park cabin rental will be enjoyable. The main airport in the area is Denver International Airport, which lies about 75 miles southeast of Estes Park. At the airport, you have access to nearly a dozen different car rental companies and will be able to find the perfect vehicle for your drive to Estes Park. Several highways take you to the town, including U.S. Routes 34 and 36 and State Highway 7.
Breckenridge is justifiably famous as one of the best ski resorts in the country, but spending a little time seeking out the off-piste charms of the town can be extremely rewarding. You can explore the thriving arts and culture scene or learn some Breckenridge history on a tour with a local expert – popular choices include the Historic Tour, the Haunted Tour and the Gold Mining Tour. In summer you can go hiking, biking, fishing, paddling and rafting, while in winter everyone heads to the slopes to enjoy world-class winter sport activities and ride the highest ski lift in the country. Things to Do in Breckenridge
A spectacular scenic drive stretches from the old mining town of Silverton, to the town of Ouray, along what is called the Million Dollar Highway. This is a 46-kilometer two-lane highway that hugs the mountainside in places and looks out over jaw-dropping cliffs and across valleys to inspiring mountain peaks. It is one of the most spectacular mountain drives in Colorado. If you have time, you can extend this into a longer route and drive the San Juan Skyway Scenic Byway. The Skyway is a full-day trip that you will want to do in good weather, but can be done in winter or summer.