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.
The Pierre Shale formation was deposited during the Paleogene and Cretaceous periods about 70 million years ago. The region was covered by a deep sea—the Cretaceous Western Interior Seaway—which deposited massive amounts of shale on the seabed. Both the thick stratum of shale and embedded marine life fossils—including ammonites and skeletons of fish and such marine reptiles as mosasaurs, plesiosaurs, and extinct species of sea turtles, along with rare dinosaur and bird remains—were created during this time period. The area now known as Colorado was eventually transformed from being at the bottom of an ocean to dry land again, giving yield to another fossiliferous rock layer known as the Denver Formation.
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.
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.
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.
An excellent vacation destination for visitors who are ready to hit the slopes, winter enthusiasts flock to Telluride every year for its 1,700 skiable acres that cater to both experts and novices alike. Visitors flock to Town Park on the southeast edge of town for its abundance of activities available, such as swimming pools, tennis courts, fishing ponds and campgrounds that are popular for the city’s annual festivals and events. Bear Creek Falls and Bridal Veil Falls offer a variety of scenic hiking trails, while the Telluride Historical Museum and Historic Sheridan Opera House are two cultural attractions that shouldn’t be overlooked.
A sanctuary just for mature audiences all year long, Stonebrook Resort on Fall River offers plenty of peaceful settings, from secluded outdoor hot tubs overlooking the river to private hiking trails that lead to Rocky Mountain National Park, just 2 miles away. Downtown Estes Park, with snug restaurants, breweries and wineries well-suited for a couples’ night out, is just 2 miles the other way.
Another historic and romantic hotel in Durango is The Strater Hotel. This hotel was special to our family as my husband’s great-great-aunt aunt actually worked here. A member of the Historic Hotels of America, the Strater is one of those iconic Old West hotels where you literally feel as if you’ve stepped back in time to experience the romance of the Victorian era and the rails of the late 1800s. Located two blocks from the train depot and the General Palmer, you can also watch the train from this hotel.
Home to the Lake Superior, Lake Michigan, Lake Huron, and part of Lake Erie, Michigan is rich in natural vegetation and beauty. Families looking for an adventure should explore the Upper Peninsula region that houses famous natural attractions such as the Porcupine Mountains, Pictured Rocks, Mackinac Island, Isle Royale, Tahquamenon Falls, and the Seney National Wildlife Refuge. Then there is the heavenly Lower Peninsula region with its placid lakes, rivers, forests, sand dunes and beaches. Canoeing, fishing, sailing, and motorboating are popular activities. You'll love returning to your Michigan cabin rental to unwind after an action-packed day exploring.
Guest rooms at both lodge buildings are tastefully decorated and fully equipped with the necessary amenities for absolute comfort, including private bathrooms with showers and soaking tubs, stone fireplaces, and flat-screen televisions. The inn is situated within walking distance of the town’s restaurants, bars, and clubs, as well as other entertainment and events that happen on a regular basis. The Minturn Inn is located two hours from Denver.
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.
Home to the Steamboat ski resort, Steamboat Springs is a city in Colorado’s Yampa Valley. One of the main attractions here are the geothermal hot springs, which people come to experience for its healing properties. The Old Town Hot Springs also has water slides and swimming pools, while the ski resort has six peaks including Mount Werner for the serious snowboarding and skiing enthusiast.
Rooms enjoy large beds, plush décor, kitchenettes with microwaves and fridges, and cable TV and free wireless Internet, and guests have access to a year-round indoor heated swimming pool and an outdoor hot tub. Sip complimentary morning coffee accompanied by muffins in front a crackling fire in the inviting lobby before heading out to enjoy some of the many outdoor activities in the area.
Fishing was a popular pastime for early visitors to the park, and it remains so today, with anglers catching several types of trout, including brown, brook, rainbow and cutthroat. Note: A valid Colorado fishing license is required for all persons 16 years of age or older to fish in Rocky Mountain National Park. For current Colorado fishing license fees visit the Colorado Division of Wildlife website.
Only a short drive from lively Steamboat Springs, the Aspen View Lodge is tucked away on the edge of the Rabbit Ears Pass recreational area and Routt National Forest. Surrounded by mature aspens, the lodge fits in perfectly with its huge rough-hewn timbers and a wall of glass. The lodge can accommodate 35 guests in 12 contemporary, comfortable bedrooms with all the necessary amenities.
Solitude Cabins offers a rate to fit every budget and time of year, whether you want to get away in the winter for a snowy adventure, or your prefer to enjoy the colorful hiking trails of the summer. We do offer discounts and package specials, so please contact us well ahead of your trip to learn more. Our cabins comfortably house up to six guests.
The Royal Gorge Bridge & Park – Just a few minutes away from Echo Canyon River Expeditions office, you’ll find Colorado’s Natural Wonder – the Royal Gorge. In 1929, the Royal Gorge Bridge was built across the gorge and still stands as one of the world’s greatest engineering feats. Buy tickets online or as a rafting package to save a few dollars. The newly rebuilt attractions and visitor’s center enhance your experience of this amazing chasm and expansive view of the Wet Mountain range. There are also trails, located just before the gates of the park at the rest area, that allow visitors to walk or bike a few miles along the rim of the Gorge.
Bedrooms enjoy air-conditioning and central heating, mini refrigerators, and free Wi-Fi while private bathrooms have rain showers and Jacuzzi whirlpools. A delicious full English breakfast is served each morning in the inn’s elegant dining room, and lunch and dinner can be taken at the inn on request. The inn is within walking distance of several excellent restaurants in Colorado Springs as well as other entertainment.