DENVER (CBS4) – With Valentine’s Day quickly approaching, you may be thinking about a last-minute escape for two. If you don’t have a lot of money to spend, you need not worry, as there are plenty of amazing destinations just a short drive from home that will still feel like you are getting away from town for a few days. The trick to saving money this time of year is to avoid the busy ski resort towns, where the room rates get very high and the towns can be very crowded. Instead opt for off-season at one of the other beautiful summer destinations in Colorado. You’ll find you can get an amazing room with lots of amenities for a much better rate.
It’s hard to beat the majestic setting at The Peaks Resort & Spa in Telluride. This property is surrounded by the dramatic peaks of the Rockies in the southwestern region of the state, and is particularly renowned for its spa. Here you can indulge in a variety of rejuvenating treatments like hot stone therapy, soak in the eucalyptus-filled Jacuzzis or take advantage of personal training sessions. Enjoy your days taking part in outdoor adventures like mountain biking or hiking the spectacular trails and then come back to enjoy a
Fall River provides a beautiful backdrop for our lodging resort. After your hiking, snowshoeing or back-country skiing adventure, spend an intimate evening in a luxurious Spa Suite or relax in a spacious 1 Bedroom Suite. Enjoy sounds of the river from your private cabin/condo deck. All the conveniences of home in each suite. Boulder Brook on Fall River Details
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.
The park is home to some 2,000 to 3,000 elk in summer, and between 800 and 1,000 elk spend the winter within its boundaries. Because of lack of predation, the National Park Service culls around 50 elk each winter. Overgrazing by elk has become a major problem in the park's riparian areas, so much so that the NPS fences them out of many critical wetland habitats to let willows and aspens grow. The program seems to be working, as the deciduous wetland plants thrive within the fencing. Many people think the elk herd is too large, but are reluctant to reintroduce predators because of its proximity to large human populations and ranches.
Trail Ridge Road is 48 miles (77 km) long and connects the entrances in Grand Lake and Estes Park. Running generally east–west through many hairpin turns, the road crosses Milner Pass through the Continental Divide at an elevation of 10,758 ft (3,279 m). The highest point of the road is 12,183 feet (3,713 m), with eleven miles of the road being above tree line which is approximately 11,500 feet (3,505 m). The road is the highest continuously paved highway in the country, and includes many large turnouts at key points to stop and observe the scenery.
Aspen is a lovely town, best known for phenomenal skiing, but Aspen offers a host of other outdoor activities, such as cycling, hiking, kayaking, fly fishing, and horseback riding. Celebrate your romantic connection with a spectacular hot air balloon ride over the four mountain areas of Buttermilk, Snowmass, Aspen, and Aspen Highlands at sunrise or sunset while sipping champagne and indulging in chocolate-covered strawberries. Pamper each other with a customized couple’s massage at the Remede Spa at the St. Regis Hotel, then luxuriate in the hot tub where three waterfalls tumble down a stone wall. Enjoy some French cuisine and ample wine choices at the Rustique Bistro.
The perfect blend of a picturesque main street with 2,358 acres of incredible skiing opportunities, Breckenridge is the oldest and largest town in Colorado’s famous Summit County. Take a tour of the 12-block downtown area and window shop through its quaint Main Street shops before strapping up your boots and heading to the famous Breckenridge Ski Resort. In the summer, take the ski ride lift up to find an array of hiking trails, while biking and golf are also popular activities. Host to numerous arts events throughout the year, this Certified Colorado Creative District has exciting public art spaces throughout the area in addition to a National Repertory Orchestra and Backstage Theatre.
The weather in RMNP is highly variable. To avoid being caught off-guard, pay attention to the weather report (especially afternoon thunderstorms in the summer or heavy snow during the winter). The NPS also warns that wintertime visitors planning on cross-country skiing should be aware of the risks of avalanches, and should consider completing an avalanche training from places like the Colorado Avalanche Information Center before hitting the trails. For more safety tips, consult the NPS website .
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.
During the winter most of Trail Ridge Road is closed due to heavy snow, limiting motorized access to the edges of the park. Winter activities include snowshoeing and cross-country skiing which are possible from either the Estes Park or Grand Lake entrances. On the east side near Estes Park, skiing and snowshoeing trails are available off Bear Lake Road, such as the Bear Lake, Bierstadt Lake, and Sprague Lake trails and at Hidden Valley. Slopes for sledding are also available at Hidden Valley. The west side of the park near Grand Lake also has viable snowshoeing trails. Backcountry skiing and snowboarding can be enjoyed after climbing up one of the higher slopes, especially late in the snow season after avalanche danger has subsided, and technical climbing remains also a possibility, although typically differing in style from the summer months.
Dream Lake is one of the most-photographed lakes and is also noted for its winter snowshoeing. Emerald Lake is located directly below the saddle between Hallett Peak and Flattop Mountain, only a short hike beyond Dream Lake. The shore of Lake Haiyaha (a Native American word for "big rocks") is surrounded by boulders along with ancient, twisted and picturesque pine trees growing out of rock crevices. Nymph Lake is named for the yellow lily, Nymphaea polysepala, on its surface. Lake Helene is at the head of Odessa Gorge, east of Notchtop Mountain. Two Rivers Lake is found along the hike to Odessa Lake from Bear Lake, and has one backcountry campsite. The Cub Lake trail passes Big Thompson River, flowery meadows, and stands of pine and aspen trees. Ice and deep snow are present during the winter, requiring the use of skis or snowshoes.
The first week of the park shutdown brought little financial impact, said town manager Frank Lancaster, probably because most tourists had already booked their Christmas stays and couldn't cancel. Along the town's main street Wednesday, tourists peered in candy store windows, shopped for T-shirts and rented snowshoes, and there was little sign the nearby park is largely inaccessible.
Although there are a limited number of dining establishments inside Rocky Mountain National Park, nearby Estes Park offers 70-some restaurants, which serve up a range of cuisines. You'll find a handful of fine dining establishments, including the traveler-favorite Twin Owls Steakhouse, but most of its restaurants are casual yet tasty spots. To refuel after a long day on park trails, travelers should head to Elkhorn Avenue in Estes Park for just about any kind of cuisine. For instance, Antonio's Real New York Pizza & Deli is a great spot to dine in or takeout, Nepal's Café is a prime place to fill up on Indian-Nepalese dishes, while Peppers Mexican Grill is beloved for its buffalo nachos.
There are several Front Range towns that have fun winter attractions that are worth experiencing. Next time you’re passing through Idaho Springs, relax at Indian Hot Springs or go snowshoeing in the Arapaho National Forest. Georgetown hosts ice races on its frozen lake. While in Evergreen, make use of the giant frozen lake by ice skating or fishing.