Estes Park is home to the headquarters of the Rocky Mountain National Park, and for many visitors, it’s the first stop en route to a Rocky Mountain vacation. Find yourself passing through to pick up maps and check trail conditions, or stay for a weekend getaway that offers unbeatable access to the Rockies, meaning you can hike all day and dine and unwind at night. The lively town has plenty of entertainment like the downtown Riverwalk, Aspen and Evergreen Gallery, and the historic Stanley Hotel.
Nestling in the heart of a former volcanic caldera in the San Juan Mountains, the little Colorado town of Creede will blow you away with its amazing natural splendor and small-town atmosphere. You can learn about Creede’s mining history at the Creede Historical Museum and the Underground Mining Museum and enjoy the annual summer Creede Repertory Festival.
Zach Zehr, an avid backcountry adventurer, spends a lot of time in Rocky Mountain National Park, which is open but operating with a limited staff since Dec. 22, 2018, due to the federal government shutdown. Because of the shutdown, the roads aren’t being plowed so much of the park is not open to vehicle traffic. Fat bikes, however, work just fine. Zehr, who is also the manager at the Estes Park Mountain Shop, and some friends rode their fat bikes to the Bear Lake Trailhead and did a backcountry ski trip in the park on Jan. 6, 2019. (Provided by Zach Zehr)
Explore many miles of cycling and mountain biking trails or go white water rafting, paddling, wind-surfing and kayaking. Mesa Lake is rumored to be the best place in Colorado for trout fishing and in winter you can even go ice fishing. You can expect to find the full gamut of winter sports, including thrilling snowmobile tours. If you need a break from the action, you can visit the Pioneer Museum or a few of the local art galleries.
Known for both its hot springs and skiing opportunities, Steamboat Springs is popular throughout the year. Perfect for nature lovers, this quiet mountain town is one of Colorado’s most attractive areas to explore. Drive down a riverside canyon to soak in the Strawberry Hot Springs, hike to the scenic Fish Creek Falls or take a mountain-bike ride through the surrounding parks and forests. The ski area’s, Steamboat Ski Resort and Howelsen Hill, are the area’s biggest draws, along with three state parks nearby, Stagecoach State Park, Pearl Lake State Park and Steamboat Lake State Park. Those who want to take in a bit of culture can visit sthe Steamboat Symphony Orchestra or the Steamboat Art Museum, while a gondola takes visitors to the top of Mount Werner for a panoramic mountain views of the area.
And when it’s time to book your weekend trip to Colorado, consider a vacation rental as your accommodation. Whether you prefer an urban loft, slopeside home, or mountain chalet, TripAdvisor offers a wide variety of different rentals across the state. You’ll be treated to homey amenities such as a full kitchen, laundry, and even perhaps a fireplace and Jacuzzi for those chilly Colorado nights!
Getting to Ouray is a spectacular adventure in itself, especially if you take the Million Dollar Highway that follows a 25-mile stretch of US 550 from Silverton to get here. The road’s endless twists and turns, many at the edge of sheer cliffs, brings some of the most jaw-dropping vistas in the world. As you turn each corner, the views of the soaring, jagged peaks of the San Juan Mountains seem to keep getting better – providing a pretty big clue as to why Ouray is often called the “Switzerland of America.” It’s an ideal spot for soaking in natural hot springs, gazing at countless waterfalls, and even exploring old mines. For an in-depth knowledge of the town’s gold and silver history, head to Bachelor-Syracuse Mine where you’ll find out what it was like to be a miner back in the day. There are also lots of interesting shops on the main street, historic walking tours and even a ghost tour if you’re brave enough.
Putting my Rocky Mountain inspired rectangles away until February, I eventually knitted up the remaining pieces and ironed the whole thing out before I framed the simple square and placed it on my beige wall. Perhaps I needed the chill of winter to remind me of the brisk breeze of that famous mountain range, maybe I briefly tired of sweater and cardigan projects, captivated instead by the simplicity of knit-purl in straight lines.
Just a few miles from the town of Estes Park, Rocky Mountain National Park is one of the most popular national parks in the United States. The soaring mountain peaks, alpine lakes and meadows, forests, and abundant wildlife showcase nature at its best. The park has more than 100 peaks over 10,000 feet, including Longs Peak, the highest in the park, at 14,259 feet.
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
Perched on the banks of the San Juan River in Pagosa Springs, this hot-springs haven offers a Relaxation Terrace with five pools that are only accessible to the of-age crowd. The terrace is tucked above the kid-friendly main springs area, and includes a waterfall, fire pit, roman shower, jetted tub and river overlook, along with blissful quiet time. Access to the terrace is complimentary for hotel guests and is available to day visitors for a small fee.
The Oxford Club, Spa & Salon offers a full range of services, whether you are looking for a classical massage or a revitalizing facial. Head to the fitness center to work out with a Personal Trainer, practice yoga, take a spinning class or go indoor rowing. The salon at The Oxford is one of the best places in town for a haircut, blowout and highlights. The Urban Farmer Steakhouse by Sage Restaurant Group is scheduled to open in the summer of 2017. Before dinner, have drinks at the Cruise Room Martini Bar decorated in fun Art Deco style. Hotel guests receive complimentary Escalade car service within a two mile radius. Rooms start at USD $200 per night. Next read: 25 Best Things to Do in Denver and 15 Best Romantic Restaurants in Denver, one of the top Colorado destinations.
The Trail Ridge Road, which itself reaches an altitude of more than 12,000 feet, is the main driving route through the park and offers easy access to this incredible terrain. You can sightsee from the comfort of your car or stop off along the way for a hike or easy walk. The park has an extensive system of hiking trails that range from paths of less than a half-mile to full-day and multi-day hikes. If you're lucky, you may see elk, bighorn sheep, deer, and other critters.
In winter you can try cross-country skiing and snowmobile trails and after an energetic day out there is nothing better than a soak in one of the natural thermal springs. You can visit the Buena Vista Heritage Museum or go on a Ghost Town adventure, visit several working art studios and galleries, or quench your thirst at a local brewery. Things to Do in Buena Vista
The Experience: This gorgeous crystal-blue mountain scene captures Loch Lake, which is in the Rocky Mountain National Park. Take a day trip here to see the national wonder and spend the rest of your vacation enjoying the charming college town of Boulder. Stay at the St. Julien and enjoy a spa treatment or book a room at the hip, adult-only Basecamp Hotel for a quintessential Colorado vibe.
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.
In the shadow of Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve, the quirky town of Hooper sits atop a natural artesian hot spring, with water flowing year-round into the family-friendly Sand Dunes Pool. On the same property, The Greenhouse is an all-indoor, all-adult oasis with three small soaking tubs and a 10-by-75-foot zero-entry pool. The Greenhouse also has a 10-person sauna, indoor gardens and an onsite bar to help you stay even toastier.
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.