It’s been a little over a month since Christmas and it is time to take another vacation… Amen? Amen. You may think that taking a trip may involve a whole lot of cash, but that isn’t the case at all when you take one of these 17 incredible and life changing Colorado trips:
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
Strawberry Park Hot Springs (Steamboat Springs)
Located just outside of the popular resort town, Strawberry Park features several stream-fed soaking pools that vary in temperature from 101 to 106 degrees Fahrenheit. Can you imagine sitting in these heavenly mineral pools amidst the trees and wooded area while snow flakes gently fall upon you? I sure can! (If you are the adventurous type, please note that the pools are clothing optional after dark.)
Mueller State Park (Divide)
With more than 5,000 acres of varying ecosystems, wildlife and plant-life, Mueller is a one-stop shop for all things Colorado. Do you enjoy a forest setting? Mueller has it. Or do you find yourself more partial to a green and grassy meadow? Mueller has that, too. Valleys full of wildflowers? They got ’em. In addition to these glorious landscapes, Mueller State Park is also home to 55 miles of hiking and biking trails, unique lodging opportunities and even Geocaching.
Hanging Lake (Glenwood Springs)
Colorado is home to several stunning waterfalls: Seven Falls… Bridal Veil Falls… the waterfall at Casa Bonita… the list goes on and on! Quite possibly the most beautiful of them all, however, are the waterfalls over stunning Hanging Lake! What makes this waterfall particularly spectacular? It's the rare turquoise color of the water is caused by travertine deposition that was originally created by dissolved limestone from the Mississippian Period Leadville Formation.
If you are a Colorado native, there is a good chance that you are familiar with the Gunnison County town of Crested Butte… but have you ever taken then time to visit? We happen to think that the town of 1,500, whose motto is aptly “A National Historic District,” is the best kept secret in Colorado. (One visit and you will understand why!)
Blue Lakes (San Juan Mountains)
Dreamy locations are not hard to come by in Colorado… but a location that makes you literally pinch yourself because it is so gorgeous? Definitely not something you come by everyday! If you are looking to experience a little heaven on earth, I give you the San Juan Mountains Blue Lakes.
Royal Gorge Bridge (Canon City)
Built in 1929, the 1,260 foot long, 18 foot wide Royal Gorge Bridge was built within a six month period as an intended tourist attraction. The 1,292 planked wonder can hold numerous pedestrians at a time, but prohibits oversize vehicles (such as RVs and trucks) at all times. (Warning: This bridge is NOT for the faint of heart, as up until 2003, the Royal Gorge was considered to be the highest suspension bridge in the world.)
Ice Lake (Silverton)
Every native outdoor enthusiast has their favorite trail/area to explore. Which one is yours? Devil’s Thumb? Boulder Creek? Garden of the Gods? While all of these fairly well-known trails are beautiful, they may be a bit congested due to their popularity. The virtually unknown, hidden gem of a trail known as Ice Lake, however, may just be one of the quietest, most gorgeous, yet underrated hikes of them all.
Wheeler Geologic Area (Creede)
Believe it or not, Colorado was once home to volcanoes, including the 30-million-year-old La Garita Caldera, which caused the large and stunning fragments within this must-see area!
Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve (Mosca)
Didn't realize that mountain-covered Colorado also has beautiful mounds of soft sand? Then you have obviously never visited the marvel that is the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve.
Santa's Workshop North Pole (Cascade)
There is no denying that Christmas is the most magical time of the year… but what if you could prolong the season and stretch it out to last more than half a year? Thanks to Santa's Workshop and its many rides, shops, and shows, you can.
Picketwire Canyon (La Junta)
Located just south of La Junta, the Picketwire Canyon is a geologic site housed in the beautiful Comanche National Grassland that consists of more than 100 dinosaur track-ways and a whopping 1,500 individual footprints, making it the largest track site for dinosaurs in the United States!
Last Dollar Road (Telluride)
Talk about stunning; the Last Dollar Road is an awe-inspiring 18-mile trek that passes through some of the most beautiful scenery in not just the state, but the entire country. Want our advice? Make plans to travel the road during every season, as the views are always changing (and always beautiful).
Sandbeach Lake (Allenspark)
Situated within Rocky Mountain National Park, Sandbeach Lake features what is essentially the best of all worlds with its warm and sandy shores, beautiful waters, and majestic mountain background. In order to visit Sandlake, guests must be able to hike a (somewhat) laborious trail (4.5 miles each way with intense elevation changes throughout), but from what we’ve heard, it’s worth the trek.
Pearl Lake State Park (Steamboat Springs)
Let’s face it: the entire state of Colorado is one giant oasis full of beauty and tranquility that you won’t find anywhere else. Pearl Lake State Park, however, may just be the crème de la crème of the state… and the best part? It’s still somewhat of a secret, meaning virtually no crowds or loud noises!
Canyons of the Ancients National Monument (Cortez)
You know all there is to know about the 52,000-acre Mesa Verde National Park and how it is considered to be one of the best Ancestral Puebloan archaeological sites in the country… but did you know that Colorado is also home to another 6,000 Ancestral Puebloan archaeological sites at the incredible Canyons of the Ancients National Monument?
Dinosaur Ridge (Morrison)
Named a National Natural Landmark in 1973, Morrison's Dinosaur Ridge is one of the world's most famous fossil sites, first producing the skeletons of a few well-known dinosaurs (including the Stegosaurus) back in 1877!
Old Hundred Gold Mine Tour (Silverton)
If you grew up in Colorado, you may remember studying the profitable mining industry during your middle school Colorado history class. For years, people flocked to the Centennial State in search of fortune by digging and panning for precious metals and rocks found within veins and ores and today, we can still retrace these steps by taking a tour inside the historic Silverton-area Old Hundred Gold Mine.