Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Colorado Attractions

The ‘wild west’ isn’t just limited to days gone by. There is so much for current generations to see and explore this side of the Mississippi, and Colorado has something for everyone. Whether you prefer driving in a car, sitting in the saddle, or hiking, explore the  Centennial State and have a rip-roaring good time!   

Pikes Peak courtesy of Wikipedia
Pikes Peak: Towering above Colorado Springs at 14,115 ft., Pikes Peak is one of the most famous mountains in the United States. Home to Santa’s Workshop and the Pikes Peak Auto Hill Climb, outdoor enthusiasts can hike to the top. The AdAmAn club hikes to the summit every December 30th to shoot off fireworks New Year’s Eve. Not a fan of hiking, travel by car on a paved road. Along the way, stop at one of the lakes to fish or enjoy a picnic lunch and be sure to visit the gift shops. Currently, the famed donut at the top isn’t open. It’s been torn down and a new one is currently being built.

Garden of the Gods, Wikipedia
Garden of the Gods: Not a fan of heights but love to hike or horseback ride, then this park is the perfect place for you. With several trails to walk or ride from the comfort of a saddle, explore the red rock formations, catch sight of a variety of wildlife , including deer and bighorn sheep, and visit the gift shops located at each end of the park for hidden treasures and lunch. Garden of the Gods Park is open all year round and truly the best place to spend a morning in Colorado Springs.

Royal Gorge Bridge, Wikipedia
Royal Gorge Bridge: Suspended over the Royal Gorge, the Arkansas River flowing along train tracks still in use today, the Royal Gorge Bridge is definitely not for those who have a fear of heights or for those who suffer from motion sickness. But if you don’t, get out in the middle and soak up nature’s beauty. The gorge is truly something amazing to see, and the bridge itself is awesome. Constructed in 1929, when a wildfire tore through the park and surrounding area, the bridge remained intact. Other buildings in the park perished, as did Buckskin Joe’s Western Town before the park entrance. While Buckskin Joe’s didn’t rebuild, the park did, and even added a zipline. With an abundance of wildlife, helicopter tours over the gorge, and camping areas, Royal Gorge is definitely a must-see on your visit to Colorado.

Hidden Lake; Continental Divide (My pic) 
The Continental Divide: Small towns to tour and shop (Leadville, Buena Vista, Salida), plenty of lakes to fish, camping, rafting on the Arkansas River, horseback riding, hiking and skiing Monarch Mountain, the divide offers something for everyone. The scenery is breathtaking, and if you’re wanting to hike some of the 14-teeners (what we locals call the peaks over 14,000 ft.) or drive over them to the western side of the state, do so while the weather permits. Independence Pass and other areas close for the season. Many times the date depends on the weather itself. Autumn along the divide is the prettiest time of year. With the Aspens in peak, the foothills are dotted in bright yellow and green, something worth viewing.  

Black Canyon (My pic)
Black Canyon, Gunnison National Park: Are you a fan of  the Grand Canyon? If so, this is the place for you. Gunnison National Park’s Black Canyon is a deep gorge with breathtaking views of the rock formations and water at the bottom. The south end of the park, located just outside Montrose, Colorado, offers a paved road for cars and bicyclists, places to pull camp, parking areas with trails leading to the gorge, and a visitor’s center to learn about the creation of the gorge and the wildlife that is native to the park. There is also a paved road leading to the bottom of the gorge, where you can park and walk along the water. After viewing this rim, get back in the car and travel about 0 minutes to the other rim, located just outside of Gunnison. Here you can fish, boat, or camp Blue Mesa Reservoir, hike along the sage dotted landscape, and tour this side of the canyon. As beautiful and breathtaking the Royal Gorge, I highly recommend spending time in Black Canyon.

Ouray (my pic) 
Ouray and Silverton: These 2 old mining towns are perfect for those who love the outdoors. Situated on the side of the mountains,(Ouray’s backyard is literally the side of the mountain, whose jagged peaks and crevices are breathtaking) and not too far from each other, folks can explore the mountains via hiking, bicycling, or on a Jeep tour. With plenty of places to shop or eat, these quaint western towns will quickly steal your heart.   

***Note*** I have been to all of these places. Each is spectacular and offers its own beauty to Colorado. Colorado is truly a wonderful place to visit, and if outdoor life isn’t for you, Colorado Springs, Denver and Pueblo offer plenty of activities that don’t involve hiking, fishing or camping. Enjoy! 


Kristy McCaffrey said...

I've been to a few of these sites, but really need to return. I'd really like to visit Garden of the Gods. Such a beautiful state! You're lucky to live there.

Julie Lence said...

Garden of the Gods is gorgeous. Plenty of hiking trails or places to have a picnic. While it's pretty just about any time of year, I recommend visiting in the fall or spring. Summer is packed with tourists.

Julie Lence said...