WANDER GUIDE: COLORADO
Colorado...just thinking about this Rocky Mountain state makes me so happy. I have wandered here more times than I can count, but every single time I go back, I always experience something that touches me. It is the one place I will continue to visit. Recently I spent my 38th Birthday here and it couldn’t have been any more fulfilling. There is something about the fresh mountain air, the sound of the crystal-clear creeks, the altitude, and some of the most beautiful nature I have ever scene. As much as I want to keep this place to myself, it’s time I share some of my favorite places from my recent long weekend trip.
Idaho Springs; located just West of Denver about 30 miles and in the heart of Clear Creek Canyon up in the mountains. The mining history of this town in obvious as they offer several mining tours and this gem is where Gold was first discovered in Colorado in 1859. The infamous Charlie Tayler Waterwheel can be seen from I-70 but I recommend taking the time to stop and enjoy the short walk there, where you can also view Bridal Veil Falls, a magnificent waterfall plunging into Clear Creek. Take a stroll to the downtown shops and make a stop into the Visitors Center to learn more about the town and outdoor activities. From the Springs, take the C103 up to Echo Lake where you can see a gorgeous view of Mount Evans. Weather permitting, you can take Mt. Evans Hwy. up to the peak. This is the highest paved road in North America rising over 14,000 feet. Be sure to watch for mountains goats and big horn sheep as you wind your way up to higher altitudes.
Georgetown; I have a special place in my heart for this cozy mountain-side town. I first visited here 5 years ago after signing up to run the Slacker Half Marathon which starts at the Loveland Ski Area and ends right in the heart of Georgetown. And I just keep coming back. The Hotel Chateau Chamonix is the perfect French-themed hotel for your stay. With Mountain views, the sounds of Clear Creek, and French pastries for breakfast, you can’t go wrong here. It’s walking distance to The Alpine Restaurant and Bar, a low-key hangout which serves up great pizza and mac-n-cheese. For a bit more upscale, try Coopers on the Creek; the food is fabulous, and they have a wide variety of cocktails. The Georgetown Loop Railway offers a 4-mile roundtrip train ride through the Rocky Mountains and over the Devils Gate Bridge on one of Colorado’s narrow-gauge railroads, a fun trip for anyone. Be sure to make the drive up Guanella Pass to get a mountains goats view of the town below. It’s breathtaking.
Guanella Pass Brewery; located downtown in Georgetown, this local brewery offers up the freshest mountain beer to quench your thirst. I love this place for so many reasons. You can buy a Growler and take your favorite beer home. They allow you to bring food into the brewery because let’s face it, pizza and beer go together, right? They have an amazing patio and for chillier nights, you can stay warm around one of their outdoor firepits. It’s dog friendly which earns triple points from me and it’s the official brewery for Parker the Snow Dog; I’ve met him, he’s the sweetest. If you do one thing in Georgetown, go here for the beer. The Kataka Mountain IPA is my favorite.
Loveland Ski Area; just a few miles West of Georgetown is where you will find this snowy winter wonderland. Whether you are a skier or snowboarder, this place is great for hitting the slopes and taking in the cool mountain air. On the East side of the Continental Divide is the Basin where you will find a wide variety of terrain for those with a more intermediate or advanced skill. The Basin offers nine different runs and for the ultra-brave, make your way to the Black Diamonds which reach over 13,000 feet. Be sure to check out the Valley if you are a beginner, which gives a more wide-open terrain and separate lifts. When it’s time to warm up or grab a bite to eat, I recommend The Loveland Wedge Bar; particularly the Poutine and the Blonde Ale Brew by Tommyknocker. You won’t be disappointed.
If you find yourself back in the mile-high city of Denver to catch your flight home, I recommend you make your way to the RiNo district. I recently stayed at The Source Hotel, a new hip and trendy space that offers amazing views of the Denver skyline and the Rocky Mountains. Each room has incredible natural light, high ceilings, concrete floors, comfy beds, and mini-bars. Situated on the rooftop of the hotel is The Woods; a full-service restaurant and bar serving up local beer, crafty cocktails, and magnificent views. The RiNo district is known for vibrant and colorful art which have been created by locals. You can find murals throughout the area so get outside and explore the alleyways and buildings.
This is just a glimpse of the places in this beautiful state that I love as I am quite certain I could write a book about the adventures I have experienced here. Just be sure to add to Colorful Colorado to your list of places to visit! No matter the season, you will find yourself lost in the beauty of this natural state.
Hi guys!! I am Shona, the gal behind the traveling blog Dirt Roads-High Heels. I am a Registered Nurse on a Heart-Neuro-Vascular unit, while working as a Forensic Nurse in the emergency department. I LOVE LOVE LOVE to travel; from camping in the winter, to hiking in the fall, to pretending to be a mermaid in the ocean, I love any and all wanders. I feel very fortunate that I get to travel as often as I do and get to share my experiences through my blog, which is solely dedicated to just that. I have some new and exciting upcoming adventures starting in 2019 so be sure to follow along with me! Be on the lookout for Goldie too, my mini gold airplane, who always finds a spot in my suitcase.