Fulfill Your Wanderlust with a Colorado-Style Adventure
Colorado is the ultimate place for getting out, exploring and going on all sorts of fun adventures. With everything that our beautiful state has to offer – from scenic locations boasting incredible views to unique attractions that can't be found anywhere else, it would be near impossible for a person to run out of new areas to discover and visit.While travelers appreciate coming to Colorado because of the diverse selection of tourist destinations and activities, locals enjoy being able to just hop in the car and escape on mini-getaways, especially to places that don't even feel like they're a part of the same state that they call home. So, whether you're a vacationer to the Centennial State or live here full-time, fulfill your urge of wanderlust at one of these Colorado destinations that are just a little off of the beaten path.
If you spend some quality time at the Starlite Classic Campground, you'll probably find yourself getting very comfortable with Ginny, Sally, Bailey, or maybe even Lucy. No, these aren't the names of Starlite's staff members, but rather the cozy, vintage trailers that are available to rent out during your stay. Each camper has its own retro theme, and are decked out with classic staples from the '60s and '70s, like pink flamingos and lava lamps. In addition to the nine campers, there are three cabins available, as well as RV and tent sites. Get ready to bust out those mood rings, mini-skirts, bell bottoms and tie-dye shirts – camping season is from May 6 through October 2, but reserve your spot early, because these groovy, Coloradical rentals fill up fast.
This beautiful place is truly unlike anywhere else and will leave you with one unforgettable experience! As if the drive to the Hot Springs isn't amazing enough, upon arriving, you'll feel like you just stepped into some sort of fairy tale land where all of your stresses and worries are instantly washed away. The rejuvenating mineral pools are open year-round, and after dark clothing becomes optional. If you're looking for some other places to explore right in the area, Routt National Forest has tons of trails for all levels of hiking, biking, and snowshoeing. And, if you end up feeling sore from a day on the slopes or trails, there are private massage huts and therapy pools. You can even stay overnight in rustic cabins, a covered wagon, or an old train caboose, all located on Strawberry Park grounds.
It's common to see sleds and boards gliding down this mountainous, 40-mile region in Colorado – it's the surface that they are being ridden on that's not. For a different kind of outdoor adventure, head about five hours south to the Great Sand Dunes, also the tallest sand dunes in North America. The park is open year-round and has both camping and lodging options, but depending on the season, the dunes and popular swimming area, Medano Creek, might be frozen. Besides getting some amazing photo ops, there are tons of other things to do there, like x-sports, fishing, hiking, and even possibly encountering a UFO. Staying overnight means getting to stargaze and hike under a moonlit sky and also see nocturnal wildlife.
Living in Northern Colorado, we're super lucky to have so many hiking trails that are basically right in our backyard. So many so, that it can even be hard to pick which one you'll spend your time exploring. If you find yourself in this predicament, Bridal Veil Falls just might be the perfect choice! The hike is six miles total – beginning at the Cow Creek Trailhead in a flat, wildflower-filled meadow, you'll wind your way up, progressively getting steeper throughout the woods, yet not too difficult and never overly crowded at all. There is one point where hikers do have to make their way over a massive rock surface, but it's what's on the other side of the rock that makes the whole trip worth it. There are a few mini-waterfalls and pools that line the trail on the way up (pictured below), but at the top of Bridal Veil Falls, you'll be met with much bigger cascades running down impressive rock formations. This secluded area is stunning and serene, and definitely a rewarding sight. Wild turkeys, elk, and other small mammals are commonly seen along this trail. Spots are limited, but parking is free by following Devils Gulch Road out of downtown Estes 3.9 miles to McGraw Road. Turn left and drive 2.3 miles to the Cow Creek Trailhead.
Nederland is a quaint mountain town nestled along the scenic Peak-to-Peak Highway, just about 20 miles outside of Boulder. For such a tiny town, there's a whole lot of things do to there, as well as in the surrounding areas. Downtown is filled with a bunch of little shops, cozy cafes to grab coffee or a bite to eat, or you could even take a ride on the Carousel of Happiness. While the town is usually pretty quiet, it becomes much more lively for special events like Ned Fest and the world-famous Frozen Dead Guy Days. If you venture out of town, you can easily access the Indian Peaks Wilderness area where you'll find a slew of trails and lakes to explore. No matter what time of year you go, the scenery and views are always amazing! Also, your chances of seeing moose and big horn sheep are very likely throughout these wooded forests.
If you head northwest out of Fort Collins into the Poudre River Canyon, you will eventually stumble across Red Feather Lakes, where your next adventure can begin. Besides the rustic mountain village, there are multiple campgrounds in the area, gorgeous lakes that are ideal for boating and also stocked for fishing, and of course plenty of trails for hiking, biking, and cross-country skiing. If you don't plan on staying overnight, Red Feather still makes for a solid, scenic day trip.These rocky peaks are home to the Shambhala Mountain Center, where visitors can escape for some spiritual soul cleansing while being surrounded by nature's raw beauty or for another epic view, try finding the Deadman Lookout tower if the weather permits.