13 “Must Do’s” in Colorado before the summer ends
As we are in the last days of summer here is a list of adventures and places you should try and squeeze in before we start having colder days and many of these attractions will close for the winter. From experience and being a native to Colorado these are definitely places that are a must do to anyone who is visiting here or has just moved here.
Red Rock Amphitheater– If you are new here, I would venture to guess that someone has already told you about Red Rocks. This is an unbelievable place and one of the best concert venues you will ever experience. Before the season is over, check out the schedule and get some tickets asap! You will never experience a concert quite like Red Rocks! If you don’t want to do or can’t get a concert in then at least check out their other attractions such as exercising, hiking, biking, movies, etc. It is still a landmark you need to experience and see.
Colorado Sand Dunes– It is literally large sand dunes planted at the base of the Sangra de Cristo Mountains. It is such an amazing and beautiful site, one of the unexpected natural wonders of Colorado. It is FREE to visit, climb, explore. Should you decide to camp there is a camping fee. You can also rent a sandboard and surf the sand! This is a natural landmark that you should see at least once!
Mount Evans scenic drive– This scenic byway takes you over 14,000 feet, (one of Colorado’s fourteeners) but can drive 3/4 of the way, you will see mountain vistas but lakes, ancient bristlecone pines and some mountain goats (who may also come to say “hi” at your car). So get your cameras ready, plus the change in altitude means you will need to dress in layers! You can be in shorts and a tank but have in your car, some pants, tennis shoes, sweatshirt, hat, and umbrella. You can hike the remaining summit once you park and trust me it is a site to see!
Cheyenne Mountain Zoo– Unlike to its name it is not located in Cheyenne, it is in Colorado Springs. It is by far one of my favorite places to visit. It is a must at least once a year for my family. This zoo is literally on a mountain, you get to climb around the peak all the while visiting animals. The giraffes are the first attraction and instead of looking “up” at them, they have it where you are level with their head. You can choose to feed them for $2, or just watch and take pics. They also have wallabies that roam free and are walking with you in their attraction, and when you get hungry there is a restaurant you can sit and admire the scenery. You can park for free at the Broadmoor Hotel and can get a free shuttle to the zoo. Which also brings me to the next attraction…
Broadmoor Hotel– In Colorado Springs, an hour away from Denver. This resort is notated as a member of the historic hotels of America of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. This beautiful hotel is a landmark, even if you don’t stay you can walk the grounds for free, go to the restaurant on the patio and just enjoy the scenery. Or visit the Golden Bee, an authentic gastropub (British 19th-century pub) that was actually transferred to the Broadmoor panel by panel directly for the UK. Eat some fish & chips and embrace some downhome favorites such as a Colassal Pretzel Twist, Classic Reuben, and Beer Steamed Mussels.
Seven Falls-This is another adventure where you can go to the Broadmoor Hotel and catch a free shuttle, regardless if you are a guest. It is a series of seven cascading waterfalls, reaching a total height of 181 feet. You will climb 224 steps on a staircase from the base of the falls to the peak. There is also an elevator for those who are unable to climb. It is a spectacular view, beautiful scenery, and just a memorable experience.
Stanley Hotel-Now, you don’t necessarily need to see in the summer, but it does make for a pretty drive. This historic hotel is famous for its old world charm AND for the inspiration for Steven King’s novel The Shining. They have packaged adventures for couples and families. And if you don’t want to stay, just come for the day and catch a tour ($23/pp), which is pretty cool. You learn about the hotel’s history and the “ghost” stories. Enjoy some breakfast, lunch or dinner at their restaurant. It is a joy and you won’t be disappointed. Plus it’s in Estes Park so can either check out before or after you go to Rocky Mountain National Park (see below).
Rocky Mountain National Park– Elk bugling is one of the top attractions to this national park. Elk bugling season is mid-September-Mid October, it’s breeding season so you can see the elk gather by the hundreds. The Rocky Mountain scenery is just breathtaking, so bring your camera. It is also just five minutes from Grand Lake, which another great town to go and venture too.
This photo of Glenwood Hot Springs Resort is courtesy of TripAdvisor
Pool & Hotsprings at Glenwood Springs– Glenwood is just a great magical place. It has a great small town with shops and great food plus you add in the hot springs and pool. All within walking distance! Outside of just the pool, shopping, and food, you also have hiking, biking, caverns, horseback riding, rafting, zip lining, skydiving, skiing, take your pick. The pool and hot springs are filled by natural spring water to help you relax and enjoy. This wonder spot is also very close to the next “must do” on the list. Hanging Lake, see below.
Hanging Lake- Right in Glenwood Canyon, this crystal clear lake is breathtaking. It has clear turquoise waters with waterfalls that spill into it. After experiencing its rigorous uphill climb which is a mile-long steep hike, you are rewarded with its beauty. It is a wonder, no doubt, so again, take your camera because it is awe-inspiring.
If you are not looking or are unable to venture too far be sure to check out these local attractions:
Chautauqua Park (pronounced Shuh-Taw-Kwuh)– a vast area right at the foot of Boulder’s Flatirons mountains. There are 40 miles of hiking trails you can venture, all free. Or just sit at its base and have a picnic, take some pictures, dine at Chautauqua Dining Hall or catch some live music. Then once you’re done, head over to these next few destinations listed below…
Pearl Street Mall– Enjoy this outside mall with shops, restaurants, and entertainment. Also, best people watching spot around. Nestled in the heart of Boulder, you can see the flatirons around you, see the local jesters on the street, hear local bands and talent, grab some ice cream, food, and of course shop. It is a landmark and a “must do” experience in Colorado. If you able to, arrange to visit after visiting the Boulder Farmers Market (see below).
Boulder Farmers Market– on 13th Street between Canyon & Arapahoe from April 7-Nov. 17th every Saturday from 8 AM-2 PM. One of Colorado’s largest farmers markets (150 participants). Find Colorado-grown produce, including “organic”, as well as flowers, plants, soaps, crafts, etc. It is right next to the Boulder creek so you if its a hot day feel free to dip your feet in, find a nice spot under a tree, grab some food from the local food truck and have a picnic.
Have fun, enjoy and share! Have a great spot, adventure, event? Please let us know and we will post!