Colorado is such a beautiful state with so many cute towns, many of which I haven't even experienced (they are on my bucket list though!). I grew up vacationing in the Denver area and Rocky Mountain National Park and then years went by before I was ever back. In the last five years, we have been to Denver a few times, Estes Park, and then roadtripped one long weekend to Pagosa Springs.
Rocky Mountain National Park/Estes Park
Estes Park is the cutest mountain town at the base of the Rocky Mountains. It is a small town but full of so much! The shops are cute, the food is good, and there is so much adventure (fishing, horseback riding, rafting, wild life watching, adventure parks, and so on). One of my favorite things to do in Estes Park is to grab a hot chocolate (non coffee drinker here!) and wander along the river walk. It is so pretty at any time of day.
Favorite places in RMNP:
Bear Lake: we love the Bear Lake Trail Loop. It's a pretty easy and short (0.8 mile) trail around the lake and perfect for all ages. This is a hike that I remember doing as a kid and then have walked around the loop as an adult too. The scenery is so pretty!
Hiking: there are so many hikes in RMNP and a few that we have done and love are the hikes to Dream Lake and Emerald Lake. The trailhead for both is right off of Bear Lake.
Old Fall River Road: this is the prettiest drive! This road was the first auto route in RMNP (in 1920) and is a one-way gravel road. It's a very slow 11 mile climb to 11,700 feet above sea level and eventually intersects into Trail Ridge Road which leads me to...
Trail Ridge Road: Trail Ridge Road is a 47 mile road from Grand Lake to Estes Park. We intersected this road from Old Fall River Road and stopped at the Alpine Visitor Center. These pictures were taken of the tundra from the Alpine Visitor Center. Again, a beautiful drive!
Favorite places to stay in RMNP:
YMCA of the Rockies: The YMCA of the Rockies is a one stop shop and our favorite place to stay! The grounds and the views are beautiful! There are a variety of cabins to fit any size family, and they are very reasonably priced! Cabins are fully furnished too so it's easy to prepare all your food right there. Facilities that are part of the YMCA include a dining hall, lodges, auditorium, pool, tennis/basketball/volleyball courts, swimming pool, camp fire pits, and so on. It really is the perfect place for families of any size to stay and have a great time!
Moraine Park Campground: this is our favorite campground in the park, and one we camped at with both tents and trailers. I spent many hours exploring this campground as a kid :) I didn't take an actual picture of the campground but took this picture on a walk from the campground.
Food we liked:
Smokin' Daves BBQ and Tap House
Penelopes Hamburgers and Fries
Flavor of the Rockies
Hayley's Ice Cream
Over Labor Day weekend one year, we roadtripped to Pagosa Springs and met up with my sister and her family. The drive through the southwestern corner of Colorado and into Pagosa Springs was really pretty!
We stayed in a cabin at Sportsman's Campground outside of Pagosa Springs. The campground was quaint, quiet, clean, and so cozy. We loved this place!
Things we did:
Piedra Falls Trail: This was a pretty (and fairly easy) one mile hike to Piedra Falls. The whole area is fun to explore :)
Piedra River Trail hike: this was my favorite! It's a gorgeous hike along the Piedra River. It's 7 miles long, and we only did a portion of it, but it was gorgeous!
Williams Creek Reservoir: this reservoir was so beautiful and peaceful! We loved spending a few hours soaking it all in here.
We love to visit and explore Colorado and look forward to more visits one day! What are your Colorado favorites?! We are always looking for recommendations of places to explore/visit/hike/eat etc!