I had the opportunity to travel to Denver on business, so what other choice to extend this trip into a solo-tour of some of Colorado’s most recognized places?
Day 1 – Denver – 5,430′
Spent a night in the new, super modern the ART, a hotel. I was too busy swimming in the bed and the shower to take pictures… plus, it was a business trip, I wasn’t supposed to be having fun yet, right?
Day 2 – Denver to Colorado Springs – 6,035′
I was set free during the late afternoon and I pretty much drove straight to The Broadmoor upon arrival to Colorado Springs, pretending I was staying in the elegant, historical mountain resort (not the $68/night motel 5 minutes down the road).
Day 3, Morning – Colorado Springs – 6,035′
Stuck on EST, I rose at 5 am (if only I could do that for work) and decided to see Garden of the Gods at sunrise. Please do this. Morning must-see.
Excited to see some waterfalls, I visited Helen Hunt falls and hiked the trail to take a peak at another on Silver Cascade Trails.
9:00 am, opening time, I grabbed a shuttle to see Seven Falls, owned by The Broadmoor. A civilized little walk brings you to a giant sight to behold, and 224 steps up a cliff to get close and personal. I continued on the trail at the top to see Midnight Falls. Let me warn you, this has a decent amount of crowd at opening time. Go early if you want to see. Plus, you can eat at the Golden Bee afterwards!
Day 3, Afternoon – Colorado Springs to Estes Park – 7,522′
Denver traffic is a nightmare, and I was a bit nervous to go the Peak to Peak Byway through the mountains via Nederland, CO. So, I went the opposite way and I ran into the cute Castlewood Canyon State Park – I wish I had time to stay longer!
Day 4 – Rocky Mountain National Park – 9,450-10,110′
My final day I went all out. I booked a guided hike from Kirk’s Mountain Adventures, and set out at 7:00 am. We hit one of the most popular areas in the park, which also serves as a great first-day hike for visitors to RMNP.
Shortly from the Bear Lake Trailhead (parking fills early!) you will run into Nymph Lake.
Dream Lake is not too far after, and one of the most beautiful areas on this trail.
After hiking just 1.8 miles up, we hit Emerald Lake at 10,110′ feet. And I was out of breath.
My guide was so passionate about fly fishing, and I am grateful he brought his gear. We hiked down near the stream looking for spots to fish (which I pretty much have never done), but it was a welcome break and they were pretty and wild!
After we were done, I did some shopping in downtown Estes Park, more like a boardwalk of t-shirts and nicknacks. Then it was time to see some wildlife with Wildside 4×4 Tours. And we lucked out beyond what I even thought I was going to see. Bear AND two bull moose! I mean, that’s once in a lifetime!
I definitely would say, go with family and friends so you can share the magic of Estes Park and all of Colorado together – it’s not to be kept to yourself. I can’t wait to go back.