Living in Colorado for the past three years has been an absolute dream. It’s a constant feast for the eyes and playground and worship service all at once. The possibilities are actually endless.
Although some people are saying “fall is in the air” (I get it. Kind of. I’m just not ready yet.), I’m saying pop one of these getaways into your schedule over the next few weeks or plan them in advance for next year. We can still have summer on our mind for a little while longer! These three trips/activities have been our go-to’s time and again, so if you’re able to do them, you won’t be disappointed!
Wildflower viewing in Crested Butte
The state flower (purple and white) is the Columbine. The other stalk-like purple one is the lupine. The yellow ones are called Aspen sunflowers. The white bouquet-like one is a cow parsnip. The reddish orange (one of my favorites) is the Indian paintbrush. This is just a fraction of what you will come across. Imagine frolicking up valleys and along ridgelines with every turn bringing a different display of color and the Sound of Music soundtrack playing. The.hills.are.alive.son. I mean have you ever seen anything so pretty? It makes my face excited like this:
Our favorite trails to enjoy the wildflowers are:
–Rustler’s Gulch Trail: We hit this up at the end of the July and due to the crazy moisture this spring, we saw species of flowers we’d never come across!
–Snodgrass Trail: This is very very accessible from town and is also fun to mountain bike on.
–Baxter Gulch Trail: This is a ridge hike so you can see town and Mt. Crested Butte along the way. The best for yellow flowers!
As an aside, Crested Butte is the most adorable mountain town ever and offers some bomb food. Go to Secret Stash pizza and get the Woodward without egg. Our second favorite option is Bonez for their deliciously strong margaritas and make-it-in-front-of-you guac. I’m not much of a drinker so just one of these makes my quads go like jello.
Hiking to high alpine lakes
So there’s this magic thing that happens in some areas of Colorado (and from what I’ve seen, Canada…and Argentina…etc…bucket list…) where the lakes are so freeeeaking blue and gorgeous that no filter is needed. The water in these lakes is actually glacial melt that feeds in during the spring and summer. The fine rock and sediment material floats at the top of the lake rather than sinking down, allowing the sun to reflect off this and make turquoise food coloring. Check it!
The good news is, these hikes are not as hard as 14’ers, so they’re pretty accessible. Expect 8-10 miles and a decent climb of a couple thousand feet, but not too high of an altitude. If you’re lucky, the skies will be clear and the sun will hit that water and light it up to where you have to blink excessively to determine if it’s real. Hop in the water if you have time! Quite refreshing.
–Ice Lake and Island Lake outside of Ouray/Silverton are a 2-for-1
–Blue Lake outside of Ouray/Telluride has 3 lakes but I’d say the first one is the prettiest
Channel the Wild West in Telluride
Man this place just makes you feel like you are at the edge of the world. I know you’re not. But there’s something about the remoteness and remnants of its mining history that makes you feel like you’re in the Wild West. This summer we learned that Butch Cassidy’s first bank robbery occurred here, yippee! There are numerous music festivals that take place here yearly and heading to the Bluegrass Festival sometime is on our list! Regardless, roll the windows down and crank some of that twang on your way to the trailhead. Here are some favorite activities we’ve done there:
–Sneffels Highline Trail: The trailhead starts right from town so it’s easy peasy to get to. This is a pretty long and challenging hike but the views are spectacular.
–Via Ferrata: This is less of a hike and more like the coolest/weirdest thing ever. For part of the 3 mile trail you’re just walking sideways along a thin but sturdy cliffside. For other parts, you’re harnessed in and traversing along on very exposed areas relying on small iron footholds. Wear a helmet and be safe! It’s honestly not as scary or skill-dependent as it looks and is totally worth it.
–Wilson Peak: This stunning 14,023′ mountain is the inspiration for the Coors can. It’s so 3D! So pointy! So picturesque. The climb to the top is a haul but such a fun scrambly adventure. Not for the faint of heart or clumsy of ankle. And you must enjoy one of said beverages at the top with a friend.
–Telluride Gondola: If all that seems a little too intense, a really good option is to take the free gondola from downtown Telluride up to the ski resort and have a walk-about up there. The 360* views are gorgeous, limited mobility is required, and dogs are allowed on the gondola!
That’s about it for now. Get your butt out here. Hope this inspired you.