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Colorado Quick Facts
Uniquely Colorado: Climbing a “14-er” (mountain that’s 14,000 feet or higher)
Must-See: Rocky Mountain National Park
Most Unusual: Black Canyon of the Gunnison
Highest Point: Mt. Elbert, 14,433
Food to Try: Denver Omelettes
What to Do in Colorado
2 Look for columbines (the state flower)
3 See a sheep-dog herding trial
4 Go mountain biking
5 Get to know Boulder and the mile high city
6 See the quaking aspen trees
7 Take a ski lift ride in Telluride or Vail
Off The Beaten Path, Colorado
With its phenomenal natural splendor and historical sites, Colorado is an amazing state. If you are looking for a state where you can enjoy some of the country's lesser known, amazing natural wonders, then Colorado is a great choice. This edition of Off The Beaten Path features a combination of some of Colorado's great (and more unusual) attractions.
Sheep Dog Trails
Every year the town of Meeker holds the Meeker Classic Sheepdog Trials. This is a great way to learn all about the really interesting sport of sheepherding. At the annual international competition, sheepdogs and their handlers compete on a closed course, performing complex sheepherding maneuvers. The sheepdogs and handlers are competing for a $20,000 purse. If you should decide to visit these Trials, you should know that they are held each year in September over Labor Day weekend. Visitors will also have the opportunity to enjoy the art contest, food booths and dog exhibitions.
Black Canyon of the Gunnison
The magnificent canyon at Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park was formed by the waters of the Gunnison River. This amazing canyon is deep, with a narrow opening and almost vertical canyon walls, making the canyon a very unique landscape. Experienced rock climbers may want to try climbing the difficult vertical walls of the canyon. The rock is known for being crumbly, which makes it appropriate for only the most experienced rock climbers. If you visit this park and are not an experienced rock climber, you can also hike, fish, kayak, raft and even take a scenic drive.
This picturesque town of Pagosa Springs averages 300 days of sunshine every year, making it a great recreational destination year round. Pagosa Springs is surrounded by wilderness areas and has great recreational opportunities. Colorado is known as a fabulous ski destination, with its sunshine and amazing powder. Visitors can also enjoy winter camping, sledding, snowshoeing, ice climbing and even hot air ballooning. Pagosa Springs is also a gateway to the area's rich Native American history, including the nearby Chimney Rock Archeological Area. Pagosa Springs is known for its amazing hot springs, and throughout the town there are many places where visitors can enjoy the water's high mineral content.
During the winter you can enjoy great skiing, snowboarding and many other winter sports. In the summer you can hike, bike, horseback ride, fish and camp. Steamboat Springs also has an alpine slide, gondola rides and even hot air ballooning. Like Pagosa Springs, Steamboat Springs also has many natural hot springs. These hot springs are relaxing and many believe the minerals in the warm waters of the hot springs have medicinal properties. Steamboat Sprigs is the ultimate year-round alpine destination.
Dinosaur National Monument
Dinosaur National Monument is an amazing place to learn about the natural history of this region of Colorado. In fact, this area has many significant fossils. Combine the natural history of the National Monument with the incredible recreational opportunities of Colorado, and you have a truly memorable destination. You can see fossils, hike, and river raft through the river canyons. One great option during a visit to the National Monument is the Tour of the Tilted Rocks. Another great option is the Fossil Discovery Trail.
Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad
Colorado has lots of great railroad trips and options -- one of these is the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad and Museum. The historic train runs along the Animas River. During the winter the steam locomotive doesn't travel the entire route to Silverton and back; instead the trip stops at the Cascade Station, which is about half of the regular route. Even in the winter the trip is beautiful and you can still learn all about the historic steam locomotives and the narrow gauge track at the museum. During the winter this train also provides a Polar Express ride, during which you and your family can drink hot chocolate and listen to the classic story.
Mesa Verde National Park
This park celebrates the history of the Pueblo people in the southwestern United States. You will find over 4000 archeological sites at Mesa Verde, including the 600 cliff dwellings. Some of the best cliff dwellings, including Cliff Palace, Balcony House, and Long House, require the purchase of tickets for guided tours. The Mesa Top Loop Road is a great scenic drive in the park. You can also enjoy a wide range of amazing hikes, some of which culminate in cliff dwelling overlooks.
Fun and Funky, Colorado
The state of Colorado is full of beautiful sights and opportunities for adventure. For those visitors looking for a quirky adventure, different than the usual tourist destinations, you will find many places that fit the bill. Here are just a few of Colorado's fun and funky destinations.
Located in southwest Colorado, Four Corners Monument is the only spot where you can stand in four states at one time. At the Four Corners marker you can stand in Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Arizona at one time. This is a great spot to take quirky pictures that you will always remember.
Manitou Cliff Dwellings
These beautiful cliff dwellings can be found right off Route 24. The dwellings were built over 700 years ago, into the red rock at the foot of Pikes Peak. Visitors can explore these ancient dwellings built by the Anasazi people. After exploring the cliff dwellings visitors can stop at the Anasazi Museum and the gift shop.
Ghost Town Museum
Visitors to Colorado Springs should stop at the Ghost Town Museum to learn about a very interesting aspect of Colorado's history. The Ghost Town Museum was created to preserve a piece of the old west. During the Old West, and the Gold Rush era, many small towns were built up and died again because of gold. Visitors can see many artifacts from this period of Colorado's history and in the summer visitors can even pan for gold.
This castle can be found in the Wet Mountains, on State Highway 165, and on the Frontier Pathways Scenic and Historic Byway. Bishop Castle is named after the one man who built the castle. Jim Bishop started building the castle in 1969. Visitors can come to the castle throughout the week and after a tour of the unique stone castle, visitors can stop in at the gift shop.
Royal Gorge Bridge and Park
Visitors to Colorado looking for a bit of fun and adventure should stop at the Royal Gorge Bridge and Park. The Royal Gorge is one of the largest gorges in the world, formed by the Arkansas River, which still flows through the gorge. Visitors to the park can walk across the country's highest suspension bridge. Or visitors can ride on the Aerial Tram, which is the world's longest single span aerial tram, which runs over 1000 feet above the floor of the Royal Gorge. There are many more exciting and fun things to do.
Mount Evans Scenic Byway & Wilderness
Mount Evans is the road into the sky. Drive from 8,700 feet at Idaho Spring where you turn off Interstate 70 to 14,240 feet to the summit, and you will pass through 3 life zones, passing ancient trees, lakes and forest to the land above timberline. It can be 90 degrees in Denver and 40 degrees at the top of Mount Evans. Mountain Goats and Bighorn Sheep will greet you as you climb to the top of the world.