Living in Las Vegas my whole life, I often long to travel to faraway places. I dream of seeing pyramids and black sand beaches. However, I forget that some of the most breathtaking places are right here in the states. One that was on my bucket list for some time was Colorado. I would hear how much people who lived in the Rocky Mountain State loved it. When I made my mind up to check out Colorado, it was a no brainer to start in Denver and venture out. Denver is famously nicknamed the “Mile High City” because its official elevation is exactly one mile above sea level; making it the highest major city in the US. As a result, this New Orleans native had to adjust as New Orleans is notoriously known for being below sea level. With that being said, the following list includes some high altitude hiking, soaking and drinking.
Williams and Graham. Be ready to be transported to the Prohibition era. One of my favorite things to do in any city is to visit a speakeasy. I love the cloak and dagger aspect of them and the craft cocktails don’t hurt. I advise you make a reservation because even though the bar is hidden, literally behind a bookcase, it’s popular and usually has a wait list.
Maroon Bells. After you recovered from your unofficial night on the town, you must hop in the car and head West of Aspen up to Maroon Creek Road off Hwy 82. A reflective lake and two giant snow covered mountains, make for one of the most photographed places in Colorado. As a self-proclaimed Fall fanatic, I would recommend going in Autumn when its even more enchanting.
Independence Pass. If you don’t have a terrifying fear of heights, I recommend on your way to Aspen driving up the mountain pass. It’s sits at an elevation of 12,095 feet and is between Aspen and Twin Lakes. During the drive up, I found myself clinching my seatbelt as we made each turn and switchback. However, once we reached the summit, I quickly jumped out the car because it was one of the most jaw dropping sights I had ever seen. If you want to feel as if your fingertips could touch the sky, take this drive, but don’t look down on the way up.
Seven Falls. Have you ever seen seven water falls at once? Don’t worry, I didn’t know such a thing even existed until now. According to www.vistcos.com, Seven Falls in Colorado Springs is the only waterfall in Colorado to make the National Geographic’s list of international waterfalls. The Broadmoor Seven Falls is a series of seven cascading waterfalls. To view the Seven Falls in all its glory you can take an elevator up or via 224 steps from the base to the peak, but who’s counting.
Strawberry Park Hot Springs. Seriously why didn’t anyone tell me how amazing hot springs are, better yet, how amazing sitting in one while its snowing. Something about the snow falling as you basically sit in a Jacuzzi, is the stuff dreams are made of. Located just outside Steamboat Springs in the upper valley of the Yampa River, the natural springs has several pools that range in temperature. There is a changing cabin and a small entrance fee, just bring a towel and seriously sit back and relax!
Lastly, I must add a disclaimer: This list isn’t the complete list of things to do in Denver. However, often my trips are just a few days and I have to squeeze a lot in. I try to visit as many cities as possible by taking mini road trips whenever I’m in a state, and try to avoid the spots that are too “touristy”. I like to visit the places the locals love, and the hidden gems that most people don’t know about. Therefore, I know there are places that don’t make my lists, but if you visit these places I promise you won’t be disappointed!