More than 1.2 billion years of geologic time are represented by the spectacular red-rock formations found within Roxborough State Park. Ecologically, the park is highly diverse as a result of its location in a transition zone between the plains and the mountains. The area's geological structure has resulted in microclimates that have produced seven distinct plant communities in a unique mixture of prairie and mountain species. As a result, Roxborough is home to abundant wildlife, including black bear, mountain lion and elk.
The Fountain Valley Trail is a 2.3 mile loop that winds through the Fountain and Lyons rock formations with a moderate change in elevation. This self-guided hike takes you through some of the most magnificent land in the park. The trail winds through several different habitats for plants and animals, including mule deer, raccoons and coyote. You may see a golden eagle soaring over the hogback hunting small mammals, snakes or birds.
At the top of the loop are buildings built by Henry S. Persse at the turn of the century. Persse used Roxborough as a summer home and hoped to develop the land into a resort. Hiking time is approximately one and one-half to two hours. The Willow Creek trail, which is known for its abundance of wildflowers, is a gentle 1.5 mile loop.
Explore the southern end of the park on a moderately-difficult three-mile trail, the South Rim Loop. The trail to Carpenter Peak is a 6.5 mile round-trip hike of moderate-to-steep terrain. Its summit is the highest point in the park and provides a spectacular view in all directions.
Located in the famous Black Forest in central Colorado, Castlewood Canyon State Park offers unique sightseeing opportunities in an arid and beautiful setting. The ruins of the century-old Castlewood Canyon Dam form the centerpiece of the park and lead visitors to hiking trails that wind their way into the deepest regions of the canyon. Dramatic canyon walls and the unique ruins make up some of the park's attractions.
There are more than 13 miles of trails. Each trail allows visitors to explore both above and within the canyon. The experience begins as soon as guests enter the east side of the park at Canyon View Nature Trail. Starting from the group picnic shelters is where the Lake Gulch and Inner Canyon trails begin. Most of the former trail is above the canyon, but drops down to connect to the Inner Canyon Trail (c.1.5 mi). The latter trail leads visitors to the dam ruins along the canyon bottom. The Dam Trail (c .25 mi)circles west of the former Castlewood Dam at the ruins. For an intimate exploration of the canyon, visitors can trek both the Inner Canyon and Creek Bottom trails. To take in the surrounding vistas, guests use the above-canyon Rim Rock Trail. On the west side of the park, Homestead Trail leads explorers downhill to connect with Rim Rock and Creek Bottom trails. The Climbers Trail is ideal for those who love the challenge of rappelling and spelunking. This trail takes rock climbers to a section of 40 to 60-foot-high canyon wall. Climbers Trail merges into the Cave Trail, where guests can explore two 15-foot-long caves. The short Overlook Trail offers a view of Castlewood Canyon.
Directions: Colorado Highway 83 south approximately 5 miles past the intersection with Colorado Highway 86. The entrance is on the right (west).
Dinosaur Ridge is part of the hogback that is the front line of the Rockies. This place is along Alameda Parkway - the same directions as for Red Rocks Park but the visitors center is only about 300 meters west of the freeway overpass. Stop in here to pick up a trail guide. The ridge is part of 100 million year old sandstone that is part of what is known as the dinosaur freeway. This used to be a beach along the intercoastal waterway and dinosuars left their prints in the mud. Take the 2 hour interpritive hike over the small ridge. A great hike for the kids!
The Red Rocks park is run by the City and County of Denver as a park and Amphitheatre. The setting is amongst 70 million year old Sandstone tilted at a 60 degree angle. This makes for impressive and colorful spires when the sun is shining. Concerts are held here from June to September but anytime of the year is perfect to just walk around. Directions - Take Alameda West along the South side of Green Mountain. From here Alameda takes a 90 degree right at a stop light with Jewell Ave. Take the right onto Alameda Parkway at this light. Go over a freeway and climb over what is known as the hogback. On the west side of the hogback you will come to a four way interesction with Jefferson County Highway 93. Go straight through this and you are in Red Rocks Park! Total driving time from downtown is about 30 minutes.
Castlewood Canyon State Park which is located South of Denver on Highway 83. The Canyon was carved by Cherry Creek. Though the canyon is not the deepest and there isn't a ton of water the trail system through the canyon is extensive and many places are very photogenic. Rock Climbing and hiking are the two main activities. I find it to be a peaceful place that seems miles away from a city eventhough it is only a 30-45 minute drive from the South suburbs of Denver. Anytime of year is a great time to visit the park.
Take the train from Union Station to Glenwood Springs during the summer months. It is a great train ride through the mountains. Or take the Ski train to Winter Park Ski resort during the winter. It is slower than taking a car, but it is far less stressful than driving.
From Denver go to Estes Park on Route 36. Get on Route 34 to Horseshoe Park (about 7 miles) and take the Fall River Road road to the top. This is a one lane ~ one way road through the Rocky Mountain National Park. What a great drive. This is approximately a 5 hour drive. The road ends at the visitor center (pic made there).
Near Morrison, there is a little sign on I-70 that says 'Point of Geologic Interest.' Follow the signs, and you'll come to a bare hillside with--get this--dinosaur bones sticking out. There are little signs all along the hill to point out which ones are which, and there's also a little place where some dino footprints have been outlined.
Near the capitol buildingAlso connected to the series of cold tunnels, this building is plagued by the incessant sound of someone coughing. It is also frequented my the same ghost that haunts the capital.
Just west of downtown Presently a restaurant, when the fur trade began, this building was one of the first trading posts in the area. It is said that the building is haunted by many of the traders. There have been reports of tables moving suddenly. Also, many have reported hearing voices and footsteps when no one is talking or moving.
Location: unknownThe unusual activity in this house has been reported by several employees. Hauntings include dark shadows moving about rooms when there is no light to produce them, and piano keys moving on their own, but making no sound. In this building, many people report the pungent smell of fresh cigar smoke; Mr. Brown was known to be an avid smoker of cigars.
State Capitol BuildingThe Colorado State Capitol Building is connected to several others by a series of tunnels. Originally, these tunnels were used to move coal from place to place for heating purposes. One female apparition who wears long turn of the century style dresses is known to haunt the area. She has been seen in all of the buildings and the tunnels themselves. Very inquisitive, the woman is said to have been seen reading over the shoulders of employees.
If you rent a car, drive to Morrison , Colorado. It's a little tourist town about 45 minutes southwest (?) and you can find the best margaritas around at the restaurant that says 'best margaritas' on the front. While you're there travel a couple of minutes further to see the Red Rocks venue. It's impressive even if there is no concert playing.
Don't miss a trip to Boulder. Stay in Boulder a couple of nights if you can. There are some cute bed & breakfasts there and other inexpensive hotels.
The best time to go is in the spring before it gets too hot (Colorado summers are furnaces preparing you for Hell...believe it or not!!!!!), bike along the creek which runs throughout the town, hike at Chautauqua, stroll along Pearl St., hit the Fox one night for a show.
Between Union Station (Denver's downtown train station) and The Brown Palace (Denver's most famous historic hotel) there is a labyrinth of underground tunnels that once protected the railroad barons and the well-to-do from the weather and the paparazzi en route to their downtown destinations. Interestingly, these destinations included many former brothels. The Brown Palace offers a free tour on Wednesdays and Saturdays between 3-4pm where you can also learn more about the hotel, these tunnels and Denver's history.