There is a small town called Burlington off highway 70. It will either be your first interchange if driving from Kansas or your last if driving from Denver. At first it appears to be just another town, to fill up the gas tank and go on, but it has hidden jewels.
You won't see any billboards, but look closely at the state highway signs and you will see the 'Kit Carson Carousel'. It's about a 5 minute drive off the highway, located at the fair grounds.
Here you will find a 1906 fully restored carousel and a little museum too.
The real surprise was the admission. Only .25 to ride, less than the price of a candy bar! For a quarter, you get to ride and if they aren't busy, will give you a mini tour telling you the history and let you see the inside too.
After the ride, for a dollar (kids under 9 free) you can visit the museum. If you like shopping the have a little gift shop, and just like everything else, you don't have to break the bank to buy something.
The second thing to do is visit the 'Old Town Museum'. This isn't one of those museums the kids will snub, but should enjoy. Also it won't bust the bank either. Adults $6, Seniors $5, kids 12 to 17 $4, kids 3 to 11 only $2 and under 3 are free.
A perfect location to get out of the car and relax, stretch the legs and have fun.
This is a really nice park! It was really hot the day we went, but it was very pretty nonetheless. Located in the Black Forest of Central Colorado. There are numerous hiking trails, and there are also areas where you can go down into a canyon and explore!! Be sure to watch for Poison Ivy here, because it runs a little rampant. You can also rock climb here, if you want.
There is a $5.00 US daily use fee payable at the gate.
"Four Corners" is the name given to the only point in the USA where four states meet, namely southeastern Utah, southwestern Colorado, northeastern Arizona and northwestern New Mexico. We went in 1966 when we were driving from Monterey California to Miami Florida in a 1932 Plymouth and a 1964 VW Bus.
Four Corners is on a clearly marked short spur road from US160. The spot lies within a Native American reservation
Now there is a small entrance fee is made for visitors - a Dollar or two per car and there is a small Native American market/trading post adjacent to the monument. When we made our trip in 1966, I don't think there was any fee.
If you drive on Colorado 91 between Copper Mountain and Leadville, you will find the colossal molybdenum mine of Climax atop Fremont Pass. The pass is at 11,318 feet/3450 meters high and the mine carves up the mountainsides to the east to the literal crest of Bartlett Mountain. The first mineral claims were established by miners looking for gold in the late 19th century. Instead of gold, the miners found only molybdenum for which there was little use until World War I when it was discovered that molybdenum could be used to better harden steel alloys. Just as the molybdenum mine was established, World War I ended and the mine was briefly shut down, but slowly through the 1920’s, further uses for molybdenum were established and the mine expanded. Expansion lead to expansion and the mine would become the source of 75-85% of the world’s molybdenum. At its peak in the 1960’s, the mine would grow to employ over 2000 people and was a very important factor in the economic health of nearby Leadville. Higher fuel costs and cheaper molybdenum sources in South America eventually conspired to cause the Climax company to once again shut down the mine seriously impacting Leadville which you can see from census figures. The same company also owns another molybdenum mine which is still active - the Henderson Mine - which you can notice if you are driving through the little town of Empire on US 40 towards Berthoud Pass and the ski area of Winter Park (The huge milling area for these deposits you see driving near the town of Kremmling if you happen to be en route for Steamboat Springs.). The Climax company estimates there is enough molybdenum left at the Henderson Mine to last another twenty years when they will once again center their attentions at Climax. In the meantime, Climax has opened once in recent years for a short time but is again slumbering. Sometimes, you might visit the mine in the summer, otherwise just take in the gigantic proportions of the mine as you drive past. Realize that all of the reservoirs to the north along the highway in the Ten Mile canyon are tailing ponds from the mine above. The mountain of molybdenum separates the headwaters of Ten Mile Creek - whose waters eventually flow into the Colorado River and off to the west - from the headwaters of the Arkansas River - waters that eventually reach the Gulf of Mexico via the Mississippi River.
Located at the west end of the Ski Cooper parking lot is the Tennessee Pass Nordic Center and Cookhouse. Here you can rent equipment or set out with your own on some 25 km of groomed trails through the woods and hills just west of Ski Cooper. The most unique aspect is probably the one-mile ski-in to the Cookhouse. Very elegant and rather expensive meals await - $75. Reservations are required and there is only one sitting a night - lunches are available on the weekends for between $6 to $17 - with the group setting out for the Cookhouse at 5:30 pm.
Ski Cooper was established as part of the training facilities for nearby Camp Hale where troops of the 10th Mountain Division - among others - were based. Following WWII, Ski Cooper was opened as a local ski area, one of Colorado’s oldest. Today, the resort remains a locally-oriented hill - though rumors of expansion and more lifts are in the air - as opposed to one of the many world ski destinations found nearby - Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckinridge, etc.. There are some 400 acres served by a couple of lifts with an additional 2400 acres served by snowcats on the nearby Chicago Ridge. The ski area gives you the spirit of yesterday with no express lifts in sight. The area is a much cheaper alternative for beginners than the nearby mega resorts. Ski Cooper claims 30% of its runs as advanced/expert and another 40% as intermediate variety though on the sunny day I skied here, I really didn’t find any run much beyond lower intermediate level. A day lift pass costs $42 but stop at one the ski stores in the region en route where you can pick up a reduced cost day lift pass for $35. From the western slopes near the top, you have great views out over the Sawatch Range including Mt Elbert and Mt Massive with a peek-a-boo view of Mountain of the Holy Cross at the north end of the range.
The 99th Infantry Battalion (Separate) was composed of Norwegians and Americans of Norwegian ancestry who had an ability to speak Norwegian - it was also hoped they already knew how to ski. The 99th was set up originally at Camp Riley, Minnesota on 19 July 1942 and was hoped to help in a possible invasion/liberation of Norway. They received special mountain training here at nearby Camp Hale - and Ski Cooper. The battalion saw combat in France, Belgium and Germany before heading north to disarm German troops in Norway in June 1945 - they served as Honor Guards for King Haakon VII’s return from five years of exile on 7 June 1945 in Oslo. Troops from the battalion were also used to help out in the OSS (Operation of Secret Services - CIA forerunner) Operation Rype launched against German occupiers in Norway during April to May 1945. Besides this monument here at Tennessee Pass/Ski Cooper, there are other monuments that remember the efforts of the Viking Battalion in Malmedy, Belgium and at Sletta in Bergen, Norway.
There were other units that were established similar to the Viking Battalion including the 122nd Infantry Battalion which was known as the Greek Battalion as it was composed of Greek and Greek-Americans. They also received training here and at Camp Hale.
The 10th Mountain Division was formed in 1943 as the only division-sized unit in the American Army to fight in harsh weather and terrain conditions. The first units trained on the slopes of Mt Rainier in Washington State and took part in fighting in the Aleutian Islands of Alaska. These troops - the 87th Infantry Regiment - formed the core of the new division when it was activated at nearby Camp Hale - the remains of which are located a few miles north of this memorial. Troops trained here in Colorado learning to fight in the harsh mountain conditions - they trained for rock climbs at Seneca Rocks in West Virginia. Ski Cooper was first established to train the soldiers of the division to ski. Following a year’s training, the 10th Division shipped off to Italy where it became the last U.S. Army division to see combat. The division fought in the Italian Apennine mountains beginning 6 January 1945 alongside the 25,000 strong Brazilian Expeditionary Force. Together they captured important German artillery positions along the Gothic Line which led to more successes as the men of the division helped punching through the Apennines in March-April. The division ended the war pushing across the Po Valley and Lake Garda - 30 April 1945. Following a period of occupation duty in the Trieste-Isonzo/Soca Valley, the 10th Division returned to the U.S. following Japan’s surrender and the division was inactivated at Fort Carson - Colorado Springs - on 30 November 1945. The 10th Mountain Division saw 114 days of combat suffering 992 dead - the names memorialized here on the monument - along with some 4154 wounded including one Second Lieutenant Robert Dole whose right arm was paralyzed - he would go on to become a U.S. Senator from Kansas and run unsuccessfully as the Republican candidate for President in 1996. The 10th Mountain Division lives on today at Fort Drum in northern New York and has deployed its units to both Afghanistan and Iraq in recent years. Many of the veterans of the WWII 10th Mountain Division were responsible for starting Colorado’s ski industry in the years following the war.
Colorado has been at the forefront of the craft brewing revolution since the mid-80s and many of the originals are still going strong like Rockies Brewing just outside of Boulder. It was state's first microbrewery and I stopped there on my first trip to Colorado in 1994 and loved the Boulder Porter which looks to be called Planet Porter now but their biggie is Mojo Risin' which is a 10% Double IPA. We did not make it back on our return trip to Boulder in 2008. With only one night in town, we did Mountain Sun for dinner and of course, hit Avery Brewing on the outskirts of town.
Avery Brewing is at 5763 Arapahoe Avenue in Boulder, CO.
Rockies Brewing is located at 2880 Wilderness Place in Boulder, CO.
The Great American Beer Festival is the most prestigious of beer awards in the United States. It is also the longest running with its inception of 1982 and runs for three days, generally the last weekend of September or the first of October. You need every one of those days too as there can be well over 2000 beers at any given festival with about 500 different breweries represented.
I attended this fun event on my second trip to Denver in 1995 and loved it. There was good bus service to the festival so I did not have to worry about driving. It was $25 to enter but included all the beer you could drink in four hours. Serving sizes were only 1 ounce so you do a lot of walking around too! It was the first time I had Alaskan Smoked Porter. Yum.
In 2008, we were a week early and with cold weather pushing in and camping not really an option, we decided not to go.
Disc Golf is a sport played much life ball golf. Instead of holes, there are chained baskets. Trees and water hazards work the same way. Instead of a ball and club, you throw flying discs which are smaller, heavier and more beveled than "regular Frisbees" so you can throw then a lot further. I was very into the sport in 1994 and visited over 100 courses around the US.
Colorado is a hotbed of Disc Golf. I played many of them and my favorite courses were in Ft. Collins.
The Country Boy Mine was a real working mine about a hundred years ago. Today you can take a tour deep inside the mine - but remember the constant tempature underground year around is about 58 degrees. Beside the tour they will teach you to pan for gold in the stream below the mine and any gold you find is yours to keep.
There is also some old mining equipment to climb on and tame donkeys to pet.
Lakota Guides will pick you up at your condo or hotel in a Hummer or Jeep and head into the back country between Wolcott and Steamboat Springs. We ended up on a ridge near Muddy Pass where we viewed a wonderful sunset.
The guides provide cheese, fruit, cookies and crackers while viewing the sunset but only water. If you want something other than water bring your own. And remember even in July it cools of real fast at 8000 feet as soon as the sun sets.
"Just west of Vail and Beaver Creek, in a private valley far removed from the fast pace of today’s world, lies a piece of “Genuine Colorado”...
I grew up in the West and swore that I would never visit a "Dude Ranch"! Do the horse riding if thats your thing, or sit around and listen to a great cowboy picker sing songs everybody knows.
The meal was great - more than you really want to eat and the steak was one of the best I've had in a long time. After dinner do a little line dancing, or a little swing.
The ranch is located 4 miles North of Wolcott on highway 131.
While Golden Gate Canyon State Park is nice and close to the city, another place you can check out that would fit your requests is the Frasier Valley, perhaps 1.5 hours from Denver. This is where Winter park resort is, but plenty of wilderness and cabins and fishing and horseback riding and etc. In particular, Devils Thumb Ranch is a great place, although a little on the expensive side, http://devilsthumbranch.com/. In the same valley, but less expensive is the Snow Mountain Ranch, www.ymcarockies.org. Both of these places are well known XC Ski resorts during the winter.