In 1982, the former 16th Street in the heart of downtown Denver was converted into the 16th Street Mall. This pedestrian mall was designed by the architectural firm of Pei Cobb Freed & Partners. The 16th Street Mall runs a little over one mile (1.6 kilometers) from Wewatta Street at Union Station to the intersection of 16th Avenue and Broadway at the Civic Center Station. Originally the mall ran from Market Street to Broadway, but it was extended in 2001 to coincide with the completion of the Central Platte Valley light rail spur.
There are more than 300 stores, 50 restaurants, and the Denver Pavilions open-air mall (which offers shopping, dining, and entertainment options) along the length of the 16th Street Mall. Sidewalk cafes and seating areas under the trees allow visitors to relax and people-watch. And the mall is a popular place for such types of street performers as musicians, dancers, actors, impressionists, magicians, and comedians.
The Regional Transportation District operates a free shuttle service called the MallRide, which runs every few minutes from one end of the mall to the other, stopping at each intersection. The MallRide offers convenient connections with Denver's extensive light rail system
Silver Plume Colorado is right out of the 1880's. It seems, almost, that you could meet Wyatt Erp or Doc Holiday on the street of this town located on the North side of interstate 70 about an hours drive West of Denver. The amazing victorian houses, most in good condition, the dirt streets and the narrow guage railroad next door can't help but take a person back to a time almost forgotten.
Great Sand Dunes National Park is an offbeat spot in the state of Colorado. Not really in the mountains, it's on a flat plateau, but with views of the beautiful Sangre de Cristo mountains nearby. Miles from anywhere (the nearest town is Alamosa), one is thankful to see the visitor center finally looming into view. The admission price is $3.00, and for this low fee you and your family will have fun running, hiking, and yes, slipping and sliding over mountains of sand. When I say mountains of sand, I'm not exagerating. I needed several rest stops as I tried to ascend one dune, only to find there were more and yet more, higher up. Bring sunscreen, bring water, and bring comfortable tennis shoes.
All ages were out enjoying themselves, but I think children especially will love playing in this gigantic sandbox. There are also campgrounds nearby, with hikes that include more traditional scenery, such as trees and rocks. I've heard that seeing these dunes in the moonlight is breathtaking and eerie, but we didn't spend the night.
Showers are available in the parking area, to rinse the sand out afterwards. There is only one restaurant, right outside of the park -- the food is bland, and overpriced, but still appreciated. Also contains a gift shop/convenience store, where essential road trip/camping supplies can be bought.
Plan a day at the Zoo for the whole family! Hours vary, so call ahead. Open 09:00am Close (varies from 4pm - 6pm) Gen Admission $12 Children $6 Under 3 (free) Discounts offered ... call. This zoo experience requires some UPhill walking, well worth it. My favorite exhibit, of course is the Giraffe gathering place!
In the local Colorado language - to "do a 14er" - pronounced "fourteener" is to climb a mountain that is 14,000 feet (4,267.2 meters)or higher above sea level. There are over 50 such mountains all over Colorado. To summit all requires different degrees of difficulty ranging from a real alpine expedition to a pleasant air-conditioned drive to the top. However you get there, you must find yourself on top of one of these mountains - to really experience Colorado
A favorite topic of local conversations is to discuss "who has done which 14er" - the goal, of coarse, being to climb them all!
Roxborough State Park is located in a spectacular geological setting where the high plains meet the Rocky Mountains, a few miles southwest of Denver. It has been designated a Colorado Natural Area and a National Natural Landmark and offers spectacular scenery with huge red sandstone formations intermingled with a unique mixture of prairie and mountain plant life. The park is also well know for its wildlife, including black bear, mountain lion, bobcat, mule deer and golden eagle. When I was there the ranger at the visitor center showed me several photos which had been taken recently in the park of both mountain lion and black bear, althoug I was not fortunate to see them myself. However, I did see several mule deer and numerous birds.
Roxborough is a day use park and facilities are limited to a visitor center and hiking trails. Water and restroom facilities are available at the visitor center. The park is open year round. Snow-shoeing and cross country skiing are permitted on park trails.
This is an old opera house that has been around for over 100 years!! It is the original building that has many theatrical performances. It has been more than a theatre in it's past...You can read much about the history on the website below. I went here to see a performance, but I was a day late.......
This is a mansion located on the Lookout Mountain Nature Preserve. Although it was closed when I was there today (Sunday), it is open to the public. You are even allowed to have weddings there. As you can see, it was fairly big, and very beautiful. Charles and Fannie Boettcher were the owners, and both lived to be almost 100 years old!! The couples grandaughter donated the mansion to Jefferson County, Colorado.
One day I will go inside......
This place was really small. Not much to it, but the associates there were EXTREMELY helpful, and they were very knowledgeable. They were also very friendly. Basically, this place shows you facts about the animals that live in the area; and what you can expect when you encounter them. Pictured is a Mountain Lion and a Deer.
The Nature Center is located right next door to the mansion.
Admission is free.
Salida became widely known in the pre-Columbian era for its hot springs. There's a municipal pool (nice but chlorinated), and several hot spring resorts in the area. My favorites are Cottonwood Hot Springs (funky but pleasant), about 8 miles west of Buena Vista (figure on a half-hour drive from Salida), and Joyful Journey (more modern, but serene, scenic, and beautifully fitted out) about 30 miles south, across Poncha Pass at the head of the San Luis Valley. Closer by, there's Princeton Springs in Nathrop, which has some nifty hot springs in the river; but it's attached to a hotel and is mostly populated by their guests, so I don't find it as congenial.
The wind blows the sand across the San Luis Valley and deposits it at the base of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Over time, the sand left here has created the tallest dunes in North America. The greatest of these stands at over 750ft. Their light sand stands in stark contrast to the dark, imposing mountains in the background.
To me, this is one of those hidden gems that are not on your average itinerary. It’s somewhat out in the middle of nowhere and it’s off the main road. I only saw it because I have an odd penchant for driving sever hundred miles on a lark. This one you have to seek out, and it’s well worth it.
The dunes are a wonder to climb, but you have to be careful. They get quite hot in the sun and you need to wear closed shoes (I know this from first hand sandal experience). If you camp here over night, explore the dunes in the morning hours. In the afternoon, you can cool off by hiking through Medano Creek, if it isn’t dry. (There was flowing water in the creek in mid August in 2004, but there wasn’t much of it. I’ve heard that it swells into an actual river in the springtime.) There’s the adjacent mountains offer plenty to do as well, with hiking, off road driving, and even hunting in the “preserve” portion of the park.
The Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs has as a part of the spectacular variety of erosion-carved hogbacks and ridges as old as 300 million years a formation known as Balanced Rock. Balanced Rock is a Registered Natural Landmark.
Old-time tour drivers often told unsuspecting touists that Balanced Rock rotated on its axis once a year; should they come back the following year they would see an entirely different face of the rock. Balanced Rock was originally not part of the Garden of the Gods. During the 1890's a youngster of fourteen named Curt Goerke began taking photographs of visitors quarter. This was in the days before most people had their own cameras-those photos were done with a wet plate.
Soon he was making so much money that his father Paul quit his job, learning photography, and bought Balanced Rock and nearby Mushroom Park for $400. After the Kodak camera became popular, Goerke built high board fences around the rock and started charging 50 cents admission. He also put up advertising signs and posters. Local neighbors were incensed and started a letter writing campaign to the paper and he sold the property to the Colorado Parks Department for $25,000.00. They tore down the fencing and posters and tried to restore the rock to the original appearance.
In mid-century after a group of college students attempted to topple the rock, the city park department was forced to add a stabilizing layer of cement around the base of the rock, but I think this picture was taken before that. Although it is dark, you can make out my daughter (who has on white rain boots) and husband at the base of the rock in the lightened photo and also the top of the car. The original photo is the number 2 picture.
Garden of the Gods was dedicated in 1909 as a free Colorado Springs city park, and is today a registered National Landmark. These 1,350 acres at the foot of the Rocky Mountains near Pike's Peak, are world famous for their magnificent red sandstone rock formations. Many of them are more than 300 million years old and have been sculpted through time by the forces of erosion. The park provides wonderful opportunites for hiking, picnicking, horseback riding, and photography. There is also an abundance of plant and animal life.
Inside the park is a modern Visitor Center with a restaurant and also the Garden of the Gods Trading Post which includes Balanced Rock Cafe.
I have been to Garden of the Gods on several occasions, and the sun was always shining, except for our most recent trip when this photo was taken. Even in the rain the rock formations were beautiful.
The Park is open daily with extended hours during the summer months.
Rocky Mountain National Parkis my favorite national park. Its located about an hour north of Denver and, while the main road is only open Labor Day until Memorial Day, depending on the amount of snow, there are year round activities in this park. Trail Ridge Road takes you past indescribable views at every turn, hordes of elk roam the grassy areas flanking the road and small lakes are hidden between Rocky's collection of snow capped mountains. There's so much to see and do in this park, but even if you have only a day or two, be sure to stop in and visit.
For a visitor with limited time, the best place to experience the majesty and grandeur of the Rocky Mountains is in Rocky Mountain National Park. The park straddles the Continental Divide, and contains 415 square miles (1,075 square kilometers) of high mountains, lakes, streams, and forested wilderness areas.
Rocky Mountain National Park was dedicated in 1915. Its area was expanded over the years, including the addition of the entire Never Summer Range in 1929.
The Continental Divide splits the park into two sections which have different ecosystems. The east side tends to be more arid, and contains many rugged peaks with glaciers. The west side of the park is wetter, and is therefore dominated by vast spruce forests. The headwaters of the Colorado River arise in the mountains west of the divide. There, it starts its flow to the desert Southwest, where it carved the Grand Canyon in Arizona.
The lower elevations of Rocky Mountain National Park are dominated by intermontane grasslands and montane forests of ponderosa pines. Above the 9,000-foot (2,743-meter) level, subalpine forests of Engleman spruce predominate. And alpine tundra covers the mountaintops above timberline, which is at the 11,500-foot (3,505-meter) level. The park also has about 150 lakes and 450 miles (724 meters) of streams.
Of course, mountains are the main reason people visit the park. Sixty peaks in the park are at least 12,000 feet (3,658 meters) high, and Longs Peak (pictured here) is the tallest mountain in the park at 14,259 feet (4,346 meters). However, it is only the fifteenth-highest mountain in Colorado. One of the main attractions of Rocky Mountain National Park is Trail Ridge Road. The road goes from Estes Park on the Eastern Slope to Grand Lake on the Western Slope. At its highest point, the road attains an elevation of 12,183 feet (3,713 meters).
Other activities that visitors can engage in include wildlife viewing, hiking on the park's 359 miles (578 kilometers) of trails, mountain climbing, camping, fishing, horseback riding, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing. Five visitors' centers have information about the park and available activities, as well as souvenirs that can be purchased.