Colorado’s National Parks | Part 2

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Mesa Verde National Park

Mesa Verde National Park is not just a national park; it’s also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Located in Colorado’s southwestern corner, the park encompasses about 5,000 archeological sites and 600 cliff dwellings. The dwellings, built by Pueblo Indians and dating from 600 to 1300 AD, offer a fascinating glimpse into the past. You can tour four cliff dwellings on foot, or take the Mesa Top Loop Road, a six-mile route with multiple overlooks.

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Where to stay: Far View Lodge, located inside the park. Book the Cities of Sandstone Package to enhance your Mesa Verde visit. In addition to a two-night stay, you’ll get two tickets for the 700 Years tour, a 4-hour guided outing that explores archaeological sites and Cliff Palace.

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Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

Travel north for the last stop on your national park tour, Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. The canyon, which features steep, black cliffs upwards of 2,700 feet high, was formed over two million years by the Gunnison River. The park has hiking options that vary in length and difficulty – we like the Cedar Point Natural Trail, a short, easy route that has two overlooks of the river from 2,000 feet up and a view of the Painted Wall, Colorado’s tallest cliff.

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Where to stay: Stay Wise Inns Montrose, just a short drive from the park. In addition to comfortable rooms and complimentary breakfast, the hotel is hosting a “Warm Welcome” this summer with free create-your-own Italian sodas. Book their Mid-Week ‘Hookey’ Special for a special rate Monday through Thursday.

Colorado’s National Parks | Part 1

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Colorado’s four national parks showcase the state’s natural beauty and history in their own unique way. Experience them all on a national park tour through the state!

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Rocky Mountain National Park

Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado’s most well-known, has 415 square miles of forests, meadows, lakes, and streams that afford endless opportunities for outdoor activities. More than 300 miles of trails make the park great for hiking, biking, and horseback riding, while pristine waters are perfect for fishing, kayaking, and river rafting. You can also take a few scenic drives – the 48-mile Trail Ridge Road has views of the Rockies and the Great Plains.

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Where to stay: The Stanley Hotel, where Stephen King got his inspiration for The Shining. The historic hotel, only a short distance from the park, is stately and charming. With the Rocky Mountain National Park Package, you’ll get a weeklong pass to the park.

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Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve

Head south to Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve, where you’ll see the tallest sand dunes in North America. By day, you can sand sled or sandboard down the dunes, then cool off in Medano Creek. By night, the area is great for stargazing. After you experience the park itself, drive a short distance to Zapata Falls for incredible views of the dunes as well as a 20-ft waterfall.

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Photo by Stephen Weaver

Where to stay: Zapata Ranch offers ranch vacations that allow guests to truly experience the surrounding natural area. Enjoy gourmet food, comfortable accommodations, and adventures like horseback riding, overnight trips, geology tours, and wildlife watching. Their All-Inclusive package includes lodging, meals, and activities.

 

 

 

 

See the Sights in Colorado Springs | Colorado Springs, Colorado

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Colorado Springs and its surrounding area are full of breathtaking sights – waterfalls, summit views, and gorgeous red rock towers are just some of the things you’ll want to explore. Here’s how to craft a Colorado Springs getaway full of adventure, beauty, and relaxation.

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The Broadmoor

Stay at The Broadmoor, a luxury resort just outside of Colorado Springs with endless activities and amenities. You can relax in a traditional room or suite, or splurge on a cottage or brownstone with extra features like gourmet kitchens, outdoor fireplaces and verandas, and even wine cellars. At The Broadmoor, you can play tennis and golf, book a spa service, shop at boutique stores, indulge in fine dining, and explore the natural beauty around the resort. For a special stay, book their Romantic Getaway package and receive accommodations, sparkling wine and chocolate-covered strawberries, dinner for two, and discounted suite rates.

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Seven Falls

Just minutes from The Broadmoor you’ll find Seven Falls, a series of waterfalls that fall a combined 181 feet. Surrounding the falls are the steep walls of the South Cheyenne Canyon and the 900-ft tall Pillars of Hercules that frame the canyon. At Seven Falls, you can climb 224 steps adjacent to the falls to reach the top, where you’ll find a viewing platform and the beginning of a few trails. You can also see the falls and the canyon from the air – the Broadmoor Soaring Adventure has zip line courses, a 180-ft rappel, hiking, and rope bridges.

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Pikes Peak Cog Railway

Climb to the top of Pikes Peak by train on the Pikes Peak Cog Railway. The route, which takes just over three hours, takes you up over 14,000 feet with incredible views from beginning to end. First you’ll see giant boulders, Minnehaha Falls, and forested hillsides. As the train ventures higher up, the views include Alpine tundra, the Great Plains, multiple mountain ranges, downtown Denver, and of course Pikes Peak. You’ll spend about a half hour at the top, and then head back down.

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Garden of the Gods

At Garden of the Gods, towers of red rocks jut into the sky. Visit the park, a National Natural Landmark, to learn the history behind these amazing vertical formations and explore the area. Walk or hike through the rocks on 15 miles of trails, or take a guided trolley, Jeep, or Segway tour. On Thursday nights, you can take part in “Gallop in the Garden,” a free 5K that meanders through the park.

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Odyssey Gastropub

Head back into Colorado Springs for dinner at Odyssey Gastropub, a trendy eatery with expertly crafted food and drinks. You’ll want to start off with an appetizer and some craft beer – we like the Bison Poutine, fries smothered with braised bison tips, bison-rosemary gravy, and cheese curds. Odyssey’s main menu is full of inventive sandwiches and burgers like the Best Friends Burger, with pulled pork, crispy onions, cheddar, slaw, and peach BBQ sauce.