Last week I had the opportunity to travel to Colorado for the very first time. My best friend had a work conference out there and mentioned the great hotel rate she was getting. Coincidentally, Frontier Airlines had just started direct flights out of Miami and they were offering amazing rates. A great a hotel rate + cheap flight = travel. I mentioned the deal to another friend who also jumped at the chance.
The three of us landed at Denver International Airport at night. We rented a car and drove about an hour north to Loveland to the La Quinta on 1450 Cascade Ave. I didn’t know that’s where we were staying, but it was perfect to me. I happen to really like La Quinta hotels.
This was a quick trip to Colorado so we set out to cover as much as possible in a very short time. The next morning, we headed out to Rocky Mountain National Park. We hiked the Bear Lake Hoop and went all the way to the top to see Dream Lake and Emerald Lake. These trails are considered relatively easy, but the snow on the ground made it much harder.
It’s a very popular trail and there was a lot of foot traffic on the way up and on the way down. But it’s absolutely beautiful and completely worth experiencing if you’ve never been. Below is a picture of Dream Lake. I really consider this one of the most beautiful pictures I’ve ever taken with my iphone. Dreamy isn’t it?
On the way back from hiking we stopped in Estes park, popular summer resort and the location of the headquarters for Rocky Mountain National Park. After a full day of outdoor fun I was starving! So we stopped for a bite to eat at Smoking Dave’s BBQ & Tap House. This is where you want to go after hours of hiking. Seriously. Go there. Absolutely delicious! You will see what I mean in pictures below.
The second day we drove south past Denver and visited the Garden of the Gods Visitor and Nature Center in Colorado Springs. This center is absolutely stunning and great for a nice leisurely stroll in the afternoon. It was designated a National Natural Landmark in 1971. Wiki explains the park best:
“The Garden of the Gods’ red rock formations were created during a geological upheaval along a natural fault line millions of years ago. Archaeological evidence shows that prehistoric people visited Garden of the Gods about 1330 BC. At about 250 BC, Native American people camped in the park; they are believed to have been attracted to wildlife and plant life in the area and used overhangs created by the rocks for shelter.The outstanding geologic features of the park are the ancient sedimentary beds of deep-red, pink and white sandstones, conglomeratesand limestone that were deposited horizontally, but have now been tilted vertically and faulted by the immense mountain building forces caused by the uplift of the Rocky Mountains and the Pikes Peak massif.”
On the last full day of the trip I was staring at a map wondering what else we could squeeze in. That’s when I realized how close Cheyenne, Wyoming is to Loveland. Immediately I made my case about why we should go there. Two states in just a few days plus the chance to take a picture at the state line? ( I have a thing for state lines). There was no way I could resist. Cheyenne is only about an hour from Loveland.
So off we went to Wyoming for no particular reason at all except that we’ve never been. There we walked around downtown and ofcourse went to grab a bite to eat. We had BBQ once again at Mitchell’s BBQ & Catering. It was delicious!
Later we went to the brewing company
And the beer options are fantastic. We flew out the next day and couldn’t have asked for a better weekend. It was a quick trip but a great one! I can’t wait to go back and explore more of Denver. There is SO much more to experience. Cheers!