Whenever I travel through the US, I always make sure that I pack in a few different locations on my trip, so that I can really make the most out of this incredibly vast country. The beauty of traveling in this way means that you are very often pleasantly surprised by states, towns or cities, which you perhaps didn’t think much of prior to visiting.
One such place for me which I was lucky enough to visit last year, was Colorado, a beautiful state and one which is packed with places to explore, and things to discover. Unfortunately during my first trip to Colorado, I was only there for a couple of days and so I made sure that for my next trip to the USA, that I spent much more time in the ‘Centennial State’. During this second trip I really explored Colorado and I wanted to share with you some really cool and interesting activities which I did, activities which I would most definitely recommend if you are planning on spending some time here.
Mesa Verde National Park
The first time I went to Colorado I was staying in Aspen in one of the luxury cabins in Colorado, and I simply didn’t have enough time to make the 6 hour trip down to the Mesa Verde National Park. Because of the fact that I missed out, I made sure that it was the first place that I visited upon my return.
The Mesa Verde is probably one of the most popular attractions throughout Colorado, and with good reason. I am not a massive history buff but I am always fascinated by ruins, just like what this amazing National Park has on offer. Throughout this park in Moctezuma County you will see some incredible buildings and structures which were carved into the sandstone landscape by the Puebloan Native Americans. The ruins are well preserved and well worth a visit.
Garden of the Gods
With a name like Garden of the Gods, I couldn’t resist a trip to Colorado Springs to witness this incredible site. One thing which Colorado is well known for is its red, rocky and dramatic landscape and nowhere in the state will you see this best than the uniform and truly strange formations that you will witness at the Garden of the Gods. The rock formations here appear to be almost balancing on thin air and they are a fascinating display of Colorado’s natural scenery.
Desert Reef Springs
If you are able to find the time to visit Florence, you will be treated to the fresh, thermal springs which flow up from over 1,000 feet beneath the Earth’s surface. These springs were actually discovered by accident during oil exploration and they now prove to be a popular haunt for many a traveler. You can visit the springs at Desert Reef for a single day or turn it into a weekend with a stay at the nearby resort.
Fifty Two 80s
As an 80s child there is much from my childhood that I still hold dear and I know that many of you are the same. With this in mind then I would completely recommend heading to one of the coolest ‘antique’ shops that I have ever stumbled across, Fifty Two 80s. This shop in Denver is the ultimate place for 80s nostalgia and here you will find a huge range of products which will bring your childhood flooding back.
Visiting the Cheyenne Nuclear Mountain Bunker in Colorado Springs was one of the highlights of my trip and if you have time you should almost certainly check it out. This Cold War bunker has appeared in a great number of films and TV shows over the years and whilst its suitability as a bunker may not be up to scratch, it is still fascinating place to discover. The only downside with this bunker is that you cannot enter as it is still in use, that aside, you can take some great photos from the entrance, and have a peek inside to see what you can spot.
Hunter S Thompson Shrine
One of the wildest authors of the last century and the original Gonzo journalist, Hunter S Thompson found home in Aspen, Colorado, and even ran for mayor there once. Since Dr. Gonzo’s death in 2005, a shrine has been created in his memory in the woods of Aspen and fans, like myself, can flick through photos, exerts and footage of this one-of-a-kind author.
Paint Mines Interpretive Park
In what was probably my favorite slice of nature in Colorado, this incredible park features natural clay formations which appear almost psychedelic. You will find these clay mines in Calhan and they really are worth the visit. This collection of strangely shaped rocks and rainbow-colored clay is absolutely breathtaking and there are tours which will take you through the most interesting areas. The tours themselves are around 3 miles long and around each corner you will be presented with something even more magical than you saw before. Expect to spend around a day in Calhan as you discover yet another of Colorado’s natural feats.
Although I did manage to spend a lot of time there, there is still so much of Colorado that I would like to go back and discover, and I am sure that you will have the most amazing time in this special state.