October 17, 2017

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Colorado Mountain Vacations

Known as the Centennial State, Colorado is truly a four-season destination offering world-class adventure and recreational activities, a thriving arts scene, rich cultural heritage, eclectic cuisine, numerous festivals and events, and renowned ski resort areas. In addition, you’ll find breathtaking natural landscapes throughout the state, from natural hot springs and hundreds of lakes and rivers to 10 national parks and monuments and 54 mountain peaks over 14,000 feet.

With over 28,000 skiable acres, Colorado’s 22 world-class ski resorts offer visitors some of the world’s best skiing and snowboarding including: four resorts in Aspen, the Champagne Powder(tm) of Steamboat, “Ski Town USA”, the diverse terrain of Winter Park/Mary Jane, fantastic bowl skiing at Vail, snow-cat skiing at Copper Mountain and other resorts, the deep snow of Crested Butte, and heli-skiing at Telluride and Silverton. Each resort has its own special appeal and charm.

Gateways/Airports/Highways:

Colorado offers visitors a number of gateways to choose from. Denver International Airport (DIA) is the state’s largest airport, but it is not the only one. Colorado is home to eight regional airports that offer direct and easy access to the state’s ski slopes, national parks and monuments, hiking and biking trails, rivers and lakes.

Regional gateways and airports include: Colorado Springs Airport, Durango-LaPlata County Airport, Eagle County Regional Airport, Fort Collins/Loveland Airport, Grand Junction Regional Airport, Steamboat Springs Airport, Telluride Regional Airport and
the Yampa Valley Regional Airport.

If driving by automobile, there are a number of Interstates and highways that criss-cross the state, including:

I-70 runs east and west across the State through Summit County
I-25 runs north and south through the State via Denver and
Colorado Springs
I-76 runs northeast from Denver through Sterling
US160 runs east and west through the southern part of State
connecting through Trinidad, Alamosa and Durango
US 24 east and west south of I-70 between Limon and Leadville
connecting to I-70 past Breckenridge
US 285 southwest from Denver to Monte Vista
US 50 runs east west from Kansas through Pueblo and Montrose
Regions:
Colorado is split into seven regions: Greater Denver, the Front Range, Northeast, Southeast, South Central, Southwest and Northwest.

Greater Denver:

Known as the “Gateway to the Rockies”, Denver is located 8250 feet above sea level and just east of the Colorado Rocky Mountains. An urban center, you find more than 200 parks and dozens of tree lined boulevards, a walkable central downtown (the 10th largest downtown in America based on workers and retail) and a vibrant urban center nestled among some of the West’s most spectacular scenery. Within easy walking distance, are the city’s convention center complex, performing arts district, museums, and a wide variety of shops, restaurants and bars.

The mile-long 16th Street pedestrian mall cuts through the heart of downtown Denver. Lower Downtown (or “LoDo” ) offers one of the country’s greatest concentrations of Victorian and turn-of-the-century buildings and warehouses, many of which have been refurbished into restaurants, art galleries, offices and shops. It’s also the center of the city’s brewpub scene, with six large brewpubs and micro-breweries, each brewing six to eight exclusive beers, all within easy walking distance of each other.

Front Range:

This regions covers the area north of Denver through Boulder, Estes Park, Loveland and Fort Collins and west to Central City and Idaho Springs. Experience the splendor of Rocky Mountain National Park, a 400-square-mile preserve of forests, meadows, tundra, and ponds; the surrounding mountain towns of Estes Park and Grand Lake; small Victorian and historic mining towns of Idaho Springs, Georgetown and Empire; and the gambling meccas of Central City and Black Hawk.

Northeast:

Northeastern Colorado often surprises visitors with its wide-open grasslands, prairies and seas of golden wheat. Reaching from Denver north and west, the area encompasses Sterling and Burlington and features: old emigrant trails, antique buildings and abandoned settlement, sun-splashed lakes and reservoirs, and numerous areas for hunting. Between April to October, Northeast Colorado hosts well over 150 fairs, rodeos, tournaments, and old-time celebrations.

Northwest:

The Northwest region of the state encompasses the area west of Boulder, along the I-70 Corridor to the Western Slope that Grand Junction calls home. You’ll find a widely diverse landscape as you follow I-70 to the western border, from snow-capped peaks and flat top mesas to fertile valleys anddramatic canyons.

Most of the region’s eastern border follows the Continental Divide (the meandering ridgeline that separates North America’s watershed). It also where you’ll find some of the world’s most legendary resort towns, including Aspen/Snowmass, Vail, Steamboat, and Breckenridge.

Further west you’ll find the thermal hot springs of Glenwood Springs. An hour’s drive further brings you to the fertile wine and fruit country of Colorado and the majestic, plunging canyons of Colorado National Monument (which is home to spectacular rock formations and staggering vistas) and Grand Mesa (where lakes are scattered throughout pristine forest).

South Central:

South Central Colorado offers up a spectacular backdrop of pointed peaks, deep canyons and dazzling wildflowers. Reaching from Denver south through Colorado Springs to Alamosa, you’ll again find a variety of terrain featuring, pristine silver lakes, aspen and pin covered hillsides and lines of snow-capped peaks of Pikes Peak, the Collegiate Peaks and Sangre de Cristo Mountains, as well as the every shifting Great Sand Dunes. South Central Colorado boasts Colorado’s tallest mountain and its oldest town, church, and military post. It is also home to the tallest sand dunes in North America, the highest toll road in the world, the steepest railroadincline in the world, and the highest suspension bridge in the world (Royal Gorge).

Southeast:

The Southeast region of the state is comprised mostly of wind-swept plains, but is considered the cradle of Colorado. It was here, that the first gold-seekers arrived in the 1540’s; that Colorado received its first emissaries from the United States led by Zebulon Pike in 1806; and the first American settlement was raised (Bent’s Old Fort) in 1833. The Santa Fe Trail also ran right alongside the Arkansas River, bringing traders and, later, armies into one of the country’s last Native American strongholds.

Southwest:

The Southwest region of Colorado runs from Grand Junction and Gunnison south to Durango and boasts a mix of brush-covered mesas, grassy meadows, majestic mountains, colorful scenic drives through the San Juan Mountains, roaring rapids, and deep stone canyons. Here you’ll find a dramatic mix of ghost towns and abandoned mines, wildflower covered land, and countless ruins of an ancient civilization. Mesa Verde National Park, Hovenweep National

Monument and the Anasazi Heritage Center make this area an archaeologist’s dream, while the recreational activities of biking, hiking, running, climbing, flying, and boating, make it heaven for outdoor enthusiasts. Towns such as Telluride, Silverton and Ouray provide attractive retreats for starving artists and CEOs alike, while Durango offers visitors a friendly Western experience.