And just like that, our trip to Colorado came and went. It has already been two weeks since we got back, but I am still in complete awe of how beautiful it was there. My husband and I decided to explore as much of Colorado as we could in three days, so we decided to stay in different Airbnb's every night. Below is my very long recap/itinerary of the trip if you're interested!
As soon as we landed in Denver, we rented a car and headed downtown to the Union Station to grab brunch at the highly recommended Snooze AM Eatery. It was ever so popular with a wait of an hour, so we decided to take advantage of our waiting time and walk around the area. I'm not sure if it was because it was Superbowl Sunday (with the Broncos playing) but it was dead. I was alarmed by how few people we saw (ironic since our wait for brunch was so long!), but also pleasantly surprised that it wasn't crazy hectic like most other bustling cities. We spent the remainder of our time inside the Union Station where people were playing shuffle board, enjoying an early beer at the Terminal, and gift shopping. After we got called in to our table, we ordered immediately and scarfed down our delicious brunch. We washed it down with their amazing coffee and drove straight to Boulder where we stayed our first night.
The drive from Denver to Boulder blew our minds right away - looking back on it, it wasn't as impressive as other sights we saw, but we were ooh-ing and ahh-ing at how many mountains there were. After checking in, we headed to the Lost Gulch Overlook. The winding curves, high elevation, mixed with leftover snow on the roads made me a little queasy, but the view at the end was soooo worth it. It was my "woah... I'm in Colorado" moment. There were snow capped mountains as far as the eyes could see - it was truly breathtaking. Afterwards, we spent some time hiking/walking around Chautauqua Park and enjoying the scene of the sun starting to set behind the Flat Irons. We ate a quick lunch at Wahoo's and trekked our way to the Rocky Mountains. Our ooh-ing increased ten fold when we came close to the Rockies. They were so massive and majestic, it was hard to wrap my mind around how big they were. We caught them just in time at sunset and the winds were blowing like crazy but we decided to keep driving through it. After the sun set behind the mountains, we drove back to Boulder and enjoyed a light dinner at Motomaki.
The next morning, we drove to Glenwood Springs and during the 3 hour drive, we experienced what it seemed to be every type of weather there was. Every time we took a turn, the weather had changed drastically, much like the scenery of our drive. After checking in to our place for the night, we went to a local shop to rent snowshoes for our afternoon hike. We drove to Hanging Lake where you hike 1.2 miles and 1000 feet of elevation until you reach the famous sight. Luckily, a local saw us in the parking lot putting our snowshoeing gear on and warned us that it would be better to go without since all the snow was packed and the trails were narrow. We eagerly took his advice and set off to trek the snowy trails in our regular boots. It was definitely slippery and scary at some points (especially the very end where the snow was as high as the side railing so it looked like you could just slide right off), but again - the view at the end was so amazing. The lake was mostly frozen and the icy waterfalls were so beautiful. And when you looked out on the other side, it looked like a scene straight out of Narnia. Going down was even more difficult, but my husband made the most of it and turned the trail into a giant slide. I, along with other hikers we ran into, were super jealous he wore his snow pants. After managing to hike back down, we grabbed dinner at a pizza place where all the locals were watching the Superbowl. We left around halftime and went to enjoy the world's largest hot springs. It was so crazy that it was still freezing outside, but as soon as you stepped into the pool, it turned into a warm and therapeutic experience. We didn't stay for too long (you could only take so much), but we definitely enjoyed our time there.
We decided to watch the sunrise the next morning, and our Airbnb host also told us of another place to snowshoe since we hadn't used them yet. We grabbed donuts from Sweet Coloradough after the sun rose and headed to Babbish Gulch. The snow was so perfect, powdery, and pure. There were a lot of areas where the snow wasn't even touched - we hiked through some of them in what it seemed to be 3 feet of snow. It was super cold so we only snowshoed for about an hour and decided to start trekking to our next destination.
We drove for a few hours to the Gunnison Park where we were hoping to see the Black Canyon but the roads were completely closed off with feet of snow. It was mildly disappointing, but there was such an incredible view on the other side that it made up for it. It would have taken another 2-3 hours to get to the other side of the canyons that were open, but we decided to just keep driving to our next Airbnb. The beginning of this drive seemed like we were surrounded by sand dunes - there were white hills with pockets of shrubbery everywhere. The scene quickly changed when we started driving through the Gunnison Park. We were very elevated and most of the drive was super curvy, and some parts of the roads didn't even have railings on the sides! It was a long drive to get to Hillside, but we finally made it. This was our splurge of the trip - we were pretty economic with our other two Airbnbs, but we decided to pay a little more to stay in this tiny little town of renovated cottages. The nearest place to grab dinner was in Westcliffe which was about 20 minutes away. I found out that it was recently "dark sky certified" and that may have been the reason, but the whole town was deserted by 8pm. We drove from place to place hoping it was open, but the only place we could grab something to eat was at a quirky half-liquor, half-convenience store. We found some instant ramen noodles and local Colorado beer and called that dinner! We stepped outside our cottage afterwards and just stared at the clear night sky for awhile. It was probably the clearest sky I had ever seen filled with an unimaginable number of stars. It was the perfect last night.
We watched the sunrise again the next morning and got an early start to driving to our last destination of the trip: Garden of the Gods. The drive was a lot less scary but still pretty beautiful. The closer we got to Colorado Springs, the warmer it seemed to get. When we parked and started walking around the Garden of the Gods, I had taken off my jacket and just wore a tank. So bizarre since there was still snow on the ground. We found a little nook where it wasn't so busy and just soaked in the scenery around us. You could see Pike's Peak and the Rockies from a distance - what an amazing background for the city! Our drive to the airport was definitely bittersweet, but we were both so grateful to have shared such a beautiful experience together. We will definitely be back - hopefully during a summer so that we can see everything in color!
If you made it this far, I applaud you :) I wasn't expecting to recap every detail of our trip, but once I started, I couldn't stop! Feel free to leave any questions about any point of our trip and I'd be happy to help! <3