Happy New Year everyone! As we say goodbye to 2017 and welcome 2018, hope we all always remember to be thankful and optimistic! It’s been a wonderful year spending such amazing time with my family and friends. I am looking forward to what this new year holds for all of us! As a family we did so many fun excursions. I wanted to share some of my favorite excursions.
As summer started, we spent almost a month in Colorado. I want to share my loves of Colorado first. We hiked local trails at Glenwood Springs, camped and hiked some more at Buena Vista, hiked St. Mary’s Glacier, visited our local favorite spots: Estes Park, Boulder, Downtown Denver, Highlands, and most importantly, enjoyed our time with family!
Glenwood Springs/ Rifle Falls State Park:
The hike itself is a little hidden, as there are campsites before the hike trails even begin. Fortunately, it truly is an amazing and hidden gem. My husband surprised me to this amazing hike for our 7th wedding anniversary. It was well worth the wait! It is said that Rifle Falls is the home of Colorado’s only 80-foot triple waterfall!
Rifle Falls State Park
5775 Hwy 325
Rifle, CO 81650
I lived my whole life in Colorado, and I cannot believe I had not made it Buena Vista. I really enjoyed this place. It is an amazing small town with even more breathtaking hikes and views. The downtown area is so cute and quaint. It’s a street full of delicious food trucks from burgers to Mexican yumminess. We stopped at Louie’s Ice Cream Shoppe. We got there right on time, because minutes later the line was out the door! It’s a cozy ice shop with lots of kid-friendly outdoor games. I think we spent a good hour just hanging out.
Louie’s Ice Cream Shoppe
Phone: (773) 450-0803
Summer Hours: Open 12-10pm till October
Address: 414 E. Main Street
Buena Vista, CO 81211
Cottonwood Pass: (Altitude: 12,126 feet) If you are in the area, you have to hike the Continental Divide trail at Cottonwood Pass. It is a great hike for beginners and very much kid friendly till the last part. It is a little ROCKY! It was beautiful to see wildflowers growing next to tundra and snow. Visiting for North Carolina, it was amazing to see snow in July!! I will always be a #Coloradan in heart! We had a blast sitting on the edge of the rocks and just enjoy the amazing views. Our 10 plus family and friends crew took over the trail. The dads and the kids had a blast leading the group.
Chalk Creek Campground and RV Park
I really enjoyed our group campsite at Chalk Creek Campground and RV Park. It was such a well organized, clean, and open campground. I really recommend this place, especially for people traveling in a large group. The management was very friendly and helpful. The only con, if I had to say, would be that because we were in the lower level, the full hot shower bathroom was a little far. Thankfully, the bathroom was very clean and truly HOT showers!
11430 Co Rd 197
Nathrop, CO 81236
St. Mary’s Glacier
Snow. Snow. Snow. Snow in the summertime is amazing! This is an easy to moderate, kid-friendly hike. The trail is about 1.5 hour round trip (2 miles), but it will require some climbing through boulders. When we reached the end of the trail, it was truly just breathtaking. The snow topped mountains over a large clear lake is just picture perfect. It was also fun to see people snowboarding and sledding down icy snow in the sunny middle of July Colorado weather! There is so much space for kids to run around. It is truly an amazing spot to snack or picnic! I am in love with this place!
Directions: From Denver, take I-70 west about 25 miles past Idaho Springs to Exit #238 (Fall River Rd. or Rd 275). Follow Fall River Rd. for approximately 9 miles until you see the trail to St Mary’s Glacier on your left. The parking area is past the trailhead on the left. You will see cars parked in a big open, dirt lot.
Parking: There are parking spaces, but it does get filled quickly. So, plan accordingly. There is a $5 parking fee, which is well worth the scenic beauty. They are very strict about parking on the road!
Day Hike Quick PACK LIST:
- Cash for Parking
- Sunblock/ Chapstick
- Ankle hiking boots
- Bug spray
- Layers (it can get windy)
There are so many places in Colorado to enjoy, like my parents scenic, untouched mountain-view backyard. These are someplace I enjoy going back anytime of the year.
Estes Park: (Going back in history for a little bit). For our first anniversary, we spent the whole day there. We started the day with a horseback-riding excursion, and then strolling down the old-fashioned, classic downtown area, where we finally stopped and ate at a rooftop Mexican restaurant. I wish I knew the name. It was fun then, and I am sure, if it’s still there, anyone can find it, because it was the only rooftop restaurant in the downtown area. After lunch, we hike up to the old cabin ruins for a birds-eye view of the whole town. It is just majestic. Finally, we ended the afternoon with wine tasting at a local winery. I am so bummed that this placed closed few years ago. This place was so charming. We were allowed to take the bottle of wine by the stream. There we spent hours literally watching the hummingbirds flying from one direction to another.
Every time we visit Estes Park, we try to do something new or something old. It’s just a beautiful iconic old town that has a lot of beautiful memories for us. We love revisiting the place all the type, anytime, literally.
Boulder Downtown: I started my life in Boulder. When we were kids, we learned all the bus routes to get to Boulder Downtown, recreation center, parks, etc. So, either we were saving all of our dimes and quarters for a bus ride, or literally, riding our bikes everywhere. Boulder is another place that I can never get enough of. So, whenever we are in town, or time to spare, we are in Boulder Downtown. We take our son everywhere, and when he returns to the same place, it is so cool to see his eyes glow with fond memories of his time there. It is so nice to hear him recall his past memories, from whether it be touching the water fountains, playing at the large boulder park, eating ice cream or just watching the street magicians.
Denver Downtown: 20 plus years ago, when we moved to Denver from Boulder, my parents opened a restaurant and gift shop in Downtown Denver. So, almost every weekend the kids were in the downtown area. We saw the area grow from a scary, “don’t walk alone street,” to a safe and upcoming “16th Street Mall.” We love taking our son on the light rail to Downtown and ride the 16th Street free mall ride bus. Our go to place has been the Union Station. In just a few years, it has become so fun and lively, with amazing food and drinks. It is truly a hotspot to hangout with friends. I love the atmosphere, it feels like the old meets new, and it’s always changing.
Address: 1701 Wynkoop St
Denver, CO 80202
Phone: (800) 872-7245
Denver Highlands: Highlands is an amazing, redeveloped neighborhood. It is truly in the middle of everything. There are three diverse districts to discover here: Highlands Square, Tennyson Street and Lower Highland (LoHi). There are so many boutiques shops, restaurants, breweries, and my favorite, ice cream shops. Everyone needs to go the Little Man Ice Cream Shop and try the toffee ice cream! OMG, it’s yum!
Little Man Ice Cream Shop
Address: 2620 16th St.
Denver, CO 80211
Please do check out a video of our visit to Colorado in 2017. Enjoy!