Ultimate Colorado Itinerary Pt. 1

Visiting Colorado soon? Here's what we did with 4 days/4 nights during out TX/CO/UT road trip with time spent in Denver, Morrison, Rocky Mountain National Park, Estes Park, Boulder, and Aspen! If what you're looking for is an active and adventurous trip, keep reading!



Preface:


If you followed along Instagram stories and Posts on my account, @KarolamRamirez you know Stephen and I set out on a 10 day road trip with 2 other friends, J and S. Check out IG Highlight titled "Roadtrip" to get the full experience. On the first day of the trip J and S set out early from their hometown in Austin, Texas and met us in our city, Fort Worth. From there we split up the long drive to Colorado by staying 1 night, 1 day in Amarillo, Texas to visit [Cadillac Ranch and Palo Duro]. This blog post will specifically focus on Colorado gems to visit.


*Full Downloadable Itinerary coming this week!


Colorado Overview:

  • Day 1: Denver

  • Day 2: Red Rocks Amphitheater + Rocky Mountain National Park

  • Day 3: Boulder

  • Day 4: Estes Park

  • Day 5: Aspen


Colorado has got to be one of the most picturesque states in the US. And it's also one of the best states in America for road tripping and camping. In the summer, this state offers camping, mountain biking, and hiking, and in winter it is one of the best places for snowboarding and skiing (which I hope to finally experience this winter 2020 🤞🏽).


DAY 1:


AM: Leave Fort Worth

Drive time: 5 hours


PM: Amarillo, Texas (Cadillac Ranch)



DAY 2:


AM:


Amarillo, TX (Palo Duro State Park)

Drive time: 6.5 hours

Ideally leave with enough time to make it into Denver by 6 PM to explore the Denver district of your choosing.


PM:


Arrive in Denver.


Settled into our Airbnb (close to downtown Denver) and immediately hit the town. Denver is broken up into popular districts: LoHi, LoDo, RiNo, Highlands, etc (linking a great article here that gives a more in-depth account into these districts) so you really want to choose your lodging based off what areas you're trying to explore.


My favorite district?

River North District Area, also known as "RiNo" : home of creative businesses, craft distillers + breweries and vibrant street art at almost every corner!






DAY 3:


AM:


Stop 1: Red Rocks Amphitheater

Drive time: 30 min


Before heading out to Rocky Mountain National Park, we took a detour to Red Rocks Amphitheater in Morrison, CO ( Fun fact, Rolling Stone magazine calls it America's best amphitheater. World-famous acts such as the Beatles, Grateful Dead, U2 and Bruno Mars have performed on this legendary stage just outside Denver.).



I recommend arriving during sunrise not only because catching the first sun rays on this theater is beautiful, but you also get to experience it with fewer crowds! We stayed for about an hour walking around but this is definitely a place where you can make a full day out of it by planning ahead (fitness classes and hiking trails are around).





Stop 2: Rocky Mountains National Park

Drive time: 1 hour 35 mins


IMPORTANT NOTE: A timed entry permit or camping reservation is now required to enter ALL areas of Rocky Mountain National Park. You need to reserve ASAP especially if you're hoping to snag an early time entry for longer hikes. We got ours about 3 weeks out and still only got a 10 AM time slot (which was about the latest time I would have been comfortable starting from the Sky Pond Trailhead. If you're planning to do long hikes please take into account of weather and sunset times!)


After experiencing it for ourselves, I can say Sky Pond is one of the BEST hikes in RMNP. But it's also not for beginners. It's rated as [hard] on All Trails. So if you're just starting out I'd recommend finding other trails on AllTrails.com (great resource for finding hikes, locating stats and reading reviews) - you can't really go wrong going anywhere in CO.




Sky Pond Trail Overview:

11 miles. 6 of which were at a complete incline. Hiked through snow for hours. Climbed up an icy waterfall. Saw the most breathtaking views. Met the famous marmot.⁣ 🏔


The whole hike is like something out of a fairytale - waterfalls, stepping stones, forests, alpine meadows, snow, wildlife and mountain scenery everywhere you look.⁣ ⁣ Sky Pond is a truly incredible alpine lake. It’s not easy to get to and is rated as Strenuous but it is doable with preparation, determination, and a sprinkle of adventure.⁣ We started out at the Glacier Gorge Trailhead and it took us about 7 hours to complete (we accounted for time to stop and take a lot of photos/videos and eat lunch at the lake).








PM:


Arrive in Boulder

Drive time: 50 mins

After a full day of hiking in the Rockies we were so ready to unwind, eat some yummy food and settle into a new town! Aside from there being a lot to explore, Boulder is also a great place to stay at if you're looking to explore Rocky Mountain or Estes Park during the day. [ Fun fact: Boulder average 300 days of sunshine a year!]


Our pick of choice for lodging? The one and only Hotel Boulderado!






A little background on this historic and and iconic hotel in Boulder:


The five-story brick building exudes tons of character, and inside it still holds their original attendant-operated Otis elevator (you have to ride it at least once! Or multiple times if you're like me) and stained-glass ceiling to its regal cherrywood staircase.


Dinner was at Boulderado's Spruce Farm and Fish.


Let me tell you...this is not your average hotel restaurant! When I tell you Stephen and I brought our appetites...I'm definitely not joking. We walked into our room, got date-night ready in record time, and sprinted down the stairs to the restaurant. Service was quick, courteous, and friendly - which we really appreciated as our first welcome to the city. Our drinks were never empty, and our waiter checked in on us just the right amount while providing answers to all our questions about the menu.


Appetizer: Tuna Tartare

Cocktail: Old Fashioned

Entrees: Pan Seared Scallops and Yellowfin Tuna

Dessert: Cheesecake







This restaurant exceeded all expectations from service to the quality of food.


After dinner we walked around the charming hotel learning more about its history from a self guided tour (you can pick up a brochure at the front desk ) before retreating into our room for some much needed sleep. We both were excited to wake up early and catch the sunrise over coffee on our mountain-facing balcony.




DAY 4:


AM:


As per usual, our internal alarm clock woke us up 6 AM. With this type of trip, sleeping in late will set you back! We made sure to get plenty of rest during our road trip by being in bed by 10 PM.


I woke up to the smell of coffee filing up the room thanks to Stephen who usually manages to get up a bit earlier to make it. I jumped out of bed to slip on the cozy robes Hotel Boulderado had provided and bee-lined towards our patio. Something about the calm, peaceful aura of a sunrise always amazes me. Getting that extra hour of just sitting next to my partner, sipping hot coffee, sometimes in silence and other times just ooh-ing and awe-ing over the colors filling the sky is one of the best ways to start the day.







After we got our fill of the nature's beauty in, we headed inside to get ready for the day! Another perk of staying at Hotel Boulderado? The hotel is within walking distance of all the things! Restaurants, shopping, hiking, and more. We weren't going to need a vehicle to explore the town.


Stop 1: The Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse


This was one of the first places that made it on my list while researching Boulder. This teahouse was constructed in Tajikistan between 1987 and 1990 by more than 40 artisans as part of the sister city initiative. Their work reflects a traditional Persian motif dating back over 2,000 years and was constructed completely without the use of power tools!


Combine the striking interior and design with over 100 different type of tea, this place needs to make it on your Colorado list!






Stop 2: Pearl Street Mall

Located in the heart of Boulder, Pearl Street is whimsical delight! Prepare yourself for local microbreweries, theaters, art exhibits, festivals, shopping, and restaurants. We spent the morning popping in and out of shops, soaking in the tourist hotspot alive with activity.



Stop 4: Brunch at Spruce Farm & Fish

As we were really impressed with dinner the night before, we headed back to Hotel Boulderado to fuel up with brunch at Spruce Farm and Fish. Again, our food was delicious and plentiful and we finished it off with some Mimosas and Bloody Marys.









Finally, it was time to say farewell to Hotel Boulder, next stop would be Estes Park. To book your stay or learn more about this amazing hotel, click here.



PM:


Arrive in Estes Park

Drive time: 50 mins


Colorado Road Trip PART II is coming soon! This next blog will encompass lodging, food, and activities we did in Estes Park and Aspen!



xoxo,

Karo






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