There are plenty of things to do in the Mile High city, of
course, but even more to do outside of it. Here are five of the best places to
Rocky Mountain National Park
About a 90 minute drive north of Denver lies the entrance to
the Rocky Mountain National Park. Gateway town Estes Park is worth a visit in
itself as it’s the home of the Stanley Hotel – the hotel which Stephen King
based The Shining on. It’s supposedly very haunted and ghost tours run every
half hour. After you’ve spooked yourself, carry on up to the National Park –
within a half hour drive you’ll see elk, lakes (take the road to Bear Lake),
snow-capped peaks and, if you visit right now, the yellowing aspens below them.
Funky little Boulder is fast becoming almost as much of a
draw to Colorado as Denver itself. Hit the pedestrianised Pearl Street Mall and
take in the scene from the cafes on the sidewalks; then wander up to the
University Hill district for a gander at the students. There are hiking trails,
too, around Mount Sanitas, as well as a 16 mile Boulder Creek cycling trail.
150 miles southwest of Denver, the hot springs at Salida are
well worth a visit. It’s in a beautiful location – on the Arkansas River – and
during the day you can take rafting trips or hit the five tubs at Cottonwood
Hot Springs. If you have time, and you really want to get away from it all,
stay overnight at the springs and soak in the tubs under the stars.
Uberluxe Vail is one of Colorado’s top ski resorts for the
rich and famous, but not only is it nearer to Denver than Aspen, it’s a little
more laid back, too. If you’re not a skier, you can hike the area instead
(weather permitting, of course).
Great Sands National Park
It’s a hefty three hour drive south of Denver, but Great
Sands is more than worth it. It’s an extraordinary sight – over 150,000 acres
of sand dunes stacked up under the Sangue de Cristo mountain range (where it
builds up). The main area of dunes is 30 square miles and the highest point is
750ft – they’re actually the highest dunes in North America. What’s even better
is that you can walk, run and slide down any point you like. It’s a brilliant
way to fulfill your Sahara fantasies in Colorado.