Going to Colorado was my first official out of state trip. It was the first time I flew and I was a little nervous, but excited to see what adventures were to come. I was inspired to go to Colorado from a picture of Maroon Bells my college professor showed the class and I had to go see it for myself. Since Colorado is a big state and I was only there for two weeks, I’ll share the top experiences I had because it would take multiple trips in order to see and experience what this state has to offer. I stayed in Snowmass Village since it was close to Aspen and Maroon Bells and pretty much the center of the things I wanted to see.
Sapphire Point Overlook
When I landed in Denver Airport, I rented a car and headed out for my first destination – Sapphire Point Overlook. It’s located about 2 hours west of the airport and the halfway point to Snowmass Village (or Aspen they’re only 18 min away from each other). It was nice to get out of the car and stretch my legs and “explore” a little.
As I was walking toward the overlook, chipmunks started to pop out all over the place and actually came up to me! When I finally stopped giving the chipmunks all my attention, I got to admire the view. My picture doesn’t do it justice (this was before I had a decent camera) so the colors aren’t as vibrant as they were in person, but if you’re passing the area take a few minutes to check out this place for yourself!
After I was done staring at the view, I went back to the car and started driving to the hotel and relax a little for the next day and the whole reason I went to Colorado – Maroon Bells!
I was SO excited to take the whole day to explore Maroon Bells! I took Maroon Creek Rd until I got to the parking lot and started walking on Maroon-Snowmass Trail. You will immediately see Maroon Bells greet you at the trailhead so if you’re not the hiking type, you don’t need to put in a lot of effort to see them!
I wanted to get closer so I started hiking the trail and even though it doesn’t seem like it would take that long, it took me about 4 hours and led me to Crater Lake which is located behind Maroon Bells.
Black Canyon of Gunnison
Black Canyon of Gunnison was a little out of the way for me (2.5 hours SW of Snowmass), but it was quite an adventure just driving to the National Park. I saw a lot of cool things on the way including coke ovens which I had no clue what they were until I pulled over and read about them. They were built and used for coal miners to turn coal into coke, a clean burning fuel.
I also saw small wild fires burning randomly on the sides of mountains along the highway. (I wasn’t too worried because at the time I went wild fires were all over the news), but still cool since I never saw that back in Maryland.
It was cool to see the geography change from the Aspen area, green with plenty of trees and vegetation to Gunnison area which was more like a desert – dry and hot with hardly any grass.Once I finally got to the Black Canyon of Gunnison National Park, it was amazing to see how enormous the sharp rocks were and how far down the canyon went. I could see why it was called Black Canyon – all the rocks were a dark grey or black, go figure!
I didn’t do any hiking here since I was a little short on time so I stuck to the paved road and stopped at the overlooks instead. The day I went was HOT and I didn’t wear or bring any sunscreen so I got a little sunburned. If your visiting in the summer time definitely wear some sunscreen!
Painted wall was one of my last view points and its named that because of the lighter lines of rock streaking through the side of the wall on the right.
Just to give you an idea of the size of the canyon, the park compared the painted wall to the Empire State Building!
Hanging lake is just that – a lake thats on a cliffside! The trail to get to hanging lake is only about 1 mile located in Glenwood Springs. The color of the lake is a teal/ green due to dissolved limestone over time and the atmosphere is almost “fairytale-ish”.
It was really cool to walk back into the mine and the temperature drop to where I was chilly and it was in June!
The tour guide explained what they mined and showed us ores, holes in the mine where explosives were used, and equipment used.
One of the awesome things was that while I was waiting to go into the mine and the guide was giving us an introduction, I spotted an elk walking down the hill right next to us! (I guess he didn’t realize we were there because he hid after walking down a few more feet.)
Tip: Bring a light jacket with you. You should bring one anyway on you’re trip because it gets chilly at night time too!
*If you like horses and want to go horseback riding I highly suggest you do it while in Colorado! There was horseback riding just a few minutes from Snowmass Village and you were given the option to go up along the mountain. This offered great views!!
I was only in Colorado for about 2 weeks and I know I only got to see a small portion of the great outdoors this state has to offer. If you have any favorites or awesome places that weren’t listed feel free to leave a comment, its much appreciated! ♥