When visiting Denver, Colorado, it is wonderful to get out of the city for an outing. Here is a quick cheat sheet to help arrange easy and memorable day trips, no matter your interests.
SPORTS ENTHUSIAST TRIP – For anyone who has ever dreamed of being an Olympic athlete, a tour of the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs is inspiring. Tours are free and open to the public, begin with a 10 minute video and feature indoor summer sports facilities (swimming, gymnastics, martial arts, fencing and more) but tour schedules change seasonally, so be sure to plan ahead. It is best not to visit during lunchtime as the athletes are also eating (not training).
After you learn that the Olympic Training Center serves 15,000 gallons of milk annually, you might also be thirsty. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit one of the breweries in downtown Colorado Springs to practice some 12 oz. curls.
GAMBLING TRIP and HISTORY TRIP – A trip to Blackhawk and Central City will help fuel your historical curiosity and hopefully start a lucky streak. In 1859, a surprise gold strike in Blackhawk by John H. Gregory ignited the area’s gold fever. Wandering among the historic buildings, restored Victorian homes and imposing rock walls, you’ll find historical museums and casinos with character. Some are in restored buildings while others feature new architecture in western façade.
After gambling, if you have enough gold dust left over for a meal, there are plenty of restaurant options offering everything from fresh prime rib to seafood buffets.
GET IN TOUCH WITH NATURE TRIP – A trip to Rocky Mountain National Park is a must. The views, the elk, the photography opportunities, the “I’m not sure I can drive these curves,” kind of road is an experience not to miss. Just an hour and a half from Denver, there are two hikes that are slightly off the beaten path (so you don’t run into thousands of other outdoorsy folks on the same trail). Gem Lake and Calypso Cascades both leave from trailheads far from the Bear Lake congestion. If you’re visiting in the winter, rent snowshoes and hike to Bierstadt Lake – the scenery and stillness are inspiring.
After your hike or snowshoe, relax in the town of Estes Park to find food of every style to satisfy hungry appetites.
As always, to avoid dehydration and high-altitude headaches, be sure to drink extra water throughout your stay in Colorado.