One mile above sea level in the state of Colorado is the city of Denver, which offers unparalleled views.
Denver and the surrounding cities are home to the Rocky Mountains, Pikes Peak, the US Air Force National Museum, historical landmarks and beautiful scenery – not to mention Coors Beer. The city is a great base for day trips in the area.
There is so much to see and do that it can’t all be captured in one season. There are many reasons to go in winter or spring when the majestic mountains are shrouded in snow.
On top of the world
Just south of the mile-high city is Colorado Springs, a winter wonderland with a postcard view.
Driving up the climb is a great way to see the Pikes Peak scenery. Known as America’s Mountain, Pikes Peak stands high above the Rocky Mountain Range at 14,115 feet.
While visitors may not be able to travel all the way to the summit during the winter months, the round-trip transportation is well worth a traveler’s time. The area is known for its lack of humidity, which allows visitors to experience the beauty of the snow without the bone getting cold.
For those who love skiing, the north side of the mountain offers skiing and snow climbing on the couloirs – narrow, steep canyons on the edge of a mountain. Other winter and spring activities include snowmobiling, hiking, skiing and snowboarding. For more information on activities available all year round, visit pikes-peak.com.
In the Colorado Springs area, a scenic drive through the Garden of the Gods is also a must. The red colored rock formations of this National Natural Monument against the snow-covered background of Pikes Peak are spectacular. The visitor and nature center as well as the museum are open all year round and offer interactive exhibits. At the Geo-Trekker-Theater, visitors can learn how the formations were created. Hiking, cycling and climbing are possible in the park.
Visit gardenofgods.com for parking and climbing regulations as well as information on opening times.
A visit to the 415 square miles of Rocky Mountain National Park adds to the scenic enjoyment for Denver travelers. The park features 300 miles of hiking trails, beautiful starry nights and wildflowers in the warmer months, and Trail Ridge Road, 50 miles of scenery, open from Memorial Day weekend through October Columbus Day. Winter recreation includes cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, tobogganing and ranger programs. Check avalanche and snow conditions online. If you don’t have equipment, you can rent it in Estes Park and Grand Counties. Information can be found at visitestespark.com and visitgrandcounty.com.
The park is home to moose, elk, mule deer, coyotes, and many birds and other animals. Head down the Highway 34 / Fall River corridor on the east side of the park to look for bighorn sheep.
For information on warnings, parking rules, maps, and activities, visit nps.gov/romo.
Georgetown, Colorado is home to the largest herd of bighorn sheep in the United States. There is a viewing area on I-80 west of Denver. It’s a great place to visit the climbing sheep and maybe have the opportunity to see them. Early in the morning or early in the evening are the best times to look for the animals.
The sheep are very difficult to spot – they blend in with the mountain – but the trick is to make sure a head is moving. It’s also possible to find them along the road that heads west just before the Denver Lookout. Bring your own binoculars or use the riflescopes available in the area.
A trip to Denver offers visitors great hotels, history, shopping, nearby casinos, a great food scene, art, and more. For more information on where to stay, eat and have fun, visit denver.org.