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My Ultimate Colorado Bucket List

My Ultimate Colorado Bucket List

This has been the year where I’ve planned trips…and haven’t gotten to take them yet. This summer and fall, I’ve seen pictures of Colorado and got the idea stuck in my head now that I need to go. But not just go to Colorado, but go and do bucket list amazing things. Colorado is full of them!

Read on to see what I’d do in Colorado if time and money were no barriers. Maybe you’ll be inspired to plan a trip, too.

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Find one of the Creative Districts

Colorado has designated charming neighborhoods and areas around the state as Certified Creative Districts. There are 23 to seek out.

This idea intrigues me since Nebraska only recently decided to do something similar.

Dinner on a farm

I’ve become obsessed with this idea ever since I had wood-fired pizza on a farm in Iowa. Now I seek it out in every destination. Colorado has A LOT of chefs serving up dinners on a farm or some other bucolic destination, so I should have no problem finding one.

Colorado has several farm dinner options
Photo courtesy Colorado Tourism Office. Photo by Matt Inden/Miles

A few options include The Guest House near Carbondale, Meadow Lark Farm Dinners, A Grazing Life in Fountain, Lyons Farmette, Ollin Farms in Longmont, Three Leaf Farm in Lafayette, and Fortified Farm Dinners.

Dine at North America’s highest altitude restaurant

Why not? Alpino Vino, a fine-dining restaurant located in the San Juan Mountains in Telluride, sits at 11,966 feet.

It’s a winter-only restaurant, and in the evening, you can reserve a heated snow coach on top of the gondola to arrive at the doorstep of the restaurant.

Hot air balloon ride in Colorado

Ever since my sister shared pictures of her fall trip to Colorado Springs, I’ve had one thing on my mind: I want to do what she did. And what was that? She, my dad and my niece took a hot air balloon ride

Close-up of hot air balloons in Colorado
Photo courtesy Colorado Tourism Office. Photographer is Matt Inden/Miles

Just picture the view from up high, Colorado in its fall colors.

A more affordable high-up adventure would be to ride a gondola ride in the summer at ski resort.

Related post: I’ve got a lot outdoorsy adventure on my Colorado Springs Bucket List, too.

Hot springs in the winter

I’m a wimp with cold weather, but Colorado has so many hot springs, I might be convinced to visit in the winter. Here’s a list of nine Colorado hot springs to consider for winter getaways. I think I’d stay at the gorgeous picture Avalanche Ranch Cabins Hot Springs!

Go to a unique festival

I love a good, strange festival. The kind of festival that lets a town show its quirky side. There’s Bigfoot Days each spring in Estes Park. Mike The Headless Chicken Festival in Fruita each May.

And then, there’s the Halloween season event that intrigues me – the Emma Crawford Coffin Races and Festival in Manitou Springs. Let’s not forget the Donkey Derby Days in Cripple Creek. Just guess what that involves.

Try a winter sport you never thought of

Maybe I’m the only one who hasn’t heard of this but ski biking is a thing, and they do it at some resorts.

With the low center of gravity, I think I’d have better luck doing that than skiing. Resorts that have it include Purgatory Resort in Durango, Winter Park Resort, Vail Mountain, Keystone Resort, Steamboat Ski Resort, Telluride Ski Resort, Aspen Snowmass and Copper Mountain Resort.

Also, there’s winter coasters now (and that’s not, like, sledding or something). So take the alpine coaster you find at ski resorts in the summer and add cold and snow. Voila, winter coasters. These are a pretty new thing and I’ve read that the resorts to find one at including Steamboat Ski Resort, Purgatory Resort in Durango, Snowmass, Copper Mountain Resort, Breckinridge and Vail.

Spotting a landing during a skijoring jump down one of Steamboat's main streets.
Photo courtesy Colorado Tourism Office. Photo by Matt Inden/Miles.

But the most interesting of all sports that I’ve only recently stumbled upon is skijoring. It involves someone on horseback pulling a skier along through a challenging course. While it’s not going to be added on my to-do bucket list, watching someone do it is.

Explore the state’s history

I just learned Colorado has three National Heritage Areas, so they’d be good places to begin learning more about the state’s history. They are South Park, Sangre de Cristo, and Cache la Poudre.

We can way back and follow in the steps of dinosaurs. Literally. I’d love to visit Picketwire Canyonlands to see the nation’s largest collection of fossilized dinosaur footprints. There are many dinosaur-related sites in Colorado, though.

Glamping

So I’ve tried glamping in Nebraska and it was lovely. Really. But I’d love to have all the conveniences found in glamping but add the Colorado setting.

There are several places I could glamp, including the family-owned Arapaho Valley Ranch in Grandby, Dunton River Camp in Delores, luxurious Royal Gorge Cabins and Echo Canyon Campground in Canon City, safari-style tents at Piney River Ranch in Vaile, the elegantly comfortable glamping tents at The High Lonesome Ranch in De Beque, and Cedar Ridge Ranch in Carbondale (they have alpaca yoga, you guys!).

Explore sand dunes

I love unexpected sand dunes. After visiting some sand dunes in Michigan of all places, I love encountering the unexpected. And it’s totally unexpected that Colorado has sand dunes by the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.

(Technically, yes, this was mentioned earlier in the National Heritage Sites section. <shhhh>)

The great sand dunes with the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in the background.
Photo courtesy Colorado Tourism Office. Photo by Matt Inden/Miles

Try Mirsol chilies

Apparently, one of the hottest trendy foods to eat in Colorado are the berry-like mirasol chilies, which have been popular in southeastern Colorado for years, but now can be found everywhere.

According to National Geographic’s “Great American Eating Experiences”, you can seek these homegrown gems in Pueblo during the city’s Chile & Frijoles Festival in September, as well as at farmers markets in Denver.

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