My boyfriend and I have a mutual love for travel, so he promised me a trip to Colorado as a Christmas present. I was absolutely giddy with excitement, especially since this would be our first trip together as a couple! We coordinated work schedules, researched flights and packed our bags.
We arrived in Denver around 7am and were greeted by the crisp morning air. We rented a car and I quickly rolled the windows down– the cool weather was welcome considering the heat wave we were having back home in Texas. We quickly looked for a place to grab breakfast and discovered DJ’s Berkeley Cafe. I enjoyed a hearty omelet and Logan devoured a generous portion of eggs benedict. If you ever find yourself in Denver, we highly recommend DJ’s!
With full bellies, we hit the road and headed west to see the Red Rocks Amphitheater. The venue was perfectly situated in front of a beautiful, mountainous backdrop. I stood in awe of the view and the fact that I was in the very arena where rock-legends had performed. Maybe someday I’ll be lucky enough to see a concert there!
Our visit to Red Rocks was cut short due to a freak hail storm so we ran for cover to the safety of our rental car. We pulled out the map, plotted our next stop and embarked on a drive to Mount Evans. As the road zigzagged and climbed in elevation, the worse the weather became but the views were majestic! We stopped for a quick photo-op at Echo Lake which was engulfed in an eerie fog.
Logan and I continued the winding drive up to the summit until we were greeted by a barricade of bright orange cones and “do not enter” signs. Unfortunately the last few miles were too treacherous due to the icy conditions, so we decided to head back down the mountain and make our way to Vail.
The next morning, I grabbed coffee with an old soccer buddy at Yeti Grinders and she told me about a beautiful hike in Glenwood Springs called Hanging Lakes. Agreeing that it sounded like a fun adventure, Logan and I strapped on the Go-Pro and our hiking boots. The hike was 3 miles long but took about 3 hours due to the steep incline, rocky trail and icy patches. Once we got to the top, we were astounded by the view. It was well worth the hike, thanks Kate!
After our hike, we drove to Iron Mountain Hot Springs for a nice, relaxing soak. There were 16 mineral pools (mini hot tubs) that ranged from 99 to 108 degrees Fahrenheit, surrounded by gorgeous mountain views. Logan and I watched the sun set over the mountain range from our thermal bath as we sipped on Box wine. It was perfect!
The next morning, our Airbnb hosts made us breakfast and let us feed their llamas. It was quite the experience!
We ventured off to explore Ouray and our first stop was Cascade Falls.
Then we meandered down to Box Canyon Park for a short hike. Since it was off-season the park was completely empty, all except for an adorable chipmunk who was nice enough to strike a pose for us. Logan and I had the entire 285 foot waterfall all to ourselves
I began to feel a little dizzy and nauseous, but was determined to make the most of our time in Ouray. Logan and I followed a road that contained many twists and switchbacks until we arrived at Blue Lakes. This was one of my favorite parts of the entire trip. The views were absolutely incredible. Words cannot even describe nature’s beauty. I stood before the lake, mystified.
The dull headache I had all day intensified as some dark clouds quickly rolled in over the mountains. We decided to hop back in the car and head back to the Airbnb in Ridgeway. The closer into town we got, the worse I felt. Logan was worried about me so we stopped at a local pharmacy and realized that my symptoms were the result of altitude sickness. We loaded up on Pepto bismol, Gatorade, Pedialyte and saltines. The key was to hydrate.
I was feeling a lot better the next morning but we decided to take it easy. We drove to Trout Lake (just outside of Telluride) only to discover that it was completely frozen. Logan and I didn’t let that dampen our fun, we played in the snow and threw a couple snowballs at each other before retreating to the warmth of our rental car.
We warmed up with some hot cocoa and set out to hike Bridal Veil Falls. By the way, hiking through snow is harder than it looks! As we climbed, we saw a bad storm moving quickly toward us. Before we knew it, a snow storm hit and hail began to fall as we ran down the mountain to our car.
The next day, we found ourselves in Colorado Springs so we decided to tour Garden of the Gods. The red rocks really stood out against the contrast of the bright, white snow.
Logan and I appreciate great beer so we decided to put Colorado to the test. Red Leg Brewing Company was the first on our list. It was a cozy little bar with a food truck serving nachos outside. Our favorites were the Cutter Wit, the Blue Nose Brown Ale, and the Devil Dog Stout. I even bought a 6-pack of the Blue Nose Brown Ale to take home with me and share with my family.
For the second brewery, we met up with my friend’s parents who treated us to a tasting at Bristol Brewery. This bar is located at Ivy Wild which is an old school building that was renovated into a brewery/café. Our favorite beers were Lucky Lab, Mass Transit and Yellow Kite Pilsner.
On day our last day, we drove to Boulder and walked around Pearl Street Mall. It was pretty chilly so we warmed up at Ku Cha House of Tea where we enjoyed blooming jasmine tea. Giving in to our rumbling tummies, we stopped for lunch and drinks at Mountain Sun Brewery. We trudged through the mud and snow at Chautauqua Park before heading out to Longmont for the last brewery of the trip. Logan loves Left Hand Brewery and couldn’t wait for me to try their famous milk stout. Man, it was smooth.
Colorado continues to amaze me and I’m sure this is only the first of many adventures we will share together as a couple.