My mother and youngest brother recently came to visit for their spring break. They flew in on a Friday so I took the following Monday and Tuesday off to enjoy a long weekend with them. This is what we did and what you could squeeze in if you have 5 days to sightsee.
I picked them up from the airport around noon and we headed back to my apartment to grab some last minute things, walk the dog, and grab something to eat before hitting the road to Colorado Springs.
It was about a 2 hour drive so we ended up just grabbing a bite to eat and settling into our hotel room. (Pet People Traveling Advice: La Quinta Inns & Suites has a very pet-friendly policy with the exception of 6 locations).
We woke up early and made our way to the Garden of the Gods Park. Not only is this park pet-friendly and free but it is truly something you can’t miss.
We spent the majority of our day there, hitting a few hikes that we wanted to do (Kissing Camels, Siamese Twins, and the Keyhole Window.) Several of the other places we stopped didn’t really require a hike.
After Garden of the Gods, we drove the short 5-10 minutes to Manitou Springs to check out the cliff dwellings and museum (also dog-friendly but not free). Here, you can actually walk through the 700-year-old dwellings and learn about the Native Americans that lived there.
After the cliff dwellings, we were pretty beat and decided to call it a day. At the Manitou Springs museum, a staff member recommended Pub Dog, a local dog-friendly restaurant. This place was pretty neat and I highly recommend, if you have a bigger dog, that you check it out. There was a fenced in area out back where you could eat and let your dog play with other dogs. I decided not to let Zuzu experience that part of the restaurant as she is 12 lbs and the majority of the other dogs out there were 5x her size. However, we still enjoyed eating inside where we could order her bacon off the dog menu and not have to leave her at the hotel room.
We had big plans for Sunday but immediately two of them were dashed. We wanted to visit the Mollie Kathleen gold mine, America’s only vertical shaft mine tour, but sadly discovered it was closed until the end of April. Then, we had planned to ride to the top of Pikes Peak on the Cog Railway but found that they had decided not to reopen for the 2018 season and were in the process of deciding whether to reopen at all.
However, we still wanted to visit Pike’s Peak and made the drive ourselves up the 14,115-foot summit. This drive was very intimidating so choose your driver wisely. There are very few guardrails and some pretty sharp turns. The view is mind-boggling and something I recommend everyone see at least once. Dress warmly and drink PLENTY of water. Also, if you are visiting from somewhere with a lower elevation, maybe spend a few days in Denver to become accustomed to a higher elevation before taking this on. Myself, my mother, and my brother all got dizzy and sleepy once we reached the top due to the sheer elevation. There is a gift shop at the top with some food selections if you get hungry but there are no pets allowed in the shop.
We ate dinner and then started the drive back to Denver once we descended Pikes Peak. Be prepared to be exhausted, we sure were.
Colorado is wonderful because you can go skiing in April, and that’s just what we did. We chose to visit Loveland Ski because it was close and affordable. This was my brother and I’s first time skiing and my mother’s second time and we all decided that we didn’t need an instructor…BIG mistake. While my little brother picked the skill up immediately and greatly enjoyed his time there, my mother and I weren’t so lucky. We struggled the entire 4 hours we were there and I’m not sure if skiing is really my thing. Actually, I’m very sure it’s not. However, I tried it! If you do enjoy skiing, Loveland Ski was only an hour away from Denver and was really affordable. If it’s your first time, like it was mine, I would highly recommend hiring an instructor and preparing to have your feet hurt for the next two days.
After skiing, we stopped in Idaho Springs to eat at Beau Jo’s, a Colorado pizzeria. The town is really cute and the pizza nourished our ski slope beaten bodies.
Tuesday we woke up early to go hiking at St. Mary’s Glacier, a favorite of mine. We were greeted by 18-degree weather and several feet of snow but we still tackled the hike and really enjoyed the view at the top.
After the hike, we headed to Aurora to visit the Stanley Marketplace, a cool little marketplace in what used to be the Stanley Aviation manufacturing plant. We ate at the Denver Biscuit Company and walked around and visited some of the shops.
And that’s how we spent our 5 days in Colorado! They are actually here for 4 more days but unfortunately, I have to go back to work so our adventures will be restricted to the afternoon. We do plan to spend some time in downtown Denver and Boulder before they leave.
I hope this helps you plan your trip to Colorado! Thanks for reading.