Visiting Colorado – Past favorites and a few new places as well

Finally, a vacation which doesn’t consist of two days of traveling and one day of sight seeing!  I had two round trip buddy passes on Southwest, so I decided to use them to get out to Denver, Co, since JetBlue’s schedule from Orlando to Colorado isn’t the most convenient.   We left on the Orlando to Knoxville flight, where there were a total of 21 people on the flight, the easiest non rev trip I’ve ever done!  The Knoxville to Denver flight wasn’t much more booked, but at least full enough to justify the flight.

After a short wait for luggage we headed to Hertz and picked up our rental car, which was ready and only had 8 miles on it.   We headed towards Estes Park, CO, which was less than a 2 hour drive, and with the new toll roads, very easy driving at that.  Along the way we stopped at Pepper Jacks, a fast food diner that we don’t have in FL, but it was very good, especially for the price.  Once we got off the interstate, we stopped at Walmart for some hiking snacks, bottled water and other misc items, and then headed to the Rocky Mountain Park Inn, which allowed us to check in early.  While the property isn’t what you expect of a resort, the staff there was extremely helpful the entire time we’re there, and I wouldn’t hesitate to stay there again.  That afternoon we did a quick drive through Rocky Mountain National Park and then headed back to the hotel to shower, grab dinner, and go to bed early so we could wake up for a morning hike.

Since we spent a few days in the park, I won’t list each day by day account, but we did the following trails, with Emerald Lake being my favorite by far.

  • Chasm Falls
  • Continental Divide
  • Bear Lake
  • Emerald Lake
  • Bierstadt Lake
  • Sprague Lake

After leaving Estes Park, we went back to Denver and met with Kaitlin’s Aunt who works at the Denver Zoo and gave us a tour, then we met up with her Uncle and went downtown for dinner and a tour of the downtown district.  The following day we woke up early to go whitewater rafting, which was a ton of fun, and the rafting company we chose was excellent.  The following day we went to Garden of the Gods, Seven Falls, and Cave of the Winds.  The lantern tour at Cave of the Winds was VERY cool!