There’s a whole lot to love about Colorful Colorado. The sunshine, the plains, the blue skies, and of course, the mountains. After living in this beautiful state for nearly three months, Kyle and I have gotten quite a bit of adventuring under our belts. We’ve driven, what feels like every town, looking for a place to live, hiked over a dozen trails and dined some, but decidedly less than we’d like to have (thank you, COVID-19). So, I thought I’d compile a list of my favorite places in Colorado so far, after two months of living here. Why? For one, I love revisiting the photographs I’ve taken of each place. What’s photography for if you don’t take the time to enjoy the photographs and relive the memories? And two, maybe this will give you guys a list of places to visit. So here it goes!
Favorote Colorado Cities
When we were trying to decide which city to live near, Fort Collins was high on the list. It’s a little further from the slopes on I-70, but still near Rocky Mountain National Park and some really great hiking. Not only that, but the city itself has such great charm. It’s a fairly large city, but still has that small town feel to it. Shops, coffee, parks, and bars — all the things you’d want in a hometown. We visited before the pandemic hit, so businesses were still open and the hustle and bustle of people were about. Ah, the good ol’ days.
This is the town we landed in when we moved to Colorado. We lived with my good friend for a while and then recently moved into our place in downtown. We adore it. While we loved Fort Collins, we wanted to live somewhere a little smaller. It still has all the best things — community, coffee, parks, mountain views, bars and shops owned by the people who live here. When you walk into these small businesses, you feel the love. Everyone is almost ridiculously kind and for a girl from the Northeast, where people tend to keep to themselves, this was a breath of fresh air.
This should be no surprise for those who have been to Boulder. This little town is about 15 minutes from us, and we love it. I wish we’d gotten to spend more time eating out and shopping here before COVID took over. But we still like driving through on our way to our favorite hiking trails. Boulder has countless parks, trails and just all the good things. It’s one high on the list of our favorites.
Favorite Colorado Trails and Parks
St. Mary’s Glacier
St. Mary’s Glacier was one of the first hiking destinations we took that wasn’t immediately near by. It’s a pretty heavily-trafficked trail, but man is it pretty. It starts out pretty steep and, this time of year, is still very snowy. Thankfully our good friends got us MicroSpikes for a wedding gift – knowing we’d need them in Colorado. Once you get to the top, you’re met with a massive glacier and lake that’s still frozen, even now, in May. We hiked up past the lake and over the glacier. It was strenuous but insanely beautiful. I cannot wait to go back when it’s warm and the lake isn’t frozen!
Royal Arch Trail, Boulder
We stumbled onto this trail by accident. We were bored one Saturday and decided to take a quick trip to Chautauqua Park in Boulder. As we hiked up the hill a bit, we ended up on this trail. It was pretty tough, and again, thank goodness for our MicroSpikes, because it was still very icy and snowy. The views from the top were well worth the trouble, though. There is just so much to see in Boulder and the Royal Arch is up there with the most awe-inspiring.
Red Rocks Trail, Boulder
I ventured to this trail with my roommate and her boyfriend one afternoon to take some practice shots on my new medium format camera. While the first ever roll of film I shot on didn’t turn out so great, I also snagged some shots on my digital camera. What’s awesome about this trail is that it’s easy to get to, but the views feel like you’ve hiked in several miles. The Red Rocks are beautiful and look amazing in the golden hour light. This is Boulder’s little version of the Garden of the Gods, and it’s definitely going to be top on my favorite places for Engagement Sessions here in Colorado. Speaking of engagements, check out my last post explaining What to Wear to your Engagement Session!
Eldorado Canyon State Park
Another great hike, close to home. It’s short and sweet but also not that heavily trafficked — at least when we went. The views weren’t spectacular at the top, but they were down at the trailhead. You start out in a canyon of sorts, and descend above it. There’s a nice river flowing in between the formations that make it really peaceful. I loved this hike for its simplicity and found some really pretty small things along the way. Sometimes, not having grand views forces you to pay more attention to the little things — like pretty, purple berries and baby snowmen made by our fellow hikers.
Ute & Range View Trail
I think this was our very first hike in Colorado together. It was an easy hike, but had great views of the Front Range. I want to revisit this one as it gets warmer because it was very snow-covered at the time. That didn’t make it any less beautiful. But something tells me a little warmer wind looking over the cliffs at the Front Range will be amazing.
Favorite Colorado Businesses
Moxie Bread Co
Guys, this is my place. It breaks my heart that I was only able to sit inside this place three times before COVID restrictions were put in place. Thank goodness they’re still in business and offering take-out, though. I don’t think I can live without their gluten free bread anymore. It’s unbelievable. And they’re gluten free cookies? Ya — to die for. Not to mention, the building is at least 100 years old, making the atmosphere so cozy and charming. It’s just my favorite place.
St. Catherine’s Chapel on the Rock
If I don’t photograph a wedding here in my lifetime, I won’t die happy. Seriously. This place combines all the things I love. The mountains, beautiful Church architecture and cozy, intimate spaces. Don’t get me wrong, I love a big, echoey Cathedral with glowing, tall ceilings. But this place is not that. It’s dark, stoned walls and rich wood pews just make my heart swoon. When we visited, the sun shone through the tall, stained glass windows and it was over — I was in love. From the outside, it sits tall on a rock in the shadows of Longs Peak behind it. Just plain beautiful beyond words. Even the photos don’t do it justice.
I never knew I liked Indian food until I worked at Toyota. The cafeteria had a great variety of cuisines, and the one station that always had vegetarian options was the Indian Cuisine. So I tried it out. And loved it. Since then, it’s basically all I eat. Some sort of curried vegetables and grain. When I found Bawrachi, a stone’s throw from our first apartment in town, I thought I’d died and gone to vegetarian heaven. I am no expert, but this Indian food has got to be the most authentic. When COVID hit, it was a weekly regular on our take-out nights. Thank you Grubhub.
So there you have it! My favorite places in Colorado so far. I honestly had a hard time narrowing this list down. Despite the world being shut down, we’ve been fortunate to explore safely and experience our new home. We can’t wait for more!
Where are your favorite places in Colorado? We need more adventure ideas!
My Favorite Places in Colorado So Far
May 15, 2020