Colorado, a state covering almost 270,000 square kilometres with landscapes that range from endless plains to rugged mountains, that’s home to a truly unique cultural vibe, it’s no wonder it has secured itself as a Black Tomato favourite over the years. This 12 night itinerary will take you on a journey to see the very best of this mammoth state. First stop, the heart and the capital – Denver.
Begin your adventure in the ‘Mile High City’ in style. The Four Seasons Hotel in Lower Downtown Denver places you right in the heart of this diverse city. Kick back in the roof top pool amongst the sparkling sky scrapers and enjoy the contemporary and luxurious room decor. Being in the heart of the theatre district, entertainment is on your doorstep, in addition to the abundance of pubs and galleries. Why not kick start your Coloradan experience and by fuelling up on some classic cuisine (it’s the only way). Step into Buckhorn exchange, the oldest steak house in Denver, or Biker Jim’s Gourmet dog cart for the ultimate rodeo feast – Rattle snake and buffalo hotdogs with a side of cola fried onion rings, proper cowboy catering which (trust us) tastes so much better than it sounds.
Venture into the wilderness
Once you’ve had your fill of life downtown, it’s time to hit the road and immerse yourself in the State’s quintessential wilderness. Burrowed beneath the 14,000ft Pikes Peak is the beautiful Colorado Springs. With almost 200 square miles of adventure to be had, hot air ballooning over the creeks and white water rafting are just a few of the activities you’ll be enjoying. We recommend the Garden of the Gods for a real insight into the large scale natural beauty the springs has to offer.Read more
From Colorado Springs, in less than three hours, you can drive to the Great Sand dunes National Preserve. Picture 750 ft sand dunes on a back drop of snow capped mountains, sounds spectacular? It certainly is. Hike through the towering great sand dunes and marvel at their undeniable natural beauty. Trust us; you won’t be able to resist sledging down the golden slopes.
Another must-stop on our itinerary is Zapata Ranch. The bubbling creeks, alpine forests and sweeping grasslands that you’ll find here will send your imagination into overdrive as you’re reminded of the state’s cowboy culture. Head into the wilderness on horseback with the local ranchers and learn the law of the land. You can even hop into the saddle and spend a day in the life of a Rancher, gaining hands on experience with livestock crops and conservations – the ultimate cowboy experience.
Next stop Durango, an authentic city secluded in the Animas river valley. Be sure to make time for the famous Durango and Silverton narrow gauge railroad. The historic steam power locomotive will take you back in time, first class, through the scenic route between the two mining towns. Don’t forget to discover the wealth of culinary experiences, from the locally grown farmers markets to the western cow boy taverns.
Escape to serenity
Following all these high excitement activities you’ll be ready for some r&r, and the restored ghost town of Dunton Hot Springs is the perfect stop off. You’ll arrive to find a range of luxury log cabins and a service that includes champagne breakfasts and some seriously tempting spa offerings. Be at one with nature on a trail through the valley, take a dip in the natural hot springs, and breathe in the purest mountain air. With a maximum of 44 guests in the retreat and no mobile phone signal (but wifi of course), you are guaranteed peace and tranquillity.
Take to the slopes
You cannot take a trip around this majestic state without visiting Telluride and Aspen. Telluride is synonymous for its music, art and culinary festivals and where you can watch fireworks over the mountain tops until the sun comes back over them. Whilst in Aspen, you can paraglide off its mountain peaks and take in a whole new kind of view. If you chose to visit in the winter time, you will be surrounded by postcard perfect untouched snow capped mountains. Glide down the glistening wealth of slopes followed by the lively and atmospheric après ski. Or, if you chose to enjoy both these areas in the warmer months, they are just as beautiful. Come summer, the slopes melt into luscious green hiking trails and where there is hiking, there is also biking. Boasting with endless nature trails amongst the flowery meadows, there are just as many exciting activities to be getting up to whilst feeling that little bit warmer.
There’s nothing quite as classically American as a road-trip. It’s our favourite way to see this vast country, and Colorado is just another example of how driving is one of the most incredible ways to get to grips with the landscapes before you. The Monument in particular is a must-see, and just so happens to be in the heart of Rim Rock Drive. The 23 mile drive or cycle is a journey of untouched natural beauty. Be sure to stop on your way for plenty of picnic pit-stops to take in the deep orange panoramic canyons. It will be a scene like no other you have seen before.
Don’t be sad that you’re coming to the end of your trip, instead end it on a high. How about 12,095 foot high? If you’re in Colorado between May and October, the independence pass is open, and will throw you into the heart of the scenery. Drive up the winding and towering peaks with some of the most jaw dropping view-points in the state. The 20 mile highway is shut in the winter due to the tight uphill turns, but don’t let this put you off, the view at the top is well worth the wait, and has to be the perfect way to end your trip. When it’s time to catch your flight home from Denver, we’re pretty sure you won’t want to leave.