If you live in the Grand Junction, Colorado area, you are already familiar with many weekend getaway places, such as Glenwood Springs Hot Springs Pool and Vega Reservoir. The problem with these places is that everyone else in the area also knows about them, the prices can be a little high and the crowds can be a little thick. So where can the Colorado weekender go to get away? With the small size of the state there really isn’t anywhere you can’t go for a weekend getaway, so we’ll touch on some of the highlights.
Thirty-five miles south of Highway 50, nestled in the Uncompahgre National Forest, is the small town of Ouray. With a year-round population of 800 people and lots to do, Ouray is the perfect small town for the weekender. There really is something for everyone in Ouray. Start off with a dip in the hot springs pool. With three separate areas, all varying in temperature from 96 degrees in the lap pool to 106 in the hottest area, no one will be uncomfortable. Also, all three pools are in the same small 250 x 150 foot area so there is no problem leaving the kiddies in the cool area while mom and dad have a dip in the hot pool. And that strong sulfur smell present in most hot springs pools is absent here.
Before, or after, a dip in the pool, visitors to Ouray should also visit the Box Canyon Falls, a waterfall hidden away in a canyon. The falls are reachable by foot or by car and can be seen from the suspended bridge above the falls or visitors can descend the wooden staircase into the base of the canyon and look up at the falls from below. And the Box Canyon Falls has been named by the National Audubon Society as an important bird area so you are sure to see some impressive airborne wildlife on your visit.
Ouray also offers several opportunities for lodging, including eleven different bed and breakfasts and eighteen cabins and townhouses, as well as locally owned hotels and inns.
Great Sand Dunes National Park
North America’s largest sand dunes are located in Mosca, Colorado and covers 30 square miles of land at the base of the Sangre de Cristo and San Juan mountains of Southern Colorado. The dunes have been created by wind and water erosion of the mountains and the down draft winds off either mountain range gathered the sand in the San Luis Valley. The dunes reach heights of over 750 feet in some areas.
And sand dunes aren’t the only thing to see at the park. Visitors can also hike in the adjacent mountains and visit Zapata Falls. The park also offers a dunes-accessible wheelchair for those unable to walk easily in the sand. Camping at the park is free in most places; the Pinyon Flats campground offers 88 sites at a rate of $12 per night.
Romantic Weekend Ideas
If the outdoors is not what you are looking for, head to Colorado’s littlest big city, Colorado Springs. There you will find several mountain inns including the Black Forest Bed and Breakfast, on Black Forest Road. The B&B was built by the Redden family and opened to the public in 1996. Other romantic B&B style lodging in the Colorado Springs area includes the Cheyenne Canon Inn, the Rocky Mountain Lodge and Cabins in Cascade, or the 1892 Victoria’s Keep and Blue Skies Inn in Manitou Springs.
While staying in the Colorado Springs area, be sure to visit the Royal Gorge and travel across the world highest suspension bridge. Or check out Glen Eyrie, the original castle home of Colorado Springs founder General William Jackson Palmer. The castle stands on 800 acres of land and today offers lodging and a conference center, a great place for a romantic getaway, or even a wedding.
Colorado is chockfull of exciting things for the weekender to do and see, some attractions are even free. And with less than 400 miles separating Kansas and Utah and 250 miles from Wyoming to New Mexico, it is very easy for the weekender to see any of these sites by car in only a few hours.