Why Chicago families need to visit Colorado

It seems as if the entire state of Colorado was built for travelers. We just spent 10 days adventuring from Estes Park to Telluride and we didn’t even hit the tip of the iceberg with just how much there is to see and do. And the best part is that most of it is affordable or FREE!

If you visit for one thing, make it the recreational activities. I know this one seems fairly obvious, but I’m from the midwest so nature preserves impress me. Colorado has 42 state parks alone! It is incredible how quickly the state transforms as you drive through it, from the rough terrain of the Rocky Mountain National Park to the giant 50 foot evergreens softening the Uncompahgre Forest.

The Garden of the Gods (1805 N. 30th St. Colorado Springs, CO) was one of my favorite attractions. Not only was it breathtaking, but it was close to the highway and FREE! With 15 miles of walking trails and 300 foot sandstone rock formations, it was beautiful! We stayed on the general trail which was paved and easily accessible by stroller and wheelchair.

Amongst the endless trails and parks you will find hikers EVERYWHERE! We met some as young as five weeks and some as old (spritely) as 90! This is good news for the non-athletes like myself.

One of the more daring of our adventures was crossing the Royal Gorge Bridge (4218 County Rd. 3A Canon City, CO). At 1,053 feet, it is the highest suspension bridge in the United States. We had the pleasure of driving across it in a golf cart with high winds rocking it back and forth. While exciting, I mainly enjoyed the views of the gorge off the bridge, on solid ground.

At the time of our visit it cost $10 per person to enter the park and $12 for a one hour rental of a golf cart. I should mention that last summer a fire took out 48 of the 52 available attractions, but I thought it was still worth a visit! There are plenty of other fun ways to see the gorge that we didn’t get a chance to check out.

We capped off our trip with a 13 minute gondola ride from Telluride to Mountain Village (W San Juan Telluride, CO). A free public transport system run on wind power, it is the first and only one of it’s kind in the U.S. Surprisingly, it’s been around since 1996! This scenic attraction gives tourists, hikers, bikers and skiers easy access to all of the trails.

This ride is perfect for any age and it is exciting for everyone! We kicked our feet up and took in the views as my two-and-a half-year-old enjoyed the joy ride!

While Colorado boasts over 300 sunny days a year, we experienced days of cold, warm, rain and fog. These may not be ideal conditions for your typical vacationer, but as a photographer, it was heaven! The weather changed so quickly offering so many different views.

Overall, our visit to Colorado rocked! I can’t wait to go back, we already have a list of destinations started. I would love to hear where you love to explore in Colorado!

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