Exploring Colorado’s Mountain Towns

“Sitting on a porch looking at the most amazing view. In the mountains my soul is healing from the craziness in our every day lives. Here, it is so calm. The colors are vivid in the fall, the sound of the river is peaceful and everything seems right in the world. Many people visit Colorado and never get a chance to experience a small mountain town.”

Kremmling Mountain House
View from the porch in Kremmling, CO

I wrote the above quote in Kremmling, Colorado this past October. Chris’s aunt and uncle have a house in the mountains that we love to stay at. While we’re no experts of all the amazing mountain towns this state has to offer, we want to share some of our favorites with you to help you to help you plan your next Colorado trip.

 

Kremmling

Seems fitting to start with Kremmling. This is a small town of under 1,500 residents about two hours northwest of Denver. We’re fortunate enough to stay with family when we visit, but there are plenty of gorgeous Airbnb¬†options to stay here.

The Blue River and Colorado River both run through this town making it a fun place to try white water rafting if you’re up for some adventure! There are plenty of places to hike, bike, ATV and more. Because it is so quiet and set back you’ll be able to see many wildlife (my sister-in-law saw a bear last summer!). If you’re looking for a quiet place to get away in nature, this is the spot for you.

Kremmling neighborhood
Kremmling, CO
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Hiking around Cataract Lake
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White water rafting with family
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View of Cataract Lake
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Sunset in Kremmling

Estes Park

Estes Park is home to Rocky Mountain National Park. With stunning views in all directions and hikes of all difficulty levels, there is something here for everyone. Check out Bear Lake for an easy hike with amazing views of the peaks surrounding. For a challenging trail, try Hallett Peak to reach a 12,700 summit. Be sure to keep your eye out for wildlife as you drive around the park.

Once you’re back in Estes, check out the Stanley Mansion where the movie “The Shining” was filmed and enjoy walking around the picturesque town.

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Rocky Mountain National Park
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Posting up to catch photos of the wildlife
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Bear Lake Trail
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The Stanley Mansion
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Rocky Mountain National Park

Colorado Springs

We could get enough of the greater-Colorado Springs area. Some of the most amazing days we’ve had in Colorado were spent here. Here you will find the Garden of the Gods with dramatic sandstone rock formations soaring out of the land.

You’ll find Pikes Peak in Colorado Springs as well (the tallest summit of the southern front range of the Rocky Mountains in North America standing at 14,115 feet). Either take the scary drive up to the top of Pikes Peak (I was terrified the entire time… Chris loved it), or take the Cog Railway up (which I will do next time) to see indescribable views from the top.

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Garden of the Gods
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The drive up Pike’s Peak
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A stop mid-way up Pike’s Peak

Vail

Vail is a mountain town mostly knowing for skiing but is great to visit at all times of the year (I visited last summer and again in the fall). Visiting in the warmer seasons, be sure to check out the Farmers Market each Sunday that wraps around downtown Vail with Vail Mountain towering over.  Check out a variety of unique shops along the way.

If you’re up for a hike, take the gondola to the top of Vail Mountain to hike from one side to the other and take in the stunning views from the top.

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Downtown Vail in the fall
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View from the top of Vail Mountain
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Visiting the Vail Farmers Market
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View from the gondola to the top of Vail Mountain

Glenwood Springs

Looking for some hot springs? This is the place for you. Visit Iron Mountain Hot Springs to enjoy 16 soaking pools of natural mineral water. Grab a drink at the bar and enjoy any number of these pools in all different temperatures. It is easy to spend an entire day here or at Glenwood Hot Springs Pool, but be sure to explore the downtown area as well, filled with shops and restaurants in a small town setting. Up for a hike? There are some beautiful spots to hike around here as well.

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Iron Mountain Hot Springs
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A few of the pools at Iron Mountain Hot Springs
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The drive between Vail and Glenwood Springs
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Downtown Glenwood Springs

 

We are only scratching the surface with these five towns. Let us know your favorite Colorado Mountain town in the comments. If you are planning a trip to one of these, let us know! Enjoy the mountains.

Emilie & Chris

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