Colorado is known for being a ski mecca. Its scenic mountains, frozen lakes and various lodges make it an ideal holiday destination.
There is so much to do in Colorado during Christmastime, even if you don’t like skiing and similar winter activities. Read on to find out what you should be adding to your to-do list when you visit.
Stay at a Dude Ranch
Despite the overly masculine name, dude ranches provide resort like stays with tons of family fun. You can hang out in the cabin-like lodging while enjoying back country views.
Here are a few dude ranches that provide a terrific Colorado experience.
Latigo Ranch in Kremmling: Located in Yampa Valley a stay at Latigo Ranch has no end of snow activities to partake in. The 30 miles of cross-country trails get an average of 200 inches of snowfall each year. Head out on bikes, skis or massive snow tires to take it all in.
Sundance Trail Ranch in Red Feather Lakes: Located just west of Fort Colins, this peaceful ranch is a great place to enjoy horseback rides, engage in winter sports or soak in the hot tub while looking out into the stars. Best of all, they love pets!
High Lonesome Guest Ranch in DeBeque: The best part of this ranch may be the dining. Their farm to table cuisine includes their own Angus beef as well as craft sodas, barrel aged cocktail and in-house beer. Burn off the calories by snowmobiling in the backcountry or take in some wild horse viewing after a great meal.
Colorado has a lot of culture. Here are some historical sites that are worth checking out.
Bent’s Old Fort: This reconstructed 1840’s adobe fur trading post is located on the mountain branch of the Santa Fe trail. It was once a site where traders, travelers, trappers and Indian tribes gathered for peaceful trading. Today, historians have recreated the sights and sounds of the past and bring the experience to guests with guided tours and special events. They often host a Traditional Holiday Celebration that includes toy making, playing period games and a feast of frontier cooking.
Mesa National Park Luminaria Holiday Open House: Every year Mesa National Park hosts a Holiday Open House and Luminaria event at the Far View Terrace. Chili, cookies and hot chocolate are served, and guests can enjoy live music. The event is free. Visitors can also get views of the lights by driving Mesa Top Loop Road.
Gold Camp Christmas: The towns Cripple Creek and Victor celebrate Christmas the old-fashioned way with their Gold Camp Christmas event. It kicks off every weekend during the holiday season with the headframe lighting that takes place throughout both towns. Families are welcome to take a self-guided tour through the area to experience the lights. Guided tours are available as well.
During the holidays, you will want to spend plenty of time shopping and taking in the sights and sounds the towns of Colorado have to offer. Here are a few hubs you won’t want to miss.
Georgetown: Less than an hour from Denver, Georgetown has a 19th century Europe vibe. During the holidays you can browse the shops to check out unique items while nibbling chestnuts. There are also horse drawn carriage rides available.
Holyoke: Holyoke is a great town to check out, but you will definitely want to make the trip out to appreciate its Country Christmas and Parade of Lights. The parade includes holiday themed floats with a contest for the best float. You can also enjoy great music, Christmas trees and window displays.
Boulder Winter Market: Held on the Boulder County Fairgrounds in Longmart, this market caters to independent, local vendors and designers that create a variety of wares including skincare, jewelry and home décor.
Downtown Alamosa: Alamosa is another town worth checking out. Be sure to time your trip so that you catch the Christmas Light Parade. It kicks off with a Round Up Rudolph 5K where participants dress in their holiday best. Then watch the parade come through bringing holiday lit cars and floats.
Denver Botanical Gardens: If you love nature, you will want to take a day to stroll through the Denver Botanical Gardens. During the holiday season, they host a Blossoms of Light show where millions of lights brighten up the gardens. It makes for a color scape spectacle that has an almost 3D effect.
Denver also has plenty of museums you won’t want to miss, many of which have holiday themed exhibits for guests to enjoy. These include the following.
Denver Museum of Nature & Science: This museum is great for broadening your horizons on nature and science. Interactive exhibits include Space Odyssey where you experience what it’s like in space firsthand. And don’t miss Dogs! A Science Tail where you can find out more about our furry friends.
Museum of Contemporary Art Denver: Art lovers should be sure to check out the Museum of Contemporary Art. Their five galleries are constantly being updated to provide new exhibits showcasing the latest innovative artists. Head up to their rooftop garden and café which provides a serene getaway and great views of the hustle and bustle of the city below.
Denver Art Museum: Then, make sure you get your art fix by making your next stop the Denver Art Museum. Their exhibits represent everything from the classic art of different cultures and countries to the modern artists of today. You are sure to get lost strolling its vast hallways.
With plenty of ski and snow activities, Colorado makes a terrific winter destination, but there is so much more to see and do. What will be on your list when you visit this magnificent state?