The mountains were calling and I had to go! The last time I traveled to Colorado happened to be eighteen years ago and it was my first time on a plane. I went (solo) to meet my mom after she finished a business trip and that vacation gave me the travel bug that hasn’t quit. Was it the dude ranch? Late night ghost stories? The fresh mountain air? I loved it all and was excited to get back one day.
Fast forward eighteen years to this past Fall and it was time to get back out West and enjoy a girls trip to the Rockies. Conveniently, the trip was planned around a concert at Red Rocks – what better excuse to travel? Red Rocks had been a bucket list venue for me for a long time. It didn’t disappoint!
After we landed we started our pilgrimage to Estes Park with a pit stop in Boulder for lunch and shopping. If you’re just passing through or staying in town, make sure you visit T/ACO Colorado – the margaritas are strong and the tacos are delicious! All of the tacos are under $5 and my favorites were the ahi, mushroom and pork belly. Ole! When we drove back to Denver later in the trip we went back through Boulder again and hit Falafel King for lunch. So many delicious side dishes to pick from and outdoor seating perfect for people watching on Pearl Street while you eat.
The drive through the mountains to get to our Airbnb in Estes Park was beautiful, nothing quite like that first view of the snow capped Rockies! The next couple of days were spent enjoying Rocky Mountain National Park and everything it had to offer: hiking, foliage, wildlife….and perfect astrophotography conditions! If you’re looking for an easy trail, I would highly recommend a stroll around Bear Lake, there is a new view of the lake and foliage around every corner. We even spotted a painter capturing a Fall vista. After that we went up to Alberta Falls where we got our hearts rates up and met some friends along the way.
I secretly planned our trip dates around a new moon knowing RMNP is a perfect place to capture some great photos of the night sky. If you’re headed to the Estes Park area and are looking for an energetic, fun guide for a sunrise hike or astrophotography adventure look no further than Chelsea (@thehikingmermaid). She took a group of us around the park after hours and shared some of her favorite spots to shoot the stars.
After our adventures in RMNP, we spent the rest of our time in Denver window shopping, enjoying some good food and drink and a concert at Red Rocks. Pro tip: use the round trip CID Shuttle from downtown Denver! Convenient and you can let loose during a show instead of worrying about driving back late. They pick up and drop off at the Thirsty Lion Gastropub – perfect for some pre-show drinks and appetizers. Some other good stops were breakfast at Snooze near Union Station and Tupelo Honey for drinks.
Colorado, I’ll be back! I think a road trip to chase those golden aspens at their peak is in the cards.