Things to Do Near Alamosa, Colorado

Located in the San Luis Valley, Alamosa is the largest city in south-central Colorado.  With a population of just under 10.000, the county seat of Alamosa County is the commercial center for the area. 

Alamosa is home to Adams State University and as a result, the city features many restaurants, gas stations, grocery stores and other amenities.  It certainly serves as a hub to the surrounding communities, small towns about 20 miles in every direction.

Once a railroad town, now Alamosa caters to tourism.  It is the gateway to the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve and is a mecca for outdoor activities.

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50th in coeur d'alene

Top Things to Do in Coeur d’Alene

History of Coeur d’Alene

Coeur d’Alene is located east of Spokane, Washington in Northwest, Idaho.  With a population of 50,000+, it is the largest city in Idaho’s northern region and is the county seat of Kootenai County.

Coeur d’Alene was named after a Native American Tribe who lived along the rivers and lakes in the region.  The city began as a fort town when Fort Sherman was constructed on the north shore of the lake.

Thereafter, it morphed into a mining town when silver was discovered in the Silver Valley.  With the arrival of the railroad in 1883, Coeur d’Alene expanded further.  In 1920, the discovery of white pine transformed the town into a logging community.

Coeur d’Alene relied heavily on logging for decades.  It wasn’t until the 1980’s that its economy became more balanced with an influx of tourism.

Currently, Coeur d’Alene is known for its premier golfing, the nearby Silverwood Theme Park, the Ironman Triathlon Event, one of the largest holiday light shows in the USA, and for the surrounding ski mountains.

There are many other things to do Coeur d’Alene as well, and we made the most of our three-day stay for my 50th birthday.

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fall hikes near vail

Fall Hikes Near Vail

Vail, the largest ski mountain in Colorado, is a very popular mountain town located approximately 2 hours from Denver.  The ski mountain is known for its hotels, dining, and events.  While I’m not part of the winter ski attractions, I find Vail and the surrounding area to be an excellent place for fall hiking.  Below is a limited list of falls hikes near Vail. Directions to each hike can be found on AllTrails.com.

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Things to Do in Salida

History of Salida

Salida is located in central Colorado and is the county seat and most populous municipality of Chaffee County.  It was first called South Arkansas when the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad made the area a stopping point.  Due to the lovely view from the train upon leaving the Arkansas River canyon, it was renamed Salida, (exit in Spanish).

Salida became a big railroad town with the largest train repair facility between Denver and Salt Lake City.  It also boasted many smelters as gold and silver mining in the vicinity became more prevalent.  As these industries faded, farming took over.

Now Salida, Colorado’s largest historic district and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is a tourist town.  It is a gateway to the outdoors providing excellent fishing, rafting, hiking and more.  Below are a few things to do in Salida.

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Hikes Near Buena Vista

Buena Vista is located 2.5 hours outside of Denver near the Collegiate Peaks.  It is a mecca for the outdoors and popular among hikers trying to bag 14ers.  While Colorado’s famous 14ers are magnificent, there are plenty of wonderful trails in the area for those who want an easier feat.

Below are a few hikes near Buena Vista with lovely scenery. All directions to these hikes may be found on AllTrails.

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ranger lakes near walden

Five Hikes Near Walden

The town of Walden is located off Highway 14 in Jackson County.  The town of a little over 1,000 has two gas stations, a Family Dollar, a handful of restaurants, a beautiful courthouse, an interesting museum, and many motel type places to stay. 

It sits on a glacial plain called North Park, also known as the moose viewing capital of Colorado.  Nearly 80% of the surrounding land is public.  As a result, hiking, hunting, and fishing opportunities abound.

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Things to Do in Leadville

History of Leadville

Leadville was once a silver mining town with a population only second to Denver in the 19th Century!  It was laden with mines and smelters.  When the USA turned to gold as its standard, however, Leadville’s economy faultered.

Today, Leadville, situated between San Isabel National Forest, the Mount Massive Wilderness, the Buffalo Peaks Wilderness, and Collegiate Peaks Wilderness is a gateway to Colorado’s outdoor recreation.

Perched at 10,152 feet, Leadville is the highest city in the United States.  While its population has dwindled to 2,742 from its height during the silver rush, this historic city offers many things to do for both outdoor enthusiasts and visitors in general. 

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annie at timberline lake

Hikes in Leadville

Leadville is a historic mining town surrounded by national forest. It is a hiking mecca and attracts many to the Colorado Trail and surrounding 14ers. There are also many other hikes in Leadville, that don’t require as big a commitment. If you like wildflowers and lakes, see the list below:

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Top Things to Do in Crested Butte

History of Crested Butte

Crested Butte, once home to the Ute Indians, became a thriving coal mining town in the 1870s.  The coal mining survived many setbacks and lasted until 1952.  Thereafter, less industries relied on coal and the railroad removed its tracks.  Consequently, Crested Butte dwindled in size until 1958.

In such year, Texan Hubert Winston Smith established the Law Science Academy, an organization which provided educational programs for doctors, lawyers, and their families during the summer.  It resulted in the first large attraction of tourists.

Seven years later, in 1960, Dick Eflin and Fred Rice opened a ski area and added Colorado’s first gondola a few years later.  Today, Crested Butte continues to be a popular ski destination. 

Located at 8,885 feet near the Gunnison National Forest and Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness Area, Crested Butte also offers plenty of summer time activities.  Below are some things to in Crested Butte.

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wildflower hike in Crested Butte

Wildflower Hikes in Crested Butte

There are so many wildflower hikes in Crested Butte.  In fact, you don’t even need to hike in mid-July to see amazing wildflowers as they line Washington Gulch Road, Gothic Road, and FS 317.  It would be easy just to take a scenic drive to see the wildflowers in Crested Butte.  Personally, however, one of my favorite pastimes is hiking through wildflowers, and Crested Butte is one of the best places to do this.  There is a reason why Crested Butte calls itself the wildflower capital of Colorado.

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