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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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 Twin Lakes

History of Twin Lakes

Twin Lakes was settled in 1865 and was then called Dayton.  It became an important transportation town between Leadville and Aspen, where silver and gold were discovered, and a rough toll road was established over Independence Pass.

 Additionally, a hotel was constructed on the south shores of the natural Twin Lakes, now dammed to augment its water storage.  The hotel only lasted 25 years, but at the time Interlaken was known for its deluxe accommodations and Twin Lakes was described as the most charming summer mountain resort in Colorado.

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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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Happy Hiking: Green Lake Trail

After ten days of wildflower hikes in Crested Butte, I changed it up a bit and hiked to Green Lake.  I’m not exactly sure about how I’d rate the 8.5-mile Green Lake Trail.  If I were just walking the second half, I’d probably give it five stars.  If I were just walking the first half, I’d probably give it 1 star.  I suppose that averages out to three stars, but I wouldn’t want anyone to miss Green Lake.

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wildflowers on hasley basin loop near crested butte

Happy Hiking: Hasley Basin Loop

With as many hikes as I’ve been doing in Crested Butte, I would normally try to condense them into a few blogs.  But the wildflowers in Crested Butte during mid-July are simply remarkable.  It’s hard enough to condense my daily barrage of photos just down to ten.  As a result, each hike warrants its own post. Today, Hasley Basin Loop gets the honors.

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wildflowers at rustlers gulch, crested butte

Happy Hiking: Rustler’s Gulch

Rustler’s Gulch is a 9 mile, heavily trafficked trail located in the Maroon Bells Snowmass Wilderness near Crested Butte, Colorado.

Getting to Rustler’s Gulch

Rustler’s Gulch is about 8 miles from town, but the drive takes about 30 minutes on the dirt road, FS 317.  Don’t worry, FS 317 is passable by two-wheel drive car to this location, and the drive through mountainsides of wildflowers is spectacular.

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