Category Archives: Colorado

A Side Trip To The Black Canyon Of The Gunnison

This past July, while touring Colorado with my husband, we took some time out to visit the Black Canyon of the Gunnison. This particular canyon has been a stop on our adventures twice now. We love the views and it’s always worth a second look, or more.

There are several great points to stop and wander around. You can take scenic drives around the perimeter or if you would like, you can venture down toward the Gunnison River. There are plenty of activities if you choose to stay in the park. You can camp, fish, kayak, rock climb, and hike.

If you enjoy wildlife watching, there are plenty of animals that call the Black Canyon their home. With a little patience you may see animals such as black bear, mountain lion, or big horn sheep. More commonly you will see deer, marmot, chipmunk, and a variety of birds. To find out more about the wildlife in the Black Canyon, I recommend checking out the visitor center.

One neat thing that the park offers is an Astronomy Evening Program that runs from the end of May until the end of September. Neal and I did not partake in this activity, but if we had been there at the right time it would have been neat to see. This event takes place on Wednesdays and Fridays in the South Rim Campground Amphitheater.

While we were in the park we took time to wander, but we did not do any serious hiking. We arrived a bit later in the day and we knew that daylight was running short. We drove the scenic route along the outer rim and stopped to enjoy the view at several different spots. I was completely satisfied with this side adventure and came away with a bunch of fun photos. I definitely recommend finding a great viewing spot to watch the sun go down. The Canyon looks pretty awesome as the light begins to change across the rocks.

During this last trip to the Black Canyon, we had intended to camp inside the park. Unfortunately we procrastinated a little too long. All of the campsites were sold out by the time we decided to seek out the Park Ranger. I honestly was not overly sad about losing out on this camping experience, because the sites are quite small and very close together. Neal and I prefer to camp with a little more space and a little more seclusion, so we headed up the road a short distance to some BLM land and we camped out there.

For more information on the Black Canyon of the Gunnison, please visit: https://www.nps.gov/blca/index.htm

The Black Bear Manor In Ouray

My husband and I have visited Ouray twice; once before we got married, in 2012, and once this past year in 2016. I would like to say that I have been completely won over by the Black Bear Manor. We stayed at the Black Bear both times we visited, and in the same room.

Since our first visit, the inn did change management. Our stay was not at all impacted by this change. We still received the great service that we knew and loved, and we will definitely come back again.

What’s to love? First, the inn is clean and well kept. It has a beautiful big deck with tables and a bench swing, where you can sit and enjoy a glass of wine, or your breakfast in the morning. There is this beautiful room at the top of the house, with huge windows, where you can sit and look out at the mountains. During our last visit there was a thunderstorm and my husband and I just sat in the dark with a glass of wine and watched the lightening. It was a neat experience.

The whole house is surrounded by decks and balconies. You can take time to rejuvenate your body after a long hike, with a soak in the hot tub. If you are looking for a more private and luxurious experience, the inn does have a room called the Royal Suite, which has a steam shower and private in room hot tub. I have not stayed in this room, but if it’s as nice as the rest of Black Bear, I am sure it is wonderful.

Breakfast is at two different times, one of which is buffet style. The food is amazing and I have no complaints. There were so many great options. The chef is willing to take into consideration any food allergies, or intolerance, etc.

Black Bear is romantic, and relaxing. It’s located in a beautiful city with tons of activities. The owners are great people who take wonderful care of all their occupants. I would highly recommend this experience if you are looking to get away from the craziness of your everyday life.

For more information or to book your stay at the Black Bear Manor, please visit: http://www.blackbearmanor.com/

 

 

Ouray Is The Place To Be

Yesterday I took the time to write about my experience with Box Canyon Falls. Box Canyon isn’t the only great thing about visiting Ouray, Colorado. Ouray is a beautiful, small town, surrounded by mountains. The city has a certain charm that just invites you to stay. It is notably called “Switzerland of America,” because of how it resembles Switzerland. There are many things to do during your visit to make it worth your time, even if you are more of a city person.

The downtown area has lots of quaint little shops to wander through. You can find most of the tourist items one would search for while on vacation such as: chocolates, magnets, apparel, a nice bottle of wine, etc. There are a decent number of restaurants to choose from as well. My husband and I have eaten at a few of them and so far everything has been great.

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, there are several waterfalls to visit in, and near Ouray. Box Canyon Falls is my favorite. I do, however, believe that the other falls are also well worth your time. You can easily visit Cascade Falls Park; the trail is short, but steep. Another waterfall that is right in the open is Bear Creek Falls. This is right off Hwy 550 and it’s pretty impressive. No need to hike to this waterfall; it comes right out of the rocks on the side of the road.

If you are looking to stay in Ouray for a few nights, there is plenty of lodging, but you must book in advance. You can find some great hotels or old mansions turned bed and breakfast. My husband and I have stayed at Black Bear Manor both times we have visited. The experience was so exceptional that we considered getting married there after our first visit.

Other things to do in Ouray include visiting the hot springs, hiking, and off-roading. There are tons of off-roading trails in and near town. We took time to explore several of these trails on our last trip. We lost our 4-wheel drive in the process, but we will definitely go back again for more.

Just up the road you will find several old mining camps. There is one particular ghost town that is fun to explore. There are lots of old buildings. You can come away with some great pictures.

Ouray is a place that I would recommend anyone to visit at least once. This romantic town will surely win you over. With so many great activities, how could you go wrong?

For more information on Ouray, Colorado, please visit the following websites: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yd4tmAxx2Y4

http://www.ouraycolorado.com/

 

In Love With Box Canyon Falls

If you find that you love waterfalls as much as I do, and you are taking a trip to Colorado, I highly recommend a visit to Ouray. Ouray is home to several different waterfalls. While each of these waterfalls has its own unique characteristics, the most impressive by far, is Box Canyon. On a side note, if you choose to visit all of the waterfalls in the area, they are all quite easy to get at and require minimal, or no hiking.

Box Canyon is impressive because the waterfall is completely surrounded by rock walls. You can view this marvel from above, or on a more up close and personal level, from below. The experience is a bit noisy, but completely exhilarating.

To get to the top, you will have to climb stairs, and some bumpy terrain. Once up there you will stand on a bridge overlooking the falls and the creek. You can proceed on, after your viewing, to hike the surrounding area, or go back the way you came and head down the stairs to the lower part of the falls. I recommend both views, but the more impressive is definitely the lower.

Box Canyon is a great place to view wildlife. You may possibly see the most chipmunks you have ever witnessed in one area. These little creatures are quite daring and will run all over the place, right in front of you. While I visited the canyon, I was lucky enough to see a Black Swift in a nest on one of the rock walls.

This wonder of nature is a place that I have visited more than once, and I will continue to come back. I love the sound of the thousands of gallons of water just rushing into the creek below. It’s one of my all-time favorite waterfalls.

For more information on Box Canyon Falls, please visit the following sites: http://www.ouraycolorado.com/directory/outdoor-activities/parks/54-box-canyon-waterfall-park

https://www.boxcanyonouray.com/activities/summer-activities/box-canon-falls/

 

Finding Continental Falls

Last summer while visiting Keystone Colorado with family, we took a very impressive hike up to Continental Falls. Continental Falls is one of the first waterfall hikes I ever went on. I was wildly out of shape and had never been on such a hike before. Even in my poor hiking condition, I still made it to the falls with a bit of coaxing from my now husband, Neal.

This last time that we visited the falls, I took off ahead of the rest of the group, with my step-daughter and husband’s cousin. The rest of our group was being shuttled up the rough, rocky road, by our Jeep. We assumed that the group would catch up with us, but we did not anticipate a turn of events.

When I say turn of events, I literally mean a turn, the wrong turn. As we were hiking up the trail we stopped to check out the old cabin that has stood there for many years. It’s definitely a great point to stop and rest, and sign the guest book. When we left the cabin, we turned to the left and continued on. We should have turned to the right. We had no idea that we were going the wrong way.

As we continued to hike we saw parts of the waterfall, but not as I previously had recalled. We decided to trudge on. It was early July and while it was nice and hot outside, there were still some huge snowdrifts left on the mountainside. The girls decided to stop and check out a snowdrift that appeared to be covering the entrance to a mine.

After a bunch of digging they gave up finding the entrance to the mine, and we continued on our way. We saw several old buildings that were part of the previous mining camp. The views were amazing. We saw a bunch of different wildflowers and we continued to see various small parts of the waterfall, but nothing as big as what I previously recalled.

After what seemed like quite a bit of time we made it to a beautiful lake. The lake was supposed to be after the falls, so at this point I was feeling a bit disappointed. Had I remembered the wrong waterfall? We sat and waited for a bit but the rest of our group did not show up. We decided to continue on because we still hadn’t seen an impressive waterfall.

After climbing and making our own trail at times through the snow, and then climbing upward some more, we finally hit a point of stopping. The view was amazing and none of us really felt like climbing any further. We had no cell service, so we could not locate the rest of our group. We decided to rest and take a few pictures.

Once we were feeling re-energized, we began our decent. The trip down the mountainside was fast. We moved at a very steady clip and it took about half of the time it had taken to get up to the top. Once we reached the ground we still had not seen the rest of our hiking party. Realizing no one was there we began walking down the long rocky road that we had been shuttled up by Jeep.

Halfway down the road, my husband appeared. He was a little frazzled, not knowing what had happened to us. Apparently there had been some miss-communications in regard to where we were going to meet. It turned out that the girls and I had hiked far beyond what was intended and as I was explaining to him what we saw, we both realized at about the same moment that we had taken two very different hikes.

He laughed at me, because I had been on this hike before, and I missed out on the best part of it. The view of Continental Falls is one of the best sights near Breckenridge, and it is impressive. I felt so silly realizing that we had taken one small wrong turn. I can laugh at it now, but at the time, I was definitely bummed out.

Despite the error in our direction, we had a great time. I would highly recommend this hike for the views as well as the impressiveness of the falls. The lake views are also very much worth the trek.

For more information on Continental Falls, please visit: http://www.protrails.com/trail/368/summit-county-eagle-county-clear-creek-county-mohawk-lake-and-lower-mohawk-lake

 

The Georgetown Loop Railroad And Lebanon Silver Mine Tour

This past July while visiting Keystone, Colorado with family, we decided take the whole group over to Georgetown. Several of us felt it would be fun to check out the Georgetown Loop Railroad. We were able to easily buy our tickets ahead of time online. We chose a package deal which included the train ride as well as a tour of the Lebanon Silver Mine.

To get to the silver mine you must ride the train a short distance from Silver Plume. Once there you are given hard hats and flashlights and then given safety information. The tour guide does a wonderful job explaining everything in regard to the history of the mine. She took us down into the mine which is generally in the forties at all times. It was definitely cooler inside than the hot July air, so you may want a sweatshirt for this tour.

Inside the mine we took a bunch of fun pictures. We learned what a day would be like in the life of a miner. We saw some small stalactites and a few different spots with calcification. The information that our guide relayed was very much like a story that drew you in and made you feel like you were a part of the mining camp.

After we finished the mine tour we got back on the train and rode the distance to the Devil’s Gate Depot in Georgetown. The ride is very scenic and relaxing. Most of the cars on the train are open so you get to feel the breeze as you go. At Devil’s Gate we got to watch as they moved the engine to the opposite end of the train so that we could turn around and head back to Silver Plume.

I greatly enjoyed this tour and would absolutely do it again. The views from the train were enough to make me want to come back. If you love train rides and the mountains, I would highly recommend this experience.

To book tickets or look up more information on the Georgetown Loop Railroad, please visit: https://www.georgetownlooprr.com/

Montgomery Reservoir And Magnolia Mill

Montgomery Reservoir and Magnolia Mill

Colorado is by far one of my favorite travel destinations. I cannot get enough of that amazing mountain air and the peaceful feeling that comes over me when I am exploring the trails. I have been hooked on exploring Colorado from the moment I set foot in the state. It was seven years ago and it was the very first hike my husband, Neal, ever took me on.

We were visiting Colorado in early May; very few trails were open. He took me to check out Montgomery Reservoir, which is located in Alma, Colorado, just outside of Breckenridge. The view of the reservoir was beautiful. I was very excited to learn that there was a mill just up the trail a little further. I love checking out old buildings.

We hiked up to Magnolia Mill and it quickly became one of my favorite places in Colorado. It looked so cool from the outside. I couldn’t wait to step through the door. My husband, gentleman that he is, let me go first. As I stepped over the threshold I was quickly brought to my knees. I realized through shear panic that I was sliding toward the edge of a fairly high drop-off.

I hadn’t taken my sunglasses off, which was clearly a mistake. I failed to recognize that I was stepping onto a very thick layer of ice. Neal quickly pulled me to safety. I quickly lost my privileges of first person through the door, and I also learned my lesson about taking off my sunglasses when entering an unknown building.

Despite that first experience at the mill, we still come back to visit as often as possible. We have photographed Magnolia Mill, and the weathering it has been subjected to, each time we visit. The last time we were there we hiked up even further on the trail and we were able to see a group of Off-roaders coming down the mountainside.

At this time I do not believe it is possible to enter the mill; it has been boarded up for safety reasons. It is, however, possible to hike quite a distance beyond the mill. I suggest at least going to the top of the waterfall; this provides a great view of the area.

For more information on hiking Montgomery Reservoir, please visit: http://www.summitpost.org/montgomery-reservoir/155632