I’ve seen a handful of Colorado adventure bucket lists floating around in print and online and have even heard a few acquaintances of mine declare their intentions to “climb every mountain,” so to speak, a la the von Trapps.
It’s no secret our lovely region is full of hidden (think Paradise Cove) and not-so-hidden (think Pikes Peak!) gems. There are wonders like these across our state, and word is getting out. According to a Dec. 25 Associated Press article, our growth rate was seventh in the nation from mid-2017 to mid-2018, with 80,000 new residents showing up on our doorstep. You can feel it, too — on the trails, on the roads, in the grocery stores. And regardless if you’re a fan of the influx, I think we ought to at least regard it as sheer, unadulterated flattery.
I’ve decided to make my own Colorado bucket list of the spots I’d like to make an effort to get to this year. Some of these have recently come across my radar, others have been lurking in the back of my mind for quite some time. Either way, I hope to have a feast of the senses in each of these locales soon. What’s on your list for 2019?
This is a spot I have wanted to visit since I arrived in Colorado more than six years ago. My interest was recently again piqued when I re-listened to KRCC Wish We Were Here’s podcast on the famed southern Colorado castle. Episode 7, titled “Bishop Castle,” aired June 5, 2015, and highlights the history, development and controversy surrounding Jim Bishop’s one-man castle construction project in the Wet Mountains just west of Pueblo.
Podcast producers Jake Brownell and Noel Black do an excellent job painting a picture of the Bishop family and their endeavor transforming a small cottage into a large castle, stone by stone, in what has become a wildly popular roadside attraction. According to Wish We Were Here, the castle “Built entirely by Bishop himself ... is likely one of the largest one-man building projects in the world.” I can’t wait to climb the treacherous staircase to the top and savor all the quirks of this modern marvel.
I’ve heard stories of this former Victorian mining town in the southwestern corner of the state, but have yet to make the journey to see for myself its grandeur. Telluride’s fascinating landscape and history makes for a contemporary mixture of classical arts, beautiful landmarks and mountain splendor.
I’m told there’s no bad time of year to visit Telluride, so whether I go during ski or wildflower season, I’m sure I’ll enjoy myself. Now to find the perfect Airbnb or hotel accommodations. Send any suggestions my way!
OK, I’m cheating on this one a bit, since I visited the dunes in 2015 with friends. We trudged to the tops of dunes, tried our hand at sandboarding and even got caught in a sublime snowstorm while in the park. But I’d like to go again this year, since my fiance and I set a goal of getting to all four of Colorado’s national parks together. We’ve hiked through a blizzard in Rocky Mountain National Park, peered over the edge at Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park and marveled at the ancient cliff dwellings in Mesa Verde National Park. Now its time for both of us to go back to Great Sand Dunes and experience the oddity of such a diverse park in the middle of the Rockies together.
This one is just right around the corner, which sometimes — for a million tiny reasons — makes these destinations the hardest to get to. I’ve visited the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo a handful of times and have hiked through North Cheyenne Cañon and Stratton Open Space more times than I can count, all the while catching glimpses of the shrine that houses the remains of Spencer and Julie Penrose. I’ve loved learning about the Penroses over the past few years and have been honored to — in small ways — help continue their legacy in Colorado Springs through work with the El Pomar Foundation and the Empty Stocking Fund. I would love to finally make the trek to their final resting place to pay respects and thank them for making our region a wonderful place to live.
This is my only northern Colorado bucket list destination, so you can see where my loyalty lies. I do love a good weekend at the hot springs, and while I’ve spent my fair share of mornings soaking at Mount Princeton Hot Springs Resort outside of Buena Vista and at Desert Reef Hot Spring near Florence, I’ve never had the privilege of dipping my toes into the springs at one of our most well-known resorts. Surrounded by the White River National Forest, Glenwood Hot Springs Resort has been “rejuvenating since 1888,” according to its website.
I’ve enjoyed driving through Glenwood Canyon and even the City of Glenwood Springs, but this year, I’d love to stop the car and spend a day or two soaking in the local hot springs. We are most certainly a work hard, play hard kind of state, and I intend to play hard this year, especially if it’s this relaxing.
Hannah Blick has lived in the Pikes Peak region for six years and enjoys exploring the many neighborhood haunts and side streets of northern Colorado Springs. Send your feedback and column ideas to email@example.com.