Hello, and welcome back to another edition of Sweet Summertime Reads Roadtrip! Each Wednesday this summer I'll be taking you on a virtual roadtrip to various places on the map and hopefully introduce you to some new reads along the way as well. This week we're heading west to the beautiful state of Colorado with Jen from A Book and a Latte!
I may be biased, but Colorado is a must stop on any road trip! There is just too much to see and do here, and no matter what time of year, there is something for everyone. I had a hard time narrowing down the options for this post, so I decided to go with my favorite summer time activities.
all photo credits to Jen
One of the best music venues in the grand U. S. of A. is Red Rocks! There’s no other place like it to see a concert. So if you’re able to time a visit around a concert, I highly recommend making it happen. If you’re not able to catch a show, during the summer they also do Film on the Rocks and show old and new classic movies (last night was Pitch Perfect). Plus, Red Rocks is only a short 30-minute drive from downtown Denver.
The stage is nestled in a natural amphitheater of beautiful red rock. So during the performance you have gorgeous views, including downtown Denver in the distance, and the stars overhead. I was actually just at Red Rocks on Sunday night to see the Indigo Girls and Mary Chapin Carpenter with the Denver Symphony Orchestra, and it was fantastic. I’ve also seen Mumford & Sons, One Republic, Sara Bareilles, and the Avett Brothers perform there, and each time has felt special, it never gets old. Another perk to Red Rocks is that because it’s at 6,480 ft above sea level, it cools off in the evening, even in the middle of summer (usually in the mid-60s or 70s).
Another favorite summertime activity of mine is hiking and camping. There are a ton of great hiking trails a short drive from Denver, not to mention Rocky Mountain National Park, but I’m going to tell you a secret that I’ve never shared online before. I’m going to tell you my absolute favorite place to hike and camp in Colorado. Ready? Don’t tell anyone, OK?
If you’re driving west, see if you can fit in a stop to Crested Butte (about a 6 hour drive from Denver). The views are amazing, and if you time it right (early July) the wildflowers are spectacular. I went a few years ago for a weeklong camping trip right before the Wildflower Festival, and I’ve been trying to make it back there ever since. The year we went was a rainy year, and there were waterfalls almost everywhere we looked. I stood in a valley and pivoted in a circle and no matter which way I was facing I could see at least 3 waterfalls. Crested Butte is a quaint little town, and I hope it stays that way (so shhhh, don’t tell anyone!).
Crested Butte, see the water falls?!
Judd Falls in Crested Butte
Aspens, Crested Butte
Camping in Crested Butte. Koda approves!
Colorado is perfect for road-trippers because there are so many beautiful drives. For example, going between Denver and Crested Butte, you can drive along the Cotton Wood Pass, which crosses over the continental divide and gives you views such as this below (yes that's snow, in July!).
Another great place to visit is Maroon Bells (Aspen, Colorado), which is only 3-4 hours from Denver. These peaks are beautiful year round but my favorite time to visit is early summer (I think the picture below was taken in June) and late September or early October when the aspens are in full color.
Maroon Bells - Aspen, Colorado
If being outdoors is not your thing, never fear, there is plenty to do in Denver – plenty of shopping, eating, and museums. If you’re more on the adventurous side and have time to acclimate to the altitude – Denver is the mile high city after all – you should look into hiking a 14er (a mountain over 14,000 ft above sea level)! Regardless of what you do in Colorado, be sure to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. It’s dry here and even if you don’t feel thirsty, drink water anyway. The more hydrated you stay and the more active you are, the less you’ll feel the altitude! Trust me on this one.
Jen on the summit of Mt. Bierstadt
Thanks, Ginger, for letting me share my beloved Colorado as part of your Sweet Summertime Road Trip series! Everyone, feel free to check out my book blog, A Book and a Latte, and follow me on Twitter @bookandlatte and @JenHalligan, Facebook, Goodreads, Pinterest, and/or Instagram!
Have fun, and safe travels!
Thank you so much, Jen, for showing us your summer adventures in Colorado. As a child, my family and I took the actual road trip from Texas to Colorado, so your pictures brought back lots of fun memories! Seeing the beauty of that great state made me fall in love with it all over again. I promise to keep your secret camping/hiking spot just between us, hehe.
If you're looking for a great YA contemporary book set in Colorado, I highly recommend THE BOOK OF BROKEN HEARTS by Sarah Ockler. She captures the beauty of Colorado so well while weaving a very heartfelt, emotional journey for one family, told through the eyes of a teenage girl.
You'll need your passport for next week's road trip, as we cross the border into the beautiful land of Canada with Jen from Pop! Goes the Reader.