Seeking great destinations in the vicinity of Denver
August 27, 2021 12:43 PM   Subscribe

flying into denver in mid-september to see family and have 3~4 days of free time to do a side trip with a romantic friend. looking for both hotel suggestions in Denver and destinations around and about. suggestions? snowflakes inside. Thanks Metafilter!!

looking for both hotel suggestions in Denver and destinations around and about.

stuff we love:
light hiking
lazy rivers
road trips
easy camping

not looking for anything athletically extreme, but very much looking forward to enjoying the outdoors in the surrounding are.

thanks metafilter!
posted by wowenthusiast to Travel & Transportation around Colorado (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I forget the specifics but you can absolutely drive to the continental divide and back as less than a day trip and it was spectacular. No hiking needed though I’d have a warm coat and decent shoes.
posted by sepviva at 2:52 PM on August 27, 2021 [1 favorite]

Rocky Mountain National Park
posted by Rad_Boy at 3:06 PM on August 27, 2021 [1 favorite]

Estes Park (right Rocky Mountain National, immediate waterfall upon arrival, plenty to see deeper in without needing much/ any hiking to see it.

Garden of the Gods, strikingly beautiful rock formations.

Red Rocks (you can hike around during the day, you don't need to be attending a concert, though it is spectacular if you do).

Longer trip: Strawberry Hotspring in Steamboat, about 3 hours from Denver. Best hotspring I've ever been to. Its natural, though very thoughtfully set up with deckingand pathways and so on, no chlorine, and it's all lithium so no weird sulfur smells. Book a tipi or cabin and stargaze from the pools at night!
posted by ananci at 9:42 PM on August 27, 2021 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: These reccs are fantastic thank you now contemplating whether it makes sense to spend one night around RMNP and one night in steamboat or just 2 nights in steamboat...
posted by wowenthusiast at 5:59 AM on August 28, 2021

Note that RMNP requires timed entry permits purchased in advance during peak hours! Instead, you might want to check out the nearby State Forest State Park, which is billed as RMNP but without the crowds. Just read up on Rocky before you go!

Closer to Denver is Roxborough state park, an absolute gem but no dogs are allowed. Similar formations to Red Rocks and some amazing easy hikes!
posted by spbb at 7:14 AM on August 28, 2021 [1 favorite]

In Denver:
The botanic gardens are a gem.
posted by nickggully at 7:51 AM on August 28, 2021 [2 favorites]

It's not super-nearby to Denver, but I highly recommend you go to Glenwood Springs and stay at the (confusingly named) Hotel Denver. Get the hot springs package, or whatever they call it. Go to the hot springs pool. This will forevermore tarnish your love for bathtubs.
posted by scratch at 8:26 AM on August 28, 2021 [1 favorite]

Rocky Mountain National Park if you can. There's a long road mostly on top of mountain ridges; you cross the Divide several times, exceed 2 mi. in elevation, can see into other states, etc. So beautiful. Lots of nice places to stay in Estes Park. Hiking trails everywhere of varied difficulty. The ski resorts are beautiful, should be cheaper off-season, and often have hot tubs of various types. Breckenridge, Vail, Loveland, are all close to Denver, should be full of airBnBs.
posted by theora55 at 10:19 AM on August 28, 2021

You can take Amtrak from Denver’s Union Station. Stay at the Hotel Colorado, take their complimentary shuttle to Iron Mountain Hot Springs which is infinitely more romantic than the giant hot springs pool across the street. No car needed. There are several good restaurants downtown (Brava, The Pullman, Co. Ranch House, Juicy Lucy’s. I can’t recommend the Riviera Supper Club or the hotel’s restaurant.)

posted by cyndigo at 2:01 PM on August 28, 2021

I visited this place a few years ago. It's a surprisingly wonderful trip--several miles of road, with places to stop and enjoy the prairie and associated wildlife as it might have looked a hundred and fifty years ago. (Okay, well, the bison herd doesn't extend from horizon to horizon, but seeing that small herd was an uplifting experience.)

Also, the arsenal itself was repurposed, displaying an interesting and informative history of the natural environment and the arsenal itself.

I would go there again were I ever to go back to the area.

Edit: minor booboo fix.
posted by mule98J at 7:04 AM on August 29, 2021

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