Colorado is a Bob Ross painting only its real life.

Colorado is one of the most beautiful places in the world.

No place offers the sights and experiences.

In one moment you’re on the wild plains and the next you’re on a road over 12,000 feet in elevation.

Don’t forget that “America the Beautiful” is about Colorado. The only aspect you don’t have in the Centennial State is the ocean. But when you take in Colorado that is the furthest thought on your mind.

Let’s put this another way: Colorado is a Bob Ross painting only its real life.

Natives and visitors alike have more than enough to fill up a weekend. It just depends on what you want to see and experience. That is the toughest choice for the simple fact there are so many.

In terms of what to do in terms of lodging, you could go the boring route and do a hotel or condominium. But there’s no fun in that. When you stay in Colorado, and especially if you choose to stay in the mountains, the best place to stay in is a cabin.

Let’s start with the Front Range, from Fort Collins to the north tip of Denver. Fort Collins is along the Cache le Poudre River and is within 15 minutes of the mountains. Same for Loveland, about 10 minutes south of Fort Collins. You can’t go wrong with either Fort Collins, Loveland or even Greeley, about 20 minutes east from Loveland.

But about an hour west of Loveland on U.S. Highway 34 is Estes Park. This is the must stop for anyone, at any time of year. The hub for shopping and paths to walk is the perfect weekend destination. Local shops and restaurants line both sides of the main strip. From jewelry and arts/crafts to collectibles and clothing, there is something for everyone. This alone will take up a good portion of the day because these shops offer so much cool stuff you will want to see it.

Mix in a lunch on your window-shopping and cap the night with an Italian dinner at the local joint Mama Rose’s and you’re set.

What adds to the experience of Estes Park is to rent a cabin. Step out of the norm and make it a real mountain trip. Get a feel for how it was done in the 19th century when the land was first explored. This site,, offers all of the area cabins and cottages in Estes Park to choose from.

But what makes Estes Park such a gem is the setting right in the valley of the Rocky Mountains. Elk and deer walk through town, there are trails that bring to life “America the Beautiful.” Let the mountain air fill your lungs and you will know why you came.

If you’re feeling adventurous, head a little west of Estes Park to Trail Ridge Road. Trail Ridge is a stretch of Highway 34 that is the highest continuous paved road in the country. There is wild and plant life that somehow survives the elevation, over 12,000 feet, and the elements, close to nine months of brutal cold, wind and snow. There are stops that have walking paths that offer sights that stop you in your tracks. When you walk on these paths, some of the clouds breezing by are beneath you.

Another possibility for a weekend trip to Colorado is Glenwood Springs. Located in Glenwood Canyon about 3 hours west of Denver on Interstate 70, the town that Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday called home is the location of the famous Hot Springs Pool.

Similar to Estes, Glenwood has a multitude of local shops and eateries, plus the trails and multitude of ways to take in the beauty of Colorado.

The other benefit of Glenwood is it’s about 25 minutes from Aspen, only not at the outrageous prices. The same is true with Vail.

As with Estes Park, stay in a cabin when you visit Glenwood Springs. Visit this site for a complete list

That’s only the start of where to stay in Colorado.

There’s the four corners area, with Durango a good place to rest your head at night. The benefit of this area is you’re close to the Great Sand Dunes and Mesa Verde, not to mention a few hours’ drive to the Grand Canyon.

Whatever you choose as the place to stay, you cannot go wrong. At least once every person should experience Colorado.

It’s time to paint your Bob Ross masterpiece.

Ian St. Clair is an award-winning writer who has close to 10 years of newspaper experience. He’s written about everything from the Denver Broncos and college football to community theater and romance novels. He now writes for can find him at Google-Plus,


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