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As the dates inch closer towards the end of the year, you will probably be looking for a destination site that is welcoming, exciting, and fascinating at the same time. I will share with you the most enjoyable outings I just had in Denver, Colorado during the Fall to give you an impression for your next upcoming vacation.
Here, you will find top sightseeing spots, some further from each other, which is why my first recommendation for you during this trip would be to rent a car. These sight-seeing spots will be often visited by not only tourists but locals all year round.
Hotels in Denver
You cannot plan a vacation to Denver, Colorado during the Fall and fail to book a hotel/lodge. Especially because lodges/cabins tend to fill up fast, so make sure to plan ahead and make your reservation. If you intend to spend at least three days to one week, there are a few choices to consider.
The following below are two alternatives that I can personally recommend.
I. The Steamboat Grand
The Steamboat Grand is a one of a kind summer lodge that has a lot of amenities. Plenty clean hotel rooms, condos, studios, parlor rooms, and penthouses offer comfortable sleeping experiences. Also, there is a fitness gym, pool, spa, shops, and dining areas. You will get a beautiful view of Mt. Werner to see from your hotel window.
We stayed here the first 2 nights. The drive from the Denver airport to Steamboat was about 3 hours, which is why I recommend you rent a car. The drive truly didn’t feel so long though because of the scenery. And we took advantage and made pit stops to take pictures. Needless to say, the drive was worth while.
I cannot express to you how much I loved this hotel. The rooms were cozy, bed comfortable, and even a fire place in our room. It was gorgeous, and the downtown area was only 7-10 minutes away that had a movie theater, restaurants, bars, and shops.
I can only imagine how this places looks like during the Winter with all the snow!
Before leaving Steamboat Springs, I visited The Old Town Hot Springs (A Water Park in Steamboat Springs, Colorado) located just 7 minutes away from The Steamboat Grand.
At the Old Town Hot Springs there are 8 hot spring-fed pools and water slides. Unfortunately, they only had 1 natural hot spring there. It was not what I expected because truthfully I just didn’t do enough research on this place before going on vacation.
I did enjoy Old Town Hot Springs; however, I have to be honest, If I were to go back to Denver, I would try the Strawberry Park Natural Hot Springs instead. I didn’t actually visit Strawberry Park, but I did hear incredible things about it.
In short, if you are looking for a hot spring that’s more family oriented I would recommend The Old Town Hot Springs. If you are looking for an adult natural hot spring, then I would recommend Strawberry Park Natural Hot Springs. I’ll be trying out the adult natural hot springs during the Winter season next time and let you know!
II. Homewood Suites by Hilton® Denver Downtown-Convention Center, CO
During my remaining 4 day vacation in Denver, Colorado during the Fall, I stayed at the Homewood Suites Hotel. Another alternative that offers urban rooms and suites plus premium service with free hot breakfast.
Located in the heart of downtown Denver, this hotel is ideal for other convention activities. Also, there is an indoor swimming pool, a fitness center, and a clean kitchen to order tasty food.
Surrounding this hotel is just a 7-10 minute walk from 16th Street Mall. I highly recommend you take a stroll downtown. It’s filled with yummy restaurants and live music outside.
16th Street Mall
Speaking of downtown Denver, I had to give 16th Street Mall it’s own title because that’s how important it is that you visit while you’re in Denver, Colorado. There are brewery’s, restaurants of all type cuisines, bars, ice cream shops, clothing stores… the list goes on! Why not take a walk and see what this place as to offer.
Shopping and Dining in Denver
A trip without going shopping is considered incomplete. In Denver, Colorado, there are different shopping alternatives to visit. Some of the top shopping spots that offer in-store shopping, eateries, and entertainment include; The Denver Fly Shop, Colorado Mills, and The Denver Pavilions.
You can go for shopping, outdoor dining eateries, coffee, & cocktails. The diversity of food was also a thing to note in the well-supplied restaurants.
If you prefer other dining alternatives, then I suggest you choose either of the five options below:
- Tuna at Sushi Den
- French Toast at Steuben’s
- Classic pizza at Pizzeria Locale
- BBQ Biscuit at Denver Biscuit Co
- Crispy Chicken at The Plimoth
Outdoor fun activities in Denver
Water rafting in Idaho Springs
You do not need to be an experienced paddler to enjoy the rapids. The precise setting, promising weather, and the recommended gear should make your rafting outing memorable.
Most tourists prefer class II rapids. So, when I decided to go for rafting at the Idaho spring river, the experience was nothing short of remarkable.
If you need an adventurous experience that is not considered a more dare-devils choice, you should go for the beginner rafting on the Idaho spring. Clear Creek Beginner is a 2 hour 30 minutes outing that cuts through class II and class III rapids, including Mountain Lion, Subway Falls, and Mister Twister. The rafting exits at Kermit’s. The trip is ideal for between 4-6 members including an experienced crew member.
- Intermediate River Rafting – Clear Creek
Intermediate rafting involves maneuvering class III to class IV rapids with a lot of turns, dips, and twists. To complete an intermediate raft, you should also include physical strength and confidence.
I personally purchased my excursion through here. It also includes different kind of outdoor activities, such as, rock climbing, horse back riding, etc. Bonus: I also got to jump off a 30ft cliff that was included in the package. So fun!
Sightseeing in Denver
There are popular sightseeing destinations for visit that offer more than you can imagine. However, because I did not have enough time to explore all of them during my vacation in Denver, Colorado during the Fall, I will share with you some of the most exciting top spots to consider.
Cave Of The Winds Mountain Park
Caves are interesting spots to sightsee, enjoy, and learn different rock formations – with adventure added to the outing. In Colorado, the Cave Of The Winds is a naturally formed void with spectacular scenery and natural attractions.
There are two cave tours to pick. The one I preferred headed deep into the heart of the Manitou Grand Caverns. This 90-minutes adventurous tour navigated concrete walls and steep staircases.
Tour Tip: – Book in advance on the official website
- Available only on weekends during Winter
- Available daily in Summer
Rocky Mountain National Park
The Rocky Mountain National Park was my absolute favorite from the whole trip! It is a popular tourist destination site that is a must-visit. Often characterized by its unique trails and lush green forest cover, this mountain ridge is indeed thrilling.
No matter which tour or hike you choose from, you will see nature at its best, and while driving through the park you will get a closer look at some of the wild animals such as moose, deer, turkey, elk, bears, and more! I made sure to take pictures, but I had to remind myself to put my phone away because the experience in itself was worth using my eyes instead of my camera lens.
How does it work?
→ This is how it works: For those who do not know, there are many different trails (Bear Lake is not the only one, it’s the easiest and fastest trail, that’s why I chose it), before entering the actual Rocky Mountain, you have to pay for an entrance fee which is $25 per person, you can also reserve your spot ahead of time. Once you’re inside the National Park, you can choose to drive to the actual trails/hikes, or if there’s not enough parking at the actual trail, instead you can drive to the bus shuttles, park there, and the bus will take you to the trail you desire.
I was lucky enough to go for the Bear Lake Trail during my visit to the Rocky Mountains. Snowshoeing, walking, and nature trips are some of the most common activities that go on in this scenic location.
The Bear Lake Nature Trail is approximately 1-kilometer loop with a 15m elevation gain located close to Estes Park. Bear Lake has a beautiful view and you should prepare to interact with many hikers. It joins with the Flat Top Mountain Trail, which I heard, is another interesting trail to conquer.
Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre
The Red Rock Amphitheatre is a man-made architecture built into a naturally formed rock structure and is famous for its electrifying concerts and notable performances.
Due to Covid, we were not able to watch any performances, but we were able to eat there and take many pictures.
After I took some pictures of the amphitheater, I managed to finish one of the Red Rocks Hiking Trails. I’m not exactly sure what the name was, but I do know that it felt very satisfying when we completed the trail. You will get to appreciate nature and possibly see wildlife as you cover them. Just make sure to come prepared with water, hat and a sunscreen as it get very hot… even during the fall.
All together, I spent 6 days and 5 nights in Denver, Colorado during my fall vacation. I guess it can seem like I didn’t do much in paper, but I also made sure to set some time apart to sleep in some days because the sun drains you sometimes hahaha! This was my first time visiting Denver and I fell in love with the city, I’m sure you will too.