8 Historic Destinations for Winter Weekend Warriors
By Lydia Hooper, Digital Content Manager
Weekend warriors can find some special winter delights across the state of Colorado. Since you’ll already be transporting yourself into stunning snowy landscapes, why not step back into Colorado’s past?
We all know about awe-inspiring destinations like Breckenridge, Telluride, Durango and Estes Park. So here are some other Colorado destinations that are sure to inspire wonder of all kinds.
Ice climb in Ouray
This year, the Ouray Ice Festival will be held January 24-27. This tradition began with some rogue pioneers who’d trespass on mining company land to scale frozen waterfalls in the mighty San Juan Mountains. Long before that, Ute people—whose chief is the town’s namesake—would visit the area’s natural hot springs, and for the same relaxing reasons we go there today. You can also experience many local ghost towns by snowshoe.
Get cabin fever at the Broadmoor
Colorado's only five-star, five-diamond resort opened in 1918. Before that it was a casino opened by a Prussian count in 1891 that burned down in 1897. Although it’s seen many changes and additions over the decades (several of which you can still tour), one thing that’s remained true is the many experiences it offers its guests. You can stay in the historic main building or reserve a luxurious cabin.
Ski in Vail
While the history here is relatively new, it's fascinating to see what's become of a town that wouldn't exist if it weren't for the development of the interstate and a group of wealthy entrepreneurs who wanted a ski resort in a time when, remarkably, there wasn’t one. This remains a great getaway for those who enjoy winter sports.
Ride horses at historic C Lazy U Ranch
The ranch experience encapsulates the iconic American West. This year marks the centennial of this ranch that’s been hosting guests since 1919. The lodge, built in 1947, was made from pine logs felled on the adjacent hillside. This is a great place for families—a place that balances luxurious accommodations with rustic activities like ice hockey, sleigh rides and archery.
Snowmobile in Grand Lake
Considered the “Snowmobiling Capital of Colorado,” Grand Lake plays host to enthusiasts from around the world who cruise on more than 300 miles of snowmobiling trails. The town is also the western gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park, another timeless destination Ute tribes visited over the centuries.
Soak at Hot Sulphur Springs
Hot Sulphur Springs boasts seven natural springs flowing above the largest, centuries-old fissure. While you’re in town, visit the Pioneer Village Museum, located in a schoolhouse built in 1924, to see 8,500-year-old artifacts from Windy Gap that have revolutionized archaeological thinking. The Village also has the original courthouse and county jail, a blacksmith shop and more.
Hike in Castle Rock
The stunning 300-million-year-old red sandstone formations are reason enough to visit Roxborough State Park. Roxborough is also a State Historic Site because of its archaeological artifacts, which tell the story of humans who lived in the area—from prehistoric hunter-gatherers to several tribes who traded here. Hikers can also visit Castlewood Canyon State Park, the location of the fabled Castlewood Dam that broke in 1933, catastrophically flooding downtown Denver. While in town, you can also visit the Castle Rock Historical Society and Museum and go ice skating or shopping for antiques on Perry Street.
Dogsled in Leadville
Leadville—originally known as Silver City—boasts some of the state’s most historic structures from the mining era. Its colorful history includes notable personalities like Mayor Horace Tabor and Baby Doe, Poker Alice Ivers, the “unsinkable” Molly Brown and Meyer Guggenheim (of that Guggenheim family). With the highest concentration of fourteeners within view of town, this is a great place to experience an old-fashioned mode of transportation: dogsledding!
Love history and travel? AAA Travel and History Colorado have teamed up to offer specially crafted vacations called Curated Adventures.