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Castle Rock Colorado

Castle Rock

Things To Do in Castle Rock

It’s easy to see how Castle Rock got its name when one spies the castle-shaped butte towering high above the town center. The town’s history is also easily visible in the original, well-preserved homes, cafés, and churches throughout the area. Many of these were built using the unusual rhyolite stone that originally attracted the settlers who founded the town in the mid-to-late 18th century. Prior to their arrival, the area was occupied by Cheyenne and Arapahoe Indian tribes. Today, nearly 60,0000 people call Castle Rock home.

With roots in mining and railroads, this affluent town offers an updated taste of the Old West. It boasts a historic downtown area, 265 acres of parks, and 44 miles of trails.  Castle Rock, easily accessible by Interstate 25, is home to the Outlets at Castle Rock (the largest open-air outlet center in the State) and is the seat of Douglas County.  The town encompasses 33 square miles and sits in the East Plum Creek Valley at the base of the Rocky Mountains at an elevation of 6,202 feet.

With over 300 days of sunshine each year, Castle Rock is a safe and welcoming place to enjoy the brisk Colorado air year round.

Castle Rock neighborhood

 

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Guided Tours & Services

Guided Tours in Colorado

One of the best ways to see Colorado is to have a local show you around. The cowboys on the chuckwagon tours and dinners will tell you the history and probably sing you a song about it.

If you want to hit the road less traveled, a Jeep tour is a way to go: explore the back roads, learn about the area’s geology, and capture the beautiful views from behind the windshield. 

Book a helicopter tour or hot air balloon ride to change your perspective and see how things look from above!

Plan a romantic dinner for two on a sleigh ride tour, or take a tour on a segway to see even more of this beautiful area. 

If you’re here to ski, plan a snow cat tour to get the goods without all of the work. 

 

 

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South Park

South Park, Colorado

Perched high in the Colorado Rockies, South Park Colorado is a microcosm of Western history.  From deep canyons to vast grasslands to snowy peaks and alpine meadows, this compelling basin is home to the nation’s highest incorporated town, gold mines, cattle ranches, and mountain passes.  As one of only 49 National Heritage Areas in the United States, South Park offers a rare glimpse of pioneer life at high altitudes during the settlement of the American West.

This region is a landscape rich with heritage and attracts individuals who value Western authenticity.  Some ranches have been operated for five generations by the same family.  As they have for centuries, residents still depend on the land for their livelihood, recreation, and quality of life.  As other places lose their inherent charm, South Park becomes a more engaging destination.

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South Park Heritage

South Park boasts an array of nationally significant artifacts that reflect different aspects of this country’s heritage.  The basin’s high peaks, clear streams, and copious wildlife embody the resources that sustained the native people and attracted settlers west.  Hundreds of historic sites and structures still remain 150 years after the development of early mining, railroading, and ranching at 10,000 feet.  Local events celebrate the lives of early pioneers in this area.  Together, these resources and traditions evoke images of the struggle for prosperity that played out within the ring of mountains that define Colorado’s largest mountain park.

Park County Courthouse

Seven years after Fairplay became the county seat in 1867, the old Park County Courthouse was built of native sandstone in the Italianate style.  Along with the adjacent stone jail, this building witnessed a parade of the famous, the notorious, and the ordinary.  Known as the “hanging court,” decisions made here had a profound impact on Colorado case law.  Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, it now serves as a public library and is one of 12 properties showcased in the Fairplay Historic Walking Tour brochure.

Boreas Pass Section House

Managed by the U.S. Forest Service, the Boreas Pass Section House was built in 1882 to house railroad workers on the Denver, SP & Pacific Railroad Highline Route between Como and Breckenridge.  Next to the Section House, the 1860s Wagon Cabin was built when this route was a mere wagon trail over the Continental Divide.  Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, these structures now serve as a visitor center and museum during summer and a backcountry ski hut during winter.

More About South Park Colorado

Perhaps you’re curious about the more modern attraction, the cartoon South Park. What does this area of Colorado have to do with the cartoon anyway? One can really only speculate on the subject. Perhaps these two places (one real, the other fictional) have nothing to do with one another. It’s just a mere coincidence that they bear similar names. However, it’s also possible that there’s more to it than mere coincidence. One similarity that stands out is that the historical South Park was outlandish, full of ironies and scandal. This is also true about the cartoon. Learn more about South Park, Fairplay, and Conifer, Colorado. Some interesting connections between them might satisfy your curiosity.

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Highway US 24 Corridor

Transcontinental Highway of 1926 – US 24

U.S. Hwy 24 or Route 24 is one of the original transcontinental highways of 1926. Initially, it started at Pontiac, Michigan in the east and headed west, and terminated at Kansas City, Missouri. Today US 24 runs from Independence Township, Michigan at an intersection with I-75, and terminates at Minturn, Colorado at an intersection with I-70.

When the US highway system was started in 1926, US Route 24 in Colorado was called US 40S. This highway started in Grand Junction and proceeded west along the current I-70 route to Minturn. Then proceeded to the current route to Limon. From Limon, it proceeded to the Kansas border and was called US 40N. The US 40S and US 40N, west and east of Limon respectively received US 24 designation in 1936; however, in 1975 when US 24 was extended west from Kansas City, Missouri. The stretch between Grand Junction and Minturn was decommissioned.

Looking back on the naming and development of US Route 24 and how this transitioned into other major highways is confusing, to say the least; however, it does let us know that US 24 was an important highway in terms of western migration and the development of west/central United States.

Telegraph Road

Dixie Highway in Pontiac, Michigan, and Laskey Road in Toledo, Ohio, denote a section of highway that was known as Telegraph Road. This telling name came about before the highway even existed after the telegraph wires which ultimately ran parallel to the route. US Route 24 was the western edge of Telegraph Road that ran through Detroit. Mark Knopfler of the Dire Straits even wrote the song “Telegraph Road”, which is the story of the development and decay of this highway.

 

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Palisade, Colorado

Palisade

Palisade, Colorado

A town in Mesa County, Colorado. Palisade, part of the Grand Junction Metropolitian statistical area, and named for the cliffs near town. Palisade is most famous for delicious peaches and wine vineyards. Although that’s what Palisade is known for, this small town on Colorado’s western slope embodies all of what Colorado is about. Palisade’s nearly central location but lower elevation of 4,728 feet makes it an area with warmer year-round temperatures, a longer growing season, yet close to skiinig and other mountain attractions.

This historical farming community has kept pace with the rest of Colorado. Attractions like rafting, skiing, mountain biking and a variety of farm tours are all right around the corner in Palisade. Colorado National Monument, Tillman Bishop State Wildlife Area, Grand Mesa National Forest, and a variety of parks are all accesible from Palisade.

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Fruita

Visit Fruita, Colorado!

Surrounded by dramatic mountain cliffs and gorgeous desert landscapes, this fun little town is dream come true for many adventure seekers.  Mountain biking, hiking, Jeep and dirt bike trails cover the thousands of acres of public lands surrounding Fruita. 

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Berthoud

Visit Berthoud, Colorado

Historically rich and Americana-steeped Berthoud, 45 minutes north of Denver, is nicknamed the “Garden Spot of Colorado” with good reason – a small community surrounded by rich farmland, it hosts annual events such as “Berthoud Day” in early June for residents and visitors to gather and celebrate family-style with a parade, music, and picnic.

Berthoud Colorado

The Annual Quilt Show

The town’s persona comes through in its annual quilt show and in its expanding sculpture exhibit in Fickel Park. Wildlife and outdoor themes mix with contemporary designs in a wonderful way.

While conveniently providing a gateway to mountain fun in the nearby Rockies, Berthoud also offers the laid-back and welcoming atmosphere of farmer’s markets, a town swimming pool, and vibrant arts community that includes dance and live theater – truly something for everyone!

Berthoud’s Location

If you’re looking for a smaller-town vibe, try visiting Berthoud. The cost of living is higher than the national average by 25.7 points. This is mostly reflected in housing costs. However, it does have a desirable location. Access to Estes Park and RMNP is just 35 miles away. If you like access to mountain lakes and reservoirs, this location is ideal. With over 20 lakes and reservoirs nearby and twice that amount a little further away. Deciding where to go will be the greater problem.

Berthoud has easy access to several state parks and nearby campgrounds. If you’re passing through or just want to get away for a few days. There is a large selection of state parks and campgrounds to choose from.

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Colorado Vacation Ideas

Vacation Planning Ideas

Colorado Vacation Planning Ideas

You're ready to do some vacation planning. You could use a break, and you've seen pictures of Colorado's majestic landscapes reaching 2 miles into the American sky. This is someplace you'd like to see and experience. It would take a few lifetimes to see, enjoy, experience, feel, and reach what Colorado offers. So, we're here to help you with your Colorado vacation planning and the best way to maximize your time while in Colorado.

Create Your Vacation Plan

With so much going on in Colorado, it’s best to identify your vacation passion and the passions of the group or other person you are traveling with. Here is a list of considerations to help you get the best Colorado vacation experience.

Summer Vacation Planning vacation planning scenic train

What summer Colorado activities are a priority for you and your group? Start by identifying the primary activity and prioritizing from there.

    • Perhaps your bucket list includes visiting an adventure park, a scenic train ride, a hot springs visit, zip lining, getting a hike or two in, and rafting.  Wow, that’s ambitious but it can be done. Once again, staying in a region like the Royal Gorge area can serve this up. If you look closely, you will find companies that even sell combinations of experiences in one day.

    • Suppose you're planning a backpacking trip. You would want to select a region, such as Rocky Moutain National Park, and stay there.

    • If day hiking is more your thing, you will get the most hiking in by exploring a region rather than trying to travel all over the state, but some travel is realistic.

Are you planning to tour the state? Will you need lodging, or will you be camping along the way?

    • Summer tourist season in Colorado is popular. If you’re planning on camping, whether in a tent or RV, you will need to plan ahead. Reservations at public campgrounds are necessary, especially during “peak season.”

Identify what “other” activities are important.

Check in with your travel companions and find out what activities they have in mind. You might find mutual interests or complete diversity. Knowing this will help you map your route and where to find lodging. Below are some activity suggestions.

Winter Vacation Planning

Will your winter vacation be at a ski resort?snowboarder vacation planning

    • There are 25 ski areas in Colorado and 32 Nordic Centers to choose from. First, understand your group's expectations. Then, explore the resort options for what they offer, the type of terrain, the expense, apres-ski activities, and more.

    • There are other resort options besides ski resort towns. Many neighboring mountain towns have excellent lodging and dining choices and even more alternative things to do. Consider more out-of-the-way natural hot spring resorts.

Are all members of your group skiers, or are there snowboarders too?

    • Suppose you’re vacationing with a mix of skiers, snowboarders, and ability level. It’s best to closely examine the resorts with terrain parks and a mix of blue and expert-level ski runs. The larger resorts will have the most options.

Does your group want to travel to different resort destinations or stay at a specific resort?

    • If you want to check out different resorts, staying in the Central part of Colorado is the most efficient option, as all these resorts can be reached by car in a few hours. Or, skip the winter driving around, stay at a designated resort, and focus on your fun there.

    • Download the Summit Stage app and ride the FREE Summit Stage bus in Summit County. This bus services the entire area of Summit County, including Silverthorne, Dillon, Keystone, A-Basin, Breck Transit Center, Frisco, and all places in between.

Is vacationing on a budget a concern?

    • If budget-mindedness is part of your vacation, try planning your trip during the “off-season” or not “peak-season” times. Check out these every day, more affordable resorts. In either case, you should be able to find deals on lift tickets and lodging.

Are off-slope activities appealing, such as shopping, dining, spas, events, or alternative activities?

    • If your group needs alternative activities, the bigger resorts will have the most varied selection. However, popular attractions like winter scenic train rides, natural hot springs, and guided tours such as snowmobiling or sleigh rides are not necessarily at the resort. Check out “other attractions” first and then decide on the resort to stay at.

Colorado's Endless List of Vacation Options

Colorado offers an almost endless list of vacation options. The first step is to understand if you want to tour around or stay in one place. Either has much to offer. However, touring the state will require more vacation planning. Please use our free vacation planning itinerary tool. This will help you keep track of the sights and experiences you don’t want to miss. Plus, organize your lodging and travel routes along the way.

Staying put at that special place in Colorado is also a good way to spend your vacation. With so much to explore in any given region of the State, it might make more sense for you just to find lodging in a favorite place and base all your activities on that location. In either case, feel free to request some of our free visitor guides, and use our free itinerary tool to help organize all the activities, keep the dates and times handy, and make your vacation more relaxing.

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Lake George Co

Lake George

Visit Historic Lake George, Colorado

The first Colorado Midland passenger train from Colorado Springs reached the settlement of “Rocky” in 1887. A manufacturer from Boston named George Frost constructed a dam at the mouth of Granite Canyon (now Elevenmile Canyon) and platted the nearby town of Lake George.

County Road 96 now follows the old Colorado Midland Railway grade through Elevenmile Canyon where locomotive residue can still be seen around railroad tunnels that were blasted through solid granite. Along the way are public campgrounds, picnic areas, bird watching pullouts, rock climbing routes and world-class trout fishing.

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About Fairplay

Discover Fairplay, Colorado

The discovery of gold in 1859 brought thousands of prospectors to Fairplay, once South Park. Latecomers pushed west and established mining camps in the area called South Park. After several prosperous years, Fairplay became the county seat in 1867.

If your curious about how Fairplay relates to South Park and the modern-day sitcom cartoon South Park.
There are some interesting historical relationships and parallels that help shed light on the topic. 

Today, Fairplay is the center of commerce for Park County, with a thriving business and vibrant local arts community. The many lodging, dining, and retail options reflect the unique character of this quaint mountain town.  Surrounded by majestic peaks and pastoral beauty, Fairplay calls out to artists of all media, many of whom have made Fairplay home.

meadow view Fairplay Colorado

Fairplay Year-Round

Seasonal Events

True to its quaint mountain character, a variety of fun and colorful events are hosted, such as the signature Burro Days race, the Bead & Fiber Show, the free summer concert series and the one-of-a-kind South Park Arts Celebration. This four-day open-air celebration of nature, history, and art, capitalizes on the unusual abundance of scenic and historic sites that make South Park, including Fairplay, so captivating.

Winter

At almost 10,000′, Fairplay is an outdoor enthusiast paradise in the winter. Embraced by the Mosquito Mountain Range and minutes to world-class skiing, boarders and skiers alike can explore pristine backcountry or groomed resort trails. Diverse and interesting ice climbing terrain welcomes beginners and challenges experts. Additionally, snowmobiling and snowshoeing provide travel access to remote back-bowls and rolling terrain. Hunters thrive on a nearly year-round season, as do anglers, with fly-fishing in summer and ice-fishing in winter. Named the “Fly-Fishing Capital of Colorado,” anglers can expect to experience a thrill a minute. Fairplay is home to the award-winning Fairplay Beach, where one can cast a line, pan for gold, and even camp overnight – all less than a minute from Main Street and historic Front Street, where dining, wine-tasting, local art galleries, South Park City Museum and shopping entice.

Spring – Summer

South Park City sign

Summer comes alive with bright wildflowers, lush meadows, and snow-capped mountain peaks. Outdoor adventures abound, from mellow strolls through the forest to challenging climbs—beginner trails to extreme single-track calls out to mountain bikers of all levels. Rock climbers and hikers can summit a myriad of 14,000-foot peaks. Take a horseback ride, ATV or off-road vehicle along 100-year-old mining trails. In Town, a custom skate park puts even a seasoned skater to the test.

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