In an earlier blog post, we introduced the eight regions of Colorado. Now let’s dive more deeply into each region (when we’re finished with each we’ll link them to one another).
Let’s go to the area known as the Denver & Cities of the Rockies region (shown in the upper green portion on our map). Denver, also known as the Mile High City, is the capital and most populous city of Colorado
Recognizing that there’s only a figurative border between each region, you’ll see that this one blends into The Great West Region to the west (did we really say that?), and the Pioneering Plains to the east. To the south is Pikes Peak Wonders, and slightly to the southwest is the Rockies Playground region.
Other than the obvious city of Denver, what else is included? Frankly, too many to list, but here are a few: Aurora, Bellvue, Black Hawk, Boulder, Castle Rock, Estes Park, Fort Collins, Greeley, Loveland, Red Feather Lakes, Strasburg, and Wheat Ridge.
Denver is known as the Mile High City, and it’s the highest metropolitan city in America. There is a plaque on a step of the Capitol in Denver that denotes the exact spot that’s 5,280 feet (one mile) above sea level.
Denver also has the largest population in the state. The metro area is known for arts, history, cuisine, microbreweries, and architecture. Sports fans abound (NASCAR, MLB Colorado Rockies, NHL Colorado Avalanche, NFL Broncos, MLS Colorado Rapids, and more). There’s also music and education (Colorado State University, University of Colorado, University of Denver, University of Northern Colorado). Believe us, there’s also an endless array of entertaining opportunities.
One thing Denver isn’t known for is an abundance of campsites! If you plan to visit this region, we encourage you to plan well ahead of time, book your campsite, and accept that traffic and congestion will play a role in your vacation (or work) that brings you to the area.
The good news is … this region is expansive. The area of Black Hawk is relatively near to the Denver activities, while it also feels quite removed. You’ll also be nearly 4,000′ closer to the stars in Black Hawk! The cultural and scenic difference between Denver and Estes Park is phenomenal! From Denver’s urban traffic to Estes Park’s traffic jams caused by elk, well, you can guess what most camping vacationers would rather be caught up in!
When you’re in the area you’ll likely hear the phrase Front Range. This usually refers to the “corridor of the Rocky Mountains and surrounding land stretching 200 miles from the Wyoming border on the north to the Arkansas River on the south,” according to Colorado Encyclopedia. You’ll often hear this phrase when locals are talking about weather.
So, let’s zoom out a bit from Denver, and gain a sense of the entire region. Outdoors lovers might consider these links:
- Cache la Poudre-North Park Scenic Byway (what a fabulous ride!)
- Guanella Pass Scenic Byway (very scenic)
- Lariat Loop National Scenic Byway (really nice)
- Mount Evans Scenic Byway (oh my!)
- Pawnee Pioneer Trail (very nice!)
- Peak to Peak Scenic Byway (WOW!)
OK, we’ll keep our opinions to ourselves for the rest of the links, but here’s a snapshot from the Peak to Peak Scenic Byway we just WOW’d over.
- Downtown Denver Historic District
- Fort Collins Old Town Historic District
- Georgetown Silver Plume National Historic Landmark District
- Cache la Poudre National Heritage Area
- Cache la Poudre Wild and Scenic River
- Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge
- Rocky Mountain National Park
- Two Ponds National Wildlife Refuge
There are plenty of state parks, and they have listings on CampColorado.com, so please use the search page. Still, we can’t overlook a side note that SmarterTravel.com listed Eldorado Canyon (“Eldo”) as #2 on their list of Ten State Parks You Can’t Miss. It’s a “haven for rock climbers who come to test their skills on the park’s more than 500 technical routes.”
MUSEUMS, TOURS, ZOOS & AQUARIUMS
- US Mint
- Denver Museum of Nature & Science
- Dinosaur Ridge
- Fort Collins Museum of Discovery
- National Earth System Research Laboratory
- Mesa Laboratory and Visitor Center
- Butterfly Pavilion
- Denver Zoo
- Downtown Aquarium
- The Wild Animal Sanctuary
WILDLIFE, BIRDING & TRAILS, FESTIVALS, SKIING, SPORT EVENTS, BIKING, HIKING, HORSEBACK RIDING, BOATING, AND FISHING,
The region might have a lot of urban stretches, but wildlife is still present! Deer, elk, black bears, mountain lions, bighorn sheep, pronghorn, turkey, bison, mountain goat, prairie dogs, … … … these are just some examples of what you might see.
We suggest you reference Colorado.com to learn more about nature centers, observatories, Audubon chapters, grasslands, preserves, trails, concerts, festivals, skiing, and the entire metropolitan regional activities. Yes, we’re taking the shortcut here and we’re doing so because this region is bustling with opportunities.
Here’s a note to fans of fishing. The region is known for pike, yellow perch, tiger muskie, cutthroat, brook, brown, and rainbow trout, large-mouth and small-mouth bass, white sucker, walleye, wiper, channel catfish, bluegill, mountain whitefish, and then some. Please follow the fishing regulations!
WORDS OF WISDOM
- If you click on each link provided in this blog post, you will find much more historical and entertaining information!
- Those who book early have the best chance of finding campsite availability, especially for summer weekends and holidays.
- There are limited roadways compared to the eastern USA, so plan for this. Congestion can be an issue (especially Friday and Sunday evenings).
- Regardless of the time of day and time of year, be sure to monitor conditions on COtrip for the current road conditions. Construction, avalanche control, snow, ice, rain … Colorado can see all of it even in one day!
So, where should you camp in colorful Colorado? It depends on the month of your trip and your camping preferences from what amenities you desire to your means of lodging (tent, RV, cabin, yurt, lodge, tepee, covered wagon, glamping safari tent, or any other means of enjoying the outdoors). Since there are many other factors to consider, we created our CampColorado to help you find a campground that suits your desires. The search page offers a range of options, and many listings provide in-depth descriptions.
The Colorado Tourism Office provides additional travel ideas in the regions in this post.
This publication is supported by funding from the Colorado Tourism Office, a state agency. Turn to Colorado.com for a comprehensive list of festivals, events, historic areas, itineraries, and community insight.