Colorado vacation spots for Coloradans: The state wants you to broaden your horizons

Most Colorado cities and towns don’t happen to be located either in ski areas or along the Interstate 25 corridor.

Views of Maroon Bells. (USDA/Scott Mecum)
Views of Maroon Bells. (USDA/Scott Mecum)
Views of Maroon Bells. (USDA/Scott Mecum)

Most Colorado cities and towns don’t happen to be located either in ski areas or along the Interstate 25 corridor.

It’s true, and state officials are hoping visitors and Coloradans take their tourism dollars to these less-traveled places. The Colorado Tourism Office plans to launch an initiative Monday to encourage people to travel to these areas.

The new Colorado Field Guide is expected to go up on Colorado.com and contain a collection of three- to seven-day itineraries along with tips on ways travelers can protect the state’s natural resources, whether by traveling like a local or taking part in “voluntourism.”

“Our research has been telling us that the people most likely to take a trip to the less-traveled parts of Colorado are Coloradans themselves,” said the director of the state tourism office, Cathy Ritter, in a statement.

“Given the huge population growth our state has experienced in recent years, we believe there’s a big opportunity to drive rural economic development by inspiring Coloradans to explore their own backyard,” she said.

The Field Guide is designed to relieve pressure on the state’s most popular sites by guiding travelers to lesser-known spots. The itineraries provide tips on best times to visit as well as suggestions on how to support the state’s natural beauty through volunteering, donations or behaviors that limit their impact on the state’s resources.

The Colorado Field Guide introduced a dozen itineraries Wednesday, with more than 20 coming online for the official launch Monday and many more to be added over the next year. Available itineraries include: “Silver Thread Byway”: Five days in South Fork, Creede & Lake City; “Spirit of the Southwest”: Five days in Durango, Silverton, & Pagosa Springs; and “Gold Rush Getaways”: Three days in Idaho Springs, Georgetown, Central City & Black Hawk.

For example, here’s one suggested itinerary:
“Silver Thread Byway”
Day 1: South Fork
-Eating options: South Fork Malt Shoppe, Ramon’s Mexican Restaurant and The Bear Claw bakery
-Activities: Rio Grande Club and Resort and Blue Eyed Bear Boutique
Day 2: Creede
-Eating options: Cafe Ole, Tommyknocker tavern & BBQ Bistro, Aarp’s, Kip’s Grill
-Activities: North and South Clear Creek Falls and Weminuche Trail
Day 3: Lake City
-Eating options: Lake City Bakery, Climb elevated eatery, Packer Saloon & Cannibal Grill
-Activities: The Sportsman Outdoors & Fly Shop, Deer Lakes, Lake City Ghost Tour
Day 4: Lake City
Eating options: Sportsman’s BBQ Station & Backyard, Bruno’s Restuarant and Grill
Activities: Rocky Mountain Jeep Rental, Mountaineer Theatre, Lake City Auto and Sports Center, ATV Schafer Gulch/Hurricane Basin, Kentucky Belle Market
Day 5: Lake City
Eating options: The High Country Market, Lake City Cafe
Activities: Lake City Ski Hill, Hinsdale Country Museum, Mangum Pottery

Subscribe to Denverite’s newsletter hereBusiness & data reporter Adrian D. Garcia can be reached via email at agarcia@denverite.com or twitter.com/adriandgarcia.

Adrian D. Garcia

Author: Adrian D. Garcia

Adrian D. Garcia is on business and trends for Denverite, serves as treasurer for the Colorado chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists and on the board of the Denver Press Club. He can be reached at agarcia@denverite.com.