Colorado, the cool, beautiful, and laid-back sister state to Nebraska recently welcomed me with open arms on my recent travels. I was looking forward to returning to the beautiful state for a change of scenery, literally! Despite the difference in surroundings, the natural splendor of the mountains was still as stunning as ever, and I had the opportunity to visit a lot of fantastic local venues during my stay in the Avon area. As many of us here in Nebraska enjoy making the journey to Colorado and do so often, here are some of my recommendations based on my most recent adventures!
Our group stayed in Avon, CO; which is a quaint little town nestled between Beaver Creek and Vail.
Where to Ski: Copper Mountain Ski Resort
Copper Mountain is exactly what comes to mind when you think of a traditional ski resort—they definitely have it down to a science. Their popularity is evident as the resort was bustling with a ton of people the entire time we were there. For beginners (like myself) who are over the initial fear, Copper Mountain is the perfect place to visit.
Copper Mountain is a great spot for the average person or group who simply want to ski the slopes and enjoy the scenery. They have a lot of cool little bars and outdoor fire pits that are great for hanging out or just stopping for a minute to rest and warm up. The lifts make it really convenient as there are quite a few different lifts you can take and connect to get to where you want to be. It is also important to note that Copper Mountain is especially great for snowboarding, as it features an area specifically set up for practicing jumps and other skills.
One thing to note about Copper Mountain Ski Resort is the closeness between the shops and venues and the slopes – everything is right there. It’s a unique layout that takes a lot of the hassle out of the back and forth, and it adds a lot to the village-esque ambiance too. Center Village at the bottom is great, with various equipment shops for you to rent from if needed, as well as restaurants and gear shops. We rented boards from Copper Sports – good prices and very friendly staff. I was very impressed with how perfectly the equipment rental staff fit us for what we needed–the difference and our increased comfort were definitely noticeable. In our experience, the rental process was very streamlined, which is appreciated by those who prefer a more self-guided approach.
If you are looking for a relaxed, fun atmosphere with an abundance of great people and options that accommodate your equipment needs and skill level, I highly recommend that you visit Copper Mountain!
Where to Visit: Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park
Located atop Colorado’s gorgeous mountains in Glenwood Springs is Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park. We jumped on the Iron Mountain Tramway and enjoyed a relaxing, scenic ride on the tram as it carried us up the mountain to the entrance of the park. Being one of the few visitors to the park that morning, we were able to explore and take full advantage of all the fun attractions. We highly recommend purchasing the Winter Fun Day Pass which allows you to take advantage of the tram, cave tours, and attractions. It’s well worth every penny and allows you to experience all Glenwood Caverns has to offer!
We were fortunate to experience nice weather during our visit to the park considering it was December, which allowed us to truly enjoy being outside with the beautiful mountain views and walking to each attraction. We immediately noticed how well the park was kept up during the winter. The park staff were extremely friendly and always willing to help guide us in the right direction or to check in to ensure we were having a great time.
Being the largest show cave open to the public in Colorado, we knew we couldn’t pass up the cave tours. The guided tours each lasted about 40 minutes and both offered something a little different. The Historic Fairy Caves was a great place to start. Our very experienced guide led us on a quarter-mile underground walk while educating us on the history, layout, and geology of the cave. He was extremely knowledgeable of the cave and quirky- which we appreciated two-fold!
Between cave tours, we strapped in our individual cars on the Alpine Coaster. We didn’t let our initial fears get the best of us, we buckled our seatbelts and we were off! We twisted and turned around curves and bumps of the 3,400-foot track while enjoying the Colorado scenery. What makes this year-long coaster unique is the individual cars that allow you to control your own speed, so whether you’re looking for a rip-roaring ride or more of a slow and steady scenic view, you’re golden! This is a ride not to be missed!
We ended our day with the King’s Row Cave Tour. This underground room located 150 feet below the surface proved to be the most highly decorated we’d seen. Staged light shows and black lights showed the cave’s beautiful formations that have been developing for millions of years. Spectacular!
From the cave tours to the roller coasters; Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park has entertainment for all ages, which makes it a great stop for families! I can’t wait to go back to enjoy the seasonal rides and attractions.
Where to Relax: Iron Mountains Hot Springs
After a long day at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park it was time for some relaxation at Iron Mountain Hot Springs.
This classy hot springs resort allowed us to rejuvenate in our choice of 16 different mineral-rich pools, ranging in temperature from 98 degrees to 108 degrees. Immediately after walking through the front doors the environment is welcoming and relaxing. The spa music makes you feel calm and cozy. If you need a break from the hot springs or if you’re traveling as a family, Iron Mountain Hot Springs also offers a 75-foot-long family pool and whirlpool spa. It’s the best of both worlds!
I loved the natural setting and variety of pools and temperatures. The grounds are beautiful which made for a peaceful and scenic atmosphere for us to unwind in after the long day. I spent the morning riding rides and exploring the caves and then used the afternoon to relax my muscles and soak in the tranquil hot springs on the edge of the Colorado River. With both being located in Glenwood Springs, and open year round, it was a no-brainer to get the combo pass so that I could enjoy them both!
If you’re in the area and looking for an excuse to pamper yourself at this natural hot spring spa, I highly recommend Iron Mountain Hot Springs!
All in all, I can’t give Colorado enough praise for the unparalleled landscapes and laid back vibes.
What’s your favorite ski community in Colorado? Feel free to message me with any questions about my trip.
Click here to read my Travel Guide: Denver, Colorado!