We've all heard how great Colorado is, and many of us have had the privilege to spend a weekend or two here, but how awesome would it be to spend a full month touring the centennial state?! That's exactly what we're planning on doing, and the first few weeks have been great!
We drove up from Santa Fe, NM and were delighted by the beautiful mountain views that appeared immediately as we crossed the state border.
Our first stop in Colorado was Great Sand Dunes National Park in the San Luis Valley, in the easternmost parts of Alamosa County and Saguache County. Great Sand Dunes is a gem of a park, and I honestly had no idea just how much beauty is on display throughout the park. In fact, I was amazed by the not just the sand dunes and mountains, but also by the serene river that trickles down from the mountains.
While in Great Sand Dunes National Park we enjoyed hiking around, exploring mountains & waterfalls, and sand boarding on the magnificent dunes.
Pictures From Great Sand Dunes National Park
Our next stop was Buena Vista, and fortunately a friend from high school who currently resides there was able to show us a free spot to camp, along with more amazing mountainous views.
Pictures From Buena Vista, CO
Downtown Buena Vista was small but neat. We happened upon an amazing car show, as well as a spontaneous street music performance.
We spotted lots of great opportunities for water rafting, kayaking, paddle boarding, and even water skiing. We also made a stop at one of the hot springs attractions, taking the opportunity to rest our tired muscles in 6 different temperature hot springs pools while enjoying the beautiful night sky Colorado is known for.
Next up was Gunnison and Crested Butte, where again a friend was able to show us some public land (our land & your land) to set up camp for free. Gunnison National Forest offers lots of opportunities to camp among all sorts of beautiful nature including flowers, birds, mountains, sunsets, wildlife, waterfalls, lakes, and a roaring stream.
Pictures From Gunnison & Crested Butte, CO
We checked out the 4th of July parade in Crested Butte including an epic water fight with the local fire volunteers (waaay too wet for photos).
There were lots of great rafting opportunities in Gunnison, as well, though we missed out on them this time through.
Next up we visited Black Canyon National Park. The canyon's name owes itself to the fact that parts of the gorge only receive 33 minutes of sunlight a day, according to Images of America: The Black Canyon of the Gunnison. In the book, author Duane Vandenbusche states, "Several canyons of the American West are longer and some are deeper, but none combines the depth, sheerness, narrowness, darkness, and dread of the Black Canyon."