On 16th September, Norwegian is launching a twice-weekly direct service from London Gatwick to Denver from £179 each way. Brits can save money both on their flights and their duration in Colorado with a number of adventures available on a shoestring budget.
Camp in Rocky Mountain National Park
With over 4.2 million visitors per year and ranked in the top five U.S. national parks by visitation, Rocky Mountain National Park and its gateway, Estes Park, is filled with low cost adventure options. Entrance into the park by car costs $30 for a week, with abundant trails to hike and cycle, wildlife to watch and an incredible night sky, which can be viewed by telescope at the Estes Park Memorial Observatory. There are five campgrounds within Rocky Mountain National Park, costing $26 per night in the summer and $18 in the winter. For those seeking a true wilderness adventure, backcountry camping options are available with a backcountry permit available from Beaver Meadows Visitor Center. For travellers seeking ultimate views on a road trip, Trail Ridge Road is the highest continuous paved road in the USA and offers a scenic drive through the park. For those who prefer to sleep under a roof, Estes Park also has a selection of lodgings for under $100 per night, including Solitude Cabins, a five minute walk from Lake Estes, and historic Triple R Cottages, featuring rustic cabins two miles from Rocky Mountain National Park. To the south of the park, Granby also offers a range of lodging, from inns to chalet-style hotels.
Discover downtown Denver
The Mile High City needn’t cost mile high prices, with an abundance of free or low-cost attractions on offer in Denver. To get around, the A-line rail service takes travellers from Denver International Airport to Union Station for $9 and a free shuttle operating throughout the day transports visitors along shopping and restaurant hub, 16th Street Pedestrian Mall. Many hotels offer free bicycle hire, such as the new Halcyon Hotel in Cherry Creek, opening up the city’s 80+ miles of paved cycle tracks. Denver Free Walking Tours help visitors to find their way around the city’s landmarks, from the highly-photographed Blue Bear to Coors Field, operating daily between April and October and every Saturday and Sunday year-round, with no reservation required. The U.S. Mint and the Colorado State Capitol also operate free tours throughout the day. Every Saturday in 2017 ETuk Denver runs free rides to a number of independent craft breweries, cideries and wineries, which operates in the trendy RiNo district, ensuring visitors don’t miss out on the best of local drinks.
Fish for your dinner
Fly fishing in one of the state’s four major rivers or numerous lakes is a cost-effective way to take in the landscape, whilst catching your dinner. There is a number of seasonal free fly fishing introductory classes for visitors to join, including a fly fishing clinic operated by The Blue Quill Angler in Evergreen every Saturday and Rocky Mountain Anglers in Boulder every other weekend. Popular public waters to fly fish include The South Platte River, which has over 15 public access points, filled with Trout, Carp, Bass and Kokanee Salmon; Indian Peaks Wilderness, which offers crystal clear waters and has one of the largest concentrations of Greenback Cutthroat in the state and the Colorado River, home to Brown and Rainbow Trout.
Hike in the Great Outdoors
Colorado is a state full of natural beauty, which can be enjoyed cost-free, on foot. Outdoor enthusiasts can explore thousands of miles of trails and parkland, including the red-rock figures and geological formations of Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs, gushing waterfalls at Bear Creek Falls in Telluride or Maroon Bells in Aspen, which offers an array of golds and yellows as fall arrives each September. For experienced hikers, the Colorado Trail runs 486 miles from Denver to the old west town of Durango, crossing eight challenging mountain ranges.
Picnic on Palisade Peaches with canyon views
Travellers can explore the Colorado National Monument, a vast expanse of canyons cut deep in to sandstone, with views of the Bookend Mountains and a variety of plants and wildlife to discover across a number of trails. Visitors can enjoy the surrounds with a picnic, which should include the area’s renowned juicy peaches. With the peach harvest in nearby Palisade typically running from June to the end of September, there are a number of roadside stalls selling the fruit along with homemade local preserves, as well as peach wines. Entry to Colorado National Monument is $5 for hikers and cyclists, $10 per car.
Ride the sand at Great Sand Dunes National Park
The tallest sand dunes in the USA can be found in south west Colorado, surrounded by the snow-capped Sangre de Cristo mountain range. Visitors can spend a day (without spending too much) exploring the dunes and cooling off in Medano Creek. For an injection of extreme sport, sand boards and sand sleds can be rented from Kristi Mountain Sports in close by Alamosa for $18 per day. There are several campgrounds in the area, including National Park Service owned Piñon Flats Campgroundand Zapata Falls. Zapata Falls has a new trailhead linking to the South Zapata Creek Trail and North Fork South Zapata Trail to explore the wilderness further.
Take a dip in Natural Hot Springs
Colorado has an abundance of historic natural hot springs, first discovered and used by Ute Native Americans for their healing powers. Although many are based in resorts and have entry fees, those looking for a more remote experience can hike to a number of springs to relax in the mineral-rich wilderness. Penny Hot Springs, Carbondale sit on the banks of the Crystal River, requiring a short hike to get to the snow-capped mountain and canyon surrounded oasis; Conundrum Hot Springs, Aspen is a 16.9 mile round trail, usually requiring a day each way for backpackers to enjoy the waterfalls and views en route; and South Canyon Hot Springs is a set of undeveloped hot spring pools located west of Glenwood Springs, a short hike across a dirt path through South Canyon Creek.
Colorado is a year-round destination offering unparalleled adventure and recreational activities, an abundant arts scene, Western heritage, distinctive cuisine and 25 renowned ski resort areas. The state’s diverse landscape boasts natural hot springs, the headwaters of four major rivers, numerous peaceful lakes and reservoirs, 11 national parks and monuments and 58 mountain peaks that top 14,000 feet, known as ‘Fourteeners’. Colorado is the gateway to the West with direct flights from the UK to Denver served by British Airways and indirect with Icelandair. From 16th September 2017, Norwegian will introduce direct flights to Denver from London Gatwick, with a twice-weekly service and from 25th March 2018, United will launch a daily direct route from London Heathrow.
Further information can be found at www.colorado.com
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