Originally Posted by crawfman
My wife and I are planning a trip to Colorado late June. We will be staying in a relatives condo in Grand Lake. We will be there 8 days including the fourth of July. I'm making a list of things to do and my google searches are failing me. I want to know about mountain bike rentals and trails, restaurants, brew pubs, beer stores (to pick up some lost abbey and other things not available in MO), and whatever else seems important for a first-timer to know. We plan on driving lots...like to Denver, Colorado Springs and Fort Collins. Any advice/tips is greatly appreciated.
Mountain biking: Winter Park is the best bet and easy to get to from Grand Lake. So many trails in the area that you just pick one on the map and go ride it. One of my favorite relatively easy but scenic ride is the old Rollin's Pass rail bed. It's a dead end road now but the views are spectacular. Ride to the top and then go a little further on to Needle's Eye tunnel for breathtaking (literally...at 11600 feet
) views of King Lake and the Indian Peaks wilderness area. Walk over the Devil's Slide trestles for a scare
You should be able to rent a bike in Winter Park pretty easily.
City riding: Denver has a huge trail system that's a lot of fun to ride. Less altitude (but still high for Missourians
) The Cherry Creek Trail is a relatively mellow ride from the Platte River to Cherry Creek Res. with a little kicker at the end.
Plains trail riding: The Santa Fe Trail out of Colorado Springs through the Air Academy to Palmer Lake is a great ride. Rail bed but kind of soft so it's tough enough. Prettier on the Air Academy end.
Fourth of July activities: On the 3rd, go to the Edgewater's fireworks display at Citizens Park, West 24th Avenue and Chase Street. Brass band music before the display. The fireworks aren't the biggest display you'll find but you are the closest you'll ever be to the mortar pit. The fireworks are set off across the local softball field and explode over your head...or even behind it. The only show that's better in Colorado is the one in Silverton (other corner of the state about 7 hours away). That one is set off in a mountain valley and echos forever in the surrounding mountains.
Food: In Denver, try the Burrito Pablano at Tafolino's on 20th and Youngfield. A very good steak burrito with a great green chili that relatively cheap.
Also try Parisi's
at 44th and Tennyson. Their sandwiches are excellent for lunch and they have a menu that changes daily for dinner and lunch. Very good, very authentic. Not your Mom and Dad's Italian, however.
Another place to try is Julia Blackbirds in Highlands Square (32nd and Lowell). More New Mexican than Mexican. Try the Navajo stew. While in the area, you could also try Mead Street Station
. They have a dried tomato, fontina and onion burger that is excellent!
While up here in the Northwest Denver area, go to the REI flagship store
and go to Little Man Ice Cream
. Both are must sees.