Top 10 HeidiTown 2015 Highlights

Each year I compile a list of my top ten highlights and each year it gets harder. This year was no exception. From birding festivals to wine festivals to festive Christmas outings, 2015 was chockablock with amazing Colorado experiences.

I truly hope you took inspiration from my travels and had a few Colorado festival and travel highlights of your own this year. At the end of this post feel free to leave a comment telling me a few of yours.

Without further ado, here are my top ten highlights of 2015 in no particular order.

The gift of a tomato in Crested Butte

Top 10 HeidiTown Highlights of 2015. The magic of Crested Butte.
There’s a real kind of magic in Crested Butte.

Coloradans adore Crested Butte and before I visited this fall I wondered if the town would live up to the hype. Not only did it live up to my expectations, it exceeded them. The Crested Butte story I will tell for the rest of my life is that of the gift of the tomato. I’d only been in town a few hours when, while riding the free bus from town to the resort, a man gave me a beautiful heirloom tomato. Where else but in Crested Butte does a person receive the gift of fruit from a perfect stranger? No wonder folks adore this quintessential Colorado town.

Snow Sculpture Festival in Breckenridge

Top 10 HeidiTown Highlights of 2015. Posing with friend and arist Kerri Ertman at the Breckenridge Snow Sculpture Championships.
Posing in front of the People’s Choice winner from Team Alaska with my friend and artist, Kerri Ertman.

I’d been reading and hearing about the Snow Sculpture Championships in Breckenridge for years and in 2015, I finally attended. I discovered that there’s a good reason this event gets so much attention – it’s amazing. We were blown away by the spectacle of huge snow sculptures coming to life over the two day period while we were in town. This is an event that should absolutely be on your Colorado bucket list.

The French Bistro in Craig, Colorado

Top 10 HeidiTown Highlights of 2015. The best escargo I ever ate at The French Bistro in Craig, Colorado.
The best escargot I ever ate? Yes, sir.

While staying at the Horse & Hen Bed & Breakfast in Hayden, we learned about The French Bistro in nearby Craig, Colorado. While I would expect to find an excellent steak house in Craig, I did not expect to find delicious and authentic French cuisine, but we did. I wrote all about it in Colorado Roadside Restaurant Gems.

Watching the sunrise from The Springs Resort

Top 10 HeidiTown Highlights of 2015. Sunrise at The Springs in Pagosa Springs, Colorado.
The sunrise at The Springs in Pagosa Springs. A surreal experience.

Our second trip to Pagosa Springs was extra special. We stayed at The Springs Resort where guests of the resort have 24 access to the property’s many hot springs pools. On our second morning we got up early so that we could witness the sunrise during a morning soak. It was surreal (both the sunrise and being up at 5:30 a.m.).

HeidiTown Fest

The first HeidiTown Fest was held in Ouray, Colorado in May 2015. To say that we all had fun would be an understatement. With the help of the Ouray Chamber Resort Association, KJ Wood Distillers, Ouray Chalet Inn, Matterhorn Inn, RIGS Adventure Co., Alpine Scenic Tours, Ouray Elks Club, Secret Garden Catering and Twin Peaks Lodge & Hot Springs, the first annual HeidiTown Fest was a success.

HeidiTown Fest 2015 VIP Party Picture, Ouray Colorado.
VIP HeidiTown Fest Party at the Elk’s Lodge in Ouray, Colorado.

The location of the 2016 HeidiTown Fest will be revealed soon.

HIking at the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

Top 10 HeidiTown Highlights of 2015. Hiking at the Black Canyon of the Gunnison.
One of the best hiking days ever!

I get a high when I hike and the best hiking high I had this year was at the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park this past fall. We got out on the Oak Flat Loop while the sun was still rising and the play of sunlight in the trees and canyon was pure magic. I will never forget it.

Riding the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad

The view from the caboose on the Cumbres &Toltec Railroad in early spring., photo by Alanna Brake
Alanna Brake of Lucky Brake, Ltd. took this fabulous photograph aboard the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad.

There’s a reason I wrote a three-part series about my ride on the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad. This trip isn’t only a 2015 highlight, but one of the highlights of my life. Read the series here.

Snowmass Mammoth Festival

This experience was wonderful on many levels. The well-run festival was a blast and the best part was that we discovered Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings. We now listen to this group on vinyl all the time.

Top 10 HeidiTown Highlights of 2015. The Rim Trail Loop in Snowmass, Colorado.
Hiking the Rim Trail Look in Snowmass, Colorado. Wildflowers everywhere!

This was also the first time we’d visited Snowmass and we fell in love. I experience another great hiking high here on the Rim Trail Loop – one of the prettiest trails I’ve ever had the pleasure of hiking. The wildflowers were going crazy this summer.

Dude ranches are awesome

Top 10 HeidiTown Highlights of 2015. I love Latigo Dude Ranch in Kremmling, Colorado.
I love Latigo Dude Ranch!

Visiting a dude ranch wasn’t an activity on my bucket list, but after visiting both Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch and Latigo Dude Ranch in 2015, it turns out that I love dude ranches. We made incredible memories on both of these trips such as driving cattle at Latigo and singing campfire songs at Sylvan Dale.

Winter Park Beer Festival

Top 10 HeidiTown Highlights of 2015. Winter Park Beer Festival.
Karen and I having a GREAT time at Winter Park Beer Festival 2015.

We attended a lot of great beer festivals in 2015, such as the San Juan Brew Fest and Fall Back Beer Festival. However, once again, Winter Park Beer Festival reigns supreme. The combination of location, bands and beers just can’t be beat and it remains my number one pick for top summer beer festival in Colorado. Plus, this year I took along my good friend Karen, a very good decision.


  1. Every year for the past five I’ve spent my vacation in Colorado. We’re looking for the area to settle to in a year that meet requirements for our son, an adult with a disability.
    Year 1 was Colorado Springs and our favorite part was the drive around Cripple Creek to Breckenridge for lunch, followed by a day at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo.
    Next year was Gunnison with multiple scenic drives, the favorite being the one that landed us in Crested Butte for the music festival and mexican food at Donitas Cantina (and the best Jalapeno Margarita!) We ended this trip with a drive to Montrose, Ridgway, Ouray and Black Canyon of the Gunnison. Vowed to return.
    The last 2 years have been spent in Ridgway and then Ridgway/Durango. Ridgway and Ouray have some awesome daily views, hiking, and thirty minutes drive to services for our son. Ridgway has incredible community. Ouray has wonderful ambiance and real people. Both have great breweries!
    Durango trip included an incredible day of train ride and zip lining at Soaring Colorado that I will repeat.
    Every part of Colorado has a piece of love for someone. Glad to have come across your site to start building ideas for the next trip…though Ridgway has our hearts pretty well tied.


    1. The area around Ridgway is some of the most beautiful in Colorado. I’ll be the first one to admit that. I hate to play favorites, but it IS one of my favorite areas in the country.

      Thank you for exploring HeidiTown! I love that it can be a resource for you. That really makes me very happy.


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