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
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
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
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
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.).
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.
The location of the 2016 HeidiTown Fest will be revealed soon.
HIking at the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
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
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.
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
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
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.