Those of you who know me are no doubt thinking… wait, what? Didn’t you and John get married in 2020?
Yes. Yes we did. That’s also when our Colorado honeymoon took place. July 2020.
However, I realized recently that I never wrote a recap of our Colorado trip. Blame it on being a newlywed at the time. Ha! In any case, today being our 2nd wedding anniversary, I thought it’d be fitting to finally write our honeymoon blog post to share all the places to visit in Colorado that we recommend.
Why did we choose Colorado for our honeymoon destination?
In case you had this question on your mind, I’ll answer.
While Covid didn’t stop us from getting married in June 2020, it did cancel our honeymoon to Costa Rica. We still wanted to go somewhere, but were confined to the US and wanted to pick a place neither of us had been to before. After weighing a few options—including Alaska—Colorado won us over. Well, really, the plane tickets were cheaper. In any case, we knew it would offer lots of adventure opportunities, which fit both of our personalities perfectly.
Colorado Honeymoon Destinations
Here’s a quick synopsis of the places we visited in Colorado. Click or scroll to read about things to do in each spot.
Though we flew in and out of Denver (DEN), we only spent two half days there—part of the first and part of the last. Both days, we stayed downtown and mainly walked around to explore, so I don’t have much to share. Still, here are a few things to do in Denver, based on our experience.
Denver’s REI Flagship Store
If you’re a fan of REI, this historic building is a must-see. With multiple levels, impressive displays, and massive inventory, you may want to budget a bit of time (and money!) for this place.
It’s right next to REI, so basically a 2-for-1 experience. Here, you’ll find rapids, rocks, a small beach, people sunbathing (at least, they were in July!), and lots of seating. I assume it must be a popular park for lunch breaks and weekend hangouts.
Denver Union Station / Crawford Hotel
On our last night in Colorado, we stayed at the historic Crawford Hotel right in Union Station. The main part of the station is a vintage masterpiece—over 100 years old now and filled with shops and restaurants. The hotel is on the pricey side, but it was our one splurge stay for the entire trip and I felt it was worth the money. Even if you don’t stay at The Crawford Hotel, pop into Union Station for a souvenir or a snack.
We grabbed an early breakfast at Syrup downtown and highly recommend! I can only speak for the omelet, but the entire menu looked delicious. Plus, they serve brunch and lunch, as well.
Thirsty Lion Gastropub & Grill
Connected to Union Station, this was a no brainer for dinner on our last night. If you’re looking for a convenient place with a large menu and lots of seating, Thirsty Lion is your answer.
When on vacation, do you like eating at fast food chains you don’t have at home? We do. Smashburger was our first stop after we checked into our hotel. To be honest, I wasn’t overly impressed. The food was good but nothing special. Give me Chick-fil-a over Smashburger any day 🙂
We had three main objectives for visiting the Colorado Springs area: Manitou Stairs, Garden of the Gods, and Pike’s Peak.
Just outside of Colorado Springs, the Manitou Incline in Manitou Springs is a MUST for any adventurer. With 2,744 steps, the incline part of its name is no joke. My legs and lungs were on fire. But what an experience—and that view. WOW. Completely worth the physical effort.
Please note: when we hiked the incline in 2020, there was no reservation process. Now, I see there is. Visit the website here for more information.
Garden of the Gods
Have you heard of this place?! The giant red rock formations certainly had me in awe of God’s creation. And y’all, this place is FREE! Spend an hour or so wandering the paved paths to see this wonder of nature. The gift shop has some pretty unique souvenirs, too.
At over 14,000 feet, Pikes Peak is one of the coolest drives I’ve ever experienced. Well, I didn’t drive. John did, and I trusted him to keep us on the road. Once you get up to a certain point, there are spots with no guard rail that aren’t for the faint of heart.
During our trip, we were only allowed to drive to a certain point and then had to take a shuttle the rest of the way. Now, I believe you can drive all the way to the top, but don’t take my word for it. Check the website here.
And did you know? You can also pay for a guided tour, bike it, hike it, or take a cog train. Regardless of how you get to the peak, note that it’s not free.
I have to say, I still can’t quite pronounce Ouray properly, but here’s a link if you’re curious. This southwestern Colorado town—aka. the “Switzerland of the West”—is located in a box canyon and known for its natural hot springs. It’s also only an hour from that popular tourist destination, Telluride.
We stayed in Ouray three nights and WOW. I am so glad we made the five hour drive all the way from Denver. This was my favorite part of our honeymoon trip!
Blue Lakes Trail
John asked a few locals for the best alpine lake hike recommendations, and Blue Lakes Trail intrigued us the most. Why? The full hike takes you to THREE alpine lakes: lower, middle, and upper Blue Lakes.
According to AllTrails—at that time—it was a 7.9 roundtrip hike from trailhead to the upper lake and back. Lies. It took us 9.5 miles and we did some of it in the rain. (I do see AllTrails showing it as an 8.7 mile hike now, so it’s a bit closer to what we actually experienced.)
Personally, once it started raining, I was over the hike, but I kept going for John, and was glad I did. Alpine lake trails forever!
Box Canon Sign in Ouray
Fun fact: Ouray has its own version of the HOLLYWOOD sign. In fact, it was lit up on the canyon wall above Ouray before the Hollywood sign came to be—all the way back in 1909.
Ouray’s sign reads: BOX CANON.
But why “canon” and not “canyon”? I wondered, too, so I Googled it. Apparently, it was common at that time to use the Spanish spelling of canyon—cañon—which seems to be the case with this sign. But the lack of a tilde (~) over the N, or lack of a Y for the American spelling did not sit well with many when the sign was first erected. And, clearly, it’s still questioned today. But the sign stayed as is, and the odd spelling only adds to its charm, in my opinion.
Ouray Perimeter Trail
This 6 mile hike took us ALL around Ouray. Literally. There are several places to start the hike and it goes around the entire perimeter of the town… and then some! AllTrails moderate rating is pretty accurate. Not the most challenging I’ve done, but not a leisurely walk by any means.
If you only do one hike around Ouray and don’t want to drive far, this one offers everything you could want: waterfalls (multiple), forests, streams, views. Oh, and you even get closer to the BOX CANON sign!! So may wins with this one.
If you’re looking for an upscale restaurant in Ouray, Bonton is a great choice. My surf and turf was excellent. We opted for oudoor seating and had a gorgeous view of the canyon… or should I say “canon”?
The Outlaw Western Saloon
When in the West, you must eat at a western saloon, right? The Outlaw checked that box and the food was cooked to perfection. For the overall experience, this was my favorite of the Ouray eateries we tried.
Million Dollar Highway to Silverton
From Ouray, you can drive to Silverton via Million Dollar Highway. If you’re not familiar, this stretch of roadway offers stunning views and old mining camp remnants—but at the expense of narrow roadway, no guardrails, and some sketchy hairpin turns. All worth it in my book. If you like drives that make you sweat a little, this one’s for you.
Imagine the most picturesque Old West town, and that’s Silverton. Well kept up, Silverton caters to tourists while not feeling overly touristy. We spent some time walking down main street and side streets, browsing shops, and taking in the authenticity of the experience. John and I both said we’d love to actually stay IN Silverton on a future trip.
Geographically, Ouray and Telluride are quite close! But, getting there via paved road took an hour.
Via Ferrata Telluride
While lots of people visit Telluride for its skiing, we went for the via ferrata. What’s a via ferrata you ask? Well, first, it’s Italian for “path of iron.” Keep reading and you’ll see why.
Telluride’s via ferrata is located in Telluride canyon, near Bridal Veil Falls. Basically, you’re hooked to a cable along the mountain as you walk along the edge of the canyon. And then, at various points, the path turns into more of a sheer cliff face with these iron bars sticking out for your hand and foot placement. It’s hard to explain, so just take a look at the photos below.
When John and I were planning our honeymoon, I wanted to do something extreme. As soon as I showed John this via ferrata, he said, “book it.” That’s my guy! We booked a guided tour with San Juan Outdoor Adventures, and they were wonderful!
And I have to say, though I knew I was connected to the cable the entire time, my brain chose not to believe that and my adrenaline was HIGH. It almost felt as if falling would actually be to my death. Crazy how the brain works like that!
Let me know in the comments if you would do this!
After completing the via ferrata, we were HUNGRY. After walking all along Telluride’s main street, we opted for High Pie. Pizza after that extreme hike sounded perfect. If you love a traditional Neapolitan crust, GO HERE.
So, have I convinced you to visit Colorado yet?
Also, happy 2nd anniversary to my forever adventure partner, best friend, and biggest gift of grace in my life aside from salvation itself. This one’s for you 🤍
3 thoughts on “Honeymoon in Colorado: Best Things to Do”
I love Colorado, used to go almost every summer. I even love going up to Pikes Peak but that drive, its a little freaky when you can turn a corner and see nothing but blue sky…But its totally worth it. Looks like you had an amazing time.
I can sew why you would go back year after year. It’s a stunning state!! You’re right. Parts of that Pikes Peak drive had me tensing up and praying my husband would stay steady. He did and it was worth it for sure! We enjoyed every part of our trip. Thank you 🙂
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