Colorado is quickly becoming my second home. With my boyfriend moving out to Loveland, adventure is becoming more abundant for us. Although I have a lot more exploring to do, I've come up with a small list of places and hikes that you shouldn't miss if you're traveling through the Fort Collins/Loveland area.
Deer Mountain Trail (Rocky Mountain National Park/Estes Park): If you're traveling through Rocky Mountain National Park (which I HIGHLY suggest you do because the views are gorgeous) this trail isn't too deep into the mountains (when coming from Estes Park). The trail is roughly 6.2 miles to the top and back so only about 3 miles each way. It's a "moderate" trail but since Mark and I are insanely out of shape and not used to the altitude yet, it was pretty difficult for the two of us. However, when we got to the top we realized the struggle (and constant breaks!) were worth the incredible view! Plus I got complimented on my Love Your Melon tank! What better way to help the kiddos then by talking to strangers?!
Horsetooth Trail (Fort Collins, Co): Horsetooth Trail is perfect for out of shape hikers like myself because it's only 5 miles long (2.5 each way) and it's not very high in altitude. Towards the end, there's a chance to bring out your rock climbing abilities if you're determined to reach the highest point. The huge rock is shaped like (you guessed it) a HORSETOOTH. Which in reality is just like any other type of tooth... It's a rock, in a funny shape but it's cool and you should go see it. While we were there, they were hosting a 50 mile race up and down the mountain (yes, 5-0 miles). After just walking to the top, I couldn't imagine running around the area for 50 miles. Yikes. But I learned that there really are superhumans in this world.
Garlic Jims: I had no idea that this delicious pizza was a chain in the Western states. (Cons of living in the midwest I guess). But their pizza is AMAZING. It has a thicker crust and is pretty heavy which was perfect after a full day of driving and not eating anything. Another perk, they support local breweries and wineries and hold amazing happy hour specials. It was only $2 for their delicious local beer and wine! WHAT?!
The Coffee Tree: If you're as obssessed with coffee as I am, then you're going to want to check out The Coffee Tree. They have all kinds of coffee from ~my favorite~ caramel lattes, to organic originals, to new coffee drinks I've never heard of. Mark loved his Latin Lover drink which contained out-of-the-ordinary ingredients including cayenne pepper. But BOY WAS IT DELICIOUS.
Loveland Breakfast Club: Mark and I are constantly on the look-out for new cafes--Breakfast food is one of our favorites! With the one hour time change, Mark and I were up and at 'em by 8 am. With it being only Thursday, we ran into a lot of retirees and it was super easy to get a seat. Our waitress was phenomenal and oh so sweet. Just like my waffle with strawberries and whipped cream! Mark ordered a delicious omelette, pancake, hashbrown combo. All in all, this local cafe was amazing and I can guarantee we'll be there again.
Grimm Brothers Brewhouse: Colorado is FILLED with breweries, and I'm a little upset we only got to go to this one while I was visiting. (But I know there will definitely be more recommedations coming your way soon!) This brewery is themed off the Grimm Brothers stories. If you don't know what those are, think Disney princesses i.e. Belle, Snow White, etc. with bad endings. Very rarely are there happily ever afters with these original stories. They focus on German beers (some of my favs!) and they have their regular beers but they also have rotating, limited edition beers. Just be careful with what you order! Mark and I ordered a wonderful light beer that had about 7.5% alcohol which we found out only after we downed the beer and realized we wouldn't be able to drive right away.
Things to Do:
Downtown Loveland: Downtown in any city is usually the hub of the city and Loveland is no exception! It holds a lot of the historical buildings, fantastic restaurants, and SO MANY COFFEE SHOPS. (Just like The Coffee Tree!) Just like every other Downtown area, it's definitely a place to check out if you're looking for something to do.
Benson Sculpture Garden: Although Mark and I didn't take the time to walk through this unique attraction, we definitely saw it a lot while we were driving! It's a world-wide renowned area is known as one of the 200 most important modern and contemporary art sites around the world and one of the 20 must-see contemporary art sites across the USA. Since Loveland is more sunny than Florida (true fact), you can use the nice weather as an excuse to see what all the fuss is about.
Colorado is an easy place to become obsessed with. Be on the lookout for more and more updates as Mark and I continue to explore his new home. Do you have any more suggestions for Colorado? What are your MUST SEE hikes, your favorite restaurants, and your fun activities you recommend? I'd love to hear in the comments! Or shoot me an email at any time.
*This post is in no way sponsored by any of these recommendations. I just truly love them!*