picnic in spring time
Prairie Life by Bill Radford

Colorado: unique spring break opportunities

Exciting experiences and scenic spots are never far when Colorado is called “home.” From national parks to historic towns, hidden gems in nature and much more, there are memorable activities scattered across the state for every person to enjoy as the season swings into spring. 

Paint Mines Interpretive Park 

Stay local with a quick visit to this natural wonder in nearby Calhan. The drive to the Paint Mines might only be 25 minutes eastbound via Highway 24, but one step onto the vibrant clay ground could convince anyone that they’ve traveled eons to another planet entirely. The 750-acre park displays ancient clay formations that are brightly colored with sunset hues caused by oxidized iron compounds. Visitors can explore 4 miles of trails while learning about the historical and geological significance of the area. The park is open daily and free to enter from dawn to dusk. Remember to leave furry friends at home, as pets are prohibited. 

For more information, visit https://paint-mines-interpretive-park 

Meow Wolf 

Meow Wolf is an immersive art experience company that originated in Santa Fe, New Mexico, in 2016, and has since expanded to Las Vegas and Denver in 2021. The art at Meow Wolf is meant to be experienced, rather than just viewed. For example, the Meow Wolf location in Denver showcases the company’s largest permanent installation, called Convergence Station,where art from more than 300 creators is displayed through 70 individual exhibitions across four floors that together form one mesmerizing, story-telling experience the company calls “mind-bending art.” Participants of all ages are encouraged to partake in the transformative experience; tickets should be purchased online in advance as time slots tend to sell out. 

For more information, visit https://meowwolf.com  

Bishop Castle 

This awe-striking experience starts long before the destination is reached, as the route there follows Frontier Pathways Scenic and Historic Byway. After just under two hours of driving the scenic route to Rye from Falcon, Bishop Castle is a sight to behold — especially considering its origin. The castle is entirely hand-built by a single man, Jim Bishop. The castle boasts three stories; a grand ballroom with windows that are, on their own, works of art; multiple towers and iron bridges that soar to the clouds; and many other eye-catching details that make it truly one-of-a-kind. Now, about 60 years after the building first began, Bishop still works on the castle during the weekends. It’s important to note the castle grounds are an ongoing construction site, so caution is advised by the owner. Entry is free and the castle is always open to visitors.  

For more information, visit https://bishopcastle.org 

Cripple Creek and Victor

Founded in the late 1800s during what is known as “the last great gold rush,” these mining towns are rich in history and just under a 90-minute drive from Falcon. Make the trip an educational one by visiting the many historic museums and mining sites found in either town. Or skip straight to a show at the local theater company; for the adults, there is gambling at any of the nine casinos in Cripple Creek, which have made the area famous. The commute from Cripple Creek to Victor is just 10 minutes, so visitors have the convenient opportunity to visit both during the same trip. Consider driving on The Gold Belt Tour for a scenic way to close out the experience. 

For more information, visit  https://visitcripplecreek.com/, victorcolorado.com, goldbeltbyway.com    

Coca-Cola Tube Hill 

Hold on to winter just a little bit longer with an epic snow tubing experience at the Coca-Cola Tube Hill located at the base of Winter Park Resort. The slope features multiple lanes separated by speed levels, banked curves for some extra excitement and a covered conveyor lift for a convenient ride back to the top of the hill to do it all over again. Bundle up the whole family for this one, because adrenaline junkies of all ages are welcome to hit the slopes every day of the week, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Or, opt for the new Cosmic Tubing experience, where tubers enjoy moonlit rides down the hill accompanied by neon lights, from 5 to 7 p.m. on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Be sure to reserve tickets in advance, as walk-up availability is not guaranteed.  

For more information, visit https://coca-cola-tubing-hill 

Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve

It takes just a three-hour drive from Falcon to arrive at the tallest sand dunes in all of North America. The Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve is nestled in southern Colorado and spans 30 square-miles with much to explore. Visitors can climb to the top of the tallest dune (called Star Dune) that stands at 750 feet tall, sand board or sled down the sandy hills, go off-road through challenging terrain and more. This time of year, be prepared for unpredictable weather conditions, ranging from frigid temperatures and snow to moderate temperatures and sun. The chance of seeing wildlife is good, as March is the peak time for viewing sandhill cranes in the valley; elk and pronghorn can still be found in the grasslands before the peak season traffic picks up and drives them away. As if there is not enough to do and see there already, the park is also considered an International Dark Sky Park, so extending the trip for an overnight stay might be worthwhile for astronomy buffs, astro-photographers and anyone who appreciates a starry night sky.   

For more information, visit https://nps.gov   

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