Colorado, Travel

Detours & Waterfalls // Colorado Springs, CO

Colorado Springs was not originally on our honeymoon road trip, but we added it at the last minute, because I really wanted to see Garden of the Gods and thought when in Colorado. We actually only spent one day in Colorado Springs – most of which was spent driving around aimlessly – and it was by far our least favorite destination.

The Drive In

I will admit that driving anywhere in Colorado is freaking beautiful. We actually did a lot of our honeymoon driving in the rain or between storms and that made for some pretty cool sights.

first rainbow

second rainbow

epic sunset
Hotel Fiasco

Since we decided on visiting super last minute and only planned to be there one night, we didn’t spring for anything fancy, but when we got there, we hit the jackpot on misleading hotel pictures. We walked into our room – I should have taken pictures! – and dingy is the only way I can describe it. It smelled wet and mildewy, there was leak, and the bathroom was all sorts of disgusting. We could not stay there. I went downstairs, told the guy behind the counter we would not be staying, was refunded my money, and we ended up at a Holiday Inn Express.

The Search for Garden of the Gods

So the whole reason we added Colorado Springs to our itinerary was to see the beauty of Garden of the Gods. I saw a picture of it a few weeks before the wedding and knew we had to visit if we were going to be in Colorado already. So that morning, we woke up bright and early to get there for a morning hike. We followed the directions and kept getting stopped at every turn with construction and cones. Eventually, probably about an hour and a half of searching for a way in, we got stopped in traffic and I rolled down my window to ask one of the traffic patrols how we were supposed to get there. His answer: Garden of the Gods is closed today for a bike race. A BIKE RACE! We drove roughly 17 hours from Texas to arrive on the day they shut down an entire tourist attraction for a darn bike race. To say I was disappointed and upset would be an understatement and for this Colorado Springs is on my “stupid cities” list. Thanks a lot Colorado Springs!

Seven Falls

Because Garden of the Gods was unfortunately closed, we decided to check out our backup plan: Seven Falls. I love seeing waterfalls, so I was excited to check this one out. I hadn’t done any research since it was our backup plan – and I didn’t expect to use it – so I didn’t know what to expect. After paying – yes paying! – we walked up this asphalt road for what felt like forever only to find a very man made structure. Yes, there was a waterfall – just one, not seven – but it felt more like an attraction at Six Flags than a beautiful sight in Colorado. The water was a gross brown and it was behind crazy built up staircases and asphalt roads… not really my cup of tea. I was hoping for some beautiful nature and was seriously disappointed.

So Colorado Springs was definitely not a location I would recommend from my experience and after our day trip being such a disaster, I have no desire to go back (except for Garden of the Gods). I had just hoped for more, especially after driving such a long way, but the rainbows, storms, and sunsets were definitely worth it!

Colorado, Travel

How to Spend 24 Hours in Durango, CO

The second stop and actual destination of our honeymoon was Durango, Colorado.

Durango is a charming mountain town in southern Colorado. It boasts an active community and a quaint downtown that acts as the city’s thriving hub. There are so many activities to take part in while visiting such as whitewater rafting, kayaking, and hiking. You will fall in love with this town as soon as you drive in, because everywhere you look is beautiful!

Whether you are going to be in Durango for a day or more, I have put together a list of some of my favorite things to do from my visit. After reading through my ideas, I hope these are able to give you some inspiration for your own trip!

In the Morning

8 a.m. – Get a coffee and a quick breakfast at The Steaming Bean. The Steaming Bean is a basement coffee shop off of Main Street. The menu is simple and there are plenty of places to sit while you relax before your busy day.

9 a.m. – Go whitewater rafting down the Animas River. The Animas River is the focal point of the active Durango community, so being out on the river is not only fun, but gives you a taste of why many locals stick around. On our trip, Jeremiah and I rafted with Durango Rivertrippers. We highly recommend using this company, because we had such a wonderful experience on our 4 hour trip thanks to our raft captain.

In the Afternoon

12 p.m. – Eat lunch at the Balcony Bar and Grill. The Balcony is exactly what it sounds like… the whole restaurant is on the rooftop of some shops on Main Street. Keep in mind there is no indoor seating, but the view overlooking downtown is fantastic. The atmosphere has a laid back, seat yourself feel with plastic cups and food trays, but that is definitely part of its appeal!

2 p.m. – After lunch, explore Durango’s downtown area. Main Street runs right alongside the Animas River and is the heart of Durango. There are many local shops and eateries as well as a park and a famous hotel. Roam around and enjoy the small town mountain charm.

In the Evening

4 p.m. – Grab an early dinner at Fired Up Pizzeria. Fired Up is a busy little pizza joint off Main Street with indoor and outdoor seating. It is artisan pizza and keeps up the quaint feel with the cute little vases with fresh flowers on all of the tables.

6 p.m. – Take a hike or jeep tour through the San Juan National Forest. The forest is absolutely gorgeous with picturesque, all natural beauty everywhere you look! I suggest hiking at night, so that you can get a glimpse of the sun setting through the mountains.

Have you been to Durango? Are there any spots you recommend?

// this is a repost from when this blog was on a different platform, in case it looks familiar