Wandering Around America One State at a Time – Colorado

State 6:

Welcome to the next post in my series highlighting states we have visited throughout the years. I hope you will enjoy coming along for the ride!

I will be featuring the states alphabetically and the next state is

Colorado

Colorado became the 38th state on August 1, 1876. Denver is the capital.

It’s easy to see why Colorado is such a popular destination. With it’s spectacular mountain scenery, ancient ruins to explore, breathtaking scenic drives, picturesque small towns, Pikes Peak, and wildlife there was beauty every where we went.

As we visited the ancient cliff dwellings in  Mesa Verde National Park I couldn’t help but wonder about the people that lived there so long ago.

Mesa Verde National Park
Mesa Verde National Park
Mesa Verde National Park
Mesa Verde National Park
Mesa Verde National Park
Mesa Verde National Park

The San Juan Skyway through the San Juan mountains was one of the most beautiful  scenic drives we’ve ever taken. Starting from Cortez, we took our time to enjoy the views from overlooks, stopped to stroll along the dog-friendly streets of Teluride and enjoyed lunch in Ouray before going by old mining camps around Silverton.

Waterfall beside the San Juan Skyway
Waterfall beside the San Juan Skyway
Ouray
Ouray
Old Gold Mine
Old Gold Mine along the San Juan Skyway
Another spectacular view along the San Juan Skyway
Spectacular views along the San Juan Skyway

Our campsite at San Luis Lakes State Park had spectacular views of the Sangre de Cristo mountains and was a good home base to explore Great Sand Dunes National Park.

Views of the Sangre de Cristo mountains from our camp site at San Luis Lakes State Park were amazing.
View of the Sangre de Cristo mountains from our camp site at San Luis Lakes State Park.
The people look tiny on the Great Sand Dunes
The people look tiny on the Great Sand Dunes
On the trail to Zapata Falls near the Great Sand Dunes
On the trail to Zapata Falls near the Great Sand Dunes

In the Colorado Springs area we visited Garden of the Gods and drove as far as we could go on the Pikes Peak Highway.

Garden of the Gods with Pikes Peak in the background
Garden of the Gods with Pikes Peak in the background
Garden of the Gods
Garden of the Gods
At elevation 11,424 feet, we were as far as we could go on the Pikes Peak Highway
At elevation 11,424 feet, we were as far as we could go on the Pikes Peak Highway
The closest we could get to Pike's Peak was six miles away but the view was still amazing
The closest we could get to Pike’s Peak was six miles away but the view was still amazing

One of our favorite national parks is Rocky Mountain National Park. We love it so much we have been there twice. Our first visit was in the spring and even though there was a lot of snow we saw plenty of wildlife.

That's a lot of snow!
That’s a lot of snow!
At Rainbow Curve on Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park, about 11,000 feet
At Rainbow Curve on Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park, about 11,000 feet
A hike to Bear Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park
A hike to Bear Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park

Our second visit was in August when the weather was perfect and again there was plenty of wildlife. We were finally able to drive to the Alpine Visitor’s Center on Trail Ridge Road.

Big Horn Sheep on Trail Ridge Road
Big Horn Sheep on Trail Ridge Road
Rocky Mountain National Park
The Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park
Alpine Visitor's Center View in Rocky Mountain National Park
Alpine Visitor’s Center View in Rocky Mountain National Park

To read previous posts about the states featured in this series just click on the state name: Alabama      Alaska      Arizona      Arkansas      California

Wyoming High Plains to Rocky Mountains in Colorado to Missouri

Day 102: Sunday, August 25, 2013. Currently in Blue Springs Missouri.

Fort Caspar, Wyoming
Fort Caspar, Wyoming

After leaving Sheridan we drove through the high plains where we saw ranches, several herds of pronghorn antelope, and prairie dogs beside the road. We spent a night in Casper, Wyoming at Ft. Caspar RV Park where we visited Fort Caspar on the North Platte River.

Relaxing at our campsite by the Big Thompson River in Loveland, CO
Relaxing at our campsite by the Big Thompson River in Loveland, CO

Before heading into the plains of Kansas  we stopped for two nights at Riverview RV Park in Loveland, Colorado where we had a campsite right on the Big Thompson River. Kicking back and listening to the river was pure heaven.

The next day we drove about 30 miles to the entrance of Rocky Mountain National Park to make the drive along Trail Ridge Road. On our visit to the park Memorial Day weekend in 2011 we attempted the drive but had to stop near the beginning of the road because of snow on the road. The drive was beautiful and we saw plenty of wildlife. We went over the highest point of the Trail Ridge Road. At 12,183 feet, it was the highest elevation we have been to on this entire trip.

The drive from Loveland to our next stop at the Wakeeney KOA in Kansas took us through cattle country. We drove by stockyards with more cattle than I have ever seen. The winds were strong all day and Henry was fighting a strong headwind for much of the day. We passed by huge wind farms in Colorado and Kansas.  After driving almost 400 miles we stopped in Wakeeney, Kansas for the night to rest up before another long day of driving through Kansas.

The next morning we continued our trek east through Kansas where we continued to see cattle and fields of corn, wheat, and other grains. Wild sunflowers grew beside the highway. We started hitting city traffic in Topeka and drove through Kansas City, the biggest city in Missouri. Going through the city was a lot like going through downtown Atlanta – not fun. We spent the night in Blue Springs Campground, a nice, quiet county park in Blue Springs, Missouri. Our wildlife sighting of the day was two deer in the park.