September 21, 2021
Inspired by our friends at the Denver Post, rather than the well-traveled leaf-peeping sites, we’re suggesting a visit to a small mountain town destination that is beautiful to see in the fall. The spot we picked is about three hours from Aurora-Denver, and 30 minutes north of Aspen. With plenty to see and doo and lots of great places eat before, during and after you venture out to see the fall leaves, as the mercury begins to fall consider this weekend getaway. (Featured Photo “Aspens” ©Nick Danger)
Small Town Food with Big City Flavor
Everybody knows the Glenwood Springs Hot Springs, but there are more places to enjoy 100+ degree natural springs in this community as you head south on highway 82 from I-70, and lots of stopping off places to grab a snack or a meal. Coloradough’s is known for its donuts and pastries (and they make yummy breakfast and lunch sandwiches, too) and Nepal restaurant, a few minutes further down the road, is a family-owned (Manik and Laxmi Skaya) Nepalese eatery, known for its traditional Indian and Tibetan food.
Turning west on the 133, you’ll eventually run into Carbondale’s Main Street – a Colorado Creative District with arts and culture, craft breweries and distilleries, and more restaurants – like the Village Smithy and White House Pizza. There’s a huge pickleball club based there, with six new outdoor courts and a view of towering Mount Sopris, so if you’re a fan, bring your paddle. There’s almost always a game to be had. And there are plenty of places to stand up paddle board – some still waters and some not!
Hiking, History and Things to Do
Hiking the trails in Carbondale gets you up close to some breath-taking views, eye-popping waterfalls and more. With easy, moderate and hard hikes – you can take your pick from the Crystal City Road, Lead King Basin and the Devil’s Punchbowl Waterfall – and there are easily 30 more trail options!
The Cedar Ridge Ranch is a once-in-a-lifetime experience with farm tours, riding camps, yoga with the alpacas, star gazing and lots of different glamping opportunities.
Drive south toward Redstone and Marble to see the aspen leaves, and for serious hikers, off-roaders and photographers, a visit to the Crystal Mill is a must, especially in fall. On the way you’ll spot the Redstone Coke Oven Historic District. The row of ovens were constructed by the Colorado Fuel and Iron Company more than 120 years ago during a period of expansion in the processing of coking coal. Coal mining was the lifeblood of Carbondale until 1991 and the 221-acre mine site has now been turned into a mountain biking park for the masses.
Touring the Redstone Castle, situated next to the sparkling Crystal River, is a brief visit into the last century. This 1902 mansion was built to impress dignitaries such as Teddy Roosevelt and the Rockefellers and continues to awe visitors in nine meticulously restored boutique suites. The Castle is surround by wildlife and natural habitat, much of it wide-open and undisturbed by humans!
Places to Stay Near Redstone & Marble
And if you want to take a dip in off-the-beaten-path hot springs, Avalanche Ranch is a family-owned resort nestled in the Crystal River Valley. With 13 log cabins, three sheep wagons, and a rental house you can stay and play here year-round. The hot springs offer spectacular views of the Elk Range and Mount Sopris and lodging guests have access to the Hot Springs around the clock. (Day visitors can reserve a spot from 9-5.)
What could be better than waking up to the fresh, crisp mountain air?! Take your pick of several options — VRBOs, the Crystal Dreams Bed & Breakfast by the river, or the Redstone Inn – to name a few! And if you keep heading south toward Marble, keep your eyes peels for slabs of marble EVERYWHERE, and stop in for some ridiculously good barbecue at Slow Groovin’. From smoked salmon, turkey, sausage, or brisket, ribs chicken and pulled pork — it’s hard to beat – in the mountains, or anywhere!
Then Come Home to Southshore
Coming home to the master-planned community of Southshore after a weekend away is always a welcome reunion between people and places. Check out the brand new homes from Taylor Morrison, Century Communities, Richmond American Homes and Toll Brothers. Because while it’s great to get away, Life at the Lake is a little slice of heaven, too – priced between the $400s and the $700s.