Colorado is home to a diverse and varied landscape. In addition to its seemingly endless peaks, the state is home to the tallest sand dunes in America (Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve, one of the steepest and most rugged canyons (Black Canyon of the Gunnison), wild rivers, vast valleys, dinosaur fossils, 5 different species of big game animals, and much more.
At 14,115 feet, Pikes Peak (America's eastern-most 14,000 foot mountain and the state's 30th highest "14er"), towers over the town of Colorado Springs, the state's second largest metropolitan area behind Denver. Its name honors explorer Zebulon Pike, who actually failed to summit the mountain due to extreme cold and deep snow. The first ascent belongs to Edwin James in 1820. Today, the summit is reached in a number of ways: by hiking, biking, a cog railway, and by driving.
Lake City is the county seat of Hinsdale County, considered by many to be the most remote county in the lower 48 states. Five 14,000 foot mountains reside within the county, making Lake City an incredible hub for outdoor activity. About 50 miles south of Gunnison along Highway 149, Lake City remains a small mountain town with a year-round population of about 300 people. It's rich mining history, historic downtown, and small mountain town vibe make Lake City one of Colorado's most unique towns.
Garden of the Gods is considered one of the most visited city parks in all of America. Initially privately owned, Charles Elliott Perkins left the land to the city of Colorado Springs upon his death in 1909 with one condition: that it always remain a free public park. To this day, Colorado Springs has honored this wish and they have made great strides to make the park one of the most accessible, maintained, and greatest city parks anywhere.
Winter in Colorado can be intense. Frigid temperatures, blinding snow, and blowing winds remind you that winter in the mountains is not for the faint of heart. Fortunately, in the span of an entire season, days like this are few. Instead, bluebird days with fresh snow dominate, making winter an incredible time to be outside.