Tag: Denver

Give me a home, where the puppy dogs roam…In Evergreen, Colorado

Colorado is an amazing place for several reasons: 300 days of sunshine a year (in Denver, at least), craft beer practically free-flowing from water fountains, liberal politics, amazing festivals…I can go on and on.

So it didn’t catch me by surprise when my neighbor recommended perhaps the most amazing off-leash dog park I’ve ever seen. Among other amazing attributes that make Colorado famous, it’s probably most loved for its limitless outdoor recreation opportunities.

Elk Meadow in Evergreen, Colorado was no exception. The ride from Denver is about 35 minutes up the mountain to Jefferson County. You are immediately greeted with open spaces, amazing mountain vistas, lush evergreen trees and incredible fresh air. Mountain bikers race past your car and even McDonald’s looks worth a visit with its log cabin motif.


Upon arriving in Evergreen, you’ll notice it’s a quaint mountain town with plenty of opportunity to explore its natural beauty. Elk Meadow Park spans roughly 1600 acres and offers hiking, biking and views of the Continental Divide. Most importantly for dog owners, though, it offers an off-leash dog recreation area.

The off-leash dog area is about 2 miles down the road from the main entrance to Elk Meadow Park. Once you arrive, especially if it’s a weekend, you’ll be greeted by a boatload of furry friends and their owners’ cars. We didn’t have a problem parking, as people are coming and going all day long.


Enter Elk Meadow Off-Leash Park. An amazing lush landscape literally tucked into the mountains where dogs can roam free! Best of all, you can get your hike on while Fido runs alongside of you, playing with other amazing, fun dogs along the way.  There are two spacious fenced in areas for doggy playtime, as well as nearly 3 miles in trails and a creek for the dogs to play in. TIP: There is no water here for dogs, so make sure to bring some for your furry friend! With over 107 acres to explore, you and your dog will surely get thirsty.

Everything is awesome!
Everything is awesome!

Pono, Jon and I hiked 2 loops while enjoying the great scenery. Anyone in the metro Denver area must immediately bring their dog to this park. It’s by far the best place I’ve seen. Even if you don’t have a dog, this park is worth a visit just for the hiking and views alone. The best part is, it’s only a short drive from the city. Once you get your country fix, you can head on back to the city and catch happy hour. Score!

To learn more about Elk Meadow and their Off-Leash Dog Park, visit : http://jeffco.us/parks/parks-and-trails/elk-meadow-dog-off-leash-area/

Hangin' with other dogs on the trail
Hangin’ with other dogs on the trail

Rockin’ out at Red Rocks, Colorado

An easy day trip for any Denverite looking to get out of the city confines is Red Rocks Amphitheater, just 15 miles west of Denver in Morrison, Colorado. The only naturally occurring, acoustically perfect amphitheater in the world, it’s well worth the price tag to see your favorite musician jam out under the stars. What’s more is that Red Rocks Park has 868 acres of land to hike and explore.

Beginning the hike: remember, Fido has to be on a leash!
Beginning the hike: remember, Fido has to be on a leash!

My sister and I took the short, pleasant drive from Denver to Red Rocks this past Saturday to do some hiking. It’s open everyday of the week, the trails opening an hour before sunrise and closing an hour after sunset, giving you ample time to explore this unique geological region. It’s at 6,450 feet elevation, so be prepared to be a little short of breath when hiking and to drink plenty of water while you acclimate. After you’ve caught your breath due to the thinning air, you’ll have to catch it again as the sight of the magnificent rock formations come into view.


After parking, we decided to check out the amphitheater itself, where “all the magic happens,” so to speak.  After climbing up what seemed like hundreds of stairs, the music venue took shape. We were between two giant monoliths, Ship Rock and Creation Rock. Whilst taking in the view, I was nearly bowled over a few times by hustling work-out fanatics. Red Rocks Amphitheater is an outdoor enthusiasts dream: fitness buffs jogged up and down the stairs, frog jumping up the bleachers and doing push ups in any space they could find. There must have been over 100 people getting their daily workout on, but it hardly felt THAT crowded. The open air and scenic view made the space feel infinite.

You'll feel small next to this thing!
You’ll feel small next to this thing!

We decided to hike the 1.4 mile loop trail called Trading Post Trail. Red Rocks park is unique because it’s comprised of two different zones simultaneously: the great plains and the high mountains. Hiking along the trails, observing the beautiful red sandstone rock formations, you are greeted by dry, arid conditions and cacti, but round the corner and you hear a bubbling stream and observe verdant, rolling hills in the background.


There is no lying: in the hot, midday sun with the elevation and rocky conditions, this hike is moderate. After hiking for about 2 hours around Red Rocks park, my sister and I were beat. It’s not for the faint of heart and you have to be in good physical condition to hike the surrounding area. The views and the fresh mountain air are worth the trek.


Red Rocks Park is completely free. On days of concerts, the park closes down in the early afternoon, so plan accordingly. I want to go back around sunrise or sunset to see the way the light refracts off the red rocks. On a clear day, you can see Denver’s Downtown skyline, so keep your eyes peeled!


Bring plenty of water

Wear hiking shoes or gym shoes. The terrain gets slippery with broken rock shards.

If you bring your furry four-legged friend (as I did), they have to remain on the leash at all times.

It’s a pretty high traffic area on the weekends, so don’t expect to “escape it all.” You’ll be taking plenty of tourists’ photos, but the good news is, you’ll have someone to snap yours!

Don’t forget your camera

And oh yes…have a great time!

Microbrews, food trucks and cook outs, oh my!

Mine and Jon’s trip to Colorado was nothing short of amazing.

I was happy to get of the Midwest after enduring mile after unbearable mile of flat terrain. After driving 2 days, we finally hit the Colorado border and set up camp at North Sterling State Park for the night. This was our second experience camping at a state park, and I have to say that once you go state park, you never go back. They’re clean, beautiful and often have amenities like power and water hookups for campers.

We celebrated our arrival into Colorado the best way we knew how: a cook-out! If you know anything about Jon and I, it’s that we don’t skimp on food. We’ve been dubbed foodies amongst our friends and family, and for good reason. And so, to celebrate, we cooked over an open camp fire.

Nothing like steak, shrimp and veggies over an open flame

Suffice it to say that everything about Colorado is different from the Midwest. I saw my first tumble weed and spent the evening hours trying to lure the jumping trout onto my fishing pole with no luck. We enjoyed a fantastic sunset and set our sights on Fort Collins.

A view of sunset at North Sterling State Park
A view of sunset at North Sterling State Park

Once we hit Fort Collins, beer was top-of-mind. I’ve never visited any breweries in Colorado before, so it came as a shock to me just how delicious all of the beers tasted. It must be that cool, fresh mountain water that makes it so good. After a flight of beers at Fort Collins Brewery, we hit up town to visit Cooper Smith’s Pub and Brewing for lunch and a few Punjabi Pale Ales.

Happiness comes in 3 oz glasses
Happiness comes in 3 oz glasses

While Fort Collins was a haze of humidity and drunken-altitude stupor, it was time to cut ties and head to Denver to meet up with my friend Rebecca from Big Island.

We spent two days grilling out on her front porch and touring Denver with 10+ year local. She gave us a rock star tour including a food truck festival, a bar called 1-up (complete with giant Jenga), and yet another brewery called Wynkoop Brewing Company, maybe the best of the 3 breweries we visited. Not to mention, that night we grilled out yet again, but this time on the menu was crab legs and shrimp. Score for all!

Enjoy the lovely photos:

Food truck frenzy for lunch
Rebecca contemplating her next move; Jon is clearly amused
Rebecca contemplating her next move; Jon is clearly amused
C'mon. You wish you were here.
C’mon. You wish you were here.

All in all, a great start to an unbelievable 10 days in Colorado. After saying goodbye to Rebecca and thanking for her generous hospitality (letting us crash in her driveway for 2 nights), we were off to Steamboat Springs for the next adventure…