Where to go and what to do.
The stunning mountainous scenery and skiing attractions have made Colorado a popular tourist destination. However, there’s a lot more to Colorado’s beauty beyond the snow capped peaks. If you are planning to vacation or move to Colorado Springs, ensure that you explore the following lesser-known yet awesome unusual activities.
Visit the Dragonman Cometh
Residents in Colorado are assured of their safety because the most heavily armed man in the U.S calls this valley home. With over 80 military vehicles and thousands of heavy weaponry, you should pass by Mel Bernstein’s Dragonman Cometh. He also runs a paintball course, shooting range, and a fully-equipped military museum.
Wrestle an Alligator
Gator wrestling is an excellent way to surcharge your adrenaline levels. The Colorado Gators Reptile Park allows curious visitors to wrestle giant 2 to 8 feet alligators under supervision. This unique wildlife experience also helps staff attend to the medical needs of the alligators.
Visit the Rocky Mountain Arsenal
The Rocky Mountain Arsenal is a hidden gem worth visiting, located approximately a 20-minute drive from Denver. Though largely unknown, the Rocky Mountain Arsenal plays host to the largest urban wildlife. The conservancy occupies 27 square miles and is filled with amazing wildlife, including deer, prairie dogs, bison, and more.
The Rocky Mountain Arsenal was used to manufacture and test chemical weapons in the 20th century. However, it has undergone 20 years of extensive cleanup, making it safe for wildlife existence. Apart from viewing wildlife, you can engage in other activities in this scenery, such as birding, hiking, fishing, and photography.
Apart from the cool wildlife view, expect to come across a spooky bomb shelter. While visitors aren’t permitted to enter this testing facility, you can satisfy your curiosity by peeking through the broken windows.
The Hidee Gold Mine and Nevadaville Ghost Town
Historians and those who want to explore how Colorado miners worked during the silver and gold rush in the 20th century should include the Hidee Gold Mine and Nevadaville Ghost Town in their itinerary. In this mine tour, you’ll explore deep mine tunnels and probably collect some real gold ore samples in the 5-foot-wide trench.
This expedition comes with tales of historic mining lore and tommyknockers, and the dangers miners faced. To complete the tour, you should explore the surrounding ghost towns, Apex and Russel Gulch. Interestingly, you can still play a disc golf course in the town ruins of Russel Gulch.
The Hanging Lake
The Hanging Lake, which is 2.5 hours away from Denver, is another hidden gem slowly gaining popularity. Entry charges are $12 per head and booked hourly. However, you should book early if you intend to visit this attraction in summer. The lake features a short but steep hike of 1200 feet.
You’ll have to ascend the endless boulder staircase to arrive at the tourmaline-hued pool with hanging gardens and dripping waterfalls. You should consider spending at least one night around the Hanging Lake in Glenwood Springs during your visit. Fortunately, you won’t run out of overnight options, such as the Hotel Denver and other residences.
The Bishop Castle
Deep inside the San Isabel National Forest, towards the southwest of Colorado, is Bishop Castle. This whimsical castle is made from iron and stone, a lifelong passion of Jim Bishop, a Colorado native. Jim Bishop bought the area when he was aged 15 for $450. This monumental build reflects the years spent in achieving such heights. It is a reminder of the importance of having and sticking to a dream.
While the castle doesn’t charge entrance fees, donations are highly appreciated. It is also a self-guided tour through endless forged bridges, elaborate rooms, and tight twisting stairwells. Don’t forget to pack your picnic box and a sense of curiosity to maneuver the tight spaces and heights in the castle.
The Strawberry Park Hot Springs
The Strawberry Park Hot Springs is a unique and historic destination for those who want a less-crowded and authentic experience in Colorado. Even before arriving, the ride to this destination is a thrill. During winter, you will need a four-wheel vehicle to avoid being stuck.
The mountain valley has soaking pools of more than 104 degrees. If you get here before sunset, you will enjoy the picturesque beauty of Colorado as dusk settles and stars emerge.
The Castle Wood Dam Ruins
Historians who remember the disastrous Denver flooding in 1933 should get a taste of Castle Wood Dam Ruins. This hidden gem is a must-see, even if you visit Denver, Colorado, for one day. Unlike before, the ruins are currently a different place, especially after it was made into a state park in 1964. It has winding hiking trails that flank both sides of the ruins with a quiet creek in between.
The Bottom Line
There isn’t a shortage of exciting yet out-of-the-ordinary activities in Colorado. If you are a fan of unusual and strange attractions, you’ll definitely enjoy exploring the non-touristy things mentioned above.
About the Author: Other Voices
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