Head for the Hills
You don't have to drive far to get away. Here, our 10 picks for off-the-beaten-path adventures in the foothills.
Six Not-So-Touristy Tourist Attractions
1. Great Stupa of Dharmakaya
Where: Shambhala Mountain Center, Red Feather Lakes
Go Because: You can't miss seeing a 108-foot monument to Buddha in the middle of the Rockies.
What to Do: Take one of two weekend guided tours of the grounds. But note: It's a 20-minute walk in from the parking lot. Wear comfy shoes.
More Info: www.shambhalamountain.org
2. Phoenix Mine
Where: Idaho Springs
Go Because: It's a totally nerdy but interesting way to learn about our state's mining history.
What to Do: Take the tour with mine co-owner Al Mosch. Then learn to pan for gold in the creek and keep what you find.
More Info: www.phoenixmine.com
3. The Stanley Hotel
Where: Estes Park
Go Because: This 1909 hotel inspired Steven King to write The Shining.
What to Do: Take a picture out front doing your best Jack Nicholson ("Here's Johnny!"), then grab a drink in the bar.
More Info: www.stanleyhotel.com
4. The Fort
Go Because: Ordering bison marrow bones and Rocky Mountain oysters is a Denver right of passage.
What to Do: Eat, drink, and pretend you don't know that an "oyster" really isn't an oyster.
More Info: www.thefort.com
5. Tiny Town Railroad
Where: Tiny Town
Go Because: It's a kid-size replica of an Old West town—complete with a functioning railroad.
What to Do: Ride the train. Wave at the conductor. Feel like a kid.
More Info: www.tinytownrailroad.com
6. Garden of the Gods
Where: Colorado Springs
Go Because: This cluster of red-rock formations is otherworldly...dare we say divine?
What to Do: Take the one-mile Siamese Twins hike for an iconic view of Pikes Peak.
More Info: www.gardenofthegods.com