VOL. 131 | NO. 165 | Thursday, August 18, 2016
The Daily Traveler
Getting Mile High in Denver
By LANCE WIEDOWER
Get out of Dodge. That was the only thing on my mind as we pulled out of downtown Dodge City, Kansas, and pointed the rental car north through the amber waves of grain that stretched for miles on both sides of the two-lane highway in rural Kansas.
Our two-week journey west from Memphis found us making a quick visit to Dodge City before spending a couple of nights in Denver.
I’ve never been to Colorado so I was excited to spend a couple of nights in Denver before continuing west to Utah.
If flying into Denver, outside the airport windows in the distance it’s not difficult to get a glimpse of the Rocky Mountains. It’s much the same when approaching from the east along Interstate 70, only it’s a slow search for the mountains.
Driving across eastern Colorado we strained our eyes to determine if we saw mountains rising far in the distance or if it was just passing clouds.
But finally, as we inched closer to Denver and the elevation slowly grew toward that magical mile high, the mountain peaks rising far in the distance became clear. I began to understand more why people are attracted to Colorado. It’s beautiful.
Our time in Denver didn’t provide many “tourist” experiences. Yes, we climbed the steps of the state Capitol and stood on the mark signifying “one mile above sea level,” giving Denver the moniker of Mile High City.
Other than a couple of Rockies baseball games we didn’t really get outdoors in Denver. We did find a great food scene in LoDo and Highlands, and the breweries in the region are second to none. Downtown has several to choose from, and more than a few are close enough for a pregame drink before walking over to Coors Field.
Instead of staying in Denver we actually found a hotel in Louisville, about a 20-minute drive northwest of downtown 10 minutes from Boulder. It’s a good location to combine visiting both cities, or to get into the mountains. In fact, Rocky Mountain National Park is only about an hour northwest of Louisville, as is Estes Park and The Stanley Hotel from “The Shining” fame.
A walk along Boulder’s pedestrian-only Pearl Street in the evening gives a hint of the uniqueness of this community. With hundreds of shops, restaurants and breweries, not to mention random performances and concerts, spending some time on Pearl Street was a nice excursion before an early morning drive across the beautiful mountains to Utah.
We could’ve spent a couple of days slowly crossing the Rockies. With majestic peaks rising on both sides of the interstate we made our way toward the Eisenhower tunnel that took us through the Continental Divide.
A highlight of the drive is the 12-mile section of Glenwood Canyon, where the interstate tightly follows the Colorado River.
The snow-covered peaks in the Rockies and tight canyon drive couldn’t prepare us the desert openness that awaited in Utah.
Lance Wiedower can be reached at tripsbylance.com.