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Northern Lights


For this adults-only road trip, your first stop is Fort Collins, where you’ll check into the Armstrong Hotel, a cool boutique hotel that hovers above Old Town coffee shops, restaurants and stores.

Days: Three
Roundtrip: About 300 miles
Must-Have Souvenir: New Belgium beer -flavored chapstick

On the Road:

  • Not a drinker? In Fort Collins, take a hike up to Horsetooth rock or mosey through the new olive oil, spice and tea shops in Old Town
  • For breakfast, try a petit dejeuner at La Creperie, sample the Dan Pat at the Back Porch or find out why there’s a wait at Snooze.
  • Fort Collins touts a different kind of street performer: Musicians, actors and singers take over Old Town sidewalks in an organized program called Streetsmosphere.
  • Find Pingree Park Road 25 miles up Poudre Canyon. Pingree Park has several great (and free) camping sites that are worth the detour.

In Walden:

  • In Walden, you’ll likely want to spend your time outdoors. There are ample outlets for your inner explorer. Check out the North Sand Hills Special Recreation Area for hiking.
  • The North Park Pioneer Museum is quaint and it’s only open in the summer (from Memorial Day to Labor Day). But there’s a lot of great history gathered in this small heritage site…and it’s free.
  • Walden is just an hour and a half from Rocky Mountain National Park. Take a drive through the park, get out and enjoy hiking or camping, or head back down Hwy. 14.

Walk to Old Town Square to check out a bike at the bicycle library and head out for an afternoon of cycling and beer. Make a reservation for a tour at New Belgium Brewing ahead of time and get an inside glimpse of this über green brewery and their Belgium-inspired beer. Go east along Lincoln and hit up Odell Brewing, the brand-new Fort Collins Brewery facility, Funkwerks, which took over the old Fort Collins Brewery facility, and then back into Old Town for a pint at the new Equinox Brewing.

Find a downtown restaurant—we suggest Austin’s American Grill for stellar ribs and rotisserie chicken or Tasty Harmony for funky vegan creations—and if you’re still up for it, catch a foreign film or independent flick at the tiny locally owned theater just down the road, Lyric Cinema. The next day, head up the intimate and picturesque Cache La Poudre Canyon and find your camping spot along the river at the Ansel Watrous campsite. You’ll want to check out the beefy Grey Rock trail or the more meandering Youngs Gulch path before you find a spot at the Mishawaka Amphitheater, a famed outdoor music venue that edges up to the Poudre River, for a show (Toad the Wet Sprocket, Keb’ Mo’ and Sam Bush are already lined up for the summer).

Head back to your campsite for s’mores and songs by the campfire. The next day, hit the road and continue up the canyon. You’ll reach Cameron Pass, gloriously hanging between the Never Summer and Medicine Bow Mountains. Check out the amazing view and find one of the many trails that offer challenging hikes (you’ll see trail signs up down the road; Michigan Ditch is an easy trail that provides postcard-perfect views of the Nokhu Crags). Get back on Hwy. 14, and keep heading west until you hit the quiet little town of Walden, the “moose viewing capitol of Colorado.” Grab a room at the Antlers Inn, which has Western luxury in spades, and grab dinner at the River Walk Café. Savor the sheer unfussiness of this tiny town.

Road Trips – And Countless Adventures on the Open Road


email no info send march17th/09

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