Written by Sarah White
Colorado is known for its diverse and unique landscapes and Coloradans take pride in the fact that we have so many wild, beautiful places to play and explore. Conservation Colorado staff has seen a great deal of the state, so we like to think we have a pretty good idea on where to go to see the best of what Colorado wilderness has to offer.
In honor of Great Outdoors America Week and our Celebration of Wilderness event with Congresswoman DeGette earlier this week, we asked our staff to share some of their favorite places to get outdoors. We encourage you to see these sites firsthand and find out why we hold them so near and dear to our hearts:
Scott Braden, our new Wilderness Advocate, has plenty of suggestions on amazing places to see in Colorado. One of his favorite getaways is Yampa River Canyon, Dinosaur National Monument in the Northwest corner of the state. The Yampa is close to Scott’s heart because it is the last wild and undammed river in the Colorado River system. In Dinosaur National Monument the Yampa plunges into an unexpected serpentine canyon of sandstone, flowing swiftly towards its confluence with the Green River in Echo Park.
Becky Long, our Advocacy Director, prefers the lower Blue Valley in Silverthorne. It’s where her family ranch is and the area is absolutely amazing. The Gore Range, the Blue River, and the open ranchlands symbolize Colorado.
Petrika Peters, one of our Field Organizers in Grand Junction, loves the mountains on the western slope, but the San Juans have a special place carved out in her heart. It’s where she met her partner, fell in love, got married, and spent a special week with mountain goats as the sole visitor to her camp!
Sasha Nelson, another one of our Field Organizers in Craig, knows it’s difficult to narrow down the hundreds of amazing places on the millions of acres of Public Lands up in Northwest Colorado. One that stands out to her is Vermillion Basin, an area of around 100,000 acres, of “badlands” tucked away in far Northwest Colorado. Watching the clouds paint the vermilion bluffs is like seeing a watercolor in motion. What makes this place so magical is its mystery.
Beka Wilson, our Development Director, couldn’t pick just one. She suggests:
- Gateway, Unaweep Canyon and The Monument. It’s a great place to see the spectacular red rock, really fun bouldering and unbeatable stargazing!
- Lost Creek Wilderness is close to the Front Range and is gorgeous!
- Salida and Brown’s Canyon. Salida has the best festivals and there is so much to do in around the Collegiate Peaks.
- Mt Sneffels Wilderness by Telluride. Best scenery in the state, hands down.
Ben Gregory, our tireless Finance and Operations Director, is all about the Pawnee Buttes for the big open sky and solitude. Eastern Plains represent!
Our Denver field organizers have their favorite spots too, Becca Strelitz’s favorite place (which tends to change every time she discovers a new area of Colorado) is currently Crater Lakes in the Indian Peaks Wilderness. It is a relatively easy hike to the first of the lakes from the Moffat Tunnel and the encompass everything you’d imagine Colorado wilderness to entail.
What are your most cherished places to get outdoors in Colorado? We’d love to hear why you cherish our state’s wilderness. We love working to protect these amazing places and ensuring that future generations can continue to enjoy them in the same way as we do today.