Colorado Denver Hotels Pet-Friendly Travel The Rockies The Southwest Travel Utah: Colorado Denver Hotels Pet-Friendly Travel The Rockies The Southwest Travel Utah
Warning: This story includes tons of adorable photos of pups.
Woof, woof. Bark, bark. I’ve never seen so many happy dogs in my life as those that have padded, trotted and trounced through our little mountain town of Telluride, Colorado these past weeks. Little, big, short-haired, long-haired, well-groomed or scruffy, they all have an air de vacances, a certain joie de vivre that makes it clear they’re happy to be a part of their mom and dad’s vacation as well.
As a confirmed cat person, I hadn’t had much experience traveling with dogs up until over a year ago when I went on a road trip with my friend Mary Dawn (MD) and Valentino, her beautiful Bernese Mountain dog. Our travels, which I recount in my story, Travels with Valentino, culminated with the choosing of DaVinci, a new brother for Tino. As of last fall, we thought DaVinci was big enough to accompany us on a couple more trips: one to Moab and Salt Lake City, Utah; the other to Denver, Beaver Creek and the Vail Valley. I tell you, these dogs get around. And wherever they go, they are greeted with a fanfare of enthusiasm that makes me happy to just be tagging along. Here are some of the highlights from the best pet-friendly properties we visited on our jaunts:
Art & Culture Colorado Four Corners Hotels Telluride The Southwest Travel Utah: Art & Culture Colorado Four Corners Hotels Telluride The Southwest Travel Utah
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“Hi-Yo, Silver! Away!”
Such are the famous words shouted by the Lone Ranger as this masked man gallops off on Silver, his handsome white stallion, the same words shouted by kids throughout the decades as they head off on an adventure. Ever since the original radio show aired in 1933, through the popular TV series of the forties and fifties, across the pages of comic books and then highlighted in films, “Hi-Yo Silver!” has captured the excitement and dashing spirit of the West for the better part of a century.
Colorado Mountain Living Outdoor Adventures Telluride The Rockies The Southwest Utah: Colorado Mountain Living Outdoor Adventures Telluride The Rockies The Southwest Utah
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The rivers are running hard and fast in Colorado and other parts of the West right now. As our snowpack melts, creeks and streams swell and massive quantities of water surge into rivers, splicing through red rock canyons and verdant riverbanks. Rivers such as the Gunnison and the Colorado render near barren lands fertile thanks to clever irrigation systems, many of which were created over a half century ago. Western states such as Utah, Nevada and California delight in and depend on Colorado’s winter snowfall. Indeed, the appetite for this pristine supply of water has become so great that by the time the mighty Colorado arrives in the Gulf of Mexico, it is nothing but a trickle.
Before this happens, however, our rivers provide fabulous recreation for river runners—from serious oarsmen to casual day trippers—all in search of a good time. Whether you’re looking for a jaw-dropping adventure over gnarly rapids or a casual float along a wide swath of still waters (often possible late summer), rafting on the river promises some of the best fun around. And you can bet that views from the water are often more glorious than those appreciated from land.
I try to get out on the river at least once a year, not much in comparison to many people that head out on week-long river trips as soon as ski season ends. But for some, a river rafting expedition represents a once-in-a-lifetime occurence. Either way, river trip memories rank as some of the best.
Hotels Restaurants Skiing & Snowboarding The Rockies Utah: Hotels Restaurants Skiing & Snowboarding The Rockies Utah
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I’ve been thinking a lot about Utah lately. Maybe it’s because although we’ve had a ton of snow here in Colorado, it seems as though the Utah ski resorts have even bigger snow totals, especially once you consider their base. It was almost a year ago that my boyfriend and I enjoyed a spectacular weekend of spring skiing at Snowbird and now we’re itching to go back.
The year before that, we called Sundance home for five days and reveled in experiencing Utah’s top ski resorts including Deer Vally, Park City and the Canyons. Then and also last year, we drove through Heber City, a vast, flat area only twenty minutes from Utah’s world-renowned mountain destinations and towering peaks. Settled by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in the late 1850s and named after a Mormon apostle, Heber Valley of today still appears pastoral and low-key. Dairy farming continues to reign supreme, a tradition started by Swiss settlers ages ago. Ranchers claim a fair piece of action as well.
Art & Culture Colorado Four Corners Hotels Restaurants The Southwest Utah: Art & Culture Colorado Four Corners Hotels Restaurants The Southwest Utah
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I’m feeling a little sentimental these days. Lately this golden season has flooded me with memories of two significant trips I took in the West at this time of year. The first occurred eleven years ago when I discovered the penetrating red rock landscapes of Moab, Utah during a road trip with the goal of where to settle in the West. The second happened in Monument Valley when I accompanied my parents on a trip-of-a-lifetime through southern Utah and then down to the Grand Canyon. (Visiting the Canyon had always been a dream of father’s—little did he know he’d end up marveling at the awe-inspiring monuments of Monument Valley just as much.)
At each of these high desert destinations, I felt and continue to feel humbled by the panoramic vistas seemingly painted in every shade of red throughout this arid land. Here buttes, spires and pinnacles tower over you as though nature’s standing guard in what sometimes looks like one of America’s last great frontiers. It’s no wonder some of the most iconic images of our country may be found in Moab and Monument Valley, Utah. The greatest westerns ever made were filmed here, specifically at two lodges that continue to pay tribute to the rich history of movie-making that occurred around their properties: Red Cliffs Lodge in Moab and Goulding’s Lodge in Monument Valley. The landscapes at and surrounding these ranches have, in fact, been so well preserved that movies, TV shows and commercials continue to be filmed here today. (Johnnie Depp was just at Goulding’s last spring filming the new version of “The Lone Ranger.”)
When most people think of Moab, Utah, they imagine red rock landscapes the likes of which you see in some of the best westerns. Indeed, many great movies, TV shows and commercials, featuring the rugged scenery of the great American West, have been and continue to be made here, It is the land of two wonderful national parks: Arches and Canyonlands. But those in-the- know—and especially those that have traveled to the sweetest spots of Moab along the banks of the Colorado River—are aware that there’s many an oasis within this russet-red land.
Surely one of the most lush, the greenest piece of well-irrigated earth—long ago homesteaded by adventuresome settlers—makes up the Sorrel River Ranch Resort & Spa, a veritable paradise where fine living meets the great outdoors. I first stayed here nearly eleven years ago, shortly after the ranch was transformed into an elegant resort and here I am happy to find myself once again. It’s the kind of place you want to settle into for an entire week, but sadly I’m just passing through. Who ever said the life of a travel writer is marked by long periods of rest and relaxation?
Hotels Restaurants Spas The Rockies Utah: Hotels Restaurants Spas The Rockies Utah
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Since I moved to the Rockies nearly ten years ago, I’ve been cultivating a short list of renowned resorts that I’ve wanted to discover. (Anyone that reads this blog with any frequency knows that I love fine hotels and more importantly, the ambiance they create.) Let me see. There’s The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, Sonnenalp in Vail and Sundance and Stein Eriksen Lodge in Utah. These are what I consider to be the crème de la crème of the old, established Rocky Mountain resorts and by the time I post this story, I will have experienced all of them. (Feel free to let me know if I’m missing any from this grouping! Yes, I know there are some great lodges in Montana and Wyoming, but I’ll save them for another day.)
There’s a reason these establishments have been world-renowned for decades. Actually at each, you can count many reasons, the biggest one perhaps being that it’s easy to create memories at these properties, unique moments that remain with you forever thanks to the overall feel of the resort. Details such as fresh flowers, hand-carved furnishings, a saloon with a creaky wooden floor and the uniforms sported by the people that work there also help to transport you to a different place.
Restaurants Skiing & Snowboarding The Rockies Utah: Restaurants Skiing & Snowboarding The Rockies Utah
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You know what’s great about sore legs? Afterward—once they’re no longer sore—they feel strong and toned.
That’s how mine are feeling today and I’m loving it. I had quite the workout over the weekend, maybe the biggest of the season. It’s no wonder. I met up with my oldest brother, Frank, and skied with him, some of his buddies and my hunny for two days in Snowbird, Utah. With them, I pushed the limits of my comfort zone on one of the best mountains in the West. And what an initiation it was into the big leagues. These guys don’t mess around.
I had heard about Snowbird, Utah for years, mostly from Frank who goes there nearly every year. I was eager to discover it, especially since most of the ski resorts in Colorado have ended their seasons. I love spring skiing in April once Telluride has closed and normally meet up with another brother, David, and his wife, Geri, in Aspen. Or I head to Vail. Although this year I was smart to pick Snowbird since this extraordinary mountain still boasts a near ninety inch base.
And whoa, what snow! We didn’t see a single bare spot. They have enough to push around until well into May. “Continuing our tradition of offering the longest ski season in Utah, Snowbird is prepared to stay open for skiing and snowboarding as long as the snowpack permits,” says Dave Fields, V.P. of Resort Operations.