As full-time RV’ers we travel and see a lot. This is part of our Opting Out of Normal series where we explore the “Off the Beaten Path” of every state. We love the big popular stuff like everyone else, but there is just something incredible about discovering something unique, different and maybe a little “off the beaten path”. We certainly can’t explore them all, but we’d love you to include your favorites below too. We love to “Opt Out of Normal”. Each series will include at least 1 epic boondocking area, complete with pictures and GPS coordinates.
Here’s a fun video we made! Take a couple minutes to explore the Midland Train Tunnels in Buena Vista!
Twin Lakes – Twin Lakes is like no other. Incredible boondocking area, beautiful scenery and we met some wonderful people. The lake is incredible, with amazing kayaking and fishing. Leadville is a quaint town to visit that is pretty close.
Boondocking Tip – Twin Lakes: GPS: 39..0768827, -106.2994784
Leadville’s Abandoned Silver Mine
There is an abandoned silver mine with wrecked and twisted structures. It’s like you’ve walked back in time. It’s interesting and eerie at the same time. Make sure to stop and soak in what might have been so long ago!
Ok, so don’t expect living, real animals here! Ha! This “zoo” is a cross between a junkyard and a sculpture garden, featuring animals you won’t see anywhere else. Alongside the classic dragons and trains are aliens and dinosaurs, and some things you’ll just have to ask the owner what they are. Super fun and interesting place! This is located in Fort Collins, CO.
Paint Mines – No doubt this was a place where ancient people collected clay to be used as war paint on their bodies, or paint for their pottery The weird stone shapes were formed by water, wind, and erosion. The spires come in shades from creamy white, to orange, purple, gray, rust, and dark brown. Another ecosystem thrives there. So please read up before visiting. Another place that pups aren’t allowed. But well worth the sites.
Bishop’s Castle – This was by far the most bizarre place I’ve ever been. Seriously EVER. My recommendation is to read the history not this before going. It’ll definitely be something that makes you go “huh?”. But we absolutely love stuff like this. Plus, it’s free! It always will be free. If you visit, you’ll read a ton of home-made signs on why it’s free. If you look closely, you can see me standing on the balcony there. This tells you how big this bizarre place really is. Make sure you make a day out of this! So the story is that Jim Bishop bought land at 15 years old for $450. He originally wanted to a build a modest cottage for his family to enjoy summer’s in Colorado. Friends and people in the community commented after he started building it, that it resembled a castle. He thought that sounded like a great idea, and continued on with this bizarre, and interesting castle of his. I’m still unclear if he ever actually lived in it, but he is still there almost every day building. Jim does not accept any help, and has built 99% of this castle alone. He was there the day we visited, and we got to chat with him just a bit. By far, this was our favorite thing in Colorado. Weird, I know, but maybe because there is so much mystery around the story, and such a crazy, strange place to visit. It’s always open, but watch your step!
Another bizarre castle. Well … if they build them, we will come! Another self-built castle where the towers are built largely out of beer cans (yep, you read that right) and other metal “things”. Cano’s castle is actually four separate structures. “The king”, “the queen”, “the palace” and “the rook”. Located in Antonito, CO. On the corner of State St and E 10th Ave. If you’re around that area, you just gotta drive by. Tell me you aren’t speechless! Ha!
Hanging Lake – Yes the picture is real! Beautiful, right? Hanging Lake is a crystal-clear, travertine lake located high atop the cliffs of Glenwood Canyon. The hike is only a mile, but it’s steep with lots of rock scrambles. If you normally use hiking poles, I wouldn’t here. They can be cumbersome. I added this to our list because of it’s amazing beauty and wonder. Hanging Lake is a geologic wonder. They ask that you not touch the lake at all. Not even dip your toe in it. It’s a perfectly balanced ecosystem. When you get there, you’ll see! Please make sure you follow their rules. No animals allowed, so leave your pup home on this trip. I wanted to add this to our list even though the lake is becoming a very popular summer-time hike.
Flying Saucer House – Yep … another one! Ha! But where else can you see all these strangely built houses? If you’re in the area, it’s worth a drive by. It’s been featured in several movies, and episodes of “strange” homes on TV. The house is not a personal home today, but is used for private events. Location is West on Highway 70 (away from Denver) – GPS: 39.7009, -105.2771
Geyser Spring Trail
Have you heard of this? I hadn’t either. Colorado’s only true geyser is hidden within the San Juan National Forest. Trailhead: 37.7573, -108.1278. US Forest Service says this is the only true Geyer in Colorado. If you wait around for a while, you’ll likely see it erupt but all that means is you’ll start to see it boil over the sides of the pool and spill over, so to speak. Not super impressive in comparison, but it’s still worth it since most likely you’ll not see a single soul there the entire time you’re there. You’ll most likely have it all to yourself. Pretty cool! The pool is about 82 degrees and bubbling. It’s also very stinky! Apparently sulfur is good for your skin, but no thanks!
I know I could have added about 10 more things to this list. Colorado is full of “off the beaten path” things. Please comment below if you have a really cool place to share in Colorado.
Second Boondocking Tip: Salida, CO