3 Not-To-Miss Road Trip Gems
A few hidden Colorado spots that deserve a stop
Photos by Heidi Kerr-Schlaefer
I’ve crisscrossed Colorado this summer and visited some great towns along the way. I’ve also discovered a few hidden gems that deserve a stop. Here are three places that I hadn’t heard about before and I’m betting you haven’t either. So, hop in and let’s explore these hidden gems.
Dennis Weaver Memorial Park
You’ve probably driven right past this park without realizing it was there. It’s six minutes north of Ridgway, Colorado just off Hwy 550.
Dennis Weaver was an actor and activist who lived from 1904 to 2006. Weaver is best known for his television and movie work, and you may remember him as Chester Goode in Gunsmoke. Weaver moved to Ridgway, Colorado in the 1980s. The park was established by his children.
Dennis Weaver Memorial Park is 80 acres along the Uncompahgre River corridor and includes a trail system. There is a picnic area next to the river as well as Medicine Wheels that wrap around a huge sculpture of a bald eagle in flight.
Cairns, stacks of stone, can be seen throughout the area and visitors are encouraged to build their own. The park is a magical place and absolutely worth a visit the next time you are in the area.
Juniper Hot Springs
Colorado has many hot springs destinations and I have visited most of them. However, I had never heard of Juniper Hot Springs until we visited Northwest Colorado this summer. It’s located an hour and 20 minutes west of Steamboat Springs and about 35 minutes west of Craig.
This isn’t a fancy hot springs venue. In fact, make sure you have the cash to pay the $5/person fee. The admission fee is based entirely on the honor system as the venue is unmanned.
It is located within view of the Yampa River, and during our visit, free-range cows and calves had come to the river’s edge of a drink.
Once a bathhouse established in the 1800s, Juniper Hot Springs now features a swimming pool and four smaller warm pools. There’s a large tent for visitors to use as a private changing room, and a porta potty is located around the back of the property.
If you’re the first soaker of the day, you’ll want to use the bucket and scoop provided to remove the algae from the top of the water. The pools are deep, and warm water seeps up through the rocky bottom. A soak here comes with bragging rights as very few nonlocals know of its existence.
Pikes Peak Pickle Shack
If you love pickles, you won’t want to miss the Pikes Peak Pickle Shack located at the beginning of the Pikes Peak Highway. This famous road takes drivers to the top of Pikes Peak near Colorado Springs. It affords breathtaking views and a few hold-your-breath curves.
The Pikes Peak Pickle Shack has pickles of all sorts. Spicy pickles, bread and butter pickles, dill pickles and more. They also have a selection of pickled eggs as well as salsas and other culinary delights.
Fans of all things pickled won’t want to miss it. For more information, visit their Facebook page.