Denver, the capital of Colorado, "The Gateway To The Rockies," is situated on the South Platte River and is only a few miles east of the Rocky Mountains. The city has developed tremendously along civic lines of recent years and there are many public buildings which are well worth visiting, but as my rule will be throughout this book to omit any descriptions of cities, I must begin here. One can always procure maps of our cities and information regarding them from the Civic Centres, so here we will consider Denver as the best starting place from which to make countless charming trips.
Boulder is 29 miles northwest of Denver; this is a fine drive; the trip to Georgetown and the famous "Loop" is also well worth while.
If one has time for an all-day trip, "Corona" is satisfying; situated, as it is, on the crest of the main range, it is quite a tremendous climb; this is said to be the highest point reached by a standard-gauge railroad in the United States. The station is decidedly crude and there was sad disorder to pass through in 1919, but having overlooked that, the view fully repaid one.
The drive through Bear Creek Canyon, via Lookout Mountain, is magnificent.
There are countless trips to be made all round the city of Denver. If one only has a few hours here the view from the top of the Equitable Building is perhaps the most satisfactory, and the beautiful city parks may be visited.
In a wonderful unbroken line stand the great mountains, the view extending from Long's Peak on the north to Pike's Peak on the south. Almost any of these mountains may be ascended nowadays, some parties starting from Denver, others from Estes Park.
The Denver and Rio Grande Railway makes a delightful tour called "Around the Circle," a four-day trip, stopping overnight at Durango, Silverton, and Ouray. On this trip the traveller passes through four beautiful canyons, over three or four mountain passes, winding back and forth over 1,000 miles of the Rocky Mountains. The ticket is good for 60 days, so that the stops may be made to suit any one.
This beautiful park lies 7,500 feet above sea level, and can be reached in five hours from Denver by the Union Pacific Railway or automobile.
In the park are splendid hotels, where the traveller is made welcome, and from which fine tours are made through such scenery as only our great West can boast, mountains, valleys, lakes, and rivers; the views include many peaks of the Rocky Mountains--Long's, 14,270 feet; Ypsilon, 13,500 feet; Hague, 13,832 feet. Mountain climbing to the heart's content, hunting, fishing, and all the quieter sports may also be enjoyed here.
The trails take us in two hours from flower-strewn meadows to glaciers.
THE ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK
Leaving Estes Park, which forms the eastern gateway to the Rocky Mountain Park, we enter one of the finest sections of this magnificent range.
The park embraces a most interesting part of the Continental Divide. For the mountain climber this is a veritable Paradise, for there seem to be peaks of every size and trails leading in every direction. For those who like the more easy method, the automobile roads are excellent. The drive through Big Thompson Canyon is one to rejoice the heart of the most blasé. The area of the park is 398 square miles. "There are 51 mountains with summits more than 10,000 feet high, also unnumbered canyons, about 200 lakes, waterfalls, glaciers, native forests, and endless numbers of beautiful wild flowers." The richness of this park is inconceivable. One is tempted to go into endless detailed descriptions, but it must not be.
Many weeks may be spent here making different trips every day. There is every kind of accommodation, from the simplest camp to the most comfortable hotel, and all of this only 70 miles from Denver.