This is Colorado at its best. There are mesas and vineyards out west, and massive snowcapped mountain ranges and wide open alpine meadows filled with wildflowers in the summer as you move up to higher ground in the central part of the state.
By foot, by mountain bike, by raft, by ski and by train, this region offers adventures large and small. Two crown jewels perfect for family vacations are the Black Canyon of the Gunnison, with its vertigo-inducing drops, and Mesa Verde National Park, which preserves cliff-dwellings from the Ancestral Pueblo people. There are a number of ski areas worth visiting here; Crested Butte is one of the state's best expert resorts while Telluride appeals to the 'in' crowd.
The real draw, however, might be the area's sheer remoteness. This is cowboy country, and the open vistas and independent spirit that brought frontiers people here a hundred years ago still rings true today.
These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Southwest Colorado.
This Smithsonian-affiliated museum features the geologic history of the region as well as background on local mining history and native cultures. While you're here, check out the Telluride Blanket, an intact artifact from Ancestral Puebloans dated between AD 1041 and 1272.
One of the first cannabis museums in the country, this is really just a basic info center with a few video exhibits and helpful staff. Next door at their dispensary you can buy the real shit. It's kind of a fun stop to learn about the growing, processing and consuming process. It's open to all ages and they sell CBD products from lollipops to honey sticks.