Colorado's Front Range and Eastern Rockies: 9 Amazing and Weird Sites to Explore

Road Trip with Ruby & Pip: Aliens, Castles, and Burros

· Colorado,Road Trip,Travels of Ruby and Pip,Quirky Sights
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Colorado's Front Range and Eastern Rockies are known for their stunning natural beauty, rugged mountains, and outdoor adventures. However, hidden amidst these picturesque landscapes are some truly fun sites and experiences that are sure to add a touch of quirkiness to your road trip. Join Ruby and Pip as they embark on an offbeat adventure, discovering nine (yes, that’s right – Colorado is full of wonder!) unique and unusual destinations that promise to leave you intrigued and entertained.

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The Molly Brown House Museum Address: 1340 Pennsylvania St, Denver, CO 80203 Website:

We start and end this excursion in Denver, Colorado, a city worth spending a few extra days and nights in, for it is full of history. For us, we being by stepping into the life of the "Unsinkable" Molly Brown, a survivor of the Titanic, at the Molly Brown House Museum in Denver. Discover the eccentricities and vibrant history of this remarkable woman as you explore her preserved Victorian-era home. You may only know her from the Titanic legend, but she was also an influential Progressive Era reformer and philanthropist. Ruby & Pip say she passes muster as a fierce, kick ass woman so they urge you to visit the Molly Brown House to learn more.

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Next we take a drive down the Front Range of the Rockies, and you’ll have to forgive us skipping Colorado Springs and Garden of the Gods. We are heading to Cripple Creek, an eccentric boom and bust mining town that features gambling (true to its past), old mines, and loose burros.

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Mollie Kathleen Gold Mine Address: 9388 CO-67, Cripple Creek, CO 80813 Website:

Descend 100 stories underground and explore the Mollie Kathleen Gold Mine. This tour takes you through tunnels and showcases the mining techniques of the past. Learn about Colorado's mining history and the quest for gold that shaped the region. And you get to ride an underground air locomotive, which is damn fun.

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Donkey Derby Days, Cripple Creek, CO Website:

When the Cripple Creek mines closed, the burros that worked them were set free. And their offspring still roam the town. Leave your car window open and one will walk right up to say hello. August is their month to shine, with a citywide celebration of parades, donkey derbies, and street dances.

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Royal Gorge Bridge and Park Website:

Once you’ve come up for air from the mine tour, lost a few coins at a casino, and petted a few burros, head over to the Royal Gorge. This is a must see. A must must must see of head-spinning engineering and amazement. This bridge, built in 1929 is the highest suspension bridge in the United States. Wait until you look down at the gorge floor 956 feet below. There’s much more here than the bridge, for all amazing sites must grow into variegated tourist attractions – her you can relax in a park, swing around in a gondola, fly about on a skycoaster, and there’s even a zipline, should you feel the need for speed. But the gorge and the bridge are the main, unforgettable attractions.

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Bishop Castle Address: 12705 CO-165, Rye, CO 81069 Website:

Heading south, we come upon Bishop Castle. Since this is the Rockies and not the middle of Germany, a castle is an eccentric thing to stumble upon. It is impeccably odd – a three story soaring building of stone and iron replete with turrets and a cathedral. Jim Bishop has been building this castle single-handedly since 1969, and it’s still evolving to this day. So, if you go, let me know what’s been added.

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The Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve Address: 11999 State Hwy 150, Mosca, CO 81146 Website:

Now for a diversion to a site of unexpected, surreal natural beauty. The Great Sand Dunes is colossal expanse of sand nestled against the backdrop of the rugged Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Venture up the dunes, try sandboarding, or simply soak in the awe-inspiring scenery. You’ll need to lift your jaw from the ground. The juxtaposition of towering dunes against the rugged mountain peaks makes this destination truly otherworldly.

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You remember our excursion to The Thing in Arizona. Well, I won’t say their alien is real or unreal, but here in Hooper, alien signs and sitings are taken with deep seriousness. The UFO Watchtower is a unique attraction dedicated to UFO sightings. Explore the observation platform, stroll through the alien garden, and immerse yourself in the world of extraterrestrial fascination. The site hosts camping, alien events, boasts no light pollution, and offers a chance to experience your own UFO encounters.

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St. Elmo Ghost Town Address: St. Elmo, CO 81236

Back down to earth as we continue north on our Eastern Rockies loop and shifting gears from aliens to ghosts. Visit the well-preserved St. Elmo Ghost Town, nestled in the Collegiate Peaks near Buena Vista. You can wander through the abandoned streets lined with rustic buildings, and imagine the bustling mining community that once thrived here. Keep an eye out for lingering spirits and tales of the town's haunted past. No burros, though, so hold back the disappointment.

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Georgetown Loop Railroad: Website:

Our final stop before heading back to Denver is an historic train ride. Embark on the Georgetown Loop and ride through the beautiful Clear Creek Canyon. This narrow-gauge steam locomotive takes you on a scenic journey, passing over trestles and through tunnels as you admire the stunning mountain vistas. Georgetown is a quaint town with antique stores and ghost tours, so walk around for a bit and enjoy!

There’s so much to explore in Colorado. This is just one small trek to show you how amazing this part of the state is. I know a lot has been left out – and if you have sites you’d like included in Ruby & Pip’s Great Road Trips, put them in the comments! We are always looking for the weird, the fun, the eccentric and the amazing.

K.T. Blakemore grew up in the United States West and never left. THE GOOD TIME GIRLS is the first in the Wild-Willed Women of the West Series, featuring women who take no prisoners and succeed through sheer grit, determination, and a parcel of luck.

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Her award-winning historical suspense and young adult historical fiction, written under the pen name Kim Taylor Blakemore, has been awarded a Silver Falchion Award, Tucson Festival of Book Literary Award, and a WILLA Award for Best YA Fiction.

In addition to writing, she runs the Novelitics ranch, which provides developmental editing and workshops to novelists. She teaches editing and craft workshops to writing groups around the United States and Canada.

She has hung her hat in California, Colorado, and currently the Pacific Northwest. The rain does not deter her research whether it be train timetables from 1905 or the best way to catch a loose horse.

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