Hanging Lake, Colorado

The hike to see Hanging Lake is challenging, but very rewarding. The views from the top are worth every stair that must be climbed. It isn’t a long hike- only about a mile and a quarter- but it is very steep, gaining about 1200 feet in elevation.

Getting There

Hanging lake can be found in Glenwood Canyon off of interstate 70. This is also a very cool drive as you snake through the canyon next to the White River. Even if you don’t do the hike, the drive is worth it!

There is a fee required and the most up to date information can be found on the Glenwood Springs website. Fees must be paid in advance and you must choose a time slot to visit. When you arrive, you have to show the ranger your reservation so they are able to verify you are visiting on the correct day and time. This helps reduce crowds and helps alleviate parking issues.

The Hike

As we mentioned earlier, it isn’t the length that makes the hike strenuous, but the change in elevation. The lake is nestled way up in the surrounding canyon but once you make it up there, you can sit at a bench, relax and take in the rewarding views.

The trail is a dirt path that has some stone steps and bridges to cross the river. There are markers and occasional benches to stop and catch your breath. The views while hiking to the lake are also gorgeous so make sure you take them all in!

The Lake

Once you near the top, the trail narrows and there are some steep drops off to the side. This part does not last long- just a few more stairs and you will be rewarded with the views of Hanging Lake!

The lake is a breathtaking clear blue-green color surrounded by the dark green of the pines, orange of the rocks and white of the bridal veil falls pouring into it. You can even see some fish swimming around in the lake! There are a few benches way up here where you can rest and just be in the moment.

Things to know before you go

  1. There are no bathrooms or water fountains here. Be prepared before you arrive.
  2. Good shoes are a must! There are lots of rocks, roots and branches that you can trip on and hurt yourself if you aren’t prepared.
  3. Pets and bikes are not allowed on the trails.
  4. You must have a reservation in order to visit. The rangers will not allow you to hike without one.
  5. Swimming and fishing are not allowed in the lake.

Have you visited Hanging Lake? Do you have any more questions about the park and surrounding areas? Send us an email or let us know in the comments below.

Happy hiking!


There are so many great restaurants to choose from in Colorado, but during our short visit to Colorado Springs, we stopped at a cozy German style eatery called Edelweiss. Dining here might have been one of the best decisions we made that week. Everything was delicious from start to finish.

They have an adorable outdoor biergarten to enjoy on nice summer nights, like on the night we visited. It was tastefully decorated with lights, umbrellas and heaters. A comfortable spot for a meal day or night.

On the way into the restaurant, you will walk past multiple dessert cases that are filled with the most dazzling, mouth watering desserts you will ever see. I took a bunch of pictures on the way in so I knew what to order when the time came.

Ok, ok. Enough about the adorable decor, lets get to the menu! Without further ado, we present to you- Edelweiss! A charming restaurant serving authentic German cuisine!

Let’s start with their beer menu. They have an extensive beer list with a lot of beer from German breweries ON TAP!!! They also have some other choices available in bottles if you can’t find anything you like right away. In addition to the great beer list, there are plenty of great appetizers to choose from. Even though they all sounded tantalizing, we enjoyed a complimentary basket of gigantic, soft and fresh kaiser rolls with butter. In addition to that, most of the entrees include either a seasonal side salad or a cup of the soup of the day to start with.

Next up- the food! There is so much to choose from and we really wanted to try it all (while also saving room for dessert). We decided on 2 entrees and split them- the Hähnchen Normandy and the Rouladen. Everything had such a rich and authentic flavor. The sauces and sides were perfect complements to both dishes. I really don’t think there are any bad choices here, but these two dishes were outstanding! If I ever find myself in Colorado Springs again, I will definitely stop here for another fantastic meal. The real tough choice would be to either get the same dish that I know is amazing, or to explore one of the many other offerings on the menu.

NOTE- if you are on a strict no meat diet, the menu will be much more limited. They do have soft pretzels and a few pasta dishes that do not come with meat, otherwise you can just save room and try some of their amazing desserts instead.

Speaking of desserts- there are so many to choose from! There are all kinds of cakes, pastries, and tortes to try. Desserts with fruit, chocolate, nuts and everything in between. The slices of cake also come with a towering pile of fresh whipped cream. Again, I am quite convinced that anything from here will be amazing, so go crazy and try something new!

With such great food and a cozy atmosphere, the tables fill up fast. Reservations are recommended- especially if you want to sit outside, but are not necessary. The staff are very friendly, informative and helped us decide on what to order, since everything sounded so good! I had to pinch Paul a few times throughout our visit here to get him out of his slack-jawed, dreamlike trance.

If you find yourself in Colorado Springs and want to try something new, be sure to stop at Edelweiss! If you do decide visit here or have been here in the past, send us a message below and let us know what you thought!


Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado

Great Sand Dunes National Park is a wild place. A visit to this park provides not only these unique dunes, but beaches, plains, mountains, and wildflower filled valleys. The park and its signature dunes doesn’t inspire greatness as you approach because they are dwarfed by the majestic Sangre de Cristo Mountains, but keep driving! Once you arrive at the park, you will realize how exceptional the dunes and the surrounding landscape is to explore.

Start your trip with a visit to the visitor’s center. Here you can chat with the rangers and find out about their favorite things to do in the park. There is also a museum where you can learn all about the geology of the area including the formation of the dunes- and why they are still here! In addition to all that, there is also a gift shop, water filling stations, and bathrooms with flush toilets and sinks- a must stop before you hit the dunes!

There aren’t very many marked hiking trails here, but you are able to walk on the dunes as much as you want. Even though there are no established trails or markers, it is not easy to get lost. You can always orient yourself with the mountains and if you climb high enough you can find the Medano Creek and the visitor center to guide you.

Things to do

Sand Boarding

Its like snowboarding- but in the sand! There are no sand boards available in the park itself, but there are a plethora of places you can rent them from for your dunes adventures. Most of these places also have sleds available if you prefer sitting to standing. We didn’t have enough time here to make renting boards worthwhile, but the people who were using them made it look really fun!

Hike the Dunes

Like we mentioned earlier, there are not any marked trails on the dunes, so you are free to hike wherever you want! The tallest dune is unnamed, and it is quite a challenge to hike. The rangers said plan to spend about 4-5 hours round trip to make it to the top of the tallest dune. Even the smaller dunes require much effort to traverse. We learned that the easiest way to scale these giant masses of sand are by walking up the ridges- not head on.

Splash around in the Creek

The Medano Creek flows seasonally through the park. The best time to visit the creek is in late spring and early summer. The waterflow primarily depends on snowmelt from the mountains, but is also influenced by the local weather. You can find the flow rate at the National Park’s website. This area is perfect for beach toys and a picnic, right at the base of the mountains! We visited in late May, and the creek was fairly shallow. It was a hot and sunny day, so the cool refreshing water was a respite to our dusty toes!

Hike the Mosca Pass

This is one of the more popular trails in the park, and it is marked! The entire trail is a little over 6 miles and gives you great views of the dunes and mountains. The trail winds through a valley forest filled with wildflowers. An excellent alternative to trudging through the sand.

Things to keep in mind

  • The dunes can get scorching hot, so wearing closed toed shoes is recommended. Sandals tend to trap the hot sand on your feet and can cause burns if you are not careful.
  • The Parking lots fill up fast, so get there early and be prepared to wait.
  • Bring extra water!
  • Dogs are allowed in the park, but you must pick up after you pet- leave no trace!

Happy hiking!

Maria’s Bookshop- Durango, CO

One of the my favorite things to do when I go somewhere new is to find a local bookstore. This usually involves buying a book (or two, or three…) to support them and see what else they have to offer. Maria’s Bookshop is found in Durango, Colorado and is defiantly worth a stop. The shop can be found right off Maine Ave- which is such a cute street with so many great shops and restaurants, but that is a story for another time. The décor in the bookshop is so cozy and rustic and has a “tiny cabin tucked away in the mountains” vibe. If you aren’t careful, you can spend an afternoon here browsing the shelves looking for your next read.

Paul says he enjoys going into these stores with me, but I suspect his motivation is mostly to make sure our wallets are safe. When he walked in Maria’s bookshop with me, he looked around a bit and said “Oooh, games and toys! I’ll be back there!” which gave me lots of time to browse and take pictures.

In addition to books and games, there are many other small, local, bookish gifts and trinkets for sale including stickers, socks, greeting cards and much more. The only thing that was missing was a nice cup of tea or coffee!

It was hard to leave with only one book, but I was already pushing the 50 pound weight limit for my suitcase… If we ever find ourselves in Durango again, we will certainly make another stop in Maria’s bookshop.

Ice Cream from Sundae

June is dairy month, so let’s talk ice cream. Growing up in the Midwest gave Paul and I innumerable opportunities to sample an array of frozen treats. It’s hard to think back and remember a nice sunny day that didn’t end in a stop for ice cream. This being said, I think we have enough experience to be qualified as “experts” in the fields of ice cream foraging and consumption- you are in good hands!

We recently returned from a road trip through the American Southwest and one of the places we drove through was Vail, Colorado. This little town is known worldwide for it’s massive ski resorts and gets to be very busy in December and January. We weren’t able to make it here until May which is very much it’s off season for skiing (we practically had the place to ourselves!), but is the perfect time to grab some ice cream.

After chatting with the visitor center employees, we received a list of places that were worthy of a stop for dessert. We decided on Sundae to get some ice cream and this place DID NOT DISSAPOINT!!!

The ice cream served here is made fresh on-site and is super creamy (not like the freezer burned stuff you get from the grocery stores)!!! The special flavor of the day was a cherry crumble and it was bursting with fresh cherries and bits of crumble topping. Paul even liked it even though his go to flavor is cookies ‘n cream. After we got our cones, we walked around by the river as we ate them.

With no snow, this place was like a ghost town devoid of tourists. A lot of the shops were still open so if you want to see Vail without the crowds, early May is a great time to visit. Happy June!