DENVER (KDVR) — If you’re looking for a quick weekend getaway, or perhaps something a little less rushed, fall tourism season is officially underway in Colorado.
This year, during the pandemic, plenty of communities are offering incentives for you to come visit them.
Take Glenwood Springs, for instance.
In an effort to ramp up tourism, the community initiated a program called ‘Glenwood Gold’ which incentivizes visitors to come on a Sunday-Thursday check-in, for at least two nights, compared to Thursday/Friday when people normally come.
“And then they get $100 in Glenwood Gold, which is a community currency that we’re using here now. And we just started the program this year, because of the pandemic,” said Lisa Langer, Director of Tourism for Glenwood Springs.
The program started in June and really took off in July and August, until the Grizzly Creek Fire interrupted tourism in Glenwood Springs.
But now that visitors have returned to the Garfield County community, the program is taking off once again.
“People are really utilizing that special offer. A lot of people from the Front Range,” Langer said.
The $100 can be used in shops and restaurants throughout Glenwood Springs.
Further out west, in Grand Junction, fall tourism is looking really good at places like Colorado National Monument.
“One of the most popular places people visit is Colorado National Monument. It really is our pride and joy in Grand Junction,” said Elizabeth Fogarty, Director at Visit Grand Junction.
Grand Junction is a popular destination for Coloradans to visit each autumn–especially people who live along the Front Range.
According to Visit Grand Junction, a majority of the area’s tourists come from the Front Range.
“We’re seeing a lot of visitation up on the Mesa, especially during the fall season,” said Fogarty, referring to the Grand Mesa.
Grand Mesa is the largest flat top mountain in the world. It features more than 300 lakes on top of it.
“It provides some much-needed perspective, I think, for all of us during this time,” Fogarty said.
Grand Junction is 200 miles west of Denver. It takes roughly four hours to drive to from Denver.
One of the many reasons why so many people like to visit the Western Slope community during the Fall months is because of its affordability and accessibility.
Not only are Grand Junction’s hotel rates incredibly low, but the city also features the fourth-largest airport in Colorado.
“We have the most affordable hotels in the state. We have data to show that. When you combine [a] flight with a really affordable hotel in the $85 a night [range] in really nice hotels – people start realizing, ‘my time is more valuable,’” Fogarty said of people flying into Grand Junction.
According to Fogarty, plenty of people who live in the metro area (who like to visit the Western Slope), tend to take the train from Union Station to Grand Junction to get there.
The train ride costs $44 and is roughly an eight-hour trek.
If you’re looking for a place to visit closer to the Front Range, consider exploring Red Mountain Open Space in Larimer County.
It’s only 25 miles north of Fort Collins and features beautiful red pigments in all of its sandstone.
The area is used primarily for hiking and biking.
“Amazing trails, great mountain biking – I saw deer, a pronghorn, a rattlesnake — so be smart when you’re out there! Lots of birds,” said Cynthia Eichler with Visit Fort Collins.
Red Mountain Open Space has a stunning neighbor adjacent to it that’s also worth exploring: Soapstone Prairie Natural Area.
The 28 square mile area features wide-open vistas, pristine grasslands and plenty of trails.
“You can take a picnic, there are picnic pavilions up there. Pretty darn fantastic,” Eichler said.
While you’re in Larimer County, it’s also worth checking out Fort Collins’ delicious restaurants and unique breweries (many of which have outdoor seating available during the pandemic).
ADDITIONAL ONE-TANK TRIPS
FOX31/Channel 2 Reporter Kevin Torres has spent the last 11+ years traveling Colorado and has seen more of our state than any other TV reporter in the area.
Aside from the three locations listed above, Kevin also shared these unique one-tank trips: