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Last month I sat down together with my friends to discuss our plan for this year’s fall break. Being the city girl that I am, I pitched trips to Las Vegas, Los Angelas or Boston. However, my friends had other plans: Hiking in Colorado.

When I told my parents and friends back home in Germany about my travel plans they started laughing. “You. Hiking. Do you even have the right clothes for that?!” Well, I did not. But all my concerns of whether I would not be bored looking at different kind of stones and trees for six days turned out to be fully untruthful.

I can now proudly call myself a nature-loving hiking girl and to share my experience, here are some travel tips for Colorado!

Denver

Our first stop was Denver where we spent the first two nights. Denver definitely has a lot of cute restaurants for brunch and dinner and while the city center does not have as many shops as other cities, it is perfect for a one-day city stroll (and to buy weather-appropriate clothes if you came unprepared as I did).

One of my favorite parts in Denver was McGregor Square, which offers a great choice of restaurants and bars and just seems like a nice place to meet up with friends and watch a football game outside on a screen.

Moreover, I can recommend visiting the museums in Denver. Whether you’re into modern art or sciences, you will definitely find the right museum!

Rocky Mountains

The Rocky Mountain are definitely one of my highlights of the whole trip! It is a huge national park covering 415 square miles with several viewpoints and lakes. There are free shuttles available to bring you to different destinations. There is for sure more to see than everyone can do in only one day but whatever hike path you choose, I can promise you, you won’t be disappointed.

The only downside of the Rocky Mountains is that it is pretty crowded, as it is one of the main tourist attractions in Colorado. Therefore, it is not that easy to fully enjoy nature (or to get the necessary Instagram picture without anybody crashing it), but chances are high that you might meet some nice people!

However, it was a great (and kind of exhausting) experience! The leaves had beautiful bright colors and it is just a unique and beautiful atmosphere!

The Great Sanddunes National Park and Preserve

The great sand dunes were my absolute favorite and it is a must-see for everyone visiting the area!! They are located in southern Colorado and include huge sand dunes in the middle of beautiful nature. I was so impressed by simply standing in front of it. Not only had I never seen anything like this, nor did I know that something so unique even exists in Colorado.

I will not lie to you, climbing those sand dunes is exhausting as hell. I felt like I had just completed a marathon when in reality I was not even halfway up that dune. There was a strong, cold wind, and sand in my eyes – I was living in a movie scene.

But all the effort was worth it. Even if the power leaves your body halfway up the dune – as in my case – you get an amazing unique view! And to see how far you have come is also a great feeling. By the way, these sand dunes provide an incredible leg and booty workout – I was sore for days afterward.

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

Lastly, we visited the Black Canyon. This is surely an activity for which you’ll need a car! There are a great number of assigned viewpoints to see many different parts and sides of the impressive canyon located in Montrose County, Gunnison.

Since you approach these viewpoints by car, this is definitely a more chill and less exhausting activity. I highly recommend staying there for sunset: it was a unique experience to see how the whole vibe and color of the area changed.

There are many other fun activities and national parks in Colorado; however, I hope this little guide may give you some ideas should you visit Colorado or will be an inspiration to do so! Whether it is Colorado or anywhere else, I really enjoyed the time in nature – and without access to the internet for the most part of the day. Being outside and moving just has such a calming effect and I for sure will try to do trips like this one more often from now on – and I hope you will, too!

German girl studying in the U.S. that loves fashion, music and girl power. Antonia is a senior at NCSU pursuing a German-American Double Degree in Business Administration with a minor in Journalism. In her free time she likes to listen to music, go out with her friends and do sports. However, her greatest interest is in the fashion industry, which is why she has already gained several professional experiences in this field.