Back Home to Colorado
Day 1: Devil’s Head Lookout
Day 2: Vail Village
Day 3: Vail + Denver
Day 4: Manitou Incline
My parents can’t help but correct Jacob and I every time we claim Colorado as our forever home. They always tell us, “the whole family lives in Texas now. Isn’t your home here?”. But when you get the chance to grow up in such a special place, you can’t help but want to claim it forever.
I planned a long weekend trip to see Katie and take in as much of my old home as I could in four days. Katie was leaving just a few days after me to head back to TCU. We were both soon-to-be Texas bound, and determined to get in as much Colorado as we could in four days, we set out to do a few things we had never done before.
First thing on the list of things we surprisingly had never done before: Devil’s Head. It’s literally 45 minutes down the road from where we lived in Castle Pines. Everyone you know from Colorado has probably done this hike.
From Sedalia, Colorado, the trailhead is up a dirt road about 10 miles. It’s very easily accessible and the hike is pretty easy itself at only 2.8 miles roundtrip. There are 143 stairs up to the Fire Lookout Tower, and this is definitely the best part.
The Fire Tower is pretty busy once you get up there, but you can hang out at the top of the stairs without actually going into the tower. Katie and I got some great photos standing on top of the rocks leading to the tower.
I truly can’t believe we had never done this hike. Any photo I took didn’t even come close to doing it justice, and I would absolutely do this hike again.
Vail in the summertime is like a little slice of heaven placed in the Rocky Mountains. We started the morning with CycleBar, some coffee and bagels and made our way up I-70 to Vail. We arrived just in time to walk through the Farmer’s Market and grab lunch from Rocky Mountain Taco. Would definitely recommend!
No Katie and Emily day would be complete without finding the best coffee shop in the area and grabbing an iced latte. Yeti’s Grind is located in Solaris Plaza, so it was a great choice to pop in and grab a coffee. It was so good we decided to go back the next day too :)
Saturday night, we met up with James who spent his summer in Denver as an intern (and I spent the whole summer jealous that he was in Denver). He went to Aspen for the weekend, so we got to meet up and grab dinner with him and a friend in Vail. We grabbed drinks in Vail Village while waiting for our table and got dinner at Bully Ranch. It was so great to see my Oklahoma bestie in my favorite place!
The next morning we grabbed breakfast at the Westside Cafe. This is a Vail favorite, and it was too perfect that it is connected to the hotel we stayed at! Katie and I both needed a big coffee and some good breakfast, and that’s just what we got.
After breakfast, we wanted to walk around Vail Village and Lionshead a little before heading back to Denver. We parked in Lionshead and thought it might be fun to hike up Vail Mountain. Let me tell you - this hike was no joke. The trail called Berry Picker heads straight up the mountain - no mercy. We went about two miles up Berry Picker and connected to Strawberry Lane so we would end up in Vail Village.
After a quick photo shoot and getting covered in mud from said photo shoot, we grabbed another coffee at Yeti’s Grind and edited our photos (the most Katie & Emily thing of all time).
After our little hiking adventure in Vail, we headed east back to Denver. We grabbed lunch at the Denver Central Market. This is new since I left Colorado, and it was so cute! They have 11 vendors located at the market, giving you great options for lunch. We met Katie’s mom for lunch, and we each grabbed something different and delicious.
Of course, no summertime lunch is complete without ice cream, so we grabbed a cone at the High Point Creamery.
Located at 27th and Larimer, Denver Central Market is in a cool area. There are plenty of shops and boutiques for post-lunch shopping. You could certainty spent an afternoon in this area of downtown Denver.
Okay, now for the Big Kahuna. The Manitou Incline is another one of those things I had never done (Katie had just done it earlier in the summer). I had always heard of it but never made the time to do it.
2,744 steps up from Manitou Springs, CO, and it is no joke. It took us just under an hour to get all the way to the top. To get down, you can go straight back down, but I wouldn’t recommend it. There is a 4-mile trail down the side of the mountain that is super pretty and worth the time it takes to get down.
I’d also recommend taking breaks on your way up to turn around and see the view of Colorado Springs from where you are. It’s pretty amazing!
So, that was my four days in Colorado. I kept saying how this trip made me realize just how much I took that place and its beauty for granted when I had the chance to see it every single day. A big thanks to Katie K for always being there to see a new place together or drink a latte with. :)
Food + Drinks
Westside Cafe / Vail, CO
Bully Ranch / Vail, CO
Denver Central Market / Denver, CO
Devil’s Head Lookout / Sedalia, CO
Vail Mountain / Vail, CO
Manitou Incline / Manitou Springs, CO