Road Trip Country

Country Road Trip Essentials

One of the great adventures of living in America the beautiful is a good old fashioned road trip. Whether you’re crossing state lines, exploring your home state, or spanning the entire length of our great nation, there’s something very American about the open road. If you’re based in Colorado like we are, the potential for epic road trips is seemingly endless in almost any direction. Whether your heading into the surreal landscapes of Utah or making your way south to the mountains and deserts of New Mexico, a road trip should be on everyone’s bucket list who lives in Colorado. At the Grizzly Rose we are huge fans of road trips and we’ve put together a list of country road trip essentials you will need to best enjoy your next one!

Country Road Trip Essentials

Driving Hoodie

The one sure thing about a road trip is that you are going to be spending a lot of time in the car. Whether you are driving, being the navigator up front, or lounging in the back, feeling comfortable is a crucial part of enjoying the open road. There’s no better article of clothing for comfort in the car than a quality hoodie. We never embark on a road trip without one! We think our Graphite Black Grizzly Rose Hoodie is the perfect road trip companion. It’s very soft and comfortable and why not rep your favorite country saloon while out on the road!

Catch Phrase

Depending on how far you go, entertainment in the car will become something you need. Once you’ve listened to all your music, told your best stories, and realize you still have 5 more hours to go, you will want something to do. Catch Phrase is the perfect car game that even the driver can play (only guessing of course) which has kept us entertained over lengthy road trips. If you’re going to invest in Catch Phrase we recommend splurging a bit and getting the 5,000 Word Catch Phrase Edition. The cheaper/smaller versions only have about 1,500 words, which can get repetitive very fast.

Trucker Hat

No road trip would be complete without your crew wearing matching trucker hats throughout the entirety of the journey. Now, unless you are all already sporting Grizzly Rose Hats, the next best thing would be a trucker hat that’s red, white, blue, and patriotic. We think these MURICA Trucker Hats would fit the bill nicely!

Road Trip Essentials

Aviators

Sunglasses are a requirement during a road trip and regardless of what other styles you own, the aviator reigns supreme as the classic road trip eyewear. There’s a reason every highway patrolmen you meet rocks this certain type of shade, it just pairs well with the open road. These cheap, but good looking Duduma Aviator Mirrored Sunglasses should do the trick!

Snacks

Another crucial part of a good road trip is having the right snacks. While there are hundreds of choices depending on what you like, there are two snacks that we always associate with a road trip.

Sunflower SeedsThey help you stay focused and awake while driving as they take a bit of effort to eat. They are delicious, salty, and we think are the ideal road trip snack. We’re fans of the Original David Jumbo Seeds which you can by for cheap on Amazon in a 12-pack to save you some money.

Beef JerkyThe other thing you will always find with us on a road trip is beef jerky. We like the Jack Links Variety Pack that comes in little packages of both original and teriyaki flavors.

Drink

Driving fatigue can be a serious problem when you have long distances to go. That’s why it’s always important to have a fresh, rested copilot who you can switch with if you ever feel sleepy. We also always have a case of energy drinks in the car to make sure we are awake and alert all the time! Our go to is the Original Monster Energy.

Road Trip Things You Need

Neck Pillow

It’s not always easy getting comfortable in a car. As long as you aren’t the driver then you will probably be sleeping at some point during your road trip. Rather than the pain of waking up with your chin to your chest and your neck muscles strained from your head bobbing around, we always recommend a good neck pillow for a road trip. We like this Cloudz Microbead Neck Pillow, it’s cheap and comfortable.

Music

Besides the car itself, we believe the most important thing to bring with you on a road trip is good music. Nothing beats the feeling of blasting your favorite tunes while cruising down the freeway with some friends. Country music and road trips go together like peanut butter and jelly, but there’s so many good songs to choose from how do you pick what to listen to? We’ve made it easy for you by putting together a list of our favorite country road trip songs. These tunes range from classics to newer tracks, but all have the common theme of being travel oriented. Give er’ a listen!

Big Ranches

The Biggest Ranches in the World

Wouldn’t it have been great to live in the good old days of the Wild West? If you were feeling a bit claustrophobic in your city life, you’d have the choice to head off and become a rancher. Endless days of roaming through nature, and plenty of animals to keep you company.

The good news is that this fantasy can still be a reality! The Wild West may have been tamed, but there are still plenty of ranches around the globe. As a matter of fact, some of them are massive. Have a look below to see some of the biggest ranches in the world.

Biggest Ranches in the World

What Is a Ranch?

If you didn’t grow up roaming the open plains and sleeping under the stars, you might have trouble knowing exactly what a ranch is. Many people confuse them with farms, but there is a bit of a difference. Basically, ranches raise animals, and farms grow food. It can get tricky because they often overlap, but you’ll be safe if you stick with that definition.

Who Owns Them?

One interesting tidbit about these ranches is that they’re not all owned by cowboys. They’re big investments, and a lot of the people holding the deeds are rich folk who spend more time in boardrooms than on horses. The American who owns the most land is John Malone, a big shot in the cable business, and he’s followed by another media man, Ted Turner. These two seem to have a friendly competition on who can own more acres! Also among the top 10 is Stan Kroenke, the owner of the Denver Nuggets and Colorado Avalanche.

Vermejo Park Ranch

Vermejo Park Ranch

Location: Colorado and New Mexico, U.S.A.

It’s easiest to start this list off with something local, even though this one only has a small part in Colorado. It’s one of the spots owned by Ted Turner, and it’s so big that it can’t even stick to one state. It covers 590,823 acres, and it’s primarily used for conservation and recreational activities, but it does offer hunting, fishing, and natural gas collection.

Waggonner Ranch

Waggoner Ranch

Location: Texas, U.S.A.

Another massive ranch in the United States unsurprisingly sits in Texas. This one got its start back in 1852, and over time it grew to about 520,527 acres. It’s been in the news a lot over the past few years because it was sold back in 2012. Even with the asking price of $725 million, Stan Kroenke, the owner of two sports teams in Denver, bought it in 2012.

King Ranch

King Ranch

Location: Texas, U.S.A.

Those ranches are big, but they can get bigger. King Ranch comes in at about 825,000 acres, and this makes it the biggest ranch in Texas. Unfortunately, it’s not as amazing as you would first expect. Instead of one massive area full of cows roaming around, it’s split into four neighboring parts.

Anna Creek Ranch

Anna Creek Station

Location: Australia

Australians have a lot of different vocabulary words, and one of them is their word for ranch. Instead, they call it a station. And they’re allowed to do this because they host the world’s largest cattle station. It has 6,000,000 acres, so none of the ranches in the United States even come close!

Interestingly enough, it was first started as a place to raise sheep. Unfortunately, the dingoes were eating too many of them, so they switched to the much more durable cow.

Alexandra Station

Alexandria Station

Location: Australia

To put into perspective how large Australia is, this is another cattle station on their list. Not being as big, it only covers about 4,000,000 acres. If you truly want to be a modern-day cowboy or cowgirl, you might want to take a trip down under.

Chinese Dairy Farm

Mudanjiang City Dairy Farm

Location: China

Sometimes the amount of land becomes even less impressive than the number of cows. There’s a place being built in China that will be able to hold up to 100,000 cows. This is a dairy farm instead of a classical ranch, but it still is impressive because that capacity is far bigger than any ranch in North America.

Preserving the Land

These large ranches are big business, there’s no doubt about that. However, it’s inspiring to think that some of the biggest landowners buy up land in order to preserve it. This is a nice step towards making sure we always have those wide-open spaces we love so much.

Is It Time to Be a Rancher?

Now that you know there are such big tracts of land where cowboys and cowgirls are spending their days exploring with cattle, does it make you want to make a lifestyle change? You have plenty of options! If you don’t, you can always come by the Grizzly Rose when you want to get into the spirit of the Wild West!

Wild Western Towns in USA

Wild Western Towns in the USA

Maybe you’re a cowgirl or cowboy at heart, but you were born in a time when the Wild West has disappeared. You dream of roaming the plains on horseback, playing cards in a saloon, and waking up each morning ready for an adventure.

But wait, is the Wild West really gone?

It’s not the same as it was in the 1800s, but there are still plenty of towns left that feel just like the Wild West.

How We Chose Them

Before giving the list, let’s go over how we picked the towns. Looking for something with a Wild West feeling can lead you to a few different types of places, so we focused on three kinds. The first is the most obvious, and those are places that were famous in the Old West, and are preserved to look the same. The next is places which have modernized, but have the comfortable feeling of present-day cowboys and cowgirls. Third, we chose towns that have updated to modern standards, but kept some of the crazy nature of the Wild West.

Wild Western Towns in USA

Dodge City, Kansas

This famous town in Kansas got its start in 1847 when Fort Mann was built to protect people on the Santa Fe Trail. Times were hard, however, and it only survived about a year. But, it wasn’t long before a safer fort popped up in the same place, and this eventually led to a town next to it. Then the railroad came, and cows were shipped through on their way to other parts of the country. It may have modernized, but it still has a lot of bits of old Dodge spread around.

Dodge City Kansas

Tombstone, Arizona

This town deep in the Arizona desert was one of the big spots towards the end of the Wild West time period. It was a big mining town, and it had plenty of cultural activities (like an opera house) for the rich folk, and a great selection of saloons, gambling halls, and other less respectable place for the grittier types. It’s most famous for the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, and you can still see recreations of this on a regular basis in its original setting, as much of the town is preserved how it was.

Tombstone Arizona

Oatman, Arizona

This town in Arizona isn’t as well-known as some of the others, but it has some pretty distinct characteristics. To start, the name comes from a pretty interesting story. It was chosen in honor of Olive Oatman, who was the daughter of settlers that had been kidnapped for slavery by a Native American tribe. She was sold to the Mohave tribe, and eventually set free.

Nowadays the town is a revived ghost town (still giving it that Wild West appearance), and is most famous for its wild burros that wander the streets and happily accept food.

Oatman Arizona

Cody, Wyoming

This town was named in honor of “Buffalo Bill” Cody, and it doesn’t get much more Western than that. Not only does it have a whole selection of museums from the good old days, but it also hosts enough rodeos to comfortably call itself the “Rodeo Capital of the World.”

Cody Wyoming

Virginia City, Nevada

This town struck it rich with silver, but the atmosphere was preserved long after the mine was empty. You can view some museums, take a trip into the mine, stroll down the main street at high noon, or just drink whiskey in a saloon.

Virginia City Nevada

Deadwood, South Dakota

You might immediately think of a TV series when you hear this name, but it’s far from fictional. Gold was found in the nearby Black Hills in the 1870s, so the town attracted plenty of ambitious people. However, it wasn’t in the safest area, so many of these were a little rough around the edges. Gambling and prostitution were big business, and many locals took the law into their own hands (you know, with their revolvers). Even the famous gunman Wild Bill Hickok was shot here!

Deadwood South Dakota

Durango/Silverton, Colorado

Both of these Colorado mountain towns have quite the cowboy character, but one of the best parts is the thing that links them. This narrow gauge railroad is pulled by a steam engine for 45 miles through a beautiful stretch of mountains. You won’t even need to use your imagination to feel like you’ve gone back in time.

Durango Colorado

Bandera, Texas

This town doesn’t shy away from calling itself the “Cowboy Capital of the World.” There are gunfight reenactments, dude ranches, chuck wagon dinners, plenty of rodeos, and enough saloons to sit in and feel like you’re still in the Old West.

Bandera Texas

Denver, Colorado

Just because it’s become one of the most popular cities in the country lately, most people would write off Denver as a Wild West Town, but that would be a mistake. It’s loaded with cowboy history, annually hosts the National Western Stock Show (one of the largest of its kind), and it’s home to the Grizzly Rose. What more could you really want?

Denver Colorado

Explore the Wild West!

If you know anything about the Wild West, you’d know there’s no way to list all of its best towns at once, so this is just a taste. Saddle up your horse, and let us know what other spots you find!

Top 10 Honky Tonks in USA

Top 10 Honky Tonks in the USA

The name honky tonk is definitely a strange one, but to good old country music fans, it’s just another synonym for a good time! The history of the honky tonk is an interesting story, but what is most important is where to find these legendary top 10 country music bars. America the beautiful is the birthplace of country music and there are a lot of fantastic honky tonks across our fine country to enjoy it. While there are many country bars that might make a claim to being a honky tonk, only some live up to the iconic name. For those country music fans who love to travel, we have put together a list of the top 10 country bars in the USA.  So, put on your dancin’ boots, saddle up your horse, and let’s get going!

Grizzly Rose – Denver, Colorado

We may be a little biased, but we think this is the best honky tonk in not only the Wild West, but the country as a whole. Just ask any country music lover from the state of Colorado about the Grizzly Rose and you will see for yourself. It’s a mixture of a bar, nightclub, and a dancehall, and we’re sitting in a convenient location in Denver. Aside from seeing some great live music where most of the country’s top country artists make an appearance, it’s also a good place to do some line dancing, ride a mechanical bull, enjoy an authentic smokehouse grill, and socialize with other country music lovers. It’s such a great destination that people come from all over the country just to pay us a visit.

A photo posted by Joseph Ortega (@josortegaa) on

Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge – Nashville, TN

A walk down Broadway in Nashville and it’s hard to miss Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge. The bright purple building sticks out for all to see and like much of Nashville this place is a big piece of country music history. The rumor is that after Willie Nelson played his first show here, he landed his first songwriting gig! It’s known as the most historic country bars in Nashville and many of the big names in country make their way through this great place each year.

The Bowery – Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

The Bowery proclaims itself to be the “8th Wonder of the World.” Normally beaches and honky tonks don’t mix, but for this place we’ve made an exception. The famous group Alabama used to be this bar’s house-band for 7 years and it is where they got their start. It’s only 50 yards from the beach and if that’s not enough, one of their bartenders broke the Guinness Book of World Records for caring the most mugs of beer without a tray. (It was 34 mugs if you were curious.) It’s a great place to enjoy country music in a unique setting on the coast of South Carolina.

Billy Bob’s – Fort Worth, Texas

No list of the best honky tonks would be complete without mentioning the state of Texas, and no list of Texas country bars would be complete without mentioning Billy Bob’s. They are a massive establishment located in the Fort Worth area where many great country bands make an appearance. They also boast an indoor rodeo arena, a mechanical bull, and a number of bars. Texas will always be synonymous with country music and for Texans this is a great place to enjoy it.

Una foto publicada por TYLER LAIN (@tylerlain) el

Ponderosa Lounge – Portland, Oregon

This top country bar is located at a truck stop in Portland. While that may not seem like the ideal place to enjoy live country music, this place has become famous for hosting some of the best talent ever to grace the country music scene. Even Texans like, former president George Bush Senior have visited this place and it’s a great and unique honky tonk to enjoy.

Una foto publicada por Jones & Fischer (@jonesandfischer) el

Gruene Hall – New Braunfels, Texas

Another great and iconic honky tonk is Gruene Hall. This place boasts itself as the ‘Oldest Dance Hall’ in Texas and is located between San Antonio and Austin in a classic Texas country setting. Not much has changed since it was built back in 1878 and many famous country artists make their way through this venue. It’s a piece of country music history and a great place to dance!

Una foto publicada por Thomas Gelo (@tomgelo) el

Robert’s Western World – Nashville, TN

This place is full of history, from being part of the area serving as hospitals in the Civil War, to being an iconic steel guitar shop in the heyday of country music where many famous stars used to hang out. Now it’s home to a cowboy boot shop, a honky tonk grill, and a great bar/venue to enjoy country music. Nashville should be on any country music fan’s list of travel destinations and if you make the trip make sure to check out Robert’s Western World.

Una foto publicada por elise davis 🎸🍕 (@_elisedavis_) el

Broken Spoke – Austin, Texas

From Willie Nelson, to George Straight, to Ernest Tubb, many country icons have been regulars at this famous country bar establishment. Located in the capital of Texas, the Broken Spoke looks more like an old, side of the road convenience store than a legendary country music and dance venue. It’s another place that’s ingrained in the history of country music in Texas and worth of a visit for country music fans who visit or are living in Austin.

Una foto publicada por Texas Tourism (@texastourism) el

The Texas Club – Baton Rouge, Lousiana

George Straight, Toby Keith, Garth Brooks, the list goes on of artists who played at this venue early in their career before they hit the big time. It’s been open since 1981 and millions of country music fans have paid a visit to the Texas Club to enjoy country music. This large venue is famous for it’s live music and if you find yourself in Louisiana it’s the country bar to visit.

Una foto publicada por Cody Johnson (@codyjohnsonband) el

Cowboys – Dothan, Alabama

Cowboys claims to be the ‘Largest Honky Tonk this side of the Mississippi.’ While Alabama might not the first place that comes to your mind when you think about country music, they host lots of great country artists each year. In addition to live country music and dancing, it’s also a popular place for locals and travelers to enjoy pool, poker, and cheap drinks.

Una foto publicada por Sarah Holley (@sholley6484) el

Colorado Leaves Color Change

Colorado’s Best Spots to Watch the Leaves Change

Country music was born out of the love that Americans had for roaming the great outdoors in search of freedom and beauty. That’s why it makes such a great soundtrack for any exploring we may do – even though most of us have replaced our horses with cars.

Colorado has more beauty than most of the world, and one of the best times to take advantage of this is when the leaves brighten up in the fall. You don’t necessarily have to make a big trek to see some pretty trees, but there are some extra special places – some near, others far – that are worth visiting this time of year.

So put your favorite country tunes on the radio, grab your camera, and go build some memories!

Buffalo Pass

Distance from the Grizzly Rose: 3 ½ hours, 172 milesLeaves Changing in Colorado

This pass is located near Steamboat Springs, and it’s a great trip for anyone wanting plenty of

hiking options. You’ll have the opportunity to wander through multiple of aspen groves, see some lakes,

and lounge in high-altitude meadows. After the seeing the leaves, why not take off your boots and rest

your sore feet in the hot springs?

Castle Creek Road

Distance from the Grizzly Rose: 3 ½ hours, 166 miles

This is another good opportunity to see some aspen groves when their tiny, round leaves turn into various shades of orange and yellow. Also, it’s a pretty appropriate place to view them since it’s right next to Aspen – you know, the old mining town which turned into a hangout for the rich and famous. But, if you want to skip the glamor of the 21st century, you could stop by the nearby ghost town of Ashcroft. Only a handful of its old buildings are still standing, but it’s enough to take you back to the good old days.

Cottonwood Pass

Distance from the Grizzly Rose: 2 ¾ hours, 144 miles

This pass sits between Buena Vista and Crested Butte, and it makes a pretty impressive crossing of the Continental Divide. It also allows you to drive (or do some walking) through some intense valleys full of Aspens.

Fall Leaves Change Color ColoradoDallas Divide

Distance from the Grizzly Rose: 5 ½ hours, 335 miles

This one is a bit of a drive to get to, but it’s worth it. It’s down on the San Juan Range near Telluride, and you’ll have a lot of scenery to enjoy before you get there. Also, the 14,158 foot Mount Sneffels sits off in the distance, so you might even be lucky to see some snow shimmering on the peak.

Grand Mesa

Distance from the Grizzly Rose: 4 ½ hours, 252 miles

This is another that’s a bit of a trek to get to, but you’ll mosey far out of the touristy areas, so you’re much more likely to have it all to yourself. Plus, you’ll get to follow the Colorado River for some of the drive.

Kebler Pass

Distance from the Grizzly Rose: 4 ½ hours, 200 miles

Kebler Pass is pretty close to Gunnison, CO, and heading all that way is rewarded by seeing one of the largest aspen groves in the world. These trees grow so close together because they’re all connected by a common root system, so it’s truly a spectacular site to see a large group of them changing color.

La Veta Pass

Distance from the Grizzly Rose: 3 hours, 200 miles

This drive goes up over 9,000 feet, and nature just engulfs you in an amazing way. There are groves of aspen trees mixed in with green pine trees, and the sharp contrast of colors makes them all seem more vivid.

Maroon Bells

Distance from the Grizzly Rose: 3 ½ hours, 167 miles

Once you get to these peaks surrounding a lake near Aspen, you’ll probably have a feeling of déjà vu. No you haven’t been here before, but these two fourteeners are arguably the most photographed mountains in North America – and for good reason. It’s breathtaking any time of year, but the changing leaves make the view even more perfect.

Peak to Peak Scenic and Historic Byway

Distance from the Grizzly Rose: 1 ½ hours, 70 miles

This historic road is the oldest scenic byway in Colorado dating back to the early 1900s. It starts in Estes Park, then it loops through some amazing scenery in the mountains for about 55 miles before hooking up with Interstate 70. It’s an easy trip from Denver, and a great loop to make in the autumn.

Colorado Leaves Color ChangeThe San Juan Skyway on the Million Dollar Highway

Distance from the Grizzly Rose: 6 hours, 340 miles

This 236-mile long byway is one of the prettiest roads on the planet. It loops through Telluride, Durango, Silverton, and a view other towns to give you a diverse set of amazing views. In short, this one takes quite the drive to get to, but it’s worth every second you’ll spend in the car.

Trail Ridge Road

Distance from the Grizzly Rose: 2 hours, 110 miles

This one is pretty close to home as the crow flies, and it just so happens to be the highest continuously paved road in North America. It peaks over 12,000 feet, so you’ll get to see trees and plant life at all levels of oxygen.

Time to Go!

There are quite a few options to choose from, but don’t procrastinate! These epic views only happen once a year, and they’re gone before you know it. It’s time to go hit the ol’ dusty trail!

Cross Country Horseback USA

Riding a Horse Across the USA

Have you ever ridden a horse? Did you feel like a true a cowboy roaming the Wild West? You should, but a few other modern rebels may have you beat. If you’re satisfied with your past experiences, then you should stop reading now, but if you want to open up a whole new world of possibilities, then you need to hear this!

Travel Horseback Across USA

Alex McNeill and Pepper

Alex McNeil is a man experienced in journeys that cover great distances, but he recently completed one that would make any old cowboy or cowgirl proud. He rode from Oregon to New Hampshire on the back of his trusty horse, Pepper. It was an adventure that covered about 4,000 miles through all types of landscapes, and although the challenges were major, the rewards were even greater.

Not an Experienced Rider

You probably assume that McNeil has been riding horses his whole life, and that’s what motivated him to do this. Well, that’s not the case. He had actually never ridden a horse before he decided on this track. But, that doesn’t mean he was making irresponsible or dangerous choices. He spent months learning everything he could about horses, and people who were much more knowledgeable about the animals took the time to work with him and Pepper to make sure they were prepared.

USA Cross Country Horse Travel

He’s Not the Only One

It may seem like long-distance trips on horseback went out of fashion when the Wild West was tamed, but there have been quite a few people recently who have made similar trips to the one McNeill and Pepper did. There have been plenty of pairs of human and horse who have successfully completed the journey, and there are sure to be more.

Allen Russel and King Hoppy Kono

This duo made their trek back in 1975, but they took a slightly different route. They started up at the Canadian border, and they traveled all the way down the Rocky Mountains until they got to Mexico. The total distance was a little bit shorter since it was only about 2,400 miles, but keeping to the mountains let them stay in remote areas most of the time. Plus, they didn’t have any of the handy tech gadgets we have today, so it required a lot of old-fashioned navigating. Time travel may be impossible, but a trip like this could make it seem like it’s not such a far-fetched idea.

Ride a Horse Across the USA

Bill Inman and Friends

Another more recent journey was made in 2008, and that’s when a man named Bill Inman set off with his wife and a few friends acting as a support group. Inman had become upset about how divided and full of controversy the country seemed on the news, so he wanted to do his part to bring the real spirit of America to the spotlight. Along the way, he met a ton of nice people, shared a lot of interesting stories, and successfully proved that our country is still full of amazing and happy people.

Safety of Riding a Horse so Far

Before you hop out the window and land on a horse, keep in mind that trips like this aren’t for everyone. They take a lot of planning. A lot. And there are quite a few risks involved.

Also, most importantly, you have to remember that it’s not just your life that will be impacted. You’re going to be responsible for an amazing animal, and the loyal horse will also be facing the dangerous risks.

Cross Country Horseback USA

Do the Proper Planning

If you’re thinking about grabbing your hat, boots, and horse to make a journey like this, make sure to do your homework before hopping in the saddle. You’ll be able to stop places for supplies part of the way, but you’ll have to be able to sustain yourself in the wilderness for much of the time. You’ll need food, water, clothing, shelter, medicine, and much more for both you and your horse.

Also, make sure you know how to navigate. Leading a horse through the wilds of America is pretty different from punching in an address on your car’s GPS. Plus, just knowing how to get somewhere doesn’t mean you can easily do it on a horse. And what about crossing major highways or large rivers? You need a bridge, but not all bridges are safe for horses to prance across.

But don’t let all of this scare you! Once you hit the trail, you’ll realize that you’re on the trip of a lifetime – just make sure you’re ready for it.

We’re Here, Horse or Not

We haven’t mentioned everyone who has made a similar journey on horseback, but you get the idea. It’s obvious that some of you are already dreaming of the wide-open spaces you’re going to spend your days in, but others are probably skeptical of making such a trip – and that’s just fine. Even if you don’t feel like going on such an intense journey, you’re still more than welcome to head down to Grizzly Rose. We’ll make you feel like a cowboy or cowgirl – no horse required.

Haunted Brown Palace Hotel

Denver: A Different Kind of Ghost Town

Colorado is full of ghost towns, but that title doesn’t always stand for what you think it does. Of course there are abandoned old mining towns scattered throughout the mountains, and we’ve already picked our favorites to visit out of those. However, Denver is a different kind of ghost town. There are a lot of spirits rumored to be haunting the hallways of local buildings and roaming the streets at night.

So read on, if you dare…

Haunted Brown Palace Hotel

Brown Palace Hotel

This luxury hotel was built in Denver in 1892, so is it really surprising that it has some ghosts inside? It has played host to numerous presidents, the Beatles, and quite a few other interesting people over the years. There was even a shootout among some high-society members in 1911! But, there are rumors of a train conductor ghost who walks through the halls, phone calls from empty rooms, crying babies that don’t exist, and even an invisible band that occasionally starts to play.

The Buckhorn Exchange

This restaurant has been serving the people of Denver since 1893, and it impressively holds the very first liquor license issued by the state of Colorado. The original owner had been part of Buffalo Bill Cody’s Wild West performances, and the restaurant was a sort of continuation of the Old West storytelling. However, the stories say that many of the miners and railroad men who used to eat here never actually left, and you can hear many of their spirits moving around. It’s even said that tables move on their own, so make sure to hold on to your drink!

Ghosts Cheesman Park

Cheesman Park

Ah yes, Cheesman Park. This is a great place to spend a sunny day, and you can even take a trip to the Denver Botanic Gardens.  Fair warning, though, it was a major cemetery for years before being turned into a park. A lot of the outlaws and other rough types buried here are said to roam the park at night, and they also haunt a lot of the nearby houses.

Croke-Patterson Mansion

Just one look at this 19th-century mansion, and it won’t be hard to believe that it’s haunted. Rumor has it that the original owner entered the house for the first time, had a spooky experience, and immediately sold it without ever returning. The workers renovating the house in the 1970s had to constantly battle mysterious changes to their work, and it seemed something was moving things around at night. They left two guard dogs to protect it, but they were found dead on the sidewalk the next morning. Apparently something scared them enough to jump from a window on the third floor.

Today, a little girl haunts the house, and one of the previous owners is also known to make appearances.

Denver Public Library

The opening scene in Ghostbusters convinced many of us that libraries are haunted, and the central branch of the Denver Public Library doesn’t disappoint. The ghost ironically hangs out in a basement full of children’s books, and it’s believed that he’s a former librarian who isn’t ready to leave yet.

Hotel Teatro

This may seem like a modern, luxury hotel, but it has a past that dates to 1911. The most famous ghost is a mechanic who often walks around with his tools, but it’s hard to say if he ever actually fixes anything.

Lumber Baron Inn

This mansion was built in 1890 by, surprisingly, a lumber baron. It was fancy back then, and it’s been returned to its glory, but it hit a rough patch in the 1970s where it was abandoned. The story goes that a 17-year-old girl ran away from home and was murdered here, and then her friend was also killed while looking for her. It doesn’t take a paranormal investigator to decide why those spirits would be unhappy.

Haunted Molly Brown House

Molly Brown House

This was once the home of “The Unsinkable Molly Brown” who did a lot of noteworthy things in her life – including surviving the sinking of the Titanic. She seems to have moved on, but there have been many reports of smelling her husband’s pipe smoke, seeing her cat walk by, and experiencing a spooky butler.

Haunted Denver Oxford Hotel

Oxford Hotel

This may be a fancy hotel nowadays, but a lot has happened since it was originally built in 1891. From ghost patrons in the bar to murdered guests, there have been quite a few spooky experiences over the years.

Are You a Skeptic?

Look, we get it. Some of these stories may seem like a stretch. Or, maybe you’re just a skeptic at heart, and you refuse to believe in ghosts altogether. Sure, these stories are just creaky old buildings full of people with wild imaginations. Fair enough. But, will you hang out at them alone in the dark to prove your point?

Any Other Ghostly Hangouts that We Missed?

For the non-skeptics in the group, what other haunted sights do we have around our city?

Fortunately, you’re safe and sound in the Grizzly Rose. So when you get too spooked out by spiritual sightings, come cheer up with some happy music!

Molly Brown House

Old West Museums in Denver

It’s well known that Denver has a wild history in the Old West. But, a lot of city slickers think that the modern vibe has taken away any feelings of wandering the prairie like the good old days. Fortunately, that’s not the case!

Grizzly Rose isn’t the only place where you’ll fit in with boots and a cowboy hat, so why not check out these Old West experiences spread all over Denver?

American Museum of Western Art

Bronco BusterThe Anschutz Collection at the American Museum of Western Art shows off art from the Old West. However, the artwork includes anything on the subject of the time period, not just art that was produced back in the 1800s. There are hundreds of paintings by quite a few different artists, and they have a wide range of topics depicting the various aspects of life before the industrialization of the country.

This museum is worth a visit, even if you’re not interested in the collection, because the building itself is a historical treasure. The Navarre Building was opened in 1880 across from the Brown Palace, and it started its life as a school for women. Ironically, it later turned into a sort of bordello where men could dine with prostitutes and take part in a bit of gambling. It’s really an ideal setting for art about the Wild West.

Black American West Museum and Cultural Center

This museum grew out of the childhood experiences of founder Paul M. Stewart. When playing “Cowboys and Indians” with his friends, he was always forced to join the second group because his friends claimed there were never any “black cowboys.” As he grew up, he learned that roughly one third of cowboys were actually black, and he created this museum that focuses on their lives, as well as the various jobs they did.

Buffalo Bill Grave and Museum

Buffalo Bill CodyThis museum in Golden is technically outside of Denver, but it has a view looking down on the city, so it’s close enough. William F. Cody was one of the most famous men of the period, and he solidified this reputation with his traveling Buffalo Bill’s Wild West shows.

If you’re concerned that it’s nothing more than a fancy gravestone, then stop your worrying. There’s also a nice museum with exhibits about Buffalo Bill’s life and other various issues of the era. It’s not quite the same as seeing one of his old performances, but the peaceful feelings on the mountainside make it worth it.

Denver Art Museum

If you think about it logically, it shouldn’t be a surprise that the Denver Art Museum would have a major section dedicated to art from the Old West. The collection is made up of pieces by quite a few well-known artists, and there are works by contemporary artists as well as those from the time period.

Four Mile Historic Park

Have you ever seen the oldest standing structure in Denver? If you haven’t, it’s time to head to Four Mile Historic Park. This house was built on the banks of Cherry Creek in 1859, and it had a series of owners in the first few years. When visiting, you can also check out animals and other exhibits on the 12 acres of this old farm.

History Colorado Center

History Colorado is a historical society that’s done an amazing job of adapting to the modern times.  They try to preserve the past and educate the public about it, and this interactive museum is a really fun way to immerse yourself in the history of the state of Colorado.

Molly Brown House Museum

Molly Brown HouseThis was the home of Molly Brown, a woman most famous for surviving the sinking of the Titanic. She was living in the mining town Leadville with her husband, a mining engineer, and he managed to find a gold discovery that put them into some great wealth. Visiting this museum can give you a good idea of how the rich classes lived in the Old West, and it’s an interesting change compared to the dusty lives of cowboys and gunslingers.

The Brown Palace Hotel

This one is more of a living museum, but it’ll give you another chance to see the kind of luxury brought around for the rich folk back in the day.  A lot of people became extremely wealthy in the Old West because of mining, railroads, and other major industry booms, and they needed a place to stay when they shuffled around the country.  This hotel was built in 1892 to serve that purpose, and it’s seen its fair share of rich and famous visitors over the years.

Time to Go Exploring!

That covers a lot of the major Old West museums in Denver, but there are plenty of smaller experiences and events that you can visit to take a trip back in time.  So, what are you waiting for?  Saddle up your horse and ride off into the sunset!

Colorado Whiskey Brands

Everyone knows that whiskey and country music go together like peanut butter and jelly, but did you know how great the distillery scene is in Colorado?  There are experts all around the state cooking up some liquids that would make any Wild West gunslinger proud. Here’s a list of some of our favorite Colorado whiskey brands.

Stranahan’s

Stranahan’s distillery is extremely proud of the fact that they’re the makers of the first Colorado-born whiskey.  The distillery is located in Denver, so it’s an easy one for locals to get to.  If you go take part in one of their tours, you’ll learn how the whole thing started from a burning barn, and you’ll get to taste some of their delicious concoctions.

Colorado Whiskey Brands

Laws Whiskey House

This is another local Denver distillery, and they are obsessed with making a small amount of high quality whiskey.  They aren’t interested in making simple drinks that will appeal to the masses, and they just want to create whiskey the way it should be.  You can take a tour of their distillery, and they’ll make sure you leave fully educated about the distilling process.


Leopold Bros.

Another fine distillery in Denver, but this one doesn’t totally limit itself to whiskey.  They make a whole assortment including whiskey, gin, vodka, liqueurs, fernet, absinthe, and more.  But the diverse selection doesn’t lead to any sacrifice in quality – they just like to have a lot of options.  Not only do they offer tours of the distillery, but they also have cocktail workshops.


Boulder Distillery

If you head up the road to Boulder, you can find another great distillery.  They started making vodka from an old family recipe that immigrated with the founder’s grandfather, but they quickly realized their life wasn’t complete without making whiskey, too.  They’re currently moving to a new location, but tours should start again soon.


Downslope

Downslope is down the road in Centennial, and it’s another one that has a few different types of spirits on the menu.  Some of their drinks are even pre-mixed into cocktails, so they make life easy for you.  If you want to feel a little more challenged, then you can take a step up from the standard tour and enroll in a distilling course and workshop.

Colorado Whiskey Distillers
Breckenridge Distillery

It doesn’t take Sherlock Holmes to figure out where this distillery is located, and their whiskey starts its life as snow.  They get the ingredients for their different spirits from local sources whenever possible, but they’re not afraid to import a few barrels from Kentucky.  Tours are offered in the distillery, but you can also pop into the tasting room downtown for a faster experience.


Peach Street Distillers

When you’re ready to head west, don’t forget to stop into Peach Street Distillers in Palisade.  The ingredients that go into their spirits are unique because of the Colorado desert valley in which they grow, and you taste it in the drinks.  They’re proud of the fact that they embrace the small-town life, and they’ll welcome you in their tasting room like family.


Golden Moon Distillery

Golden Moon is located in Golden, and they call their brown stuff “Gun Fighter Bourbon Whiskey.”  One of the biggest points of pride in this distillery is that the owner has a world-class research library of books about distilling.  He can prove that he has access to pretty much all of the knowledge there is, and you can taste the history.


Spirit Hound Distillers

This distillery in Lyons built their equipment around the goal of making the most pure and flavorful whiskey they could.  Their location in the foothills inspire them to follow the boldness of the west, so it’s worth the trip to any whiskey fan.

Colorado WhiskeyDancing Pines Distillery

If you head up to this distillery in Loveland, be prepared to fall into their relaxed way of enjoying life.  They named their company after the way they saw pine trees dancing in a snowstorm, and the experience helped them realize that there’s always peace in our scary world.  However, they go all out on their craftsmanship, so they produce some mighty fine whiskey.


Woody Creek Distillers

This mountain distillery is located in Basalt, and they really live off the land with their ingredients. If your quest was for vodka instead of whiskey, you’d be drinking something from potatoes they grew themselves.  But, they put hard work into all their drinks, and that’s the same attitude that grew the Wild West.


Woods High Mountain Distillery

Two brothers founded this distillery, and they were motivated by their love of outdoor adventures in the mountains of Colorado.  If you make a trip to their distillery, you can set your eyes on beautiful “Ashley.”  That’s the name that they gave to the antique German pot still that’s still going strong even after working since the 1880s.  With that kind of equipment, you just know the whiskey is great.

Family Friendly Dude Ranches in Colorado

A lot of people have resigned themselves to believing that living in a city means they’ll never live the life of a rancher.  But, that’s not true!  No matter where you live, you still have the opportunity to put on your boots and be a cowboy or cowgirl.

The way to do this, of course, is to head to a dude ranch.  So saddle up for the best family friendly options in Colorado.

What is a Dude Ranch?

A dude ranch is also often referred to as a guest ranch, and it’s a real ranch that allows city folk to come stay and experience the lifestyle.  In other words, they’re basically a Wild West hotel that will truly transport you into the country lifestyle.

These ranches really grew out of the fact that the Old West had finally disappeared, and people still wanted to feel that excitement.  Fortunately, this nostalgia hasn’t worn out, and there are still plenty of dude ranches you can visit in Colorado today.


Elk Mountain Ranch

Elk Mountain Dude RanchThis ranch is located near Buena Vista, Colorado, and that means it has an easy, beautiful drive from both Colorado Springs and Denver.  Elk Mountain Ranch limits the number of guests to 30, so you won’t be overrun by other people while you enjoy your week of play time in the San Isabel National Forest.  You’ll get to take part in horse riding, mountain biking, trap shooting, archery, a ropes course, and more!  Rates vary depending on what part of the summer you’d like to go, but they’re between $985 and $2125 for the all-inclusive, weekly price.


C Lazy U Ranch

C Lacy U RanchThis ranch near Granby is a great place to get the feeling of being a mountain cowboy, and it was voted the #1 resort in Colorado by Condé Nast Traveler.  Because of that, C Lazy U Ranch is an ideal choice for getting spoiled by a little luxury while immersing yourself in the Wild West.  The rates vary significantly depending on which lodging you choose, but you most often book per night (instead of weekly).



Rainbow Trout Ranch

Rainbow Trout RanchThis ranch sits down on the border with New Mexico, but it’s worth the trip south.  Rainbow Trout Ranch lets you mix in plenty of fly fishing and white water rafting with all of the horseback riding.  If that’s not enough, you can take an excursion to the Taos Pueblo adobe dwellings to walk through history. Prices range from $2,000 – $2,500 for a week during the summer.


Home Ranch

The Home Dude RanchHome Ranch sits about 45 minutes north of Steamboat Springs, and it’s a nice escape in both the summer and the winter.  They really embrace the snowy activities in the winter, so you can see how tough it was to be a year-round cowboy.  There are multiple different houses on the ranch, and the rates depend on which you’d most like to kick off your boots inside of every night.



Colorado Cattle Company

Colorado Cattle CompanyThe Colorado Cattle Company won the DudeRanch.com Signature Ranch Award in both 2014 and 2015.  Plus, this ranch in New Raymer, CO allows you to go one step beyond the standard dude ranch activities.  They offer a nightly “cowboy school” to perfect western skills like roping, and it’s a great way to have some extra chances to show off.  The rates go from about $2,200 to $2,500 for six nights with the all-inclusive package.



Drowsy Water Ranch

Drowsy Water Dude RanchDrowsy Water Ranch is another one near Granby, and it has managed to make the top 10 list of all-inclusive resorts by Parents.com and Trip Advisor.  It does a great job of making sure that ranchers of all ages will have plenty to do and enjoy together as a family.  The rates vary depending on the dates you’d like to go, but they are pretty similar to the other ranches around Colorado.



Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch

Sylvan Dude RanchSylvan Dale is in Loveland, so it’s just a short mosey from Denver.  Not only do they offer all the excitement of a guest ranch, but they’re also really starting to focus on sustainable agriculture.  Six-night stays in the summer are about $2,300 for each adult, but there are discounted periods in the spring and fall.


Black Mountain Ranch

Black Mountain Dude RanchBlack Mountain Ranch is in the heart of the Rocky Mountains near McCoy, Colorado.  They have most of the usual dude ranch pastimes, and they even have a few “adults only weeks” so you can live the true cowboy life without upsetting any little ones.  The rates vary depending on which cabin you’d like to call home.


Sundance Trail Guest and Dude Ranch

Sundance Trail Dude RanchThis ranch is near Red Feather Lakes close to the Wyoming border, and it’s the real deal.  They’ve simplified it compared to many other guest ranches, so you won’t have those modern distractions like swimming pools bothering you from the real experience of getting away from the city folk.  Also, they have lower rates than most other ranches, and a six-night stay for an adult only goes above $2,000 during the very peak season.


Majestic Dude Ranch

Majestic Dude RanchThis ranch takes you to another part of the state because it’s about half an hour from Durango.

There are a lot of great trails that they can take you horseback riding on, or you can go for a mixture of eras and have a paintball fight in an Old West setting.  The rate at Majestic Dude Ranch is generally $1,659 per week for an adult.