Guidebook for Westcliffe

Andrew & Yesenia
Andrew & Yesenia
Joined in 2013
Andrew & Yesenia

Guidebook for Westcliffe

Food Scene
Cozy place to catch a meal before taking a hike in the beautiful Sangre de Cristo mountains. Nestled among pine and aspen trees and within walking distance to the famous Rainbow Trail in addition to the Venable and Comanche Trail Heads. The fried chicken is delicious and they have a nice brunch on Sunday mornings. It's important to always call ahead for reservations.
8
locals recommend
Alpine Lodge
6848 Co Rd 140
8
locals recommend
Cozy place to catch a meal before taking a hike in the beautiful Sangre de Cristo mountains. Nestled among pine and aspen trees and within walking distance to the famous Rainbow Trail in addition to the Venable and Comanche Trail Heads. The fried chicken is delicious and they have a nice brunch on Sunday mornings. It's important to always call ahead for reservations.
Our local pizza joint with yummy specialty concoctions like the Conquistador, with green chile & chorizo, or the Hunter with wild game sausage.
10
locals recommend
Tony's Mountain Pizza
630 Main St
10
locals recommend
Our local pizza joint with yummy specialty concoctions like the Conquistador, with green chile & chorizo, or the Hunter with wild game sausage.
Delicious home made goods from an old fashion bakery. Operated by a Mennonite family five days a week (closed Sunday and Monday) you can depend this little bakery will deliver delicious tasting pastries and other food. They are as good as it gets!
11
locals recommend
Sugar & Spice Mountain Bakery
411 Main St
11
locals recommend
Delicious home made goods from an old fashion bakery. Operated by a Mennonite family five days a week (closed Sunday and Monday) you can depend this little bakery will deliver delicious tasting pastries and other food. They are as good as it gets!
Great spot to catch a bite and gaze through giant windows at the beautiful Sangre de Cristo mountain range.
7
locals recommend
Rancher's Roost Cafe
25 Main St
7
locals recommend
Great spot to catch a bite and gaze through giant windows at the beautiful Sangre de Cristo mountain range.
Great dive spot and one of the only restaurants serving up local grass fed beef.
18
locals recommend
Chappys Mountain View Bar & Grill
213 Main St
18
locals recommend
Great dive spot and one of the only restaurants serving up local grass fed beef.
This is our favorite coffee shop in town! They roast their own coffee beans and trust us, you will not be disappointed. Small and quaint with a nice little sunny patio.
Peregrine Coffee Roasters
102 South 7th Street
This is our favorite coffee shop in town! They roast their own coffee beans and trust us, you will not be disappointed. Small and quaint with a nice little sunny patio.
Sightseeing & Excursions
Bishop Castle is a great stop on the way to Lake Isabel. An elaborate and intricate "one-man project" named after its constructor, Jim Bishop, that has become a roadside attraction in central Colorado.
72
locals recommend
Bishop Castle
12705 CO-165
72
locals recommend
Bishop Castle is a great stop on the way to Lake Isabel. An elaborate and intricate "one-man project" named after its constructor, Jim Bishop, that has become a roadside attraction in central Colorado.
The Royal Gorge Bridge rises 956 feet above the roaring Arkansas River and extends 1,260 feet across the Royal Gorge, a 10-mile-long canyon characterized by over 1,000-foot tall, red-granite walls. While the bridge was built in 1929, the Arkansas River began carving the gorge more than 3 million years ago. In fact, the waterway continues its work today — increasing the Royal Gorge’s depth by about 1 foot every 2,500 years. Flanked by Colorado’s famous blue skies and the majestic Rocky Mountains, the “Grand Canyon of the Arkansas” is a sight you won’t find anywhere else in the world. http://www.colorado.com/articles/5-reasons-spend-day-royal-gorge-bridge-park
116
locals recommend
Royal Gorge Bridge & Park
4218 Co Rd 3A
116
locals recommend
The Royal Gorge Bridge rises 956 feet above the roaring Arkansas River and extends 1,260 feet across the Royal Gorge, a 10-mile-long canyon characterized by over 1,000-foot tall, red-granite walls. While the bridge was built in 1929, the Arkansas River began carving the gorge more than 3 million years ago. In fact, the waterway continues its work today — increasing the Royal Gorge’s depth by about 1 foot every 2,500 years. Flanked by Colorado’s famous blue skies and the majestic Rocky Mountains, the “Grand Canyon of the Arkansas” is a sight you won’t find anywhere else in the world. http://www.colorado.com/articles/5-reasons-spend-day-royal-gorge-bridge-park
Spectacular rail journey! In 1905, President Teddy Roosevelt described it best as “the trip that bankrupts the English language!” Experience not just a memorable train ride through the Colorado Rockies, but also enjoy a meal sourced locally and prepared fresh right on board the train for breakfast, lunch and dinner. First Class Dinner & Murder Mystery Trains available every Friday and Saturday. Kids ride free every Friday & Saturday evening in Coach, Club and Vista Dome.
25
locals recommend
Royal Gorge Route Railroad
330 Royal Gorge Boulevard
25
locals recommend
Spectacular rail journey! In 1905, President Teddy Roosevelt described it best as “the trip that bankrupts the English language!” Experience not just a memorable train ride through the Colorado Rockies, but also enjoy a meal sourced locally and prepared fresh right on board the train for breakfast, lunch and dinner. First Class Dinner & Murder Mystery Trains available every Friday and Saturday. Kids ride free every Friday & Saturday evening in Coach, Club and Vista Dome.
Mission: Wolf is a remote wolf sanctuary near Westcliffe housing up to 40 wolves and wolfdog crosses. They work to promote a better understanding of wolves in order to further reintroduction efforts and discourage attempts to keep wolves as pets. People are welcome to visit and not only see the wolves up close, but have an opportunity to interact with them as well. For more information, check out their website at missionwolf.org.
11
locals recommend
Mission: Wolf
13388 Co Rd 634
11
locals recommend
Mission: Wolf is a remote wolf sanctuary near Westcliffe housing up to 40 wolves and wolfdog crosses. They work to promote a better understanding of wolves in order to further reintroduction efforts and discourage attempts to keep wolves as pets. People are welcome to visit and not only see the wolves up close, but have an opportunity to interact with them as well. For more information, check out their website at missionwolf.org.
Sand dunes in Colorado? Yes, and the tallest in North America. Definitely a must see if you are up for driving for a couple hours. Check out their website for more details.
106
locals recommend
Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve
106
locals recommend
Sand dunes in Colorado? Yes, and the tallest in North America. Definitely a must see if you are up for driving for a couple hours. Check out their website for more details.
Echo Canyon is our favorite rafting outfitter for the Arkansas River at the Royal Gorge. From extreme white water rafting to calm family floats, Echo Canyon builds one-of-a-kind river rafting adventures. Regardless of your rafting comfort level or who you’ll be floating through the Royal Gorge with, they make it fun with great guides.
11
locals recommend
Echo Canyon River Expeditions
45000 U.S. 50
11
locals recommend
Echo Canyon is our favorite rafting outfitter for the Arkansas River at the Royal Gorge. From extreme white water rafting to calm family floats, Echo Canyon builds one-of-a-kind river rafting adventures. Regardless of your rafting comfort level or who you’ll be floating through the Royal Gorge with, they make it fun with great guides.
Hikes & Nature
Beautiful lake nestled in San Isabel National Forrest with plenty of activities including fishing, hiking, camping and sledding in the winter. The Lodge at San Isabel gift shop has boat rentals, 3 & 4 passenger row boats rent for $15.00 the first hour and $5.00 for each half hour after that. They supply life vests for each passenger.
12
locals recommend
Lake Isabel
12
locals recommend
Beautiful lake nestled in San Isabel National Forrest with plenty of activities including fishing, hiking, camping and sledding in the winter. The Lodge at San Isabel gift shop has boat rentals, 3 & 4 passenger row boats rent for $15.00 the first hour and $5.00 for each half hour after that. They supply life vests for each passenger.
Great lake to fish or just walk around trails. Close to town and with majestic views of the Sangre de Cristo mountains! The 4th of July is a great time to visit as they do fireworks above the lake in the evening.
6
locals recommend
DeWeese Reservoir
6
locals recommend
Great lake to fish or just walk around trails. Close to town and with majestic views of the Sangre de Cristo mountains! The 4th of July is a great time to visit as they do fireworks above the lake in the evening.
The most popular trail in the area, the 100-mile long Rainbow ranges between 9,000 and 10,000 feet. It winds along the eastern slope of the Sangres from Salida to south of Westcliffe. Parts of the trail are open to mountain bikes, ATV's and horses. The Rainbow can be accessed from different trailheads, including at Gibson Creek off CR 172, Duckett Creek off CR 198, Grape Creek off CR 119, Horn Creek off CR 120 and Comanche/Venerable Trail Head off CR 144. There are other trailheads near Coaldale & Salida.
Rainbow Trail
The most popular trail in the area, the 100-mile long Rainbow ranges between 9,000 and 10,000 feet. It winds along the eastern slope of the Sangres from Salida to south of Westcliffe. Parts of the trail are open to mountain bikes, ATV's and horses. The Rainbow can be accessed from different trailheads, including at Gibson Creek off CR 172, Duckett Creek off CR 198, Grape Creek off CR 119, Horn Creek off CR 120 and Comanche/Venerable Trail Head off CR 144. There are other trailheads near Coaldale & Salida.
This 10 mile trail leads to three alpine lakes situated near Spread Eagle Peak, which at 13,000 feet towers over the bodies of water like a watchful god. The trail starts at Gibson Creek off Hermit Road. Hikers walk north on the Rainbow Trail for .05 miles and turn west onto the Swift Creek trail. The grade is moderately steep with a lot of rocks, but the lakes thrive with cutthroat trout and camping areas are available nearby.
Lake of the Clouds
This 10 mile trail leads to three alpine lakes situated near Spread Eagle Peak, which at 13,000 feet towers over the bodies of water like a watchful god. The trail starts at Gibson Creek off Hermit Road. Hikers walk north on the Rainbow Trail for .05 miles and turn west onto the Swift Creek trail. The grade is moderately steep with a lot of rocks, but the lakes thrive with cutthroat trout and camping areas are available nearby.
This 12 mile trail leads to Venable Falls and passes underneath three 13,000 ft mountains, Comanche and Venable Peak and Spring Mountain. It also offers views of two 14,000 peaks, Challenger Point and Kit Carson Peak. It includes a section of footpath called the Phantom Terrace that runs along a ledge of Venable Peak and links the Venable Trail to the Comanche trail. This trail is named Phantom not for ghosts, but because it's difficult to see until the hiker walks right up on it. http://www.colorado.com/articles/hidden-colorado-gem-venable-comanche-trails-loop Getting There: From Westcliffe, drive south on CO 69 to Schoolfield Road (CR 140) and turn right. Go about six and a half miles to
Venable Lakes
This 12 mile trail leads to Venable Falls and passes underneath three 13,000 ft mountains, Comanche and Venable Peak and Spring Mountain. It also offers views of two 14,000 peaks, Challenger Point and Kit Carson Peak. It includes a section of footpath called the Phantom Terrace that runs along a ledge of Venable Peak and links the Venable Trail to the Comanche trail. This trail is named Phantom not for ghosts, but because it's difficult to see until the hiker walks right up on it. http://www.colorado.com/articles/hidden-colorado-gem-venable-comanche-trails-loop Getting There: From Westcliffe, drive south on CO 69 to Schoolfield Road (CR 140) and turn right. Go about six and a half miles to
Awesome hiking/climbing trail closer to our cabin. Make sure you wear your study hiking boots for the rugged and steep access trail. Note: If you are climbing, the cliffs are closed to climbing April 1st to August 1st for peregrine falcon habitat.
East Bear Gulch
Awesome hiking/climbing trail closer to our cabin. Make sure you wear your study hiking boots for the rugged and steep access trail. Note: If you are climbing, the cliffs are closed to climbing April 1st to August 1st for peregrine falcon habitat.
Great trail and about 20 minutes from our cabin off of Oak Creek Grade Rd (CR Rd 143). Oak Creek campground is located by the trailhead. You can find parking for the Lion Canyon trailhead at the rear of the campground.
Lion Canyon
Great trail and about 20 minutes from our cabin off of Oak Creek Grade Rd (CR Rd 143). Oak Creek campground is located by the trailhead. You can find parking for the Lion Canyon trailhead at the rear of the campground.
Entertainment & Activities in Westcliffe
Go back in time and see what a movie theater used to be like. The historic Jones Theater was originally a rootin’, tootin’ saloon and pool hall in the 1880s, where town rowdies could hang out and spend the money they got from mining silver in nearby Silver Cliff and Rosita.
6
locals recommend
The Jones Theater
119 Main St
6
locals recommend
Go back in time and see what a movie theater used to be like. The historic Jones Theater was originally a rootin’, tootin’ saloon and pool hall in the 1880s, where town rowdies could hang out and spend the money they got from mining silver in nearby Silver Cliff and Rosita.
Colorado outfitters for horseback riding, hunting guides, fly fishing, wagon rides & much more. One of the oldest ranches in Colorado, they are on the way to the cabin about 6 miles away. They do trips to the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, Great Sand Dunes National Park and the Wet Mountains.
Bear Basin Ranch
473 Co Rd 271
Colorado outfitters for horseback riding, hunting guides, fly fishing, wagon rides & much more. One of the oldest ranches in Colorado, they are on the way to the cabin about 6 miles away. They do trips to the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, Great Sand Dunes National Park and the Wet Mountains.
Fun spot for bowling. They also have a pool table and other arcade games. It's the same location for Ranchers Roost Cafe, so you can order classic American fare while you bowl.
Cliff Lanes
25 Main St
Fun spot for bowling. They also have a pool table and other arcade games. It's the same location for Ranchers Roost Cafe, so you can order classic American fare while you bowl. 
The Smokey Jack Observatory is a beautiful and tremendous result of the Dark Skies Initiative here in Westcliffe, Co that seeks to bring the community together to voluntarily work to eliminate light pollution and preserve our night skies as a valuable asset. The Westcliffe and Silver Cliff area is now the highest certified Dark Sky community, and one of just over 20 worldwide, including the first one in Colorado. Highly recommended and definitely one of the *must do* activities in the Wet Mountain Valley! To reserve the SJO for a private star party, visit darkskiescolorado.org
7
locals recommend
Smokey Jack Observatory
115 S Adams Blvd
7
locals recommend
The Smokey Jack Observatory is a beautiful and tremendous result of the Dark Skies Initiative here in Westcliffe, Co that seeks to bring the community together to voluntarily work to eliminate light pollution and preserve our night skies as a valuable asset. The Westcliffe and Silver Cliff area is now the highest certified Dark Sky community, and one of just over 20 worldwide, including the first one in Colorado. Highly recommended and definitely one of the *must do* activities in the Wet Mountain Valley! To reserve the SJO for a private star party, visit darkskiescolorado.org
Essentials
Great local organic foods co-op that also sells Sangre's Best beef, our local high mountain, open pastured, grass fed meat. You can join the co-op to receive discounts and the ability to order cases of any items sold. This is the best and only choice in town for organic foods and health supplements.
Sunflower Natural Foods
405 Main St
Great local organic foods co-op that also sells Sangre's Best beef, our local high mountain, open pastured, grass fed meat. You can join the co-op to receive discounts and the ability to order cases of any items sold. This is the best and only choice in town for organic foods and health supplements.
Located in the beautiful Wet Mountain Valley along the Sangre De Cristo Mountain range, the Custer County Medical Center is dedicated to serving the medical needs of the residents and visitors to Custer County and surrounding areas.
Custer County Medical Center
704 Edwards Ave
Located in the beautiful Wet Mountain Valley along the Sangre De Cristo Mountain range, the Custer County Medical Center is dedicated to serving the medical needs of the residents and visitors to Custer County and surrounding areas.
Shopping
Florence, the Antique Capitol of Colorado, with a 20-block downtown has a grocery and drug store, as well as a local art center and a remarkable collection of antique stores. Just west of town hangs the world's highest suspension bridge, the Royal Gorge Bridge as well as the town of Cañon City.
10
locals recommend
Florence
10
locals recommend
Florence, the Antique Capitol of Colorado, with a 20-block downtown has a grocery and drug store, as well as a local art center and a remarkable collection of antique stores. Just west of town hangs the world's highest suspension bridge, the Royal Gorge Bridge as well as the town of Cañon City.
This is by far the best shop on Main Street. If you're looking for any hiking and other outdoor activities gear, this is the place to go. Thomas, the owner, is a great resource. He is a hiking and climbing expert and can help with advise, wether it's climbing up the Sangres or hiking the Rainbow trail. He also carries official Dark Skies apparel. Definitely worth checking out.
All the Range Mountaineering and Outdoor Gear
210 Main St
This is by far the best shop on Main Street. If you're looking for any hiking and other outdoor activities gear, this is the place to go. Thomas, the owner, is a great resource. He is a hiking and climbing expert and can help with advise, wether it's climbing up the Sangres or hiking the Rainbow trail. He also carries official Dark Skies apparel. Definitely worth checking out.
This is a wonderful art gallery, but my favorite part is the rock shop inside. Great finds at great prices.
Sangre De Cristo Gallery
114 Main St
This is a wonderful art gallery, but my favorite part is the rock shop inside. Great finds at great prices.

Traveler advice

Getting around

The Natural Water Slide at San Isabel National Forest

On the opposite side of Lake Isabel (dam side), you can see pathways that mark the ground sloping into the forest. It’s a steep descent that flattens into a meadow of tall grass and aspen. The path heads to a creek and continues on the other side. Keep going till you find the natural water slide, where over wide, smooth rock faces, a cold creek rushes and then drops with a short waterfall into a pool. Great for cooling off after a hot, sunny hike. https://www.outtherecolorado.com/adventures/the-natural-water-slide-in-san-isabel-national-forest/article_47217221-2707-51ee-9341-0d1d4e198d67.html