If you’re a lover of landscapes, there are few places like Colorado. From high mountain peaks to small towns reminiscent of the old west to natural wonders in national parks, Colorado is a veritable playground for outdoor enthusiasts and photographers alike.
But, if you think you’ve seen all the beauty that Colorado has to offer, you’re wrong! The Centennial State has a few tricks up its sleeve that give travelers and photographers vantage points to view its unparalleled beauty in very unique ways. Have a look at three of our favorite ways to see Colorado.
Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad
Opened in 1882, the Durango-Silverton line was originally used to transport gold and silver that was mined in the San Juan Mountains. Now, the famous railroad is used exclusively for tourist activities, hauling passengers in open-air cars pulled by a steam engine. The railroad winds through some of Colorado’s most breathtaking landscapes, including high mountain peaks, narrow canyons, and along pristine mountain rivers. In short, it’s a landscape photographer’s paradise!
But the train ride between Durango and Silverton is just part of the package. Durango itself is a treasure trove of history, prime with ample opportunities for photographers to document historic buildings and landmarks that are of critical importance to the state’s history. What’s more, there are other tourist railroads in the area - the Georgetown Loop and the Cumbres-Toltec line - to whet your appetite for a unique way to see the sights and give you even more opportunities to document Colorado’s beauty with your camera.
Summit of Pikes Peak
One of Colorado’s claims to fame is its collection of mountain peaks rising over 14,000 feet above sea level. There are 53 “fourteeners” in Colorado, and likely none of them is as famous as Pikes Peak. Rising more than 8,000 feet above Colorado Springs, Pikes Peak is a prominent fixture on the western horizon. Photographers swarm the area year-round to photograph the mountain from afar, but most especially in the fall when the foliage in the valley below begins to burst with color.
And though that’s certainly a spectacular view, one would be remiss if they didn’t summit the mountain to see how that point of view makes for a stunning landscape photo. While the mountain is 14,115 feet high, it’s one of the most accessible of the Colorado fourteeners. A cog railroad - the Manitou and Pikes Peak Railway - takes visitors to the summit year-round. There is also vehicle access to the summit via the Pikes Peak Highway. Of course, you can also hike to the summit too.
Regardless of how you get there, viewing the high mountain landscape of Colorado from the top of one of its tallest and most famous mountains is certainly an experience worth having. The photos you take from the summit are worth having too!
Mesa Verde National Park
Though it isn’t as famous as some of the other national parks in the American West, Mesa Verde is no slouch when it comes to gorgeous landscapes and vibrant history for photographers to document. Created in 1906 by President Theodore Roosevelt, Mesa Verde National Park is a World Heritage Site that protects some of the most important Ancestral Puebloan archaeological sites in the country. Among the most visible and photographed areas of the park is the Cliff Palace, one of the largest cliff dwellings discovered in North America.
But don’t think of Mesa Verde as a place only for landscape photography and documentary photos of archeological sites. There are plenty of opportunities to hone your skills in everything from wildlife photography to portraiture as well. Better still, you can strive to combine some of these things - like landscapes and portraiture - to create compelling photos that tell a strong story about what the Mesa Verde area means from a cultural and spiritual standpoint.
Explore These Areas - And More!
When faced with the prospect of seeing so many incredible places, it can be a struggle to identify just how you’ll see everything you want to see and how you will take all the photos you want to take.
An easy way to explore this beautiful part of the U.S. is to join up with Special Interest Tours and let them take care of all the details for you. Ride in style as you explore all of the sights outlined above (and plenty more, too) on Colorado’s gorgeous tourist trains. Stay in comfortable accommodations along the way without having to worry about making reservations. You don’t even have to worry about meals - two meals a day are arranged by Special Interest Tours so you can focus on experiencing the beauty of the area and taking photos along the way.
The 2017 Colorado Railways Tour has two dates: May 30-June 7, 2017 and September 24-October 2, 2017. Payment is due in full by March 15 and July 15, 2017, respectively. Don’t miss out on this incredible opportunity to see Colorado like you’ve never seen it before. Contact Special Interest Tours today to learn more.