A few weeks ago, I took a road trip to Crawford, CO. and I want to share a little bit about amazing hikes, traveling during a pandemic, and how we can make 2020 just a little bit brighter. I know everyone has their own opinions and comfort zones about travel during the pandemic so please keep that in mind while reading this post. You do what’s best for you!
Hitting The Road
The drive from Salt Lake City to where I stayed in Crawford, CO. took a little less than 6-hours (which feels a little longer with two dogs). Right now I feel very strongly that an airplane is not for me and even driving out of state had me a little on edge. Here are some of the precautions I recommend taking when going on a road trip: wear a mask anywhere in public, even if you are outside, hand sanitizer at the ready, and minimal stops for food/snacks. I made it a priority to pack water, snacks, and of course treats for the dogs so that we wouldn’t need to stop more than a couple of times on this trip.
Where to Stay
We rented an Airbnb with a couple of friends for 8-days that was on a small farm. This was the best choice because we didn’t have to share the space with anyone else and were able to cook from home rather than going out to eat every day. Bonus for me: this space was amazing. It is a loft that is literally on top of horse stables. Every single night we had the most magical sunsets.
Some downsides to where we stayed were that we had spotty service at best and the wifi was extremely slow. Please keep this in mind when you are booking your stay if you plan to work while you are there. I spoke to the owners of the property and they have already made changes to upgrade their router and change internet services (plus they gave us a partial refund).
Hikes and Things To Do
Crawford, CO. is a very small town and I didn’t spend much time exploring besides going to a grocery store. Luckily, I did do a lot of outdoor activities including hikes, scenic drives, and stand up paddleboarding. All of the recommendations I am giving are 100% dog friendly, except one.
Crystal Creek Trail: is a 3 mile out and back trail that is moderate and has stunning views of a river. This trail was completely empty when I went on a Saturday morning. Be sure to bring your camera for this hike.
Rim Drive: is a scenic drive that I highly recommend taking at sunset. It is located in the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, which is a National Park I had never heard of before this trip and it is mind-blowing. Black Canyon of the Gunnison reminds me of a mini Grand Canyon. If you ever get the chance, be sure to visit this park, I didn’t see more than a handful of cars or hikers at this National Park.
Chasm View Nature Trail: is less of a hike and more of a stroll. But the views at the end of this trail are unmatched. We were the only ones on this trail and sat at the overlook right at sunset with no other visitors. It is truly mind-boggling to stare down into the Black Canyon, which got its name, not because of the dark color of the rocks but because it is so steep and narrow that some parts of this canyon never get sunlight.
Crawford State Park: this park offers lots of activities. I hiked around the reservoir and took lots of pictures. The state park is beautiful and offers bike paths, hiking trails, beaches, boating, stand up paddleboarding, fishing, and the list goes on and on.
Disk Golf: my boyfriend has recently gotten very into disk golf and so when we found out there was a course nearby, we went to play. Please note, this is the only place dogs aren’t allowed. If you are like me and have never played disk golf, I want to warn you that this course was a little confusing and you do need to bring your own disks. That said, it is a great sport for social distancing and we had a good time.
Stand Up Paddleboarding: on our last day in Colorado we decided to take to the water and we rented Stand Up Paddle boards from a local place in Crawford. We drove a little over an hour to Blue Mesa Reservoir and spent the day paddle boarding and lounging. There are lots of little beaches to choose from and the one we picked had no crowds. Blue Mesa is beautiful and is the largest body of water in Colorado. I think it would be fun to rent a pontoon boat for a day here too.
Normally I would have a where to eat section but I ended up cooking at home almost the entire stay. The only place I ate at worth noting was a taco place in Grand Junction on my way into Crawford, called Taco Party. If you ever find yourself in Grand Junction and you love tacos, go there. I almost forgot to mention that there is fresh fruit everywhere in Crawford and we were lucky enough to be there for peach season.
Outside of the hiking and time by the water, I spent the week working during the day, reading, and playing games. It has been a long time since I have really been around friends for more than a couple of hours at a time. Here are some of the games we played during the week (maybe you can add some of these to your home):
- Uno (I forgot how much fun Uno is)
- Connect Four
I would love to hear from you if you have done any travel this year and what your experience was like. By the time we got home, I was feeling a little on edge still but a lot better than I had been leading up to this trip. I think it’s important to find the little joys even in a time that feels really scary. I know that this road trip is one that will stand out in a year that has been filled with a lot of isolation and very little exploration. Even if you are only able to explore a new neighborhood or try takeout from a restaurant you’ve never been to, I hope that those little moments of adventure brighten your day.