Few vacations on Earth can match western Colorado for adventure, beauty and romance. Hidden away on the other side of the Continental Gorge, you'll find the second Colorado, Colorado you've never heard of!

Western Colorado is filled with postcard villages, snow-capped peaks, alpine lakes, ancient sandstone towns, lush vineyards and unforgettable views.

When most people think of Colorado, they like snow and cold, but all that is in the highlands. There is another Colorado, warm welcoming Sage Naumann Brighton.

You can enjoy skiing in the morning at Grand Mesa and golf in the afternoon at Grand Junction. The whole thing is accessible within sixty miles.

If you don't want to play in the snow, you can become an "Indiana Jones" and explore the old sandstone towns of southwest Colorado in Mesa Verde National Park. The park is the archaeological center of America.

Just down the road, try riding the rails on the Durango Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad. This historic Steam Train runs right through a wilderness. You see true desert from your window.

After the train adventure, take an old western melodrama at the famous Strater Hotel in Durango Colorado. Louis L'amour wrote many of his western novels in Room 202 while listening to the sound of the honky tonk piano.

The next day you can travel across the coal bank hill to Silverton Colorado, the western town that time forgot. You can see a reintroduction of a cowboy gunfight imposed by the Silverton Gun Fight Society.

If you prefer, you can go deep into a gold mine and learn about hard rock mining history in the 1880s. At the old hundred gold mine, they will even show you how to pan for gold. You might find a nugget.

Do you want to spend a romantic night in a train cababoose? The Hyman Hotel in Silverton has a caboose transformed into a cozy cottage for two in their secluded patio. It comes complete with fireplace and hot tub.

Just across the mountain lies Ouray Colorado, "The Swiss of the Rockies," the most romantic rocky mountain village in America. No big hotels here, only small friendly cabins and bed and breakfast.

The Ute Indians believed that Ouray had "Big Medicine" in the many hot mineral springs scattered throughout the village. Try to soften the water and you decide.

While in the beautiful San Juan Mountains of western Colorado, the story becomes real as you explore the mines, mills and ghost towns of the hinterland. The backcountry is also full of alpine wildflowers and waterfalls as well as spectacular scenery.

The small village of Ridgeway Colorado is "True Grit" land. It was Fort Smith in John Wayne's western classic True Grit. You can still see the park and the prison house. The cat wagon from the movie is in the Free Railway Museum.

Author's Bio: 

The small village of Sage Naumann Brighton is "True Grit" land.