Exploring Southwest Colorado
This post is sponsored by Backcountry
I’ve lived my entire life in Colorado. I grew up in Golden, went to school up in northern Colorado, then moved to Denver after college. And in that timeframe, I’ve explored many different places in the mountains. BUT I usually cap my Colorado driving capacity at four hours, especially in the winter. Driving in the snow does not intrigue me. Living does. But when my best friend decided to move to Durango, about six hours away from Denver, I finally booked a flight to visit her. Because I ain’t driving six hours. No way. A forty minute flight is much more my style.
One of the cool things about being in Durango is that you’re close to a bunch of other amazing mountain towns. You can easily drive to Telluride, stop in Ridgway and marvel at the beauty of Ouray, all while driving through the Million Dollar Highway that’s filled with some of the most spectacular views of all time. That is, when it’s not snowing. If it is, the highway closes down since they refuse to put in guardrails. Guardrails are such silly lifesaving tool. And even though you’re hours away from Denver, you’re still in Colorado, which means you’ll find delicious food throughout. In Durango, we ate at The Yellow Carrot which has a million gluten free options, Pop Sushi for the tastiest poke bowl, and Raider Ridge where you can build your own burrito bowl! Then while we drove throughout the mountains, we had brunch at The Butcher & The Baker where we had the most decadent and delicious gluten free waffle, and then stopped in Ridgway for insanely creative tacos at Taco Del Gnar. Everything was so delicious and it was so easy to find meals that fit my dietary restrictions! Colorado loves three things – the great outdoors, food, and dogs. Which is why I stay here. What else do you need?
Oh I know – warm ass clothes!! If you’ve followed along here on the blog for a while, you probably know that I’m pretty bad at being a Coloradan. Because, well, I’m not huge in to biking or hiking or ice climbing or kayaking or rafting or skiing or really just being outside in the winter. Ya know, all the things that the outdoor enthusiasts are interested in out here. BUT I do like visiting new places, eating all the things and seeing beautiful views. So when I booked my ticket to Durango, I made sure to place an order with Backcountry before I left. Because if you’re ever in Southern Colorado come winter time, you better be wrapped up in cozy, warm clothes and shoes or you’ll probably be pretty miserable. And since my handy dandy weather app told me it would be about 15 degrees most mornings, I made sure to pack my suitcase with 50 pounds of warm clothes.
And it definitely paid off because every morning was real frigid, especially in Telluride when we grabbed brunch then drove through Ouray to see the Box Canyon Waterfall that was buzzing with people during their annual Ice Climbing Festival. These are things I would never know about if I weren’t visiting Durango and exploring new places. And with my items I recently purchased on Backcountry, I was able to stay nice and warm throughout our day of exploring, even when we tried to get a small hike in to see a frozen waterfall.
And that’s something I definitely take for granted living here in Colorado my whole life. Everywhere you turn in Southwest Colorado is more stunning than the last. And sometimes I forget that not everywhere looks like this. Here in Colorado, we are so lucky to have the great outdoors right outside our window. And because of that, so many of us spend most of our days outdoors, no matter what the weather brings. While I was in Durango, I noticed that everyone was outdoors, no matter the temperature. People rode their bikes to work in 15 degree weather, people worked out in tank tops in below freezing temps, and everyone had their snow boots on at all times. All because they wanted to be outside as much as possible. And I can bet money on it that they are finding some amazing apparel and gear from Backcountry to make sure that every moment they spend outside is a great moment. That’s something about Coloradans, they don’t miss a minute of living their active and healthy life outside.
Now let’s talk about the Backcountry outfit I wore while we explored Telluride and Ouray, because this look definitely saved my little bum and toes from getting too cold and miserable that day. One of my favorite parts about Backcountry is that you can find EVERY different style of winter boot. I’ve found some of my favorite Sorel’s, I love how many UGG boots they have to choose from, and they also have a bunch of boots from The North Face. And that’s just the start of it. I found the cutest Sperry Top-Sider Powder Valley Winter Boots and was even more excited for them once I slid them on. They are insanely soft and comfortable inside with the faux fur lining, plus they are covered in waterproof suede that seals out snow and slush. I took these boots on a short hike in some deep snow and as soon as I wiped away the snow, the boot looked like no moisture had even touched it.
Next up, all the layers! If you’re going to Colorado at any point, bring layers. Because you never know what the day has in store. For my first layer, I found a Campshire Jacket from The North Face that is made with Sherpa fleece to create the softest feel on your skin and warmth all throughout the day. Then I snagged a Backcountry Murdock 850 Down Jacket that is absolutely the best for layering. It’s spacious enough to fit a thick jacket underneath, but still warm enough on its own because of the high fill rating. But what I love about it the most is that it’s incredibly packable so it was easy to stuff in my suitcase without taking up much room or weight.
And last but not least, two staple pieces that I will continue to wear all winter long – these Beyond Yoga Desert Border High Waisted Midi Leggings and this Columbia Winter Challenger Trapper. I’ve talked about Beyond Yoga apparel in so many different posts because they really have some of the best activewear pieces out there. And these Desert Border Leggings are stretchy while still form-fitting and they are just a tad thicker than their usual apparel, which was perfect for the mountains. And even though this trapper gives me definite National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation vibes, I’m obsessed with it! My husband even wants a matching one, he loves it so much, too!
This trip to Durango was a reminder of how lucky I am to live in such a beautiful state that has so much to offer. I remember my parents took me on a road trip when I was itty bitty to see everything Colorado has, but I definitely didn’t appreciate it then. This trip to visit my BFF reminded me that I need to take more adventures like this one, to reconnect with the ones I love the most, all while reconnecting with nature. I may not ice climb or ski or bike my way through the snow, but I definitely can enjoy how much our beautiful state has to offer just by exploring it. And that’s why working with Backcountry is so amazing. They want their customers to do just that. They want them to have the best experiences outside while connecting with nature and the people around them. Backcountry even partners with The Nature Conservancy to support its mission of protecting the lands and waters. You can help their cause by donating to The Nature Conservancy upon checkout at Backcountry.com! It’s such a simple way to give back to the earth, which has given us so so much.
If you haven’t shopped at Backcountry yet, you’re going to be so surprised at how much you can find. They have such a huge variety of brands and products no matter what type of weather you’re going to encounter. Maybe you’re heading to the beach and need a swimsuit and surfboard – Backcountry has it. Maybe you’re running a race and need the best sneakers and recovery food – Backcountry has it. Or maybe you’re just like me and want to feel cute while exploring the great outdoors – Backcountry has all of that. Plus they have an expert team of staff members that are available 24/7 (via chat, email, and phone) who are here to help you find exactly what you need for your next adventure or activity. The team is built from former Olympians, athletes, and guides who have a ton of expertise and knowledge and can steer you towards the best gear for your needs. Or they can just help you out with a return or exchange. No matter what, you’ll talk to someone in minutes! And the best part of all, Backcountry offers free 2-day shipping on all orders over $50 across the country. Plus, if you use code PALEO15 right now, you’ll receive 15% off your first Backcountry purchase!
I’ve been lucky enough to work with Backcountry quite a few times and I love them even more each time I shop with them! They keep me looking and feeling my best, no matter what activity is on my horizon. I wonder what my next order will look like. Finger crossed it’s filled with swimsuits for my next beach adventure! I’m ready for some warm weather now. Only time will tell!
This post is brought to you by Backcountry. I may be compensated for this post, but all opinions are my own. This compensation helps with expenses to keep this blog up and running! Thank you for all your support!
Oh, Hi! I’m Juli.
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2 thoughts on “Exploring Southwest Colorado”
Yay!! I’m glad you finally made it to Telluride!! Did you love it? The Butcher and the Baker is one of my favorites!! Their weekend brunch is fantastic!! We’re moving from Cali to GJ this summer and we’re so excited to be within driving distance of all the places we love (we’re not native Californians though… so no worries… lol). Durango is such a cute town too – next time you go – I highly recommend the Cypress Cafe!!
i wouldn’t say i loved it haha. it was beautiful for sure, but i don’t like the cold and i don’t snowboard anymore, so small mountain towns don’t excite me much haha.