Planning a family vacation is rough. It seems as if everyone has their own opinion about where the destination should be, and very rarely does everyone come to a civilized group decision. And of course, once you reach your vacation spot, someone is always upset that their voice wasn’t heard. It’s tricky to find a place that appeals to everyone in the family — unless you decide on a mountain getaway to Southern Colorado! When you find yourself lodging in Westcliffe, you’ll find activities that every member of the household will enjoy, even if it’s just soaking in the splendor of nature found in the Wet Valley and Sangre de Cristo mountain range.

It doesn’t have to be a family trip either. Westcliffe is ideal for romantic weekend getaways and is guaranteed to enchant any outdoor enthusiast. When you book a room at the Lamp Post Lodge or the nearby Hillside Cottages in Silver Cliff, you’ll find yourself surrounded by places to go and things to do. Honestly, one trip won’t cut it!

In our previous posts, we’ve discussed the inimitable experience of witnessing the night sky at the Smokey Jack Observatory and becoming one with the wolves at Mission: Wolf. In this blog, we’ll talk about the San Isabel National Forest, and the bountiful outdoor activities you’ll find there any time of year!

The San Isabel National Forest

Just west of Westcliffe, you’ll find easily accessible campgrounds and starting points for countless outdoor adventures in San Isabel National Forest. Being one of 11 national forests in Colorado, this one is quite possibly the least visited, however, this is not due to lack of awe-inspiring scenery and activities. It’s common for drivers passing by to snap a quick photo of the beautiful area, but not many people pull off to explore. All the better for you! When you stay in Westcliffe, it’s an easy adventure to take and you won’t have to worry about crowded hiking trails or lakes populated by other visitors. Instead, you can fully enjoy the peace and solitude of the forest.


You’ll be surrounded by massive peaks as you make your way through San Isabel National Forest. In fact, the area boasts 19 of Colorado’s 54 fourteeners! For those that don’t know, a fourteener is a mountain peak that exceeds 14,000 feet in elevation. In fact, Mount Elbert is located in the national forest and it has the unique distinction of being the highest point in Colorado!  

Something For Everyone    

San Isabel National Forest is one of the most beautiful areas not just in Southern Colorado, but also the entire state! With 1,117,131 acres, it’s obvious that you couldn’t explore the area in just one trip, or two, or three — you get the point. With over 200 miles of hiking trails, the forest is a haven for hike and bike fanatics. Two of the most popular trails include the Rainbow Trail, which is a 29-mile trail that is dog accessible, able to be used for horseback riding, and is open year-round for fans of snowshoeing during the winter. The Venable and Comanche Trail Loop is another favorite. These are great hikes to start with, but do some exploring! Your options are nearly unlimited, so choose whatever path works best for you!

Hunting is also a very popular activity in the area. Whether you’d like to go in alone or go with a guide from a local hunting outfitter is up to you! There are also countless lakes to go swimming or boating in, and during the winter season, Monarch Mountain is a quick 45-minute drive away!

So start packing up your hiking gear and get ready for a mountain vacation of a lifetime! Be sure to continue to follow our blogs and keep on adding activities to your Southern Colorado vacation itinerary! We can’t wait to welcome you to your home away from home. Book your room now!