Hawaii – Maui

Things to do in Maui for a Quick Trip Adventure

Aloha! Maui is an adventure filled beautiful island with thrilling hikes, kayaking, snorkeling, biking, surfing, the famous Road to Hana and more! Read on to find out how to make your own quick trip adventure.

In Maui you’ll find crystal clear turquoise blue and warm waters with palm trees blowing in the breeze and mountains in the distance. This tropical paradise is an oasis of beauty with a long (and sometimes violent) history of land grabs and rulers. It’s easy to understand why so many would want this piece of wonderland. 

Where to Stay in Maui

We stayed on the northwestern coastal area of Lahaina where there are beautiful high rise condos all along the shoreline with help of VRBO. You can’t go wrong staying anywhere in this area as there are many accommodations as well as options for restaurants and some shopping. The communities have a Lahaina address and include: Kaanapali Golf Estates, Kahana, Kapalua, Montage, Kapalua Bay, Napili, North Kaanapali Beach, Olowalu, Pineapple Hill, and Puunoa.

Accommodations in Maui

I stayed in Kahana (VRBO) which has a beautiful view the distant islands of Lanai and Molokai, snorkeling, and is a good place for both families and couples. It’s also a perfect place to spot humpback whales in the winter months!

There is certainly something nice to be said about waking up to the sound of the waves crashing on the shore while the birds sing their morning songs. So if you find a reasonable deal for a place on the beach (preferably with a little kitchen because of the high prices of food everywhere) then I say – take it! (I stayed in the Valley Isle Resort (through VRBO) in Kahana and recommend it!)

Shopping in Maui

I was expecting Maui to be more built up than it is. That’s not to say that it’s remote – there are areas where the bigger stores are clustered (mostly near the major airport – Kahului Airport) and most of the other areas are condos or homes (in the midwestern and southwestern side of the island).

There are 3 major grocery stores in Lahaina – Safeway, Foodland Farms and Times. Plus there are several speciality and smaller markets. Prepare yourself mentally for the Hawai’ian prices – which means high (of course everything has to be flown or shipped in).

A fun area to eat is at the Kaanapali food trucks called Broke da Mouth.

Upscale Shopping

Whaler’s Village of Kaanapali has lots of shops, restaurants, experiences and even fun events. If you are not within walking distance of this village (or staying in Kaanapali) then it’s $12 to park in the parking garage. The ABC Store here has souvenir/beach/convenience items with lots of things you may have forgotten or need at good-for-Hawai’i prices. I loved the Maui Poke restaurant here with their make-your-own fresh and delightful poke bowls. 

Transportation around Maui

You will certainly need a car to get around anywhere on Maui, because the airport is more in the central portion of the island and many of the accommodations or adventures are on the shorelines.

Beaches in Maui

The water is clear, warm (75-80 degrees Fahrenheit all year long) and turquoise! That means that you can swim, snorkel, kayak, paddle board, sail, surf, etc. in most places right off of the golden sand. Note that in many of the coastal areas there is only a small beachfront or no beach at all.

Surfing in Maui

There are always an abundance of surfers at the beach off of Highway 30 between Lahaina and Maalaea at all the “beach parks” along the way. Bring your surfboard (there were some rental trucks there as well), pull off the road, park in the sand and hang 10. 

Maui has many surfing areas for beginners with many side stipulations about reefs, rocks and riptides, so do your homework on the area before you head out.

Some of the best waves for advanced surfers are: Ho’okipa Beach, Lahaina Reefs, Honolua Bay, and Olowalu Beach.

Of course, we cannot forget the famous Pe’ahi Beach (nicknamed “Jaws Beach,”) on the North Shore. It is strictly for professional surfers only due to its incredibly high (sometimes 70 foot) surf. Note that these waves only occur a few times per year in the winter, and it takes a 4-wheel drive vehicle to get to this location due to a dirt road and a rainy area.

Hiking in Maui

This is how I did these 2 hikes together: Kapalua Coastal Trail, (Burger Shack detour), Dragon’s Teeth Trail.

Park in the same parking lot for both of these hikes.

Driving directions: Take Honoapiilani Highway (Hawaii Route 30) northeast – make a left onto Office Road (Kapalua) and take it to the end (near the Ritz-Carlton). Turn right and the parking lot is right there. My maps navigator had it wrong.

Kapalua Coastal Trail – Hiking in Maui

The Kapalua Coastal Trail is a lovely trail along the ocean with incredible bluffs and turquoise blue waters to fill up your senses. As you hike along the coastline you’ll encounter warm sprays of water billowing up onto the large lava rock formations. This hike is full of lava protrusions from a west Maui volcano that erupted 320,000 years ago! There were a good amount of people on the trail, but it wasn’t unbearably crowded. To get to this trail, I started the trail at the Dragon’s Teeth parking lot and headed south.

The Burger Shack Break Between hikes: Once returning to the parking lot off of Office Road from the Kapalua Coastal Trail then head north on foot. You will basically just be on a sidewalk that leads right to The Burger Shack for a refreshing drink on D.T. Fleming Beach! 

Dragon’s Teeth Trail – Hiking in Maui

Dragon’s Teeth hike (a.k.a., Makaluapuna Point) is a quick 0.5 mile trail out and back right from this parking lot off of Office Road in the Kapalua community. Head straight down to the water for a sweet and quick trail right out to this unique lava formation. The jagged “teeth” are made from the lava from a volcano eruption. When the lava hit the water, the wind and waves blew it back to form these cool black “teeth.” Don’t forget to look over the edge for Hawaiian sea turtles.

Nakalele Blowhole Hike – Hiking in Maui

The Nakalele Blowhole is a beautiful natural spout that’s an amazing sight to see and explore. The blowhole is about 15 miles north of the Lahaina area. The drive to the blowhole passes many stunning overlooks with hairpin turns along the waters edge up in the mountains. There are some options to pull over and enjoy the view on the way.

The spout is actually ocean water shooting through a 3-foot diameter hole in a lava shelf. Anything you read about this place gives many warnings of death around the lava shelf either being sucked into the hole itself or from large, unexpected waves breaking over the lava cliffs (near the blowhole) and pulling people into the rough waters. Just use caution and don’t get too close.

If you are not interested in a short but decent rock scramble down to the blowhole (wear secured sport sandals with backs or hiking shoes as it’s also slippery) then you can also view it from up above. The blowhole is a remarkable sight especially if it’s windy – a spout every 30 seconds-ish! Turns out it’s almost always windy there, but if you check out the tide chart and go when it’s high tide then you’ll get the best show – up to 50 feet of spray.

Haleakalā National Park

There is a national park on the island of Maui and it’s a volcano (in a non-eruptive stage)! Unfortunately, I did not have enough time to hike or bike down this volcano, as it was further away from Lahaina than I’d realized. If you have the time, there is a lot to explore on this volcano!

Note that some of the hiking trails are at the end of the Road to Hana, so plan accordingly, as there is a lot of drive time to get to that location.

The Road to Hana (all day trip) – How to Prepare and Adventure

The Road to Hana is a long road through the rainforest and jungle on the eastern side of Maui. It has over 600 curves and 54 one lane bridges on this windy road. I drove it in a standard sized rental car without any difficulty. Just take your time and follow the rules, and you’ll be in good shape. Note that it does take a long time to do this 34 mile drive (that’s Paia to Hana but you could go further to the Seven Sacred Pools a.k.a. Oheo Pools). There are more than 40 stops along the way and the “stops” are the true reason for this road. The Road to Hana includes waterfalls, beaches, gardens, swimming holes, food stands, caves (“lava tubes”), and a state park.

A few things to do before getting on the Road to Hana:

  • Gas up ahead of time (or in Paia town)
  • Get cash (many road side stops only take cash)
  • Put plastic down or something to cover your car’s floor boards as many of the trails to waterfalls or hikes are muddy in this rainforest
  • Start the tour (in Paia town) at 8am so that you can finish it all before dark
  • Make reservations at the Waiʻānapanapa State Park (black sand beach) weeks ahead of time. I recommend the 12:30-3:00 time frame if you start the Road to Hana at 8:00am. This gives you time to see all the sights ahead of time and have enough time to explore and even swim at this park. *Note that I did NOT receive an email confirmation, so I took a photo of the voucher with the QR code right after I made my reservation and that worked to get into the park. Otherwise, I would not have been able to get in.
  • Download the Shaka Guy app. It’s a tour that follows you on GPS and tells about the highlights.
  • Bring a picnic lunch and/or heavy snacks and drinks
  • Bring a car charger for your cell phone (note that most of this road does not have cell service)
  • If you plan to swim – wear a swim suit under your clothes. Bring a towel, reef safe sunscreen, a change of clothes and a bag to store your wet clothes/swim suit

On the Road to Hana I made the following stops:

  • Ho’okipa Beach Park Lookout – 1st stop
  • Twin Falls (parking $10 – cash or card) – 2 waterfalls – Mike Marker 2
  • Garden Grove Cafe roadside stand – for famous banana bread
  • Waikamoi Ridge Nature Trail – a walk through the rain forest with eucalyptus trees
  • Kaumahina State Wayside Park – views from above and bathroom
  • Ke’anae Peninsula (lava formations on the water, tide pools, breaking waves) – Mike Marker 16.8
  • Secret lava tube (cave) – ~100 yard long cave right off the road – Mile Marker 23
  • Coconut Glen’s (coconut milk ice cream)
  • Waiʻānapanapa State Park (black sand beach) – reservations needed – Mile Marker 32
    • Small lava tube (cave) to the right of (while looking at the water) the black sand beach
  • Food truck in Hana
  • Many quick stops for waterfalls just before the one lane bridges
  • Many stops for scenic overlooks

Kayaking and Snorkeling in Maui

Getting into Hawaii’s beautiful warm waters and spying on gentle marine life is another not-to-missed-adventure in Maui!

I highly recommend Hawaiian Paddle Sports for a truly Hawaiian experience kayaking and snorkeling (with sea turtles!). Our paddle guide, Lowe, was a treasure trove of information on Hawaiian history, culture, geography and geology formations. We also learned all about our sea friends including the turtles and many of the beautiful sea creatures that we would have easily missed right under our floating feet! Definitely a must-do.

I kayaked and snorkeled off the shores of the southwestern region of Maui in the town of Kihei. This led to also exploring that area which is more of a town than a resort area.

You will also see people snorkeling around the resorts in Lahaina. Either bring, rent or look for snorkeling equipment in your condo (this was my good luck). Other known snorkeling spots in Maui.

Maui Sunsets – Need to Know

Maui sunsets are spectacular! We all know the sun sets in the west where most of Maui accommodations are located. Simply walk to the beach or rent a kayak or paddle board to sit in the surf while the sun slowly descends near the mountains of the distant islands. It is a sight to behold!

Sunset Tip: At sunset in Maui, many people blow into a conch shell (“pū”). I first thought it was a tsunami warning (haha!), but soon learned it’s a Hawaiian ritual with a long history. In Hawaiian culture the blowing of the conch shell has a sacred meaning as a journey to eternity or to begin a ceremony as well as previously being used for communication across the waters. In modern times it is used to bid farewell to the day and to say thanks (“mahalo”) for that day.

“A hui hou mālama pono!” (Until we meet again, take care!)

Helpful links to book your travel here

The Hawaiian language has 13 characters and many diacritical markings. While respecting the Hawaiian language, this website has had to omit some of these diacritical markings to improve the online experience. I acknowledge the importance of using these diacritical markings to preserve the language and culture of Hawaii and will respectfully use them in all communications beyond this website. 

Canada – Québec City

Top Things to do in Québec City, Canada

Québec City feels like a mini-Paris/London combo with a very friendly vibe! This romantic city’s charm is enhanced with the poetic sounds of French speakers within this historical walled city. The architecture is delightfully European as Québec City was built in the 1600s with lovely cobblestone streets, a funicular (cable car from the 1800s) linking the lower and upper grounds of the city and the grandiose Fairmont Le Château Frontenac punctuating the landscape.

I found every single person from shopkeepers, hotel clerks, restaurant workers, Uber drivers, etc. to be welcoming and beyond gracious. Once I uttered a “hi” (rather than a “bon jour”) they quickly switched languages to English with a smile and without missing a beat.

Map of Historic District of Québec City

Basics of Québec City

To get your bearings even before you arrive – there are two parts to the city: upper and lower. I didn’t quite understand this until I arrived. It’s super easy to get from one to the other, and the upper and lower are nestled right next to each other. Either take the stairs (“breakneck stairs!!”) which include a few landings if you need to catch your breath. Alternatively, pay the small fee to take the funicular (a small, short cable car) up and down. Easy peasy!

The highlight of the lower portion of the city is the Quartier Petit-Champlain which includes boutique shopping, bistros and art galleries. The other streets in this lower section have even more art galleries (lots!), boutiques, hotels, etc. It’s quiet and safe.

The upper portion of the city includes Dufferin Terrace which is basically a wide boardwalk with views of the St. Lawrence River on one side and the Fairmont Le Château Frontenac on the other. You will be at Dufferin Terrace when you exit the funicular or if you take the stairs or steep road up to the upper city from the lower city.

There is a lot more to this upper city – many lively cobblestone streets with beautiful churches, town squares, all types of restaurants and cafes, boutiques, and very interesting history. All this history and hubbub is in the old town historic portion of the city – you can also exit the walls through the grand gates, from the 1600s, and visit the newer part of the city.

Accommodations in Québec City

As usual, I connected with hotels.com to find the right type of lodging. Interestingly, as with traveling in Europe, hotels.com also included apartment accommodations. There are many “Le Lofts” throughout the safe and quaint Québec City, and I stayed at Le Lofts St. Pierre which was in the lower city just a few streets from Rue du Petit-Champlain (Quartier Petit- Champlain is the area around this street) boutique shopping district – walking distance to all the sites and reasonably priced.

Recommended Food in Québec City

Maple pie from the Restaurant Aux Anciens Canadiens
Maple pie!

We really loved the Restaurant Aux Anciens Canadiens! We found it absolutely adorable inside and out with fantastic service at a reasonable price and a cozy atmosphere! Plus it included many of Québec City’s local delicacies in perfect portions. Highly recommended. Don’t forget reservations.

True locals have recommended the following restaurants:

Food Tour of Old Québec City

I can’t recommend this Viator food tour enough! It’s doubly beneficial – tasting all the local delicacies, including cuisine that has been served since the 1600s, and gaining an understanding of the fascinating history behind those foods. The fare ranges from soup to baked goods and spirits to wine plus poutine and more! While walking from one destination to another our amusing guide told stories of local figures and interesting architecture that kept all of us either in awe or laughing.

Château Frontenac in Québec City

This fancy Château Frontenac hotel is located right in the upper area, along the river, with much action around it. You can’t miss this grand building sitting up high on the eastern edge of old town. It’s pretty colossal (600+ rooms) and a great place to snap a photo! When you walk through the front doors of this historic (built in 1893) building you are greeted warmly by a friendly hostess (everyone is welcome even if you aren’t staying at the hotel) and guided toward the areas you’d like to visit whether it be the historical side or the three restaurants. Lots of history happened here including the planning of the invasion of Normandy during WWII by Allied leaders Franklin D. Roosevelt, Sir Winston Churchill, and Canada’s Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King.

Dufferin Terrace in Québec City

As stated earlier, the Château Frontenac is bordered on the east by the Dufferin terrace boardwalk which has pretty views of the St. Lawrence River and additional areas of Québec City across the river. In the winter there is a toboggan slide right here! In the summer, go underground and visit an archeological crypt – Forts-et-Châteaux-Saint-Louis – to get a better idea of the history of Québec City.

The Quaint Petit-Champlain Shopping District in Québec City

This area encompasses a handful of streets in the lower portion of Québec City. These inviting narrow, cobblestone streets are pedestrian only with warm strands of lights crisscrossing above quaint boutiques and shops. There are also a few restaurants here as well.

Gates into historic Québec City

Interesting Historic Buildings/Churches in Québec City

So many interesting stories here in this fortified city! Quick history lesson:

  • Québec City was discovered by France in 1535 as “New France”
  • British conquered Québec City in 1759 as “British Canada”
  • Canada was created in 1867 and Québec City became the province’s capital city as it is today

There are many tourist friendly churches and buildings to visit within the old city including: Notre-Dame de Québec Basilica-Cathedral, Morrin Centre, Monastère des Augustines, Îlot des Palais.

For more Québec City history see History of Québec City.

Governor's Promenade

Governors’ Promenade in Québec City

I enjoyed the approximately 3/4 mile walk on the Governor’s Promenade from the Fairmont Le Château Frontenac to the Plains of Abraham along the St. Lawrence River. This walk takes you along the elevated boardwalk called “Governor’s Promenade.” Start at Dufferin Terrace and walk to the south, and you’ll soon find yourself between the stone wall fortification and the St. Lawrence River. Note that there are no signs designating this promenade. This long boardwalk brings you past the east side of the Québec Citadel and then between the citadel and Plains of Abraham and Parc des Champs-de-Batalle – a large green space that hosts local events throughout the year. This boardwalk is one of two options to walk to the Citadel for a tour. The other being the streets through old town.

Québec Citadel

The Québec Citadel is an impressive site along the St. Lawrence River with a storied history of protecting Québec City from foreign invaders (including the 13 colonies!). The citadel offers a guided tour (reservations recommended) of its unique star structure and the museum (Musée Royal 22e Régiment).

Horse and Buggy Ride in Old Québec City

This sweet ride, pulled by a strong and mighty steed, is enchanting and lovely and recommended just after dusk. The driver explained Québec City’s interesting history as we clip-clopped past the buildings and statues that he spoke of. It was very entertaining after a delicious French dinner in the historic district.

Montmorency Falls in April

Montmorency Falls

This impressive waterfall is the tallest waterfall in North America. Note that it’s not that wide – just tall. Sixty thousand gallons of water per second fall from the peak – a continual thunderous crash with large plumes of water in the aftermath. Amazing! The Montmorency Falls are just 20 minutes outside Old Québec City.

Options at the falls:

  • Hiking and birding at certain times of year. Follow All Trails for the 3-mile route.
  • Balance along the suspension bridge
  • Climb the panoramic staircase while being sprayed by the falls (487 steps)
  • Cable car ride
  • Eat at the Montmorency Manor

Albert Gilles Copper Museum in Québec City

The Albert Gilles Copper Museum was a surprisingly super interesting place! Mr. Albert Gilles worked with copper for 60+ years and made many extraordinary and incredibly intricate pieces of art (including pieces for the Pope) as well as the copper doors of the massive Sainte Anne de Beaupré Basilica which is just 10 miles down the road. Albert Gilles’ very talented wife and daughters now run the museum, which includes a large exhibit of paneled copper artwork “Christoroma” portraying the life of Christ in the back portion of the museum. It’s amazing! Plus the museum also has beautiful copper pieces to purchase – jewelry, decorations, etc. Ask around while you are at the museum, and the family will be happy to tell you the history of their extraordinary work.

Sainte Anne de Beaupré Basilica and Shrine

The Sainte Anne de Beaupré Basilica and Shrine is massive and awe inspiring at 328 feet high and 197 feet wide with beautiful stained glass windows adorning the sides of the sanctuary. This basilica was built to honor Sainte Anne who is the patron sainte of Québec. The main doors of the Basilica are absolutely beautiful and hand-made of copper (from the Albert Gilles museum above) and show many scenes of the life of Jesus.

Fun Fact about Canada

Canada no longer uses pennies as of 2012! (But I did find one! 🙂 )

Trip planner for 3 days in Québec City
ladies in window at coffee shop overlooking Notre Dame square in Québec City

Helpful links to book your travel here

Gimmelwald and Mürren, Switzerland

Things to do in Gimmelwald and Mürren, Switzerland

Stunning Gimmelwald and Mürren

Itinerary for a quick trip to Gimmelwald and Mürren, Switzerland:

If you were to close your eyes and picture Switzerland…you’d envision glorious Gimmelwald! The quintessential Switzerland village. I almost don’t want to share its magnificence, because it is pristine as it is – without too many visitors. The only way to get there is via cable car (gondola) or hiking. It is truly one of my top locations on this Earth.

Getting to Gimmelwald:

  • Fly to Zürich Flughafen
  • SBB Train from the Zürich airport to Interlaken Ost (~3 hours). Disembark and find train to Lauterbrunnen.
  • Train to Lauterbrunnen*. *This train has two parts – get on the first 1/2 that goes to Lauterbrunnen. The cars will be marked. (~20 minutes). Disembark the train and cross the tracks, and walk to the right to the bus stop.
  • Bus Lauterbrunnen to Stechelberg Schilthornbahn. (~12 minutes). Arrive at the Stechelberg gondola station.
  • Gondola Stechelberg – Schilthornto. Get off at the first stop and behold: Gimmelwald!

There’s only one way around the village of Gimmelwald and that’s with your own feet. You will feel like you’ve just stepped back in time and perhaps inside the movie, “Heidi” as you inhale all the beauty and wonder of the Alps surrounding you. Large open fields of green with cows and cowbells and working farms encircled by a stunning mountain range. It is truly spectacular. Time slows down as you walk to your chosen hotel or hostel accommodation.

Accommodations in Gimmelwald:

I stayed at the charming Swiss chalet, Hotel Pension, (book on: Hotels.com) which has a sweet restaurant (indoors and outdoors) and a Biergarten with amazing views right on the edge of the Alps. Note that not all the rooms have a private bathroom, so if this is important to you then read the descriptions carefully. There are a few other options for accommodations in the village, and they are all very similar.

Food in Gimmelwald/Mürren:

Wait until you hear this! You can walk down the paved path and go into a farmer’s residence, open the little refrigerator, take out fresh cheese, fresh milk, yogurt, eggs, sausage and bread and leave your money on the counter. For real! Other options, including hiking up the mountain path to the market in Mürren (a larger but also car-free village) and/or eating at the restaurant at the hotel (Hotel Pension) or in Mürren.

Paragliding in Gimmelwald:

This was an absolutely amazing experience. So calm and peaceful as you glide through the air with your professional pilot and take in the all the beautiful sights from above. (I expected raging winds to be passing by me and to be terrified, but it was quite the opposite. I’d do it again in a second.) I used Airtime Paragliding. They met us locally, explained the procedure, and we just ran a few steps and away we soared through the valley. An unforgettable, beautiful experience and highly recommended.

Hiking Map

Hiking in Gimmelwald:

So many options for hiking through the Alps through fields of wildflowers, little Swiss huts, streams, waterfalls cascading down the mountains and wondrous views. Be prepared with plenty of water, grab a hiking map from your hotel, and off you go! I used the hiking map above from the Mountain Hostel which is right next door.

Hike 9 in Gimmelwald (see map above):

I highly recommend the 10.5 mile loop which is hike 9 (Gimmelwald – Obersteinberg) on the map, as the trek goes through many types of terrain including fields, forests, along the top of the mountain, and along the edge of the mountain with views that literally made me tear up with awe.

You’ll be treated to amazing views of the summits rimming the head of the Lauterbrunnen Valley. Also in the middle of the hike is the remote Hotel Obersteinberg which is a lovely place to have a snack or a drink. Do be careful leaving the hotel to get back on the trail as there’s an electric fence, and if your hiking pole should hit it…it might scare the heck out of you. Don’t ask me how I know!

Hike 3 in Gimmelwald:

Other lovely hikes include a 1/2 day hike to a waterfall: hike 3 Gimmelwald – Sprutz – Spielbodenalp – Bryndli. Also the hike down to Stechelberg and back up is another 1/2 day option.

Walk to Mürren:

A nice 40 minute walk up the mountain through the Lauterbrunnen Valley, on a paved path, is the larger, but also car-less village of Mürren perched on the edge of the Alps. You’ll find quaint shops, restaurants, entertainment and more alpine scenery to behold. Mürren has a market for food/lunch to take along on your hikes including prepared foods, cheeses, Alpine meats, and bottles of local wines.

Other options to get to the tops of mountain peaks without hiking include: Jungfraujoch or Schilthorn. There are some opportunities to get to these peaks and hike down as well.

Bern, Switzerland:

On the way back to Zürich, stop in the picturesque city of Bern (where there is a transfer of trains to get back to Zürich). You can lock your luggage up at the train station while you visit the city. The city is quiet and calm and easily explored on foot.

Bern is known as the city of fountains. You can fill your water bottle up with fresh spring water from the fountains all over town, some of which are over 500 years old. In the River Aare you can actually get in and swim or float down the river. Strangely, there is a bear pit located right in the city!

I hope you enjoy your trip to Gimmelwald!

Helpful links to book your travel here

Copper Mountain, Colorado

Things to do at Copper Mountain Village

(winter, spring & fall)

Copper Mountain is the best place to enjoy the Colorado outdoors, in all seasons, in my humble opinion. It’s a quaint ski village located right in the heart of the Rocky Mountains. There are loads of outdoor activities, along with cute shops, outdoor/indoor restaurants that overlook the mountain, and plenty of entertainment – all within walking distance of each other as well as close to many of the accommodations. Not too big and not too small and a down to earth kind of place.

There are 3 villages, all at the base of the slopes/mountain and interconnected with a free, easy shuttle service. The Copper Village is also easily walkable from condos to restaurants, markets and shops! The Copper Mountain Village design is excellent – everything is “right there.” If a get away is in order there is an easy 10 minute shuttle service right to the adorable town of Frisco for more dining/entertainment options.

I also like that Copper is easily accessible – just 1.5 hours to the west of the Denver International Airport (DEN). It’s a straight shot along Interstate 70 which is maintained throughout the year. Other close airports are Eagle County Regional Airport in Vail (<1 hour away) or Colorado Springs (<3 hours away). Alternatively, there is a shuttle service between the Denver Airport or Eagle County Airport and Copper (Epic Mountain Express or Summit Express).

Lodging at Copper Mountain

Hotels.com, Booking.com, Cheaptickets.com, VRBO.com and coppervacations.com have reasonably priced rentals (including condos) right in the Copper Villages. Most are ski-in/ski-out or easily walkable to the slopes or mountain. I recommend staying in center village as the shops and restaurants are right there (as well as the American Eagle and American Flyer lifts). East and West Village are also quite nice! Book ahead especially for winter.


Downhill Skiing/Snowboarding:

Copper has with a wide variety of terrain and many options for first timers to seasoned professionals skier/snowboarders. Plus, due to the high altitude, the slopes are skiable for longer than many other resorts – from November to mid-April. The resort is well thought-out and organized, so it’s easy to mix and match green, blue and black runs once getting up a lift or to stay the course. My fave run: Take American Flyer lift then get off to the east and head down to Rendezvous lift. Take the lift up and ski Coppertone all the way to the bottom – it’s just breathtaking! A fun little jaunt at lunchtime is the T-Rex Grill on the west side of the mountain.

Note that Copper has many slopes (140!) for every kind of skier/snowboarder out there and is seldom crowded. Plus there are bowls and parks and pipes and all kinds of challenging areas. If you are into hopping from one resort to another then you can easily get to Breckenridge, Arapahoe Basin, Keystone and Vail – all 25 minutes or less away. But I prefer to stay at Copper – it’s the whole package right there.

Kids and first time skiers/snowboarders:

Another huge benefit to Copper is the option to take kids to the Green Acres area where they can learn to ski with you (family or friend taught) for a mere $20 lift ticket on Pitchfork. If they are young enough then they will think they are getting the whole experience with downhill skiing and a real lift. I did this for years. 🙂

Cross Country/Nordic Skiing Near Copper Mountain (Frisco)

To cross country ski is only a quick 15 minute drive over to the Frisco Nordic Center. The staff could not be more friendly and helpful in getting first timers or seasoned skiers out on their trails. They have cross country skis to rent and snowshoes as well. There are over 17 miles of groomed trails for all levels and a map is provided; although, it’s not easy to get lost. I am a “classic” cross country skier which means I utilize the grooved groomed trails. The other type of technique is skate skiing which is a bit more free style with similar movements to ice skating. Both types of trails are available here.

Snowshoeing and Hiking in the Spring and Fall at Copper Mountain

So many options for snowshoeing/winter hiking near Copper! Depending on the amount of snow – you may need a pair of snowshoes to stay on top of the snow, if it’s deep and sinking into the snow is possible/probable. However, if it hasn’t snowed heavily in a while and more stability is needed while walking on the snow/ice then use Yaktrax . Put the Yaktrax on the bottom of boots for better traction on snow packed trails to prevent slipping. They’re reasonably priced for $25-$30 and are packable. Photos above.

Snowshoe rentals are available at Copper Mountain (in the West Village only – at Copper Sports West)*, Frisco Nordic Center and at Columbine Ski & Sport in Dillon. They are affordable – about $25/day which includes poles.

I absolutely love snowshoeing especially through trails with large, snow-capped trees and being able to traverse over virgin snow in the stillness and quiet of the mountain. It’s so peaceful and calming and free. So, I bought my own snowshoes ($90-150) that came with a backpack and even fits in my checked baggage or can be checked separately, for a flight, in the backpack. Check out Costco’s online prices.

Snowshoeing and Hiking Trails Near Copper Mountain: