Photos: Ten best places to see the wild beauty of Colorado
There's no shortage of gorgeous spots in Colorado. But where are the top places to see Colorado's state animal, state bird or even state insect -- and what's the finest Denver mountain park? The scribes who helped assemble Best of Denver's 2014 edition have the answers to those questions and more. Continue for ten great destinations for experiencing the wild beauty of Colorado, featuring links and original Best of Denver text.
Big photos below.
See also: Photos: Ten best Colorado hikes
Best Urban Carp Fishing: South Platte River
Fishing might not be the first thing that comes to mind when Denverites think of the South Platte River. Pollution, maybe. Or used condoms. But the river that winds through the Mile High City is more than most people give it credit for, especially when it comes to stalking big-ass fish. In recent years, fly-fishing the South Platte for carp has become increasingly popular; there's even an annual Carp Slam fly-fishing tournament hosted by the Denver chapter of Trout Unlimited. Carp are resilient freshwater fish that can grow to nearly 100 pounds, and they're plentiful in the South Platte. That doesn't mean they're easy to catch, though: They're excellent at avoiding fishermen's hooks, which makes reeling one in that much more of an accomplishment.
Best Place to See the Colorado State Mineral: Denver Museum of Nature & Science
The Denver Museum of Nature & Science is home to what's widely considered the best, if not the biggest, rhodochrosite specimen in the world. Discovered in 1992 in the Sweet Home Mine, a former silver mine near the town of Alma, the impressive block of nearly transparent, cherry-red crystal is called the Alma King. And if its regal name isn't enough to entice you to go see it, consider how one museum geologist describes it: "It reminds me of a giant piece of candy. It makes you want to go up and lick it." Sadly, you can't, because the Alma King is kept behind glass and away from visitors' tongues.
Courtesy Denver Museum of Nature & Science Facebook page
Continue for more of the ten best places to see the Colorado's wild beauty.