Tourism

Stacy Nick / KUNC

Estes Park's Stanley Hotel was the inspiration for Stephen King's novel The Shining, but it has long faced one key problem: The hedge maze that audiences saw in the iconic film version? It didn't exist.

Now, 35 years later, the hotel finally has that hedge maze. Sort of.

"It's a little smaller than I would have thought," remarked Earl South as he walked through the maze for the first time. "I think I had the expectation of like, BOOM! here's the maze, and not having to see the process of it growing in. So probably in a year or two it's going to be really spectacular."

The cost of getting into some national parks increases on Thursday.

The rates will go up despite the fact that visitation at parks is up, which means bigger crowds, congested traffic and busier visitor centers. But more people aren't translating into a big boost for park budgets. For example, visitation at Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado is up 20 percent so far this year and Yosemite, Yellowstone and Zion are also seeing double-digit increases. The parks are also seeing the strain. About 100 parks are planning an entrance fee hike.

Imagine a city with hundreds of liquor stores but no bars to drink in. That's the situation for marijuana in Denver.

Pot is legal in Colorado, but the capital city has outlawed pot bars like those in Amsterdam, leaving the tourists who flock to Denver to get high with no legal place to do so. But the city is trying to find a solution.

On a recent Friday afternoon at LoDo Wellness Center, a recreational pot store downtown, budtender Delaney Mason is talking up a Parmesan-scented marijuana strain called Space Queen.

Bob Wick / Bureau of Land Management

A fund that helps preserve some of the nation’s most iconic natural areas is set to expire in 2015 if it’s not reauthorized by Congress.

The Land and Water Conservation Fund, which was created in 1965, uses royalties from offshore oil and gas development to build, maintain, and protect public access to outdoor recreation areas – from local community parks to the majestic Continental Divide Trail, which runs through Colorado.

Rocky Mountain National Park

Taking advantage of warm autumn weather and newly rebuilt roads, more than 3.4 million people spent time at Rocky Mountain National Park in 2014. That’s the highest number of annual visitors since 2000.

Park spokeswoman Kyle Patterson said pent-up demand following the September 2013 floods could be a factor.

Nathan Heffel / KUNC

Heading to the slopes of Vail or Beaver Creek? There are also a wealth of places outside the ski resorts that locals say you can’t miss. Here's five that highlight the diverse topographical and cultural makeup of the 1,692 square mile county.

daveynin / Creative Commons

For the first time since 2008, Rocky Mountain National Park is considering a bevy of fee increases on everything from camp sites to entrance fees.

Under the proposed changes, the weeklong entrance pass would change from $20 to $30. Park officials would introduce a day-use pass at the $20 level. The annual park pass would increase from $40 to $50. By 2017, the price for an annual pass would be $60.

Carrie Saldo / Arts District

Nearly 80 art cars, some rumbling loudly and one flicking flames aloft, cruised through Trinidad Saturday, transforming the quiet community into a sculpture gallery on wheels.

Take a look through the slideshow and you'll see vehicles from as far away as Boston participated in the second annual “ArtoCade," which was launched by resident Rodney Wood on behalf of the city's tourism board.

Jeffrey Beall / Flickr-Creative Commons

Only a select few are welcome in Whatever.

That's the message from the mountain town of Crested Butte, the site of a Bud Light-sponsored party Sept. 5-7. The party is open only to invitees, residents of Gunnison County, and a few select others -- so if you're not on that list, don't bother schlepping over the hill for the fun, Chief Marshal Tom Martin said.

Tripp Fay, Copper Mountain

Tourism is a multibillion dollar industry in Colorado. Mountain resort communities do a majority of their business during the winter months – but summer can be just as profitable. According to the Denver-based travel research firm Destimetrics, Colorado’s resorts are poised to have a banner 2014.

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