Rocky Mountain Region
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Rocky Mountain Region

Ask Mark
Hill Stations in the U. S.?

By Mark Orwoll

Mark Orwoll, seasoned traveler and T&L Managing Editor, is here to help you with your travel questions. Think of him as your personal concierge, and ask away....

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Q. I would like to know which place to go with my girlfriend in America. I'm from India and would like to see some place where it's going to snow and a lot of hill stations. I would like to go in the month of December.

A. Ah, the hill stations of America! What a lovely concept. Makes one think of native villagers crafting reed baskets at lakeside while the sahibs back at the lodge drink sherry before setting off to hunt tigers on elephant-back. Not exactly what you're going to find on this side of the International Date Line, my friend, but there are any number of mountain regions in the USA where you'll be able to find the American equivalent of India's hill stations-- old mining settlements, ski resorts, Victorian villages, even ghost towns. Although you could find most of those things in California's Sierra Nevada and even in the Berkshires of Connecticut and Massachusetts (except for the ghost towns!), I would suggest you steer in the direction of the Rocky Mountains, particularly that chunk of the Rockies in Colorado.

I once made a driving trip from the Canadian border to the Mexican border, following the Continental Divide along the spine of the Rocky Mountains. While I found something intriguing and worthwhile in each of the states I traversed (including Montana, Wyoming, and New Mexico), I was particularly fond of the route through Colorado. Among the great mountain towns worth visiting are the charming ski village of Steamboat Springs; the historic mining centers of Georgetown, Silver Plume, and Leadville; and the Wild West town of Creede, which once attracted the likes of Bat Masterson, Calamity Jane, and the dirty little coward Bob Ford, the man who shot Jesse James and who himself was shot and killed in Creede.

A few wonderful scenic drives to make in the region include Route 40 from Parshall to Sulphur Hot Springs as it parallels the Colorado River between the angular hard-rock walls of Byers Canyon; the so-called Silver Thread (Route 149), between Lake City and South Fork; and Route 160 as it runs alongside the Rio Grande and over 10,850-foot Wolf Creek Pass.

The information in this story was accurate at the time it was published in November 1998, but we suggest you confirm all details and prices directly with the service establishments before making travel plans.

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