Minutes from Denver and tucked away in the Rocky Mountains, all bets are off when you stay at the Monarch Casino and Spa.


BY: Ben Hitch Contributing writer

Flying into the Mile High City, there tends to be a few things on the mind… the mountains (summer and winter), more craft beer than could ever be consumed, and an undeniable feeling of trying to suck in what little air there is. And after you’ve explored downtown Denver and are not quite sure about submitting any of the hundreds of nearby peaks but still want an escape, look to the town of Black Hawk and Monarch Casino Resort Spa.

Just under an hour from downtown Denver and along the winding curves of Cleer Creek Canyon, Monarch Casino Resort Spa stands tall as it towers right alongside front-range peaks. Black Hawk and the Monarch Casino has all the feels of Vegas, but instead of a barren wasteland surrounding the Strip, this stack of casinos is engulfed by Colorado’s tall pines and relics of the early mining days.

Monarch Casino is the latest and most chic casino to be built in Black Hawk and features a rooftop pool and hot tub. No matter the season, this hot tub offers up 180-degree views from the 23rd floor and as any casino brings the element of a cocktail in hand at all most all times, the rooftop drinks come with a heavy poor. Descending from the pool, the Concierge Lounge is an added bonus to any stay with complimentary food and a private lounge to get your mind right before heading down to the casino floor. And if by chance the pool and hot tub didn’t fulfill your needs, many of the suites have a jacuzzi front and center in the “living room” and up against the sprawling windows, essentially bringing expansive forests right into your room.

Down on the casino floor, Monarch Casino has all the amenities, tables, and slots you’d expect to find at any casino, but when it comes to Sunday afternoon during football season, the TVs are bigger than life and bring Sports Book right to your lap if you’re feeling lucky.

Off the floor, the Monarch Casino offers up some amazing food from any of the three restaurants, and if you like to do it like they do in Vegas, the buffet is top-notch with king crab legs as far as the eye can see. Though if you’re looking for something a little classier than the buffet line, the Bistro Mariposa is the place to be – the margs and queso are a must-have.

Outside of the Monarch Casino, the town of Black Hawk has many other casino options (none quite as classy as the Monarch) and a few historical sites like the old train depot dating back to the 1870s. Starting as a mining town, the brave were harvesting ore from the bellies of the surrounding mountains to be put on trains and shipped out across the country. Now with the mines closed, Black Hawk has gone beyond the casino floor and embraced the active lifestyle associated with Colorado.

Just a mile up from the “strip”, Hidden Treasure Trailhead offers some of the best mountain biking the front range has to offer. There are few options to pedal up, through the aspens and pines, passed old mining cabins and shafts, and once you reach the peak, it’s nothing but absolute hooting and hollering on the way down. Yes, these trails do have some hikers but based on the traffic we experienced, this dirt belongs to the Mountain Bike Riders riders.

The Monarch Casino Resor Spa is a prestigious stay by all accounts, offering the tastes of Vegas though hidden in the mountains. It’s easy to get to from Denver, whether you happen to be in town for a quick stay or even if you live in the area and are looking for something a little different to get into or maybe a quick weekend getaway. There is no reason to argue against the saying the House always Wins, at least this house comes with an experience all by itself… worth every minute of travel out of the Mile High City and fortune to come.