A Colorado Summer: Hiking, Biking, Rafting, Oh My!
by Amy Lignor
When it comes to choosing the ultimate summer vacation, Colorado stays atop most peoples’ lists in 2018. Not a surprise, if you’re one who loves spending time outside. There are a list of activities, events, attractions and so much more that you can choose from, but when it comes to the Great
Outdoors, the hiking, biking, and rafting adventures in Colorado are truly “the best of the best.”
When you wish to tackle that wild whitewater river, there are expert waterways that will ensure you and yours have the time of your lives. We begin with Clear Creek. There are a variety of guides to pick from that know exactly how to maneuver this adventurous canyon, but it’s important to note that this area is all about action and will make the adrenaline race as fast as the water.
When it comes to the Colorado River, there are a list of popular spots along this waterway that are beyond picturesque. Being on the Upper Colorado River, and through Shoshone Rapids near Glenwood Springs, family fun is at its highest level. The water runs fast and the cliffs of Gore Canyon are stunningly dramatic. And don’t forget about the Arkansas River which has continued to be a good one, offering a moderate ride with a few exciting rapids thrown in!
If you wish to “take a ride” a different way, the biking in Colorado is a whole lot of fun. Ever heard the old joke: How can you tell if someone is from Colorado? They have a $500 car with a $5,000 bike on top. This is extremely true. After all, Colorado is filled with trails that will stay in your memory long after you’re done riding them. In fact, most are so amazing that they will cause you to return to Colorado again and again to experience them.
You can enjoy both road and mountain biking. When it comes to pure exhilaration, Colorado’s two-lane mountain roads are so numerous you’re looking at a lifetime of vacations. The mountain passes test your stamina, but the grades are steady and the views are breathtaking. For the ultimate experience, ride the Copper Triangle. A 78-mile loop over Vail Pass, Tennessee Pass, and Freemont Pass, this course gains over 5,000 feet without ever dipping below 7,000.
If you wish to take a hike, Colorado is also the place to do it. For a fantastic day hike, head to Steamboat Springs where a popular waterfall sits that’s considered to be one of the best in the U.S. Making a short descent to Fish Creek and Fish Creek Falls, after crossing the creek and checking out the lower falls, you can then begin a steep ascent through the aspen forest (2.5-miles). The trail merges at Upper Fish Creek Falls where you experience what literally looks like Heaven on Earth. Amazing day hikes can also be had in Ft. Collins, up Greyrock Mountain (7 miles out-and-back); as well as in Nederland, where you will find the Arapahoe Pass (6.25 miles out-and-back).
If looking for the ultimate backpacking experience, however, there’s a 2-day adventure that is quite popular: Devils Thumb and Kings Lake. Beginning your adventure from the Hessie Trailhead just a few miles from Nederland, you hike the 6.4 miles to Devils Thumb Lake through open meadows and a subalpine forest. The campsites available are first come, first serve, but they are numerous. Upon arrival, take out the fishing pole and have a ball catching that “trophy” while staring up at Devils Thumb rising 12,285 feet above you.
When you wake up in the morning, you can begin a strenuous workout; although it is only 1.1-miles, you will be ascending up Devils Thumb Pass (11,747) where you will merge onto the High Lonesome Trail. If you wish to spend more than two days out here (which you will), you can easily add days to your journey by making a right and hiking up into the Indian Peaks Wilderness. If you turn left at the Continental Divide Trail, you will head down a steep grade to Kings Lake where the trail evens out into lush meadows to end your trip.
No matter what you choose to do, picking the location is simple. If wishing to spend time in the most beautiful place you can possibly imagine, Colorado is it!
To learn more about what to see and do, check out: https://www.myrockymountainpark.com