10 Summer Adventures you should consider in your travel plans
With seven major rivers, 12 national parks and monuments and 54 peaks over 14,000 feet, Colorado is an outdoor-lovers dream in the summer. Enthusiasts spend their weekends camping, hiking or biking. But for those outdoorsmen and women that have been doing this for years and seek to spice up their adventure, Colorado is answering your call. Check out this list, provided by the Colorado Tourism Office, of 10 new and emerging summer adventures in Colorado.
1. Burro Racing in Leadville. Despite having its origins back in the 1800’s, Burro Racing in Leadville is still celebrated today. Visitors exploring the town can race through the high peaks while leading a burro (donkey) as part of the annual Leadville Boom Days, taking place August 4-6 this year. This celebration of mining history begins with runners gathering in downtown Leadville in the morning. They then depart on a 15-mile or 21-mile trot alongside their burros, with some going all the way to the top of Mosquito Pass (13,186’) and back.
2. Cliff Camping in Estes Park. Kent Mountain Adventure Center has intensified an overnight in the outdoors by combining rock climbing with camping. After climbing to a perch high above the valley floor, participants can enjoy a sunset picnic dinner before crawling into their sleeping bags for an unforgettable evening on the side of a cliff. For newer climbers, Kent Mountain will provide all the tools and knowledge from experienced guides. Too scared of heights to be able to sleep? There is also a “Just Lunch or Dinner” option that allows you to drop down to “just” 40-50 feet to enjoy a meal and the beautiful scenery before descending back down.
3. E-Biking in Steamboat Springs. Steamboat Springs, also known as Bike Town, USA, has plenty of mountain, road, downhill and family-friendly bike offerings. For those who were once deterred from some of the more rigorous terrain or are looking for a more relaxing adventure, the town is now joining the electric assist bike (e-bike) revolution. Humming along at 20 mph, e-bikes easily tackle hills and give the rider an effortless riding experience. Visitors can join Pedego Electric Bikes for a guided e-bike tour throughout town or up to the beautiful Strawberry Hot Springs. Or, for those that prefer to explore on their own, the e-bikes can also be rented out.
4. Heli Fly-Fishing in Vail. Fly-fishing fans literally fly with Minturn Anglers and their Heli Fly-Fishing offering. This one-of-a-kind experience gives participants the opportunity to get a breathtaking aerial view of Vail Valley’s panoramic scenery from a charter plane before arriving at one of the company’s remote private ranches for a day of fly-fishing in peace and quiet. Don't worry about bringing anything; visitors will be provided with all the necessary gear including rods, reels, waders, flies and licenses as well as snacks and drinks for the day.
5. Hut-to-Hut Mountain Biking in the San Juans. For those do it yourself adventurers that prefer a more minimalist experience, the San Juan Huts offers two 215-mile destination hut-to-hut mountain bike routes. As the only system of its kind in the U.S., the San Juan Huts takes the weight out of mountain bike touring by offering fully stocked huts and minimal route-finding challenges. Each hut is approximately 35 miles apart and is equipped with food, water, propane cook stove and lights, sleeping gear and all cookware and utensils.
6. Mountainboarding in Aspen. Mountainboarding, a combination of skateboarding and snowboarding, has emerged as one of Colorado’s newest summer sports. The sport is similar to skateboarding, but has bigger wheels, lock-in bindings and is ridden along dirt paths. Those interested in trying it out can head to Aspen for private mountainboarding lessons or the "Dirt Dawg Mountainboard Camp", for ages 5-17, this July.
7. Sand Boarding and Sledding at Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve. Who said sledding was only for the winter? Visitors to Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve can zip down the tallest dunes in North America on specially created sleds. Permitted anywhere on the dunes, as long as you’re away from vegetated areas, you can also take part in sand boarding and skiing. Equipment is available year-round for rent or purchase at Kristi Mountain Sports in Alamosa. Or, from spring through fall, boards and sleds are also available for rent at the Oasis Store just outside the park entrance.
8. SUP Yoga in Boulder. On Mondays and Saturdays this summer, yogis can test their balance on water by heading to the Boulder Reservoir to practice yoga on stand-up paddle boards (SUP). Classes are accessible for all abilities and the reservoir is a great place to test stability while looking out at the stunning Flatirons.
9. Urban River Surfing in Englewood. At the South Platte River Run Park near Denver, a couple of bright engineering minds came together to solve the need for flood control and river drainage. How? By creating a unique recreational opportunity for inland Coloradans who love to surf. The initial phase of this project has just opened with two man-made waves that are already being ridden on fiberglass boards by surf enthusiastic locals and visitors. By 2018, the park expects to have four more water wave features, new hiking trails and eventually, restoration features such as protected habitats for fish and new vegetation.
10. Waterfall Canyoning in Ouray. For nature-loving adventurers looking for a thrill, Ouray offers the opportunity to repel down their plentiful waterfalls and actively explore the river canyons below. Canyoning Colorado is offering new canyoning/canyoneering descents and trainings for all abilities. Half day and full day tours are offered daily, ranging from beginner to advanced.
- Compiled by Mary Anderson