Outdoor Things To Do In Colorado: Outdoor Adventures For This Summer

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Collecting couch potatoes, now is the time to shine.

Considering we’ve spent a year and a half locked indoors, watching Netflix and doing 1,000 piece jigsaw puzzles, there’s arguably no better summer to take a big step out of our areas of life. comfort. Luckily, there’s a great place to do just that: the great state of Colorado.

“Getting out of your comfort zone” doesn’t mean you have to walk all the way. Colorado Trail or descend a 6,000 foot cliff on a mountain bike. There are countless outdoor adventures statewide that lend themselves perfectly to the pandemic couch potato recovery. Here are some highlights to get the adrenaline pumping in your summer.

a long footbridge over a valley
The Royal Gorge Bridge in Canon City | Courtesy of Royal Gorge Bridge & Park

Zipline through the colossal royal gorges

Canon City
The Royal Gorge is one of the most vertiginous natural sites in the Centennial State. Measuring 10 miles long and descending 1,250 feet to the Arkansas River below, you can admire her majesty from the many hiking and biking trails that cut through its walls of red granite, wildflowers and cacti, or even from a bird’s eye view of a helicopter ride. Still, there’s arguably no more exhilarating way to enjoy it than by ziplining through the great outdoors – nearly a quarter of a mile – between the cliffs. Zipline Cloud Scraper happens to be America’s tallest zipline course, and for additional bragging rights you’ll have to cross America’s tallest suspension bridge to succeed.

a group of hikers and llamas walking through the mountains
A pack of furry guides will lead you through the mountains | Courtesy of Paragon Guides

Trek with a llama

Edwards
There are a range of options for how long and how challenging this trip is. The common denominator is the pleasant, fuzzy company of at least one friendly pack animal. You can opt for a beefy five-day hike with Paragon Guides of Vail in Aspen, during which you will stay at Huts of the 10th Mountain Division and one guest ranch, with a trio of llamas sweeping most of your gear for over 35 miles. You can also take a llama for a much simpler one, half day hike adapted to your level and ending with either lunch or wine and cheese (plus cereal for the llamas – note their adorable underbite).

a gondola on a mountain dotted with lavender flowers
Snowmass Bike Park in Aspen | Courtesy of Aspen Snowmass

Downhill Snowmass on a Downhill Bike

Aspen
So, you’ll need to know how to ride a bike for this one, but the beauty of this adventure is that there’s very little pedaling – and no serious lung capacity – required. Gravity is on your side all the way Snowmass Bike Park, accessible at the top of Snowmass Station via a gondola ride. With over 80 kilometers of dirt trails, the park takes you through aspen and wildflower fields, as well as bridges and jumps. You can rent a downhill bike at Base village of the snow mass and hit the slopes on two wheels all day.

people rafting
Raft the Arkansas River in Buena Vista | Courtesy of KODI Rafting

Rafting through Browns Canyon

Buena vista
You don’t have to venture far to find whitewater rapids in Colorado, but a half-day tour of this infamous section of the Arkansas River through rapids with names like Pinball and Big Drop. is as exciting as it gets for a guided experience. Even if you’re wet (and you’ll at least get splashed, if not knocked over), you’ll be all the more ready for a beer to Eddyline, followed by an outing to the very cool but often overlooked mountain town of Buena Vista.

Fort Collins Old Town Square

Take a two-wheeled Brew cruise

Fort-Collins
Can we all agree that any type of pedal is better when it comes to foam? This six o’clock guided tour involves easy pedaling on flat terrain through the brewery-laden college town of Fort Collins. Your guide can customize your itinerary, but you’re guaranteed to hit a winning selection from FoCO’s 20+ breweries. You’ll be so concerned with the beer sampling and the scenery that you won’t even realize you’ve cycled about 17 miles when all is said and done.

hot air balloons taking flight in the mountains
Watch the annual hot air balloon rodeo at Steamboat Springs | Photo Courtesy of Wild West Balloon Adventures

Take to the skies quickly on a hot air balloon

Steamship sources
You don’t see a lot of hot air balloons these days … unless you visit Steamship sources. Popular mountain town holds annual congress Hot air balloon rodeo every summer, no cowboys or lassos, but hundreds of whistling rainbow-colored balloons. Anyone can sign up for a morning walk (with a champagne toast!) At Hot air balloon flight in the Wild West. It’s truly surreal to see the surrounding ground and mountains turn into a quilt from the basket of an ascending bubble. Plus, when you’re done, there are plenty of delicious eat and drink exploring in town.

Far West Balloon

Ride and descend the highest via ferrata in North America

Dillon
Regarding “zero experience”, there is a big asterisk next to it. Climbing experience is not required to climb the Arapahoe Basin via ferrata, but a certain level of fitness is. the one day guided tour takes you from the top of Arapahoe Basin Ski Area straight ahead on a wall of granite cliffs, reaching over 13,000 vertical feet. There, you’ll eat a gourmet lunch on the mossy tundra – perhaps under the watchful eye of a herd of mountain goats – and get an intimidating glimpse of the ant-sized terrain you descend to next.

For the record: in Italian, via ferrata means “railway”, and although this “path” is indeed dotted with iron handles to hold and walk throughout each vertical stride of the journey, your life is in your hands. . It’s your job to clip your harness onto one cable after another as you go, preventing a free fall to the rocks below. Not for the average Joe.

Paddle on the Grand Lac

Big Lake
As the largest and deepest natural lake in the entire state, Grand Lake can seem daunting. But the stand-up paddle on its glass surface is deliciously serene. Rocky Mountain SUP rents boards (and life jackets!) by the hour, offers lessons if you wish, and as long as you have the balance, even lets you bring your dog friend. Paddle around the lake’s four-mile shoreline, scrutinize its nearly 400-foot depths, and navigate the lake’s house-lined canals to and from nearby Shadow Mountain Lake. Next, grab a well-earned beer at a saloon in historic Grand Lake.

rock
a falcon getting ready to fly from someone's arm
Learn about falconry at The Broadmoor | Courtesy of Broadmoor Outfitters

Get a falconry lesson

Colorado Sources
Channel your past medieval life by piloting a falcon or a trained falcon. It’s a thing. In the old days (like 6,000 years ago) humans used birds of prey for hunting, and in the Middle Ages falconry was considered “the sport of kings”. However, it is not surprising that The Broadmoor— Arguably the fanciest and most iconic hotel in Colorado — offers lessons with professional falconers in which you’ll meet the birds, learn training tips, and then head to the foothills of Colorado Sources to watch the feathered creatures fly above your head before swooping down on your waiting arm.

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Denver native, freelance writer Shauna Farnell loves a retro ski chalet but has never donned one-piece outerwear. Follow her on Twitter @shaunafarnell or on Instagram @mountaingirlinthecity.



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