A-Z Guide to Summer in Colorado
Absorb some Rocky Mountain rays. Colorado's Front Range averages
300 days of sunshine per year. Don't forget the sunscreen, though.
Colorado is the highest state in the nation with an average elevation
of 6,800 feet. Suntans come quickly in Colorado!
Bring your bike! Colorado has an extensive bike trail system
and annual mountain biking competitions like the Iron Horse Bike
Classic in Durango and Crested Butte's Fat Tire Week, complete
with a bicycle rodeo. Crested Butte, which offers more than 300
miles of bike trails, also is home to the Mountain Bike Hall
of Fame and Museum.
Catch a concert at Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre west of Denver.
The walls, stage and backdrop of this outdoor concert facility
are made of 70 million-year- old red sandstone that treats concert-goers
to an aesthetic and acoustic experience unmatched by any venue
in the world. Originally an open-air stage for symphonies, orchestras
and ballets in the 1940s, Red Rocks today welcomes hundreds of
national and international musical stars to its surreal setting.
Dig for dinosaur bones along Colorado's western edge, an area
long considered a gold mine by the world's paleontologists. The
Dinosaur Discovery Museum, Dinosaur Hill, the Prehistoric Highway
and Dinosaur National Monument all offer a scientific glimpse
of the world when dinosaurs roamed.
Eat the world's best sweet corn at the Olathe Sweet Corn Festival
or bite into some Rocky Ford cantaloupe ... so good Rocky Ford
has been dubbed the "melon capital of the world." Grand
Valley peaches, apples, apricots and pears and Pueblo chiles
also have a delicious reputation.
Flyfish in the gold medal waters of several Colorado rivers.
The Yampa River below the northwest town of Craig holds northern
pike in the 20-pound range, while the Roaring Fork and Frying
Pan rivers are prime spots for trout fishing.
Golf at one of Colorado's many 18-hole courses. Copper Creek
Golf Course near Copper Mountain bills itself as the highest
golf course in the nation while Breckenridge features a municipal
course designed by golf legend Jack Nicklaus.
Hike a "fourteener" - Colorado has 54 peaks over 14,000
feet. Hiking trails are abundant throughout Colorado's three
national parks, 40 state parks and 15 national forests or grasslands.
Many trails offer the option of hiking afoot or saddling up and
Indulge in the amenities of one of Colorado's world- class resorts.
Famous ski destinations such as Aspen, Vail, Telluride, Steamboat
Springs, Breckenridge, Copper Mountain, Winter Park and Keystone
are great summer getaways, too. Take a gondola ride to the top
of a peak, hike through wildflowers, dine at a five-star restaurant
or treat yourself to a massage at one of the many resort spas.
Jump in a Jeep and tour the Great Sand Dunes National Monument
in south central Colorado. This bizarre 46,000-acre landscape
of 700-foot sand peaks was the creation of ocean waters and wind
more than one million years ago. Jeep tours of the Great Sand
Dunes run twice daily during the summer months.
Kick off your boots at one of Colorado's guest ranches after
a day of horseback riding through Aspen-lined trails, or get
Western at the ProRodeo Hall of Fame in Colorado Springs. Colorado
is home to more than 30 annual professional rodeos including
the National Western Rodeo in Denver and the Greeley Independence
Stampede - two of the 10 largest professional rodeos in North
Let a llama do the work. Llama pack trips, available at llama
ranches across the state, are a unique alternative to traditional
Make time for a tour of Mesa Verde National Park, voted by National
Geographic as one of the world's 50 greatest destinations. Mesa
Verde features an elaborate four-story city carved in the cliffs
by the Ancestral Pueblo people between 600 and 1300 A.D. The
mystery surrounding this ancient cultural landmark is the sudden
disappearance of the thousands of inhabitants who created the
more than 4,000 identified structures that make up Mesa Verde.
Negotiate a bargain at Bent's Old Fort National Historic Site
outside La Junta. Trade flourished inside the adobe walls of
Bent's Fort in the mid 1800s when Native Americans, Spaniards
and Anglos flocked to barter goods and services. Today the Fort
offers daily tours and special demonstrations reminiscent of
the old trading days.
Note the thousands of species of flora and fauna you'll encounter
on a hike in the Tarryall Mountains of the Lost Creek Wilderness
- less than two hours from Colorado Springs and Denver. Motor
vehicles are not allowed in the Lost Creek Wilderness so break
in your hiking boots - or better yet, strap on a horse and check
out some of the most beautiful wilderness in all of the Rockies.
Overlook the Royal Gorge via the 1,200-foot-high Royal Gorge
Bridge - the highest suspension bridge in the world. Visitors
also can ride the 35-passenger aerial tram that glides over the
Arkansas River or take a steep railway trip to the canyon floor.
Press your luck at a Colorado mountain casino. Historic mining
towns like Cripple Creek, Black Hawk and Central City today feature
more than 55 casinos with slot machines and table games. Stay
at one of the area's historic hotels and take in a summer festival
like Cripple Creek's Donkey Derby Days featuring fast and furious
Quench your thirst at a Colorado brew pub. Colorado has more
microbreweries per capita than any other state.
Ride the Kit Carson County Carousel in Burlington. This National
Historic Landmark dates back to 1905, making it the oldest wooden
merry-go-round in the United States. It is the only wooden carousel
in America still with its original paint.
See U.S. Olympic hopefuls train at the United States Olympic
Training Center in Colorado Springs. Daily tours of the 37-acre
complex offer a glimpse into the lives of past and future gold
Take a train ride through the scenic San Juan Mountains on the
Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad - voted by National
Geographic as one of America's top 10 train adventures. The Durango
and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad has been in continuous operation
since 1881 and has appeared in more than a dozen movies including
How the West Was Won (1963) and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance
Unwind at the world's largest natural hot springs pool located
in Glenwood Springs. The two-block long pool is across the street
from the historic Hotel Colorado, a favorite stop of former president
Visit four states at once. Colorado's southwest corner borders
Arizona, New Mexico and Utah - the only place in America where
the corners of four states meet. Put one limb in each state and
you can literally be in four places at one time - a great snapshot
for the family album!
Whitewater raft down a Colorado river. There are nearly 20 rivers
whose headwaters begin in Colorado, with the Continental Divide
directing each river's course. River waters are given a Class
I through Class V rating, allowing for all levels of whitewater
enthusiasts to experience the thrill of Colorado river rafting.
X-plore a Colorado ghost town.
Yell at the umpire at a Colorado Rockies game. The Rockies play
at the 50,000- seat Coors Field, located in lower downtown Denver.
The newly renovated "LoDo" area is lined with restaurants,
brew pubs, night clubs and boutiques. Just east of Coors Field
is Six Flags Elitch Gardens, Ocean Journey and the brand new
Pepsi Center, home of the Colorado Avalanche and the Denver Nuggets.
Z-z-z-z-z-z-z . . . . Catch up on your rest at one of more than
85 historic bed and breakfasts scattered throughout Colorado.
Enjoy eclectic B & B cuisine such as the pumpkin granola
pancakes at the Black Dog Inn in Estes Park or seasoned egg and
potato crepes at the Tudor Rose in Salida.