Of all the 50 states, Colorado has a serious claim to be the outdoor recreation capital in America. The Rocky Mountains are supported by dozens of rivers, deep canyon systems and other natural wonders that support a thriving sport scene with a plethora of things to do. In winter, the 22 famous ski resorts offer the best skiing and snowboarding in North America if not the world.
Summers see the mountains open up their trails to an endless array of hikes, mountain biking and horseback outings. The rivers of Colorado run strong every spring as the snow melts, creating one of the country’s top destinations for whitewater rafting. There’s rock and ice climbing throughout the year, camping in dozens of national parks and family activities like hot air ballooning and historic steam train rides that cut right though the mountains.
When many people think of Colorado, Aspen Snowmass, Vail, Telluride and Breckenridge first come to mind and there really is a ski resort in every corner of the state. Some are casual family-friendly spots like Sunrise, while others are extremely adventurous like Telluride and Aspen. Best of all, most Colorado ski resorts have charming Victorian mining towns attached to create the perfect atmosphere of freedom. You can challenge any ski resort on your own, or go through Southwest Adventure Guides to show you the sublime Colorado backcountry.
In summer the Rockies, San Juan Mountains and other ranges open up for supreme hiking. The Colorado trail system is magnificent, with casual day hikes or week-long odysseys though massive wilderness areas. The Colorado Trail provides a 486-mile road of sorts from Durango to Denver. No matter where you are in the state you can count on a scenic trail near by. But if you need help ask Timberline Adventures to guide you.
The rivers of Colorado range from fast and wild to mellow and meandering. In spring, kayakers flock to the state to enjoy the snow runoff on the Arkansas and the Colorado. As summer settles in the rafters take over, enjoying the slower flow of water for some seriously scenic boating in every corner of the state. The options for rafting and kayaking are endless and outfitters like Mountain Waters can organize a memorable trip for you, or if you’re like a local, grab a tire and have a go on your own in any nearby creek.
The sport of mountain biking really got its momentum in Colorado. Towns like Crested Butte are meccas for serious bikers, who rip up the wilderness single tracks after the snow melts. Many ski resorts like Vail, Aspen and Copper Mountain also open their slopes and lifts to bikers to enjoy the thrills of downhill without the pain of getting up to elevation. Dozens of local firms like Timberline Bike Tours can sort out any kind of adventure.
The options for camping in Colorado are also practically endless. There are around 400 controlled national parks like Rocky Mountain, with developed campsites and facilities for a small nightly fee that are easily managed. There are also millions of acres of protected wilderness throughout the state where backpacking and camping are allowed with mild restrictions. Guides like Wildland Trekking can take you deep into the woods.
Colorado is a hot destination for fishermen. Whether you like fly fishing or relaxed reel and line fishing on a boat, Colorado has hundreds of lakes and rivers to choose from. Five-day licenses are easy and cheap to get at any recreation spot, or go with a guide outfitter like Duranglers or Colorado Trout Hunters and let them do the heavy lifting.
As you can imagine, the golfing in Colorado must be distractingly beautiful. There are championship courses in most ski resort towns like Telluride, Aspen and Crested Butte along with courses in most other major towns. This is a summer to fall activity, but the views are spectacular. Nearly all the courses are open to the public due to the tourist nature of most Colorado towns. The Colorado Golf Association can provide all kinds of information for whatever course you’re looking for.