For unforgettable adventures, head to Colorado, where there is an abundance of ways for the whole family to explore some of the fun-filled, favorite spots in and around Colorado Springs, Denver, and Cañon City. Summer activities that everyone will enjoy include scenic day hikes, mountain zip lines, and mellow raft trips, to name a few. But where to start? In a friendly chat with Brooke Goudy, a local mountain biking expert, and Jennings Hester, a fly fishing guide, they shared with us some of the fun-focused trips they enjoy that serve as a great guide to Colorado and all it has to offer.
• The Whitewater Park in Downtown Denver
Head to Confluence Kayak and Ski and grab an inflatable tube to splash in the white water at Confluence Park. The slow-moving South Platte River that cuts through the city has a few short drops that add a little excitement to an otherwise mellow trip. Grab a snack at the Denver Central Market from a dozen or so vendors and have a picnic on the waterside while you watch other kayakers and tubers go by. Just a few blocks away from the market, you will find the Ramble Hotel, where you can enjoy a cocktail in the Death & Co lobby bar.
Rafting on Mighty Arkansas
From the train, you can view the Royal Gorge with its splashy water before heading to Bighorn Sheep Canyon for a rafting experience on the Arkansas River. The trip has beautiful calm stretches interspersed with fun rapids and is well suited for kids aged six and up. While enjoying the magnificent views of the canyon, see if you can spot some of the bighorn sheep that this area is named after.
Take a Single Track Cruise around Green Mountain
The 7-mile loop around the perimeter of Green Mountain is perfect for a comfortable mountain bike ride. Brooke Goudy, who is an ambassador for the VIDA Mountain Bike Series and co-leader of ‘Black Girls Do Bike,’ says it is easy to get to Green Mountain from Denver, where you can ride for the very first time, and it is a really fun trail to progress on. According to Brooke, “it is my favorite trail for introducing people to the joy of mountain biking, especially women of color.” As the trail is close to the metro, it can get very crowded over the weekend, and it may be better to ride during the week.
Keep singletrack single and protect plants on the side of the trail by stopping when you encounter other riders and letting them pass by rather than leaving the trail.
Head to Paint Mines Park for an Otherworldly Hike
Paint Mines Interpretive Park is just 45 minutes east of The Springs, where you can undertake a mind-blowing adventurous 4-mile hike through the tall, vibrant, and multicolored formations and improbable spires of rock. Make sure you have plenty of space on your SD card for photos of the brightly colored red, purple, white, orange, and brown earth found in the area. Remember to always leave all rocks, plants, and historical items exactly as you find them so that other hikers can experience the joy of discovering them.
Heading back to town, stop off at the acclaimed Four by Brother Luck Restaurant for spiced pork belly or rabbit green chili cooked up by Brother Luck, a Top Chef competitor.
A Train Ride Back in Time
Take a train ride back in time on the historic Royal Gorge Route Railway for an incredible sightseeing experience, especially from the glass-walled car of the Vista Dome that provides unmatched views of the one thousand foot deep gorge and the Arkansas River Rapids. See the Royal Gorge Bridge, the highest suspension bridge on the continent with its 1,260-foot steel span that crosses the canyon.
Other Royal Gorge (https://royalgorgebridge.com/) attractions to get the blood pumping a bit faster include a 50 mph Skycoaster ride that soars above the south rim of the gorge and a Via Ferrata that is great for absolute beginners but who have an adventurous spirit.