Colorado’s New Year’s Eve Celebrations & New Year’s Day Guided Hikes!
New Year’s Eve Fireworks in Downtown Denver. The sky will once again sparkle over the 16th Street Mall with two spectacular shows at 9 p.m. and midnight. Costumed entertainers will interact with crowds between shows, including magicians, mascots, balloon artists, stilt walkers, comedians and more. Free. The Regional Transportation District (RTD) once again wants to be your designated driver by offering free rides on all regularly scheduled bus and train service
Noon Year’s Eve at the Children’s Museum of Denver. The Children’s Museum of Denver is ringing in New Year’s Eve just like Times Square! With five ball drops every hour from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., children of all ages can yell the countdown, watch colorful confetti splash the plaza and make fireworks with their feet when they jump on massive sheets of bubble wrap. Free with admission.
Bunk With The Beasts: Zoo Year’s Eve at the Denver Zoo. Kids spend the holiday at the zoo exploring Zoo Lights, learning about animals and celebrating sleepover-style in a safe and fun environment. Parents get a night out on the town. Includes pizza dinner, evening snack and full breakfast. $65 per member; $75 per non-member.
New Year’s Eve at the WOW! Children’s Museum (World of Wonder). Ring in the New Year a few hours early at WOW! Children’s Museum in Lafayette. The celebration includes noise maker crafts, entertainment by acclaimed musician Eric West, a parade around the Museum and special countdown at noon. Refreshments compliments of Whole Foods Market in Superior. Festivities are 11 a.m.-1 p.m.
Colorado Springs. There’s no better time for a quick getaway and nearby Colorado Springs is no better place. Pikes Peak Children’s Museum’s Noon Year’s Eve Celebration will have a ball drop and countdown at high noon, a balloon drop, entertainment by Barry G (featured on KaZootv and the Sprout Channel) snacks and more. Or head over to Cheyenne Mountain Zoo’s Electric Safari‘s 1 million+ twinkling lights and more than 40 animated light sculptures as warming fires throughout the zoo offer a reprieve from the chill. If you can make it to the stroke of midnight, you’ll never forget when AdAmAn members and their guests ignite a spectacular fireworks display atop Pikes Peak-America’s Mountain. On a clear night, they can be seen for hundreds of miles along the Front Range of the Colorado Rockies and eastern plains.
Fort Collins. Head North on New Year’s Eve for their 17th annual First Night Fort Collins. Their “Enchanted Voyage” promises new performing acts, storytelling, history, interactive craft projects, old favorites, street performers, international dancing and much more. Enjoy comedy, original theater (the headliner is kid-friendly Popovich Comedy Pet Theater. This great family event is non-alcoholic and all indoors except the Kids’ Countdown.
Head to the Hills. Many of Colorado’s mountain resorts have fantastic New Year’s Eve celebrations with fireworks shows, torchlight parades, children’s activities and so much more. Be sure to check their websites for event listings.
New Year’s Day
Colorado Parks and Wildlife will sponsor guided hikes in 15 state parks on New Year’s Day as part of an America’s State Parks’ initiative in all 50 states. The First Day Hikes initiative offers individuals and families an opportunity to begin the New Year by rejuvenating and connecting with the outdoors with a healthy hike on Jan. 1, 2013 at a state park close to home. First Day Hikes offer a great way to get outside, exercise, enjoy nature and welcome the New Year with friends and family. The hikes themselves are free, but park visitors must have either a daily parks pass or a valid annual pass.
In Colorado, hikes will be offered at the following locations and times:
Barr Lake State Park, Adams County (two hikes offered) *
· 11 a.m. (Meet at Nature Center)
A 3-mile hike on an easy trail in the wildlife refuge. Bird watching including bald eagles. No dogs. Limit 40 participants.
· 11 a.m. (Meet at Boat Ramp)
A 3-mile snowshoe hike (bring your own snowshoes) to Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory. There are lots of birds including bald eagles. Limit 25 participants.
Castlewood Canyon State Park, Douglas County *
· 10 a.m. (Meet at Falls Parking Lot)
A moderate 3-mile hike, with an extended afternoon hike for adventurists. First portion concludes about noon. Bring a lunch for the extended hike that will conclude around 2 p.m.
Chatfield State Park, Jefferson and Douglas Counties (two hikes offered) *
· 9 a.m. (Meet at Gravel Ponds Parking Area)
An easy 2-to 3-mile “Winter Wonderland” hike. Dogs allowed but must be on 6-foot leash at all times. No children under age six on this hike, please.
· 11 a.m. (Meet at South Platte Parking Area)
An easy 2.5-mile wildlife viewing hike along the reservoir includes the history of the reservoir. Dogs allowed but must be on a 6-foot leash at all times.
Cherry Creek State Park, Arapahoe County *
· 11 a.m. (Meet at the Campground Registration Building)
This is an easy 2-mile hike with wildlife viewing opportunities and free hot chocolate at the end. The hike is not recommended for children under age five. No dogs allowed.
Cheyenne Mountain State Park, El Paso County *
· 10 a.m. (Meet at the Visitor Center)
This is a moderate 3.3-mile hike which provides wildlife viewing opportunities. This hike also has some geocaching surprises along the trail for added fun. Hot chocolate is available at the end of the hike.
Eleven Mile State Park, Park County *
· 10 a.m. (Meet at the Coyote Ridge Parking Lot)
An easy to moderate 1.5-mile winter hike may include a trip out onto the ice at the park if safe, so crampons or cleats are recommended. Dogs are allowed but must be on a leash.
Golden Gate Canyon State Park, Jefferson County *
· 10 a.m. (Meet at the Aspen Meadow Campground Entrance Lot)
A difficult to strenuous 3-mile hike will include some hills, steep descents and some wildlife viewing opportunities. Snowshoes and poles are recommended if weather requires. Not recommended for children under 12 years of age.
Lory State Park, Larimer County *
· 9 a.m. (Meet at Arthur’s Rock Parking Lot)
A moderate to difficult 3.4-mile hike with the option of a trail run for the more adventurous. Impressive views of Horsetooth Reservoir and the Front Range from an elevation of 6,780 feet. Children under 12 must be accompanied by a parent. Dogs must be leashed.
Mueller State Park, Teller County (four hikes offered) *
· 9 a.m. (Meet at Outlook Ridge Trailhead)
An easy to moderate 2-mile hike along the gentle westward trail to three overlooks featuring fantastic views of the Continental Divide. Dogs not allowed. Snowshoes may be necessary.
· 10 a.m. (Meet at Visitor Center Parking Lot)
An easy to moderate 2-mile hike to School Pond that includes views of Sentinel Peak and Pikes Peak before uphill return to Visitor Center. Snowshoes may be necessary. No dogs allowed.
· 1 p.m. (Meet at Visitor Center Parking Lot)
A moderate .81-mile hike along the Wapiti Nature Trail. Great for the whole family. Dogs are not allowed on the trail.
· 2 p.m. (Meet at Elk Meadow Trail Head)
An easy .8-mile hike through the conifer forest to Peak View Pond. Great views of Pikes Peak. Dogs are not allowed on the trail.
Roxborough State Park, Douglas County (two hikes offered) *
· 9 a.m. (Meet at the Visitor Center)
This is a moderate-to-strenuous 6.4-mile trek that will challenge the adventurous hikers to start the year off right. The hike will take in 7,175-foot elevation Carpenter Peak – the highest point in the park. Bring your lunch to eat at the top of the park but please leave your dogs at home.
· 10 a.m. (Meet at the Visitor Center)
A moderate-to-difficult 3-mile hike along the South Rim Trail to study the topography, vegetation and geology of the park.
St. Vrain State Park, Weld County *
· 11 a.m. (Meet at the Camper Services Building)
An easy-to-moderate 1.5-mile hike around Pelican Pond along with views overlooking Mallard and Sandpiper Ponds to see kestrels, harriers, hawks and eagles. There’s an extended opportunity to add another 1.5 miles at the end. Bring your camera and binoculars, but please leave the dog at home.
Stagecoach State Park, Routt County *
· 11 a.m. (Meet at the Keystone Day Use Area)
A moderate 2-mile hike along the overlook trail. This hike is not recommended for children under six. Limited number of snowshoes provided or bring your own. Great photo opportunities so bring your camera. Leashed pets allowed.
State Forest State Park, Jackson County *
· 10 a.m. (Meet at the Moose Visitor Center on Highway 14)
An easy 6-mile snowshoe trail so bring your own or contact the park to reserve limited sizes for the day. Hot chocolate and treats await at the Chocolate Cabin. Leashed dogs are allowed.
Trinidad Lake State Park, Las Animas County *
· 1 p.m. (Meet at the Visitor Center)
An easy-to-moderate 1-mile hike on Levsa Canyon Trail. Great views and great wildlife viewing so bring your camera and binoculars. Children 12 or younger must be accompanied by an adult. Dogs on leash are allowed on this hike.
Vega State Park, Mesa County *
· 10 a.m. (Meet at snowmobile staging area)
This is a moderate 2-mile hike through an aspen forest with a return trip on a groomed snowmobile trail so there is varying terrain. There can be deep snow so bring snowshoes and trekking poles.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife manages 42 state parks, more than 300 state wildlife areas, all of Colorado’s wildlife, and a variety of outdoor recreation. For more information go to http://cpw.state.co.us