Colorado’s Hottest Family Vacation Trends: Bikerafting, Tiny Homes and More!
posted by: Julie Bielenberg
In this installment of epic Colorado offerings, we have rounded up what we believe to be the hottest in vacation trends for during the COVID-19 pandemic and the future of family vacationing. Sure, we’ve given you llama trekking with Paragon Guides in Minturn, each year since inception we have gloated about the yurt village at the YMCA Snow Mountain Ranch and the safari tents at Piney Lake Reservoir should always be a bucket-list item. So what’s on tap and trend for 2020? Here we go, mamas! As always, happy, healthy and safe travels.
Everyone wants to hit the waterways and escape the heat of the city and summer! Raft, SUP, kayak, innertube—you’ve seen it all. But, there is something brand new to Colorado, the multisport raft and bike package. Throw in some overnight glamping, riverside cuisine, and fly-fishing and you’ve got one heck of an adventure package.
Four Corners Guides are the first outfitters in the nation to offer this human-powered sport. “Bikerafting is a newer form of multi-sport adventure travel, with roots in the ’80s. It combines bicycles and packrafts, such that you put your boat on your bike when you are riding trails and then your bike on your boat when you are paddling a body of water that you need to cross to access another trail to pedal. Bikerafters use bikes and boats to cross contiguous landscapes they would otherwise not be able to access without those tools (whether a city landscape or a wild, backcountry area),” explains Lizzy Scully, CEO, Four Corners Guides.
“Our multi-day tours are designed for a niche audience that seeks to expand their existing skillset by adding a packraft or a bike to their backcountry adventures. We teach people the skills they need to be able to do bigger and more exciting exploratory missions on their own. We don’t cater to people as other raft or bike companies do, such as following our cyclists around with SAG wagons or carrying coolers full of beer on our raft trips. Our guests carry all the gear they will need to survive on our multi-day trips, from dehydrated food to their bikes and boats,” explains Scully.
“On our day bikerafting and packrafting trips, we teach the basics of packrafting to beginner packrafters and advanced whitewater and self-rescue skills to more experience packrafters. However, our guests must know how to ride a bicycle to do our bikepacking and bikerafting tours. For those tours, we will teach people what they need to know to take their bike on a multi-day adventure, from how to pack gear on a bike, what gear to use, how to handle a bike with a lot of gear, etc.”
Four Corners Guides offers three different bikerafting packages: for beginners to advanced: Glen Canyon National Rec Area Bikerafting, Intro to Bikerafting – McPhee Reservoir & The Animas River, and Three-Day Intro to Bikerafting on McPhee Reservoir.
For those who are ready for a more intense experience, the outfitters has three-to-five-day “Doom” tours for intermediate to advanced adventurers. This package allows for personalized treks and destinations and includes nights at the Ranch where fully-catered, grilled-over-the-fire gourmet dinners are available and sleeping accommodations include glamping tests. Tours are limited to six people, unless it is a single-family.
PS: A shout-out to my Utah-loving editor! Holiday River Expeditions offers three different multi-sport adventure trips through White Rim Trail/Cataract Canyon and Moab/Westwater Canyon. The raft portion envelopes families into the immense red rock towers and canyons carved by the water and the biking adventures provides single-track trails through iconic Moab and surrounding La Sal Mountains. (bikeraft.com/multi-sport-combination)
TINY HOME VILLAGE, TRAIL AND HITCH, MEEKER
Located in northwest Colorado, five minutes from downtown Meeker, is a new outdoor recreation development and vacation Mecca for all seasons. Trail and Hitch is an RV and tiny home village with available campsites and is quickly expanding to become one of the hottest vacation trends and remote destinations during the COVID-19 era.
Situated in a circle facing one another on the 20-acre property are the newest and sleekest in design of the tiny homes. A handful of the tiny homes were originally built for HGTV shows and then purchased, and, relocated to the property in 2019 and 2020. Others feature local Colorado craftsman and artisans.
The eight tiny homes are all unique in design, sleeping anywhere from four to six guests per home in different sleeping arrangements from queen-sized loft beds to full-sized pull-out futons to darling twin-sized sleeping nooks. All tiny homes feature a flat-screen television on the main levels and Wifi throughout the resort.
Each tiny home contains a fully-equipped kitchen with dishes, glasses, silverware, pots, pans and baking sheets and utensils. Some kitchens have stoves and / or ovens, others contain hot plates for quick meals. All units have a refrigerator, freezer, Kerig coffee maker with all the accouterments including French vanilla creamer! There is an outdoor propane grill on each patio for use year-round. There is also an air condition unit for each tiny home and plenty of windows to take advantage of the incredible mountain and valley breezes.
The bathrooms in each tiny home are different, one even features a full-size tub or a washer/dryer combo or luxurious stand-up shower. There is a spacious toilet in each home, equipped with toilet paper, soap, shampoo, and lotion. The common space in each home has a flat-screen TV, books for reading levels of all ages, board games, comfortable throws, and a table for eating that can seat two to four people.
The community space in the middle of the tiny home village includes a large picnic area with protective covering for shade and precipitation. There is also a faux grass area for children and dogs to romp about. Giant-size Jenga, Connect Four and other games are always available for guests.
Here is why you want to go to Trail and Hitch now. You can choose a home and completely isolate from all other guests and families. Or, at the extremely economical price point, this might be the ideal family reunion vacation. People can cook in their own units, use their own bathrooms, enjoy the fresh mountain air and safely socially distance in complete ease.
What are you going to do once you reach Shangri-La? This remote part of northwest Colorado is an outdoor Mecca for ATV and snowmobiles and ranch activity including horseback riding, carriage rides, majestic hikes surrounding incredible acreage of grazing herds. In season there are numerous options for whitewater rafting, kayaking, SUPping, canoeing and additional water activity.
During weather-appropriate months, a popular hike about 45 minutes from Trail and Hitch is Rifle Falls. Click here for full write-up about the RV Resort and Tiny Home Village. Coloradotrailandhitch.com
NATIVE CAMPER VAN, ANYWHERE!
We know there are many mamas who love the wilderness or camping, but the thought of sacrificing a good night’s sleep for an adventure can be daunting. We also know that many mamas are still a bit hesitant to stay in a hotel or resort. And, we know many families dream of an RV trip, but the thought of cleaning out another bathroom while on the road is disgusting. Problem solved! Native Campervans just launched their Colorado location in Denver and also have pick up and/or drop off locations in Salt Lake City, Utah and Las Vegas, Nevada.
The company offers three different sizes of vans that are easy to drive and fully stocked which allows limitless travel. Complete with kitchens and sleeping quarters, the campervans offer comfort and functionality without the headache and expense of driving an RV. These vehicles are nimble and fun to drive, you can save money on fuel, park more easily, and access areas a traditional RV simply can’t go.
Every van is stocked with camping chairs and table, fresh, clean bedding, propane and kitchen equipment. There is also a range of add-ons for the trip including dual hitch bike rack, single roof bike rack, two-person tent, inflatable SUP, propane heater, hammock, GPS, roof box and sleeping bags. There is a security deposit required of $300 and varying mileage packages to purchase. Nativecampercans.com
MINTURN ANGLERS, HORSEBACK RIDE AND FLY FISH, MINTURN
We’ve fished with these folks for years, and it’s never been anything but amazing days on the river. Well, we thought we knew them well, until they unleased a whole new slew of adventure activity for family. Sure, you’re going to need the rod and dry flies, but this time, you might need some cowboy boots as well.
Their horseback fly-fishing trips are true wilderness adventure featuring beautiful scenery and incredible fishing; located only 75 min from Vail Village and Beaver Creek in the heart of the Flat Top Mountains. The land they ride and water they fish covers thousands of acres and has multiple ponds, lakes and streams with all sizes and species of trout including opportunities to target Colorado Cutthroat.
The Horseback trip is perfect for those that want the ideal Western experience and want to stay off the busy rivers and fish in solitude. All equipment and food is included in the trip price as well as both a fly fishing guide and a horse wrangler. All trips offer a great setting for families. Trips are typically offered from Late May – Early Aug. Please allow at least 48 hours notice for scheduling 1-Day trips and 7-day notice for all overnight options. minturnanglers.com
Other Great Resources:
Where to pull of I-70 when you’re stuck in traffic (fun activities and restaurants)