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Grand Prize ($800 value): Vegetable Garden, Magnetic Fort, Colorado Mountain Art & Well Told Designs

This is Day 5 of 5 days of giveaways! Be sure to enter to win Day 1’s Mom Pack here,  Day 2’s Books + Toys giveaway as well as our Day 3’s Fun for Travel giveaway, and Day 4’s Cacao + Cookie.

And don’t forget to enter to win a birthday party for 10 at the incredible NEW Airhouse Adventure Park (a $300 value!) 

Also, don’t miss our Holiday Gift Guide: 50+ Colorado Gift Ideas for the foodie, adventurer, wellness gurus in your life. 

GRAND PRIZE DAY

A little sprinkling of our favorite gifts we came across this year.

Hanama Vegetable Garden

Hamama a DIY vegetable garden offers a fail-proof way for anyone to grow nutritious microgreens for smoothies, salads, and sandwiches year-round. Their patented, non-GMO Seed Quilt technology offers a seamless indoor growing experience by controlling watering, humidity, and light parameters. Just add water once, soak your Seed Quilt, and come back to harvest delicious microgreens in just 7-10 days. USDA studies show microgreens can be up to 40x more nutritiously dense than mature veggies. The contest is for the microgreen kit with a bamboo frame.  hamama.com

Well Told Design

This is the BEST company for someone who you just can’t figure out the gift. It was by far one of my top three favorite that came across my desk this fall. I choose a scotch glass and an image of Chicago for my dad. But there is so, SO much more. Rock glasses, flasks, pint glass, stemless pieces, wine glass and then a line of home apparel, coasters, bar boards, about 100 customizable products. They have themes such as outdoors, cities, college towns, academics, their breath of retail is outrageous and fun to page through. Winner can choose any beverage ware of his or her choice. welltolddesign.com

Colorado Mountain Art by Jared Hankins

Jared Hankins’ latest series is a completely new perspective of classic ski lines from winter resorts such as Vail and Aspen. Hankins lives in Denver with his wife, two teenage daughters, and twin sons in elementary school. His career includes a stroke at age 31 where he had to relearn all muscle movements in his arm and hand to not only regain normalcy, but his creative career. Nearly 15 years after this life-altering event, his artistic contribution and collections are impressive and humbling. Hankins has an extensive repertoire of consumer-packaged goods that would be recognizable to most individuals including Starbucks’ Frappuccino package design. Yogi Tea Company, Tropicana, Oxy Clean, Sobe Energy Drink, Doritos, Werthers, Twizzlers, Jolly Rancher, Hot Pockets and more. Winner can choose from the Elevation Series. hankinsfineart.com

The original magnetic pillow FORT

With the holidays and winter months already upon us, many kids are searching for indoor activities to escape the cold, and while it’s easy to reach for a tablet, TV remote or video game console, FORT’s magnetic pillow FORTs offer an indoor activity that’s fun and engaging for both the mind and body. “Made with foam blocks covered in waterproof fabric, FORT blocks connect with magnets (and imagination) and I’m confident that they will become your kids’ new favorite toy, activity AND piece of furniture. idea for FORT was born while watching my wife and 2-year-old make pillow forts with blankets that kept falling in. After losing my job in 2020 due to COVID, and with a second child on the way, I took a leap of faith to launch FORT and the interest has been overwhelming, with over 5500 FORTs shipped in the past month alone!” Shout out to this dad – we love this item! getthefort.com

Magnetic Pillow Fort

 

Holidays in Denver

Guide to the Holidays 2021: Denver’s Best Light Displays & Family Fun
 
The ultimate guide to outdoor skating in Colorado 
 
 Denver’s best holiday markets and craft fairs
 
7 Best Christmas tree farms in Denver
 
Places to see Santa in Denver

Win Fun For Travel Prize Pack: Five Days of Giveaways!

This is Day 3 of 5 days of giveaways! Be sure to enter to win Day 1’s Mom Pack here,  Day 2’s Books + Toys giveaway as well as Day 4’s Cacao + Cookie and our Grand Prize Giveaway (an $800 value!).

Also, don’t miss our Holiday Gift Guide: 50+ Colorado Gift Ideas for the foodie, adventurer, wellness gurus in your life. 

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Here are some goodies for on the go! Traveling parents need some tricks and tools to stay healthy, fresh and nourished. Enjoy!

Farver Farms Dried Lentils

Grown just up from Colorado in Montana, each of these mixes features the wheat or lentils from their Farm and is combined with a special selection of spices to create a hearty, nutritious base. You simply add one or two ingredients commonly found in most kitchens, and you’ve got a homemade, full of flavor meal, snack or sweet treat that you can feel great about serving to your family! All of their mixes are packaged in their own certified kitchen, giving you a truly ‘field to fork experience’! Winner gets the three-pack to try multiple flavors. farverfarms.comFarver Farms

 Nudge Travel Teeth Care

Nudge is the new way to take care of your smile. The brand is responsible for self-care that believes products should be composed of clean ingredients that are good for you, carefully designing its offerings to be as natural as possible without compromising on the taste, feel or results. Perfect for on the fly, literally, or on-the-go parents who are traveling to and from sports or work. This is also a Leaping Bunny-certified company. Nudge sustainably sources its ingredients to ensure customers receive natural ingredients (bye-bye fluoride!) in a truly groundbreaking way. It’s about time we all have a bamboo toothbrush that’s 100% degradable, right? Get the entire travel kit with this prize. shopnudge.comNudge

 PlaneAire

We can never get enough of this stuff! This brand is thoughtfully crafted with a unique selection of premium, nourishing, hand-picked ingredients like moisturizing green tea extract, soothing aloe vera, hydrating glycerin and vibrant essential oils. There are wipes and hand sanitizer. Winner gets an entire travel pack. planeaire.comPlaneaire

 Anjie + Ash

A fellow mama created this company! es my family. “There are 3 things I love in this world – food, traveling and jewelry,” explains the owner, Andrea. “I took a break from corporate life and launched FRILS – my highly curated, online jewelry store. I ended up taking a job offer, working for the amazing Rachel Zoe, so FRILS became more of a hobby than a business. Then, I had a baby…After months of research on non-toxic materials, I designed a line of stylish teething jewelry made of food-grade silicone, untreated beechwood and type 304 stainless steel. All teething necklaces feature our patented magnetic safety clasp engineered with the perfect amount of pull strength to keep your teething necklace secure until your little one’s tugs become too strong.” More products followed and the winner of this package can visit the site and pick the best traveling product for he or she. anjieandash.comTeething necklace

Bold Made Card Game

Bold Made is a new and improved twist on the classic card game Old Maid. Our game isn’t about getting stuck with a card. It’s about winning by collecting a team of bold women past and present. Each woman in the deck has made important contributions to her society and to the world at large. The game is fun, of course, but also a powerful way to help kids find fantastic female role models. boldmade.comBoldmade

 

Holidays in Denver

Guide to the Holidays 2021: Denver’s Best Light Displays & Family Fun
 
The ultimate guide to outdoor skating in Colorado 
 
 Denver’s best holiday markets and craft fairs
 
7 Best Christmas tree farms in Denver
 
Places to see Santa in Denver

Win These Books + Toys: Five Days of Giveaways!

From old classics to new innovative and inclusive todays, here is a fun and diverse holiday round-up that covers all demographics and price points. The winner of this package receives ALL items listed shipped directly to his or her door.

Be sure to enter to win Day 1’s Mom Pack here, as well as our Day 3’s Fun for Travel giveaway, Day 4’s Cacao + Cookie and our Grand Prize Giveaway (an $800 value!)

Also, don’t miss our Holiday Gift Guide: 50+ Colorado Gift Ideas for the foodie, adventurer, wellness gurus in your life. 

Books + Toys: Five Days of Giveaways

 Strawberry Pencil Magic Book Series

This is a darling children’s book series geared toward the emerging reader or any good listener. The titles are hysterical such as “I did, with an Ostrich” and “Splitz the Tuffa: The Rapping Skunk”  There are over a dozen books in the series and the winner can pick any six he or she likes. Our family loves the “Arch Otters: Megalodon Outbreak” and “Peri and her Plant.” The books are colorful, diverse and certainly easy to travel or tote around. strawberrypencilmagic.comStrawberry Pencil Books

 Stomp Rockets

It’s classic, it makes kids use their muscles, and it works inside or out. From three years of age to grandparents, I’ve seen everyone launching these rockets. No batteries required, easy to set up, and a nice price point. stomprocket.com

Stomp Rocket

Skoolzy STEM Toys

These little bears are so classic, I almost wanted them just for myself. I have three kids from preschool to middle school, you bet I can get all three to play this game with my youngest. From basics for toddlers to more advanced STEM toys, these are easily giftable or keepable. The price point is spot on and there are hundreds of colorful options. skoolzy.com P.S. – Winner can choose the prize from the website!Skoolzy

Dr. Bonyfide’s Bones of the Body Workbooks

We’ve had a few weeks this fall where the children have been home for COVID school shut down. They get a little frustrated with all-day, online school, so I try and break it up. This set of human anatomy books was sent and it turned out to be the WINNER for fall. I split the books up and let our friends use them while their kids were home as well. Everyone loved these. It’s an awesome gift always, but especially during Pandemic when extra learning materials are invaluable. The award-winning company offers Dr. Bonyfide’s Bones of the Body Workbooks full of fun and educational activities for children eight and up, developed by a culturally diverse team of educators, health professionals, and parents. Enjoy activities such as crossword puzzles, mazes, x-ray vision, and more. Featuring an in-depth exploration of the human body guided by Dr. Bonyfide and his friends as they help develop a lifelong love for science, an appreciation for one’s body, and the path to learning to Know Yourself. knowyourself.com

Know Yourself Books

Spark Book

Gold medal award-winning ‘A Little Spark’ children’s book redefines children’s literature with a fun, multi-faceted reading time experience including meaningful storytelling, audio, music, activities and lessons designed to spark kindness, friendship and giving. There is even a technology component to the book with QR codes in the book. Amazon.com

Fresh Dolls

Dr. Lisa was inspired to change how African American children viewed themselves, and what started as a side hustle, turned into an innovative black-owned doll company. After landing Oprah’s Favorite Things, she became Walmart Supplier of the Year and pivoted from being the first female professor to receive two multi-million-dollar endowed chairs by University of Arkansas, the first tenured African American professor at Penn State University, and first African American to receive a doctorate in Logistics from The Ohio State University, to Founder and CEO of The World of Entertainment, Publishing and Inspiration™

Her dolls are designed with custom-blended skin tones, authentic facial features including full lips, noses, gorgeous eyes, a variety of hair textures and styles, and uniquely designed bodies more representative with fuller hips and thighs. Standing approx 11.5 inches tall, Fresh Dolls are bendable and articulated to foster imagination during positive play. They also feature soft washable hair, stunning wardrobe and accessories. Winner can choose doll. thefreshdolls.comFresh Dolls

 

Holidays in Denver

Guide to the Holidays 2021: Denver’s Best Light Displays & Family Fun
 
The ultimate guide to outdoor skating in Colorado 
 
 Denver’s best holiday markets and craft fairs
 
7 Best Christmas tree farms in Denver
 
Places to see Santa in Denver
 
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. While clicking these links won’t cost you extra money, they help us keep this site up and running. See our disclosure policy. 

Five Days of Giveaways + Mom Pack Holiday Gift Guide

Five Days! Five Grand Prize Winners!

Happy Friday! Here we go! This pack is for around the house, and the scenarios we have all been handed these past 20 months. Enjoy this first bundle ALL under $50 a piece. This prize winner will win each of the following items which will be shipped to his / her house separately from the companies. If there are options to choose from, you usually get to have a preference. Good luck. The packs are GOOD this year. Scroll to the bottom to enter with options to enter to win every day through Dec. 31, 2021. 

Be sure to enter to win Day 2’s Books + Toys giveaway as well as our Day 3’s Fun for Travel giveaway, Day 4’s Cacao + Cookie and our Grand Prize Giveaway (an $800 value!)

Also, don’t miss our Colorado Holiday Gift Guide with 50+ unique gift ideas for everyone from your foodie friends to wellness lovers to the adventurer. 

Happy, Happy Holidays. From Amber and Julie – Happy, healthy and safe as always.

Five Days of Giveaways: The Mom Pack (Day 1 of 5)

Lavley

I love fun socks! Since we’ve all been around the house an EXTRA amount of time these past 20 months, there’s a lot of sock-wearing going on. And, it’s fun to throw a little messaging on there. I chose “Bring Me Some Tea” socks from Lavley since my daughter and I both love to drink kettles of tea a day, and we can share. The winner of this package gets to choose three different pairs to be shipped including dozens of themes. lavley.comtea lover socks

Tea Runners

Speaking of tea, we’ve tried lots. Here’s one of my new favorites of the season. They’re packaged to be a bag for each pot, which is perfect. Tea Runners Subscription Box ($25) a month delivers four top-quality, loose leaf teas, along with tasting notes and brewing instructions. The packaging is the best because you can reuse the tea bags for snack keepers for kids. tearunners.com

Chariteas

We LOVE tea! Can you tell? Winter Warmth Tea Flight from Chariteas ($36) was a family favorite! The canisters can be reused as well and the blends are wonderful. It’s fun to put the trio out on a cold winter morning before the kids go to school. It’s certainly an extra needed perk living at 7,000 feet above sea level on dark mornings. The flight includes Fireside Orange, a black tea blend, Christmas Morning, a smooth rooibos blend and Minty Meadow, a Chinese green tea blended with peppermint and spearmint. PS. Check out the website, the company is based in Mt. Hood, Oregon, which gives us amazingly different mountain products.Loose tea denver

Buddha Board

Let’s create some calm. Actually, we got a trio of these boards and everyone had fun unwinding and doodling. From daily responsibilities to the unending access to stimulation technology brings us, it’s common to feel overwhelmed. Reset your mental state from overstimulated to calm and peaceful with the help of Buddha Board, a mindfulness tool that helps you practice the art of letting go. What makes this product different? Each work of art lasts for only a short while, allowing you to create again and again. Perfect for relieving stress at home, in the office, or when traveling. Winner can choose between three of the boards (Original Buddha Board $37.95, Mini Buddha Board $17.95, Enso $27.95) buddhaboard.com

Ecologie Sponges

No more worries about paper towel shortages, this is a Swedish leader in what we call dishcloths here in the U.S with their reusable, compostable cloths. The lifespan of a reusable, biodegradable cloth is nine months and then toss it in the compost. And it only costs $6 each! Globally, paper towels waste accounts for as much as 254 million tons of trash. We can solve this wasteful trend by making a simple switch in our lifestyles. The sponge cloths have a highly-absorbent texture, similar to combining a sponge and cloth, absorbing 15 times their weight in water. We chose the cat-shaped package, of course, and it will last us a year! ecologieliving.com

ecologie sponge

Simple Satch

We can’t deny we might be washing our hands, sanitizing, and doing an extra-harsh job trying to get rid of germs. It helps when there are at least cool accessories to make the job a bit more enjoyable. This set from Simple Satch, called On-the-Go, is PERFECT for traveling mamas. There’s a reusable pouch, awesome keychain, holder for sanitizer, charging cord and so much more. As a traveler, this was one of the first items that I put to use this fall. simplesatch.com

CONTEST

 

Holidays in Denver

Guide to the Holidays 2021: Denver’s Best Light Displays & Family Fun
 
The ultimate guide to outdoor skating in Colorado 
 
 Denver’s best holiday markets and craft fairs
 
7 Best Christmas tree farms in Denver
 
Places to see Santa in Denver

Fall Giveaway: Dinner to Go, Free Cleaning, Personal Assistance

As You Wish

asyouwishcolorado.com
FOUR HOURS FREE PERSONAL ASSISTANT
Value: $300

It’s been a long, chaotic, summer mamas, we know it! And, back to school is questionable for many districts, mine included! Are we going, we’re already delayed, what’s happening? It’s hard to make a decision on this fall let alone what’s for dinner. We have something to give you a morning or afternoon of harmony to get organized and ready for whatever fall has in store.

As You Wish was established in Denver in 2010, and is a full-service personal assistant company. They handle everything from errands, concierge, organizing, moving management, to corporate and personal events. Think last-minute, small, 6-person, socially-distanced birthday party or running the dog to the groomer (if you can even get in!), grocery store, post office, etc. This is for us mamas!

Principal, and creator behind the company, Allison Welch worked as an event planner, executive and personal assistant for over a decade before she formed As You Wish. This summer, she celebrates a decade of business and has consistently expanded her business. Welch now has three additional employees to help cover the expanding regional range of the organization and also the demand.

Mile High Mamas and As You Wish are giving away four free hours of personal assistant service to one lucky mama. Need an idea of how to use the time? I had owner, Allison, to my home (socially-distanced and masked) for an hour of service. What did I have her do? ORGANIZE! I’m not certain my children are going back to school and I wanted to get my daughter’s room situated for remote learning. I wanted her to be excited. Remember getting new pencils, pens, notebooks, pencil cases? Exactly. The small things.

Below you will see before and after pictures of Allison’s magic. I had her get my 9-year-old set up for the fourth grade (at home). Allison had the joy of going through the plastic bag I picked up in May from a school drive-by with my daughter’s belongings, year of artwork, etc. She helped decide what needed to stay and go.

When my daughter returned, she didn’t miss the 200+ items Allison moved and organized. She LOVED the reading nook that was created under her loft bed for her and the pandemic pooch. The room is still organized and well-used over three weeks later.

Slater’s 50 / 50

slaters5050.com
TAKE OUT OR EAT IN
Value: $100

New and happening in Denver’s Rino Art District, Slater’s 50/50 offers a pub-style experience without the generic grimy atmosphere. Founded in 2009 in Anaheim Hills, California, Slater’s 50/50 was created with the intention of giving their customers a new and unparalleled sports bar experience. Galvanized with a love for bacon, founder Scott Slater forged the 50/50 patty –made of 50% ground bacon and 50% ground beef — creating the staple for the restaurant’s array of burgers, wings, appetizers, milkshakes, and scads of beers on tap. Dubbed a “rebel gastropub,” Slater’s 50/50 brings a different approach to the Denver restaurant scene. 

After attending the new Slater’s 50/50 Denver location opening, I can suggest a few items on the menu that I personally loved. We started out with the Slater’s Vampire Dip, named with a ghostly-theme for the garlic and artichoke hearts blended into the warm cheese served in a bread bowl, definitely recommend. We tried out the Maple Bourbon Bacon Wings, Sweet Potato Fries, and their House-Made Frickles, all good appetizers to munch on while diners watch a baseball game on any of the restaurants big-screen TVs. After perusing over the burger options, we decided on the 50/50 Original burger–the 50/50 beef bacon blend, pepper jack cheese, avocado, sunny-side-up egg, and chipotle mayo on a brioche bun–hard to go wrong. I finished my meal off with an Ultimate S’more Shake, big enough for two, although my dinner date ordered a Happy Birthday shake. — Abby Usalavage

All-Star Cleaning Services 

cleaningallstars.com
FREE FOUR-HOUR CLEANING (Fort Collins Area)
Value: $200

Everyone knows it’s difficult to keep a family’s home tidy and clean. The secret is to enlist the little ones to help with the housework– rather than trying to clean up after them or around them. Single mother, owner of Colorado-based All Star Cleaning Services and tidiness expert Laura Smith has five tips and tricks to get your kids to help keep your home clean. Enter this contest to win a free hour-hour cleaning with the northern Colorado company. And . . . awesome owner Smith has some fun tips for keeping sane this fall while be clean below!
 
Play Dress-Up: Young children love to make-believe that they’re someone else. Show them a photo or video of a professional house cleaner, provide them with an apron, cleaning gloves and nontoxic supplies, have them decorate a bucket with paint pens and stickers then “hire them” for projects around the house.

  • Work with the competitive spirit: When siblings are involved, there always seems to be a healthy sense of competition in the house. Task each child with cleaning their own room. Whomever finishes the task first, and to the highest standards, receives a prize.
  • Use photos or pictures: Toddlers love to organize objects. Instead of simply asking kids to “clean up their toys,” make a matching game with photos of each toy or item on its intended box. The Lego Box has a photo of Legos on the side, the book box has a photo of books, and so forth.
  • Establish a routine: Daily cleaning becomes easier when it simply becomes a part of the morning or evening routine. Enlist children to clean off the table and pick up any toys in the kitchen while you cook dinner. Begin going through these motions every night until it becomes a habit.   
    Most importantly: Don’t forget to praise liberally. A little praise goes a long way.

Saucy Chix

saucychixrestaurant.com
NO ONE COOKS TONIGHT!
Value: $75

With fresh-fried chicken being the face of Saucy Chix, their takeout and delivery services are an ideal meal solution during these crazy pandemic times. Recently opened in the Virginia-Vale neighborhood of Denver and in Arvada just off of Sheridan, this spot offers a variety of sandwiches, tenders, salads, and some “sweet stuff” like Baked-To-Order Cookies and Layered Banana Pudding. A headliner at Saucy Chix is their array of sauces, offering classics like Buttermilk Ranch and Honey Dijon, and debuting new sauces like Scorpion Ranch and Sweet & Spicy Thai. On top of the personalization you can get out of Saucy Chix’s sauce menu, they offer different types of sandwiches and salads; the Crispy Asian Chix salad or the Chix on a Bun sandwich are two of the options on the menu suited for your whole family. Owner James Gregory strives to create a delicious option for guests, while also making a convenient meal. – – Abby Usalavage

CONTEST

You may enter as many as five times below! 

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Please name the ONE item you would like to win for this giveaway (you may enter to win each item up to five times but must fill out each form separately). 1) As You Wish Personal Assistant 2) Slaters 50/50 3) All-Star Cleaning Services(Grand Junction-area only) 4) Saucy Chix

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The Best of Colorado Camping and Local Hikes

Jellystone Park, 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles of Denver and Boulder, and Moon Colorado Camping: The Complete Guide to Tent and RV Camping

The heat is on in Colorado and we know you mamas want to escape to cooler temperatures, fresh air, and refreshing mountain streams. In this installment of the best Colorado summer vacations, we explore local hiking trails, campsites, and off the beaten path ideas. As always, happy, healthy, and safe travels and remember to always check with local guidelines about COVID regulations. 

Moon Colorado Camping: The Complete Guide to Tent and RV Camping

Moon Colorado Camping: The Complete Guide to Tent and RV Camping (Moon Outdoors, 6th edition, May 12, 2020) is Joshua Berman’s latest roundup of places to sleep beneath the stars. It lists 480 campgrounds, RV parks, and camp resorts across the state, rating each site, listing amenities and reservation info, and also comes with an advice section for both veteran and first-time campers. 

SOOOOOOO . . . where are Berman’s favorite spots? We’ve checked out some incredible sites with his family in Granby and Canyon City, but some of his recommendations even surprised me! Currently, he is on an epic, 100+mile trek of the Colorado Trail, so look for him camping throughout this route in Summer 2020. However, here are some of my favorites included in his book.

  • The Flat Tops Trail is a national scenic byway that connects Yampa with Meeker (we featured Meeker in our last post as Colorado Trail and Hitch is located there). Trappers Lake is the big draw for camping in the area (it’s Colorado’s third-largest natural lake (we already featured the largest) and it cools off nicely in the evenings. There are loads of campsites along the route featured in the book.
  • Silver Thread Scenic Byway winds its way throughout many historical and legendary Colorado towns—Lake City, Creede, South Fork—that are often quieter than others. There are over a dozen campgrounds in this area, all reservation required, but the book even pointed out some new ideas for this glorious area of the State. https://joshuaberman.net/my-books/coloradocamping6/

60 Hikes Within 60 Miles of Denver and Boulder

“Nearly two years after taking my first steps on Colorado’s Front Range trails to do research for my new hiking guidebook, the book is released and available for sale! This book is intended to be for all types of hikers—those still acclimating to the elevation in Colorado, kids and kids at heart, people who don’t have time to drive too far for a hike, people who have already done some hikes, and more—and is not a mountaineering guide. Have fun, be safe, leave no trace, and enjoy the great outdoors!” —Mindy Sink, Author.

You can get a copy of the book at The Tattered Cover Bookstore, BookBar, and soon at I Heart Denver as well as online including the publisher’s website.

If you pick up a copy and use it for some hikes, I’d really appreciate your honest feedback shared on Goodreads or any online platform that you prefer. I can’t wait to hear about people’s experiences doing these hikes. Feel free to tag me on social media too if you share about going on one of these hikes.” —Mindy Sink, Fellow Mile High Mama

Some of Mindy’s recent hikes, even in this heat, have included North Table Mountain, White Ranch Open Space (plan early, she has found the parking at capacity numerous times), Eldorado Canyon State Park, Mount Sanitas, Deer Creek Canyon, Green Mountain Open Space, Reynolds Park, Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center, Peaks to Plains Trail and many, many more. https://www.mindysink.com/blog/2020/6/24/60-hikes-within-60-miles-of-denver-and-boulder

Jellystone Park at Larkspur

New this year to JPL: Everything! This park will debut a complete redevelopment and expansion this summer. Every building, road and amenity is new. The park will offer oversized full hookup RV sites that are all level and four styles of furnished and pet-friendly cabins rentals. The park will debut a new 40,000 square foot waterpark with cabana rentals and a restaurant. Additional amenities include: arcade, mini-bowling, large outdoor event lawn, fitness center, jump pad, playground, general store, three restaurants and two outdoor pools. The resort will offer drive-thru check-in for all lodging and enhanced safety and cleaning measures. (All roads in the park have been paved to ensure easy access.)

Opening: Jellystone Park at Larkspur is currently taking reservations but please keep an eye on the resort website and social channels for updates and earlier stay opportunities.

Continuing: The park will continue to be one of the best family-friendly options in the state that is now even better! They will continue to offer daily interactions with the bears and a robust event schedule including themed activities each week. The park is easy to access, just 30-minutes from Denver and Colorado Springs. https://www.sunrvresorts.com/resorts/west/colorado/jellystone-park-at-larkspur/

Look for our next installment on more local, Colorado hotels and ideas to fill this chaotic time.

Colorado’s Hottest Family Vacation Trends: Bikerafting, Tiny Homes and More!

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.

BIKERAFTING, MANCOS

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:

Ultimate Colorado Family Vacation Guide: 100+ Activities (COVID-approved)

2020 Denver Summer Activity Guide: 150+ Ideas

Family Travel: Best Activities in Colorado’s Mountain towns this summer!

Denver’s best new playgrounds for 2019

Family travel: Top 8 Family Vacations

Guide to Denver’s Splash Parks and Spray Fountains

Best Hikes for Kids in the Denver area

Where to pull of I-70 when you’re stuck in traffic (fun activities and restaurants)

10 Beautiful Places in Colorado You Didn’t Know About

Borrow a Colorado State Parks Pass from Your Library

Yurt Village at Snow Mountain Ranch is Star-lit Fun

Cool Off This Summer at Colorado’s Best Beaches

A Local’s Guide to Gunnison’s Magical Summers

Best Denver-area Parks for Beginner Trail Runners (and hikers)

10 of Colorado’s most scenic waterfall hikes

 

Family Travel: Best Activities in Colorado’s Mountain towns this summer!

ASPEN / SNOWMASS MOUNTAIN RESORT

Aspen Snowmass reopened summer operations on June 12 on Aspen Mountain and June 21 at Snowmass. The resort will modify its offerings and operational procedures to address all guidelines and health protocols as directed by state and local health authorities. Activities currently planned to be offered include scenic gondola/chairlift rides, downhill mountain biking, hiking access, the alpine coaster, the challenge course, climbing wall, and Camp Aspen Snowmass programming. There are plans to offer on-mountain dining and other activities within any existing limitations and upon county approval.

Make sure to check out the IMBA Gold-Level Ride Center. Snowmass really is at the heart of the Gold ride due to the various options for every single type, and level of rider. The Snowmass Bike Park and many of the most popular trails for biking open June 24 and last through September, so good for the entire summer! And, Snowmass Mountain has a Disc Golf course at the Lost Forest area. It is free to use if you have your own discs.

BRECKENRIDGE

NEW Walkable Main Street – Historic Main Street was transformed into a pedestrian-friendly walking mall. Breckenridge places the highest value on safety and health, and opening the street to pedestrian traffic, allows for appropriate physical distancing while experiencing the same downtown charm. 

Lodging – All transient lodging facilities (hotels, motels etc.) including timeshare style properties and short-term vacation-style rentals hotels are able to accept reservations as of June 1 (pending official notice from Summit County and the State of Colorado). While some amenities like pools, hot tubs and common areas will remain closed for now, lodging properties are closely following guidelines to ensure guests’ well-being. Breckenridge Grand Vacations, which manages more than 800 units across four resort properties in Breckenridge has partnered with PURO™ Lighting to deploy groundbreaking UV disinfection technology.

Dining – Many of Breckenridge’s restaurants are offering dining-to-go. In-person sit-down dining is currently operating at 50 percent capacity. Guests can also expect an increase in outdoor dining opportunities on walkable Main Street. Bars that do not have food service are closed at this time. Reservations are highly recommended.

Attractions – Many activities like rafting, zip-lining, and guided fly-fishing are limited to groups that are members of the same household. Guests should inquire directly with the activity provider well in advance before making plans. Breckenridge Ski Resort hopes to have lifts spinning by late June/early July.

Parking – The Town of Breckenridge and Breckenridge Ski Resort have partnered to construct a parking garage on the South Gondola Lot. During construction starting late-May, additional free parking will be available in the Airport Lot. Closer in paid parking resumes June 12. 

Transportation – Breckenridge Free Ride community transportation will resume service on June 1 with appropriate facial coverings required, new practices and procedures, reduced occupancies and enhanced cleaning standards. 

Breckenridge’s NEW Gravity Haus has a focus on stewardship: No single-use plastic on site. Eccentric about recycling, trash and composting diverting as much waste as possible. Partnership with the National Forest Foundation and Protect Our Winters. Unravel Coffee co-produces and imports straight from farms in Ethiopia and roasts on-site with a Bellwether zero-emissions roaster.

Breckenridge Golf Course opened 18-holes on its Jack Nicklaus designed course on Friday, May 29. Under safer guidelines, limited amenities will be offered. More information at www.TownofBreckenridge.com 

Hiking and Mountain Biking Trails to Yourself (History Lesson Included): With hundreds of miles of area trails, it is easy to have a trail all to yourself.

Find Serenity at an Alpine Lake: Explore the beauty of the Crystal Lakes. Beginning on an 1880’s wagon road, climb to treeline through a spruce forest and into a vast alpine meadow to the Lower Crystal Lake surrounded by towering, craggy peaks. For those looking for more adventure, hike to the Upper Crystal Lake at 12,900 feet.

Fly Fish On Secluded Mountain Streams: Fly fishing has always been about peace and solitude, and Breckenridge is home to some of the best fly fishing waters in the state of Colorado. With numerous rivers, streams, alpine lakes and reservoirs carrying fresh snowmelt all within an hour of downtown, there’s a destination to match nearly all interests and skill levels

Go to GoBreck.com for local insight and travel inspiration. Stay connected all year long at @GoBreck on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

CRESTED BUTTE

Opening day will be June 26 at Crested Butte Mountain Resort (CBMR). While additional activities may open as summer progresses and restrictions ease, here’s what is currently planned for activities and offerings at the resort:

Scenic chairlift rides on the Silver Queen Express Lift. Dogs and children in carrier packs are not permitted on the chairlift. 

Hiking (including the Peak trail). With a little help from the Silver Queen Lift, hikers are offered a unique opportunity to summit iconic, 12,162-foot Mt. Crested Butte in just two hours. From the summit, you’ll be rewarded with some of the best views in the area. You can also hike or run from the base area for a much longer and more challenging experience.  For easily accessible views of Mt. Crested Butte, hike Snodgrass Mountain just north of CBMR. The trail ascends through thick aspen groves and lush wildflower meadows, making clear why in 1990 the state legislature officially designed Crested Butte as the “Wildflower Capital of Colorado.” 

Butte 66 BBQ Roadhouse will offer grab ‘n go food and drink at the base of the mountain. 

Scenic Byways and Biking. Crested Butte is home to Colorado Scenic Byways including the West Elk Loop and the Silver Thread Scenic Byway which weaves through historic districts like Lake City and Clear Creek Falls. For one of the most beautiful drives in Colorado, head out of town on Country Road 317 toward Gothic. If you’re ambitious, Trail 401 is an intermediate/difficult section of singletrack that is quintessential Crested Butte mountain biking, with breathtaking views of the Elk Mountains while winding through fields of wildflowers and shoulder-tall skunk cabbage.

(Hiking Snodgrass Mountain)

ESTES PARK

Lodging, restaurants and shops in Estes Park are now open and ready to welcome visitors, however, the Ariel Tramway and Rocky Mountain Conservancy Field Institute Programs will unfortunately not operate this year. Of course, safety precautions are in place, and visitors are encouraged to wear a mask (also to note, Larimer County requires visitors and residents to wear a face-covering while in shops). The trails in and around Estes Park are also open. Rocky Mountain National Park entered “Phase Two” of its reopening on June 4 with a temporary timed entry system. Visitors can reserve a timed entry permit, available through July 31, online: https://www.nps.gov/romo/planyourvisit/fees.htm

GLENWOOD SPRINGS

The mountain town’s major attractions including Glenwood Hot Springs Resort, Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park and Iron Mountain Hot Springs have made significant alterations to reduce capacity, facilitate social distancing, enhance hygiene and limit the number of touchpoints throughout the visitor experience. Like many aspects of life in a COVID-19 environment, visitors can expect some changes. “Every business that is open has had their reopening plan approved, but each one is unique, especially Glenwood Springs attractions and activities,” said Lisa Langer, Director of Tourism Promotion for Glenwood Springs. “The best way to make plans to visit the hot springs, adventure park or go rafting is to check their websites first. In addition to wearing a mask, you may have to purchase your admission online and arrive within a predetermined time frame.”

Glenwood Springs attraction websites are up to date with all the details that visitors will need to know before arriving. For Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park and Iron Mountain Hot Springs plan to purchase tickets online and sign digital waivers. For Glenwood Hot Springs Pool, tickets will be available to purchase at the property on a first come first serve basis.

In addition to major attraction openings, Glenwood Springs activities including guided trips such as rafting, fishing, paragliding and horseback riding are open and providing visitors with the chance to get outside and have some out-of-the-ordinary experiences. Because of the reduced capacity and trips now organized according to social group size, visitors should plan to make reservations for guide-led excursions in advance.

For history buffs, the Frontier Museum will open on June 14. See how Glenwood’s earliest residents lived, worked and played. Also learn about the town’s connection with gambler-gunslinger Doc Holliday who is buried in Linwood Cemetery, a pioneer graveyard located on a scenic hillside above Glenwood Springs.

Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park is a mountain-top theme park in Glenwood Springs, Colorado. Guests travel to the top of the mountain via gondola where they can enjoy cave tours, thrill rides, family-friendly rides and adventures, dining and shopping. www.glenwoodcaverns.com

While awaiting word on when they can reopen, the park has submitted reopening plans with state and county health officials. This plan includes limiting capacity; requiring online ticket purchases with assigned entry times to control the flow of people into the park; allowing guests to ride in gondola cabins in social groups or to ride alone; frequent disinfecting of gondola cabins and common touchpoints throughout the park; reducing the number of guests per cave tour; social distancing in all queues; reducing capacity in the restaurant and increased outdoor seating spread throughout the park; increasing the number of hand-sanitizing stations; touchless transactions whenever possible; sneeze guards at cash registers; face coverings and health screenings for employees; and encouraging frequent hand washing for guests and employees.

SILVERTHORNE

Here’s a bucket list of “must-dos” in Silverthorne.

  1. Bike or walk the 3.5-mile Blue River Trail through Silverthorne
  2. Cast a line on the Gold Medal rated Blue River
  3. Ascend the aquatic climbing wall at the Silverthorne Recreation Center
  4. Enjoy one of Baker’s Brewery’s 23 locally-inspired craft beers on tap
  5. Pick up authentic Mexican cuisine from Fritangas or La Escondida Bakery
  6. Take in a show by the Lake Dillon Theatre Company in the Silverthorne Performing Arts Center’s black box theater
  7. Celebrate Silverthorne like a local at a monthly First Friday event
  8. Hike to Lily Pad Lake with the family
  9. Bathe in wildflowers on a hike up Ptarmigan Peak
  10. For a trail less traveled, hike up to Mahan Lake
  11. Paddleboard at North Pond Park
  12. Play disc-golf at Maryland Creek Park
  13. Take in the sunset over Buffalo Mountain from Rainbow ParkHa
  14. Have a picnic at Willow Grove
  15. Play a round of golf at The Raven by summer; try cross-country skiing or snowshoeing by winter
  16. Sip coffee and read the paper with a view of the Blue on the back patio of Red Buffalo Café
  17. Mountain bike from town to the Salt Lick Trails
  18. Sleep under the stars on an overnight backpacking trip along the Gore Range Trail
  19. Take your pick of white- or flat- water for a raft trip on the Blue River
  20. Shop til you drop through the three villages at The Outlets at Silverthorne
  21. Grill your own steak to perfection at The Mint
  22. Put the happy in “angry hour” at Angry James Brewing
  23. Sip a Treeline Bloody Mary at Timberline Craft Kitchen & Cocktails
  24. Take in the alpenglow along the Continental Divide and Gore Range Mountains after a long day of adventure

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS

Please visit steamboatchamber.com for the most up-to-date information on events, as well as the status of popular local attractions, including Strawberry Park Hot Springs, Old Town Hot Springs, Yampa River Botanic Park, Tread of Pioneers Museum, Fish Creek Falls and Yampa River Core Trail.

While some events will look different — some are virtual and the farmers market includes food vendors to start — they will still retain the hospitable Western spirit you love. There is an abundance of wide-open spaces and outdoor activities ready to satiate your yearning to get out. Here in Steamboat, adventure awaits—vast trail networks are perfect for hiking and biking, while gorgeous lakes and refreshing rivers are ready for your tube, boat, SUP, or even just a dip of your toes.

VAIL

Several of Vail’s more than 35 hotel and condominium properties are taking reservations including well-known options like The Sonnenalp, The Sebastian-Vail and Manor Vail Lodge with more set to open throughout the month of June. Some properties are developing special rates to encourage extended visits, such as Antler’s at Vail’s special “Your Vail Home for the Summer” package, which starts at $3,500 for a studio suite for 30 nights of tax-free lodging June through October. At this stage in re-opening, lodging properties are operating at a maximum of 50 percent of occupancy and follow heightened health and safety guidelines. Pool and hot tub facilities also are open with occupancy limits, and fitness centers and gyms operating at limited capacity. Saunas, spas and steam rooms remain closed for the time being.

Vail restaurants and bars such as Sweet Basil, Mountain Standard, La Tour, Root & Flower and Terra Bistro also are welcoming guests back for dine-in service with indoor seating limited to 50 percent capacity and tables spaced for appropriate social distancing. Heightened health and safety protocols for restaurants include required facemasks for servers, table service at all bars and a ban on counter seating.

Vail is a natural playground for outdoor pursuits. Hundreds of miles of river and recreational trails wind from one end of the valley to the other, allowing guests to get away from it all and explore. The valley’s expansive trail system offers nearly 300 miles of hiking trails that range from paved walking paths to backcountry trails that lead to mountain peaks, waterfalls, hidden lakes and more. Walking Mountain Science Center offers various themed backcountry hikes throughout the summer and fall showcasing Vail’s beauty. For a unique hiking experience, Paragon Guides offers a “Take a Llama to Lunch” program that entertains and guides hikers through the backcountry.

For those who opt to explore on two wheels, there are more than 340 miles of mountain biking trails and nearly 300 miles of road biking options in the area. Venture Sports is one of several local guides that take road bikers up to Vail Pass for a guided downhill experience on the paved trail into town. Vail Mountain is great for lift-served mountain biking, while West Vail offers classic aspen and alpine single-track trails.

Water sports abound in the area with more than 80 miles of river with whitewater ranging from Class I to Class V rapids that keep rafters and kayakers thrilled from start to finish. Sage Outdoor Adventures and other local guide companies can show off the best whitewater rafting or kayaking spots. Anglers will enjoy several blue ribbon and gold medal fly fishing streams. Gore Creek Fly Fisherman and Sage Outdoor Adventures can take beginners and experts on guided trips to the various streams and rivers in the area including the Gore Creek, Eagle River, Colorado River as well as lesser-known backcountry locations.

Vail also offers motorized ways to experience the region with options for ATV and Jeep 4×4 tours through locally owned and operated Nova Guides that provides guests with access to the beauty of the backcountry while learning about the history of the region. The area’s heritage also is found through the many guest ranch experiences open to visitors this summer for horseback riding with Vail Stables, archery, campfire cookouts and even glamping at Piney River Ranch.

Area outfitters will operate this summer to help guests experience countless adventures. Many of these options include natural social distancing and operators have enacted additional protocols to enhance safety such as offering more private tours and limiting the number of participants for activities. Guests are encouraged to contact individual outfitters to understand specific protocols for various guided outdoor pursuits.

Vail Golf Club is open and operating, providing golfers with manicured greens and stunning views of the Gore Range. When staying at select Vail hotels, guests also have access to down valley resort courses including Red Sky Golf Club and Sonnenalp Club. Guidelines this summer include single rider carts unless of the same group or household. Amenities such as scorecards, pencils, towels and tees currently are not available in carts. Flagsticks should not be touched or removed from holes.

Drop-in spots for kids such as skateparks and playgrounds also have reopened with social distancing rules. Museums and public facilities such as Betty Ford Alpine Gardens and the Colorado Snowsports Museum also are open with limited capacity. The Snowsports Museum is currently offering weekly reservation-required walking tours highlighting the history of the area and the Vail Art in Public Places program will resume weekly art walks beginning July 1. Both tours will operate at limited capacity with social distancing protocols.

Vail Resorts has expressed its intent to open Vail Mountain for gondola rides and activities this summer, however, a final decision and announcement are not expected until June. For additional information on summer activities and adventures in Vail, please visit the destination’s new website at DiscoverVail.com. The site provides detailed information on summer adventures, events, lodging and more. 

In our next installment, we are covering hotel and resort deals, even MORE towns including Fort Collins, Telluride, and we have two local authors who published Colorado camping and hiking books this year who are giving us some of their insider secrets to the most glorious outdoor adventures. Be safe, stay healthy and find the smiles.

Other Great Resources:

Ultimate Colorado Family Vacation Guide: 100+ Activities (COVID-approved)

2020 Denver Summer Activity Guide: 150+ Ideas

Denver’s best new playgrounds for 2019

Family travel: Top 8 Family Vacations

Guide to Denver’s Splash Parks and Spray Fountains

Best Hikes for Kids in the Denver area

Where to pull of I-70 when you’re stuck in traffic (fun activities and restaurants)

10 Beautiful Places in Colorado You Didn’t Know About

Borrow a Colorado State Parks Pass from Your Library

Yurt Village at Snow Mountain Ranch is Star-lit Fun

Cool Off This Summer at Colorado’s Best Beaches

A Local’s Guide to Gunnison’s Magical Summers

Best Denver-area Parks for Beginner Trail Runners (and hikers)

Globo Surf is a fantastic resource for snow, land and water sports reviews

10 of Colorado’s most scenic waterfall hikes

 

Best of Summer – Visit Leadville and Twin Lakes

Though this summer may feel slightly different than most, there are plenty of travel opportunities that provide a family-friendly getaway. When making summer plans, add Leadville, CO to the top of your list. Leadville, the highest elevated city in North America with breathtaking mountain views, offers an affordable combination of outdoor adventure, historical mining heritage, and a quaint shop and restaurant-filled downtown. Here’s a list of suggested activities that will be open for business this summer for you and your family to explore and enjoy! 

Leadville Colorado & Southern Railroad 326 E 7th St, Leadville, CO 80461 (719) 486-3936 Website Facebook Instagram Photos available upon request. 

Description: Adventure, relaxation and sightseeing cannot be topped when riding in the Rocky Mountains on board the Leadville Colorado & Southern Railroad. This 2 and 1⁄2 hour adventure through the untamed wilderness of the San Isabel National Forest offers breath-taking panoramas of Fremont Pass and the two tallest peaks in Colorado, Mt. Massive and Mt. Elbert. Family and friends of all ages have a chance to engage in learning about the history of Leadville and railroads, ghost stories, and tales of the wild. 

Plans post COVID-19 The Leadville Colorado & Southern Railroad (“Leadville Train”) will open to the public on June 1, 2020. Capacity will be limited to 17 people per car, allowing for approximately 125 people on board at any time (compared to 350 people pre-COVID). The limited capacity will help enforce social distancing between patrons and employees. The Leadville Train’s entire COVID-19 Plan for the railroad that serves as a complete guide for COVID-19 operational practices is available upon request. This plan has been accepted by Lake County’s Health Department. 

National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum 120 West E 9th St, Leadville, CO 80461 (719) 486-1229 Website Facebook Instagram Photos available upon request. 

Description: The National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum is a monument to the memory of the men and women who pioneered the discovery, development, and processing of our nation’s natural resources. Their mission is to “tell the story of mining, its people, its importance to the American public, and to society’s sustainability.” Known as the “Smithsonian of the Rockies” and the “Premier Showcase of American Mining,” the National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum houses 25,000 square feet of interactive and informative exhibits sharing the evolving narrative of mining and its relationship to our everyday lives. 

Plans post COVID-19: Watch for reopening date and new health measures to keep visitors safe. 

National Fish Hatchery 2846 Highway 300, Leadville, CO 80461 (719) 486-0189 Website Facebook Instagram Photos available upon request. 

Description: Watch fish swish at the Leadville National Fish Hatchery, built in 1889 and the nation’s second- oldest federal hatchery. This hatchery was created by Executive Order of President Benjamin Harrison for the purpose of increasing the supply of fish for inland waters. The hatchery grounds occupy 3,072 acres of subalpine forest surroundings, with cold, clean water supply, providing the ideal location for trout production. Take a self-guided tour outside to observe the giant fish tanks out front, walk the hatchery’s scenic one-mile nature trail (with 37 information signs and plant ID markers), or venture deeper into the mountains on a network of trails that pass lakes and streams, wind through pines, and lead into the Mt. Massive Wilderness. Three of the hatchery’s hiking trails connect to the Colorado Trail in the Mt. Massive Wilderness area. 

Plans post COVID-19: The Leadville National Fish Hatchery is proud to provide opportunities for safe, enjoyable outdoor experiences during the coronavirus pandemic. It is critically important to follow guidance from the CDC and state and local public health authorities on social distancing, avoiding overcrowding and exercising good hygiene. If the parking lot is full when you visit, please do not stop. They understand that the outdoors can help relieve stress, but these guidelines must be followed for our public health and safety. For now, the hatchery’s indoor facilities may be closed and most scheduled events have been postponed. However, self-guided tours stations are set up outside. For more information visit the FWS Coronavirus webpage. You can still enjoy the scenic trails outdoors listed in the description above. 

Healy House Museum and Dexter Cabin 912 Harrison Ave, Leadville, CO 80461 (719) 486-0487 Website Facebook Instagram Photos available upon request. 

Description: In 1878, August R. Meyer, a prominent mining engineer, built a two-story, Greek Revival home for his bride, Emma. Little did he know his nine-bedroom house, situated on a hill chosen for its terrific views, would endure for decades, ultimately becoming one of Leadville’s most beloved museums. The house has undergone multiple transformations, from adding a cabin for mining investor and businessman, James. V. Dexter in 1879, to becoming a boarding house in 1885, to being adopted by the State Historical Society in 1936. Today, it’s operated as a museum by History Colorado and has been beautifully restored to a period between 1878 and 1910, 

showcasing lavish Victorian furnishings, polished wood floors, elegantly patterned wallpaper, and period lighting fixtures. For more information, visit www.HistoryColorado.org

Plans post COVID-19: Watch for reopening date and new health measures to keep visitors safe.

Matchless Mine 1 1/4 miles east of Harrison on E. 7th Street, Leadville, CO 80461 (719) 486-1229 Website Facebook Photos available upon request. 

Description: The National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum (NMHFM) just announced the reopening of the Matchless Mine and Baby Doe’s Cabin for tours of surface structures starting May 23, 2020. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this site was purchased in 1879 by Silver King H.A.W. Tabor. The Matchless Mine was one of the richest silver mines of the era, with production rates surpassing the Comstock Lode of Nevada. With the extraordinary wealth they accumulated, Tabor and his mistress-turned-wife, Elizabeth “Baby Doe” Tabor, lived in high style. This site will be open Saturday, Sunday, and Monday of Memorial Day weekend. For the rest of the summer, tours will be offered Tuesday through Saturday only. Tours led by experienced and enthusiastic guides visit Baby Doe’s cabin, the powder magazine, the hoist house, and the headframe. Guided tours are available at 12:00 pm, 1:00pm, 2:00 pm, and 3:00 pm and cost $12 for non-residents. Discounts for guided tours are available for seniors, students, and AAA members. Visitors can take self-guided tours based on educational signs spread throughout the site anytime from 11:00 am until 4:30 pm. The cost of self-guided tours for non-residents is $6. 

Plans post COVID-19: All visitors to the Matchless Mine are requested to maintain social distancing and wear a face mask to protect the staff and other visitors from COVID-19. The NMHFM website at www.mininghallofame.org provides additional information about the Matchless Mine. 

Top of the Rockies Zipline 6492 CO-91, Leadville, CO 80461 (800) 247-7238 Website Facebook Photos available upon request. 

Description: Top of the Rockies Zip Line is the only zip line in the world to fly over a train and Colorado’s only true backcountry zip line. You’ll jump from an elevation of 11,200′. Imagine the view! The Big Nugget Zip is a thrill, as you fly three across on triple cables. For the grand finale, land on the sky tower, 100′ above the ground. You’ll see a spectacular panorama of Mt. Elbert and Mt. Massive, the two tallest peaks in Colorado. In summer, combine zipping with fishing on their private reserve or with a ride on the Leadville scenic train. Plans post COVID-19: Watch for reopening date and new health measures to keep visitors safe.

Other Great Resources:

Family Travel: Colorado’s Top Five Lodging Suggestions for Summer 2020.

2020 Denver Summer Activity Guide: 150+ Ideas

Denver’s best new playgrounds for 2019

Family travel: Top 8 Family Vacations

Guide to Denver’s Splash Parks and Spray Fountains

Best Hikes for Kids in the Denver area

Where to pull of I-70 when you’re stuck in traffic (fun activities and restaurants)

10 Beautiful Places in Colorado You Didn’t Know About

Borrow a Colorado State Parks Pass from Your Library

Yurt Village at Snow Mountain Ranch is Star-lit Fun

Cool Off This Summer at Colorado’s Best Beaches

A Local’s Guide to Gunnison’s Magical Summers

Best Denver-area Parks for Beginner Trail Runners (and hikers)

10 of Colorado’s most scenic waterfall hikes

Ultimate Colorado Family Vacation Guide: 100+ Activities (COVID-approved)

In part two of five of the Best of Summer 2020, we have listed town information for Boulder, Grand Lake, Twin Lakes, Colorado Springs, Leadville and Loveland along with numerous outfitter updates. There are over 100+ vacation ideas below including rafting, golf, swim, fish, kayak, hike, SUP, train excursions and more. Also included are the most remote and wide-open places in the State.

Next time, we’ll update you on mountain resorts including Vail, Glenwood Springs, Estes Park, Steamboat Springs, Silverthorne, Aspen, Snowmass and more. And in case you missed it, check-out Family Travel: Colorado’s Top Five Lodging Suggestions for Summer 2020.

 Stay healthy and safe – Julie

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BOULDER

Hiking Mamas, and their strollers, packs, gear & dogs, who are headed to Chautauqua can ride a free shuttle this summer.  Hiking is such a good way to connect with other Mamas. On Saturdays and Sundays, park your car downtown for free in a city lot, or at a free lot on the CU campus, and ride for free.  We’re so excited to be able to offer this service – especially this year!  The Park-to-Park shuttle runs from 8-8 on Saturdays & Sundays from Memorial Day to Labor Day (plus Memorial Day, Fourth of July & Labor Day).   It runs every 15 minutes.  If you’d rather not use the shuttle, paid parking ($2.50/hour) is available in designated areas in and around Chautauqua.

To keep you safe, the busses will be larger (27 passenger) but only 10 people will be allowed on.  The bathrooms up at Chautauqua are still open but the Ranger Cottage, the cute house that serves as the info/welcome center is closed.  There are also more porta-potties this year up there. www.BoulderColoradoUSA.com/shuttle

COLORADO SPRINGS

Flying W Ranch Rides Again! Grab your hat, boots and spurs and mosey on over to Flying W Ranch, opening on June 26 after an 8-year closure. The grounds are reinvented and re-imagined. The BBQ dinner will be spectacular and the Flying W Wranglers will serenade you with favorite cowboy campfire harmonies, complete with yodeling. https://www.flyingw.com/

Get in the Spirit of the Springs at the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Museum. While the exact date is yet to be announced, summer in the Springs means a trip to the region’s newest museum that tells the story and honors decades of U.S. Olympic and Paralympic athletes. In one of the world’s most accessible museums, your journey will take you from the Olympic Torch display, to summer and winter games galleries and then on to how athletes train – you can even see how you stack up! Your personalized credentials will give you a unique experience, different than any other guest in the museum. Finish your experience with an impressive collection of Olympic and Paralympic medals and a simulated Parade of Nations in the Opening Ceremonies. https://usopm.org/

ROCKY MOUNTAIN OUTDOOR CENTER, BUENA VISTA

Give your kids the gift of outdoor adventure while also staying safe. Buena Vista, Colorado-based RMOC (Rocky Mountain Outdoor Center) is a leader in outdoor recreation, offering trips and classes in everything from rafting and mountain biking to kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding. This summer, RMOC is paying extra attention to its already expansive roster of private offerings by marketing them heavily to the Colorado traveler. 

In addition to this, RMOC is offering private rafting trips at an exceptional rate. Private rafting trips are defined by fewer people on boats and a private van for transportation as opposed to a large bus filled with people with whom you are not currently isolating. For more information visit RMOC.com.

CANON CITY / ROYAL GORGE

I noted these cabins the past three years, and I can’t wait to get back this summer  . . AGAIN!  I have to say Canon City found luxury when Andy Neinas and his family expanded  www.raftecho.com and opened nine single and double Colorado contemporary cabins in May 2017, complete with down comforters, flat screen TVs, kitchen, spacious bathroom with rain shower, dual-glass sided fireplaces for transparency inside and out, and lots of thought in design, angles and blends. These are stunning, and I was blessed to christen one of the cabins named after the local rapids on the Arkansas River. Echo Canyon resort also installed eight luxury glamping tents that sleep up to two to four guest depending on size, and share access to a new shower house and wash area. Bring lawn games and your own food, and book a rafting trip across the street or explore the Royal Gorge area just minutes up the road. PS—my favorite rock store in the nation is located next to the cabins, The Gold Mine Rock Shop. (royalgorgecabins.com)

More than 100 miles of Colorado’s best whitewater can be found from Granite to Cañon City, Colo., all within the Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area (AHRA), managed by Colorado Parks and Wildlife and the Bureau of Land Management. With an elevation drop of 4,650 feet along its 152 miles, the AHRA is located within Lake, Chaffee, Fremont and Pueblo counties in south-central Colorado, and runs through some of the state’s most stunning natural features, including Browns Canyon National Monument, Bighorn Sheep Canyon, and The Royal Gorge – also known as the Grand Canyon of the Arkansas. The Arkansas River is also home to The Numbers, widely considered the best Class IV run in the state. For more information about Arkansas River Outfitters Association and the 2020 whitewater rafting season, visit www.arkansasriveroutfitters.org.

The Royal Gorge Region, just two hours south of Denver, is an outdoor paradise with fun and attractions for all ages. Aside from its sheer number of incredible trail systems, the Royal Gorge Region is home to many attractions ideal for family travel. Ride through the wonders of the Royal Gorge Region in an open-air Jeep with Colorado Jeep Tours, which has new safety measures in place to ensure you stay well, or take charge of your own vehicle with an ATV tour.

If that’s a little too much adrenaline for you and your family, take a more relaxing ride on the Royal Gorge Route Railroad, a spectacular rail journey along the floor of the Royal Gorge and along the Arkansas River. Spend the day experiencing the wonder of the Royal Gorge Bridge and Park, where jaw-dropping views, extreme adrenaline rides, and fun for the whole family await. Having welcomed over 30 million guests during its 90 years, the park has perfected the art of entertaining by providing excitement for visitors of every age.

Do your kids love dinosaurs?. Not only was it the first location in Colorado to have large-scale bone discovered in Garden Park, igniting the historic bone wars, it is also home to the Royal Gorge Dino Experience, a combination dinosaur museum, animatronic dino park, and ropes course. 

Learn more about Colorado’s Royal Gorge Region.

GRAND LAKE & GRAND COUNTY

What makes it special: Colorado’s largest natural lake also competes for Colorado’s prettiest. With the high peaks of Rocky Mountain National Park serving as a backdrop — and regular moose sightings in the shallows — Grand Lake is a wonderful place to set sail on a summer’s afternoon. As an added bonus, the charming town of Grand Lake resides on its northern shore and provides ample dining, shopping and local character. Best way to enjoy it: Embrace the solitude of Grand Lake from a sailboat or a lake kayak. At dusk, the peaks that adorn the eastern horizon often catch the sunsets golden rays, creating a beautiful spectacle.

Generally, April through September are the best times to have a whitewater adventure. However, the weather and level of snow-melt greatly impact which rivers you should raft and kayak during the season. Typical best times to visit Grand County Rivers follows, but be sure to check your current river conditions days before you head out.  Blue River— from the east side of the Gore Range to Kremmling waters are best explored during June. Colorado River— can be enjoyed throughout the season, May through September. The upper Colorado is known for calmer waters, while the lower offers faster-moving rapids. Clear Creek— is also open to rafting the whole season, May through September. The upper portion is best for more advanced rafters, while the lower is less demanding.

SHADOW MOUNTAIN LAKE

What makes it special: Often overlooked by its neighbors to the north and south — Grand Lake and Lake Granby — Shadow Mountain Lake is a beautiful hidden gem with easy access off of Highway 34 as well as from Grand Lake. Since Shadow Mountain Lake is connected to Grand Lake, you can enjoy both bodies of water from the same boat.

Best way to enjoy it: Start your day early in the morning with a spin around the lake’s uninhabited western shore. You can also camp on the lake shore at Green Ridge Campground near the dam.

LAKE GRANBY

What makes it special: At 7,000 acres, Lake Granby is one of Colorado’s largest bodies of water. Its numerous coves and marinas make it a justly popular place for sailers, boaters and jet-skiers. For fisherman, the lake’s appeal lies in what lurks in the deep — lake trout. Known as one of the best “mackinaw” fisheries in the country, the reservoir also harbors a healthy population of kokanee salmon. Best way to enjoy it: While Lake Granby offers a wide array of camping and home rental options nearby, it is best enjoyed with a pontoon boat. Rent one from one of the lake’s marinas, and enjoy the company of friends on this scenic lake.

WILLIAMS FORK RESERVOIR

What makes it special: Located well off the beaten path, Williams Fork Reservoir appeals to those looking for some peace and quiet, and a lot of hungry fish. Deep in the reservoirs waters lurk several trophy-sized northern pike. Best way to enjoy it: Due to its exposure and location between several distant mountain ranges, Williams Fork Reservoir gets a lot of wind — much to the delight of windsurfers. Because of the chilly snowmelt-fed waters, a wetsuit is not just recommended; its virtually required.

WOLFORD MOUNTAIN RESERVOIR

What makes it special: Located in the northern section of Middle Park just beyond Kremmling on Highway 40, Wolford Mountain Reservoir offers a stark beauty that is unique to Colorado. Windswept mountain plains and sage-dotted land surround its shores. Out on the water, boaters can enjoy fishing for rainbow and brown trout, as well as kokanee salmon. Best way to enjoy it: With its beautiful location and gorgeous views of the nearby Gore Range, Wolford Mountain Reservoir offers sublime camping.

GOLF IN GRAND COUNTY

Pole Creek Golf Club, located 12 miles north of Winter Park offers tree-lined, links-style holes with breathtaking views of the Continental Divide.  At 8,600 feet above sea level, it’s one of the highest 27-hole courses in North America.  Golf Digest rated this 10,709-yard, Par 108 course “Best New Golf Course in America” in 1985 and “Number One Place to Play in Colorado” in 1998.  (www.polecreekgolf.com or 800-511-5076)

At Grand Lake Golf Course adjacent to Rocky Mountain National Park, you may be sharing the tee with some of the native elk, deer, fox and red-tail hawk that roam this tight, tree-lined course.  Each hole of this 6,650 yards–Par 72 course offers a view of Grand Lake, Colorado’s largest natural lake, and the surrounding snow-capped peaks of the Continental Divide.  (http://grandlakegolf.com  or 970-627-8008).

Tucked between the sparkling waters of the Fraser River and the mountain splendor for which the Rocky Mountains are famous, Golf at Granby Ranch offers golfers of every level and interest an exceptional experience.  The front nine of this 7,200 yards–Par 72 course serves as a warm-up to the back nine, where golfers will encounter several memorable holes incorporating lakes, wetlands, elevated tees, and large, deep bunkers.  (www.granbyranch.com or 888-283-7458)

Located south of Granby, Grand Elk Ranch & Club is the newest golf course addition to Grand County.  The 18-hole, 7,200 yards–Par 71 course opened in late 2002 and is Colorado’s first Heathland-style golf course.  The course sits at an elevation of 7,935 feet, and offers views of federally protected wetlands that are habitat to hundreds of birds.  (www.grandelk.com or 970-887-9122)

GREAT HIGH PRAIRE

For the first time, there is a website devoted to showcasing The Great High Prairie in southeastern Colorado. Be one of the first travelers to dive into this amazing resource and discover everything there is to see and do in and around Lamar, ColoradoTheGreatHighPrairie.com features outdoor recreational opportunities, historic attractions, points of interest, and more. 

Take a trip to The Great High Prairie with your kids and discover a laid back and historically rich side of Colorado you haven’t seen before. Play in local parks, hike nearby canyons, or hang out at John Martin Reservoir. It’s all here and more in The Great High Prairie. What you won’t see? Big crowds and high prices!

LOVELAND

ALL ABOARD THE TRAIN: Take a tour of North Lake Park on the Buckhorn Northern Railroad, a miniature, authentic replica of an actual steam train. For only 75 cents per ride, bring the family and spend a day riding and playing at the park. Choo choo choo your trip every summer then head to Lake Loveland Swim Beach nearby. 

FUN AT THE FOUNDRY: As a small art community, Loveland is home to two working bronze foundries that make sculptures seen around the world. Bring the family and see the lost wax process for yourself with an art foundry tour Tuesdays and Thursdays. You might even see some familiar characters. Book your tour during a bronze pour and try to spot some of our favorite toys. 

PICNIC IN THE PARK: Amazing parks are found across Loveland. Kick the soccer ball at Loveland Sports Park, skate at Mehaffey Park or just enjoy playground and picnic time at any parks including Dwayne Webster Veterans Park. Bring your picnic near the Big Thompson River at Fairgrounds Park for a scenic view then splash in the water at Fairgrounds Park. 

SPY SCULPTURE: Join the Loveland Museum’s Explorers Club and go on an I Spy Scavenger Hunt at Benson Sculpture Garden. Download from lovelandmuseumgallery.org/explorers-club, complete and share your creations on social media#lovelandmuseumkids. Don’t miss the new Animal Safari adventures available and find the sheep.

SPLISH SPLASH: No beach bums here – just fun in the pool and on the lake. Float down the lazy river at the Chilson Recreation Center,  hit the waterslide at Winona Pool, feed the geese at North Lake Park or swim at Boyd or Carter Lake. 

SAY ‘HAY’ AT SYLVAN DALE: Join a wagon sing-along or hayride. Go horseback riding or have fun on a horse lead around ride. End the day with s’mores and Cowboy Campfire songs – all when you stay for a western adventure. Don’t miss sunsets from Eagles Ridge or the campfire area. 

TRAVEL TO NEW WORLDS: Explore Zimbabwe and get some fresh area and playtime outdoors. Chapungu Sculpture Park is a 26-acre natural area with 82 sculptures and open space to enjoy as a family. Kids love climbing the hill near the stage. Find it in The Children section of the park. 

Loveland Water Resources

From lakes to rivers – Loveland is a water wonderland with activities for the entire family. Here are five ways to make the most out of Loveland’s beautiful weather and water from April – October. 

Boyd Lake: 

A water-sports haven for northern Colorado, the family-oriented 1,700-acre lake and park has fishing, boating, jet skiing, kayaking, paddleboarding and a swim beach. The lake lies at the eastern-most edge with views of the Rocky Mountains and offers 148 campsites. Rentals available at the marina. 

Carter Lake: 

This beautiful 1,100-acre reservoir is surrounded by 1,000 acres of public lands. It’s a great place for fishing, sailing, water skiing, camping, picnicking, swimming, scuba diving, and rock climbing. Rentals available at the marina.

River’s Edge Natural Area: 

The 163-acre natural area located near downtown is a great fishing spot with five ponds and numerous fishing access points. Plan a great family fishing day with Rocky Mountain views.

Lake Loveland: 

Free swimming happens on Lake Loveland Swim Beach from Memorial Day through Labor Day (depending on staffing and water levels). Access it near North Lake Park. Stop by the South Shore (right off U.S. 34) for a nice easy walk and shoreline fishing.

Big Thompson River:

The Thompson River flows from Rocky Mountain National Park to Loveland. The river is a known fishing spot to catch trout. Catch and release fishing is found in the canyon, or head to a spot closer to town. Local tip: Head to Fairgrounds Park.

SOUTHEAST COLORADO

  • Bent’s Old Fort National Historic Site – Currently the park’s parking lot, restrooms and hiking trails are open to the public.  Access into the reconstructed fur trading post will begin on Friday, May 22 with some restrictions. No guided tours are available at this time. The site is open from 9 am to 4 pm daily.  nps.gov/beol
  • Boggsville Historic Site – The 39-acre National Register Historic District is currently open to visitors Tuesday through Saturday from 11 am to 4 pm.  bentcountyheritage.org/boggsville
  • Comanche National Grassland – Parking areas, trails and trailheads are open.  Dispersed camping (in areas with no facilities) is allowed, along with hiking.  Developed sites, including restrooms, remain closed.  Fire restrictions are in place (no open fires allowed). Reopening of developed facilities will begin on May 31.  Guided Picketwire Canyon auto tours for May and June have been canceled. Fall tours (Sept. and Oct.) are still planned to take place.  fs.usda.gov/psicc
  • John Martin Reservoir State Park – Fishing and boating are available. The campground is now open by reservation only.  Make reservations at cpwshop.com. As camping becomes available, playgrounds, picnic areas, showers, swim beaches, group areas, and yurts and cabins at Colorado’s state parks remain closed until further notice.  Colorado Parks and Wildlife visitor centers, service centers and offices are also continuing to restrict access to the public. Restrictions and closures remain subject to change. www.cpw.state.co.us
  • Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site – The site of the 1864 Massacre is open to the public Thursday through Monday from 9 am to 4 pm.  The park is closed Tuesday and Wednesday.  Based on national and local guidance for the Covid-19 outbreak, the Sand Creek Visitor Center and Park Store are closed. All trails and Monument Hill are open during regular park hours. nps.gov/sand
  • State Wildlife Areas – Two Buttes, Queens and other state wildlife areas in the region are open for boating, fishing, camping, and other recreational activities as regulations allow. Colorado Parks and Wildlife reminds anglers, hunters, and all other outdoor recreationists that it is your responsibility to research and understand the specific guidance, ordinances and restrictions in place for any planned local recreation – know before you go. cpw.state.co.us
  • Lodging and commercial camping is available throughout southeast Colorado area and many restaurants offer take-out, delivery, or drive-through service.  It is best to call ahead for reservations to make sure rooms or campsites are available.  Under the Colorado Safer-at-Home orders, area museums remain closed at this time. Please consult and follow local guidelines regarding Covid-19 during your visit.

 SPANISH PEAKS COUNTRY

Spanish Peaks Country is gorgeous with lush landscapes and geological features unlike anywhere in Colorado. Kids love Walsenburg Wild Waters, a local water park that lacks large crowds and high-priced entry fees. Nearby Lathrop State Park—Colorado’s first state park—offers swimming, boating, and trails for hiking. Head into La Veta and explore an art enclave filled with galleries. Drive a little further south and you’re in Cuchara, a relatively unknown mountain getaway that’s gaining popularity thanks to Cuchara Mountain Park, an abandoned ski resort that’s now a haven for non-motorized outdoor recreation. Throughout your stay, entertain the kids with the Highway of Legends Audio Tour, which tells the history and geological significance of the places you pass. Learn more about Spanish Peaks Country.

WET MOUNTAIN VALLEY

The Wet Mountain Valley in south-central Colorado is famous for its stellar stargazing opportunities. Its two towns—Westcliffe and Silver Cliff—were the state’s first International Dark-Sky Association Designated Community, and right downtown in Bluff Park is the Smokey Jack Observatory, which is open to the public. Teach your kiddos about the stars and have them see the sky as it was before light pollution became the norm. Once a month, local non-profit Dark Skies of the Wet Mountain Valley, hosts public star parties, where experts are on hand to teach about the evening’s special night sky occurrence. Want an extra special experience? Take an Amish hayride at night to see the stars and feel as though you’ve traveled through time. 

The Wet Mountain Valley is also special because dozens of conservation easements have preserved its large ranches, making it feel as though you have stepped into Colorado 100 years ago. Get to know the ranch life more intimately with a horseback ride. Multiple horseback riding outfitters line the valley and have instituted safety measures to ensure you stay well. 

LEADVILLE & TWIN LAKES

Leadville Colorado & Southern Railroad: Adventure, relaxation and sightseeing cannot be topped when riding in the Rocky Mountains on board the Leadville Colorado & Southern Railroad. This 2 and 1⁄2 hour adventure through the untamed wilderness of the San Isabel National Forest offers breath-taking panoramas of Fremont Pass and the two tallest peaks in Colorado, Mt. Massive and Mt. Elbert. Family and friends of all ages have a chance to engage in learning about the history of Leadville and railroads, ghost stories, and tales of the wild.

The Leadville Colorado & Southern Railroad (“Leadville Train”) will open to the public on June 1, Capacity will be limited to 17 people per car, allowing for approximately 125 people on board at any time (compared to 350 people pre-COVID). The limited capacity will help enforce social distancing between patrons and employees. The Leadville Train’s entire COVID-19 Plan for the railroad that serves as a complete guide for COVID-19 operational practices is available upon request. This plan has been accepted by Lake County’s Health Department.

National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum

The National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum (NMHFM) just announced the reopening of the Matchless Mine and Baby Doe’s Cabin for tours of surface structures starting May 23, 2020. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this site was purchased in 1879 by Silver King H.A.W. Tabor. The Matchless Mine was one of the richest silver mines of the era, with production rates surpassing the Comstock Lode of Nevada. With the extraordinary wealth they accumulated, Tabor and his mistress-turned-wife, Elizabeth “Baby Doe” Tabor, lived in high style. Tours led by experienced and enthusiastic guides visit Baby Doe’s cabin, the powder magazine, the hoist house, and the headframe.

Top of the Rockies Zipline

Top of the Rockies Zip Line is the only zip line in the world to fly over a train and Colorado’s only true backcountry zip line. You’ll jump from an elevation of 11,200′. Imagine the view! The Big Nugget Zip is a thrill, as you fly three across on triple cables. For the grand finale, land on the sky tower, 100′ above the ground. You’ll see a spectacular panorama of Mt. Elbert and Mt. Massive, the two tallest peaks in Colorado. Visit  LeadvilleTwinLakes.com for more information on the area.

Other Great Resources:

Ultimate Colorado Family Vacation Guide: 100+ Activities (COVID-approved)

2020 Denver Summer Activity Guide: 150+ Ideas

Family Travel: Best Activities in Colorado’s Mountain towns this summer!

Colorado’s Hottest Family Vacation Trends: Bikerafting, Tiny Homes and More

Denver’s best new playgrounds for 2019

Family travel: Top 8 Family Vacations

Guide to Denver’s Splash Parks and Spray Fountains

Best Hikes for Kids in the Denver area

Where to pull of I-70 when you’re stuck in traffic (fun activities and restaurants)

10 Beautiful Places in Colorado You Didn’t Know About

Borrow a Colorado State Parks Pass from Your Library

Yurt Village at Snow Mountain Ranch is Star-lit Fun

Cool Off This Summer at Colorado’s Best Beaches

A Local’s Guide to Gunnison’s Magical Summers

Best Denver-area Parks for Beginner Trail Runners (and hikers)

10 of Colorado’s most scenic waterfall hikes