Denver is a fantastic jumping-off point for
exploring the Rocky Mountains, considered some of the most spectacular in the
country. The Rockies’ 30 highest summits
are in Colorado, along with four national
parks, six national monuments, two national
recreation areas, two national historic sites,
three national historic trails, a national
scenic trail, 11 national forests, two national
grasslands, 41 national wilderness areas, two
national conservation areas, eight national
wildlife refuges, 44 state parks, a state forest,
323 state wildlife areas and numerous other
scenic, historic and recreational attractions
that will appeal to everyone in the family.
You don’t need to go far to experience the
beauty and wonder of Colorado’s many
outdoor recreational opportunities. In and
surrounding the region’s cities themselves
exist many other chances to get outside,
including such activities as golfing, skiing,
camping, hiking, bicycling and fishing.
Staying active outside is so much a part of
Colorado’s identity that the region has its
own sports television network. Altitude
Sports and Entertainment gives area sports
fans the most comprehensive regional sports
network in the Rockies. No matter what
sport, Altitude has something for everyone;
Basketball, Hockey, Soccer, Lacrosse, Baseball, Extreme, Outdoors, Boxing, Cycling,
High School sports, College sports, and
Professional sports. Altitude Sports and
Entertainment is also the official television
network of the Denver Nuggets, Colorado
Avalanche, Colorado Mammoth and the
Colorado Rapids. Colorado’s population
of athletes and outdoors enthusiasts keep
busy year-round. It’s no wonder the state
has the lowest obesity rate in the United
States. ESPN’s annual Winter X Games,
an event profiling sports such as skiing,
snowboarding and snowmobiling, has been
hosted on and off in Colorado since 1998,
and since 2002 has taken place in Aspen.
The Winter X Games will continue to take
place in Aspen through at least 2019.
A NOTE ON ALTITUDE: Denver truly
is “The Mile High City,” located at an
elevation of 5,280 feet. Natives are used
to the altitude, but visitors and recent
arrivals—particularly those used to living at
or near sea level—should be observant about
how the altitude affects them, especially
during exercise or other strenuous activity.
Although usually not serious, altitude sickness (when the body is unable to take in
enough oxygen) does affect some, causing
symptoms such as loss of appetite, nausea,
vomiting, dizziness, fatigue or weakness and
persistent rapid pulse, to name a few.
HIKING AND MOUNTAIN
Colorado is a paradise for anyone who
loves to hike. The metro region is relatively
close to the Rocky Mountains, with its
hundreds of miles of hiking trails allowing
visitors to take in the region’s natural
beauty and watch wildlife. But visitors do
not need to travel so far from Denver to
enjoy a pleasant outdoor walk or bike ride.
The Denver metro region has one of the
country’s largest park systems, and there
are more than 850 miles of paved, off-road
trails, which in turn attach to dirt trails for
both hiking and mountain bike adventures.
Even more urbanized bike trails will take
riders past dozens of local attractions, such
as the Cherry Creek Shopping District, the
REI flagship store, Chatfield State Park and
Red Rocks Amphitheatre and Park.
Denver Parks and Recreation happily
provides bicycling, hiking and jogging path
suggestions about the area’s 250 parks.
The department can be contacted either by
phone (720-913-0696) or through its website
The Colorado Trail— a 483-mile-long stretch
running from Waterton Canyon near south-
western Denver to Durango—provides an
option for the serious mountain bikers and
hikers. The Colorado Trail Foundation part-
nered with the United States Forest Service
to build and maintain the trail, considered by
many to be the preeminent outdoor adven-
ture in the Denver area. Most people go on
daytrips along the trail, and it is suitable
for beginners and experts, with a variety of
options for skill level and length of trail.
The Colorado Trail is a destination for anyone
who is interested in long distance biking.
People actually come from around the world
to experience it. According to the Colorado
Trail Foundation, “It is possible to do the trail
and detours via bike without any vehicular
support by re-supplying in Frisco, Leadville,
Buena Vista and Silverton. Allow maybe 15
to 20 days for the trip. Cyclists can also travel
the entire trail with detours in a variety of
supported ways, lighten their load and trim
their number of days. A mountain bike is a
great way to travel the trail, but expect to
push the bike on some of the steeper, rockier
pitches.” For more information on the Colorado Trail, visit www.coloradotrail.org.
WHITE WATER RAFTING
The white water rafting industry in Colorado is thriving, and continues to grow each
year as more people discover this exciting
pastime that allows participants to see
some of the most beautiful parts of Colorado. The state has some excellent rapids.
More than 20 rivers across eight major
basins in the state attract rafting outfitters.
The most popular rivers are the Colorado
and Arkansas. Rafting season starts in
May, peaks in mid-June and continues into
the fall. Sometimes the season will extend
into April or October. Rafters hoping for
big waves should go earlier in the season.
There are a number of rafting outfitters
that offer short expeditions that are suitable
Bike Denver www.bikedenver.org
Boulder Valley Velodrome Clubs www.bouldervalleyvelodrome.com
Denver Bicycle Touring Club www.dbtc.org
Denver Cruisers www.denvercruiserride.com
Team Evergreen Bicycle Club www.teamevergreen.org