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summer May 17, 2015

getaways Colorado A-Z From apps to ziplines

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13 road trips Aspen, Steamboat, Durango and more

Plus 49 things you must do around the state


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Essays On the road for the journey, not the destination 4 Time to capture the magic of the road 74

Photo pages Colorado’s mountain wonderland 42 Parting shot 76

Features The Details: Car maintenance, road-trip apps and snacks 6 Niche museums 14 Ghost towns and graveyards 28

Road trips

Hot springs 30 Sacred spaces 36

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Road games 49 On-the-road eateries 50

Two days

Three-plus days

Mishawaka Amphitheatre 16

Staycation: Denver 18

Aspen 8

3 trips from Denver 60

Southeast (high plains loop) 32

The Royal Gorge 63

Glenwood Springs 38

Calendar of Summer Events 64

Colorado on screen 52 Family camping 64

Southwest (Durango, Ouray) 22 Steamboat Springs 44 Chaffee County (Buena Vista, Salida) 54

Ziplining 66 National parks pro tips 68

Coupons 77

on the cover and above left: Photos by Cyrus McCrimmon, The Denver Post

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ON THE ROAD FOR THE JOURNEY, NOT THE DESTINATION

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By John Wenzel The Denver Post

came to Colorado 15 years ago for the same reasons most people have been coming to Colorado for decades: for fresh air and scenery, for opportunity, for a change.

I had made the 1,200-mile, two-day road trip from my hometown of Dayton, Ohio, to Denver once before, to visit my aunt and uncle in Littleton after graduating from college, and to scope out jobs and a place to live. But when I became a full-time Denver resident in summer 2000, I also became a fan of the Colorado road trip. When college friends visited, I drove them from my Capitol Hill apartment to the top of Mount Evans, carefully tracing the vertigo-inducing curves on North America’s highest paved road until we were granted a stunning, 360-degree view from the 14,264-foot summit. I drove parents and new friends I met at Denver bars and music venues west on Interstate 70 (then, as now, a slog on Sundays, but tolerable most other times) to the tucked-away gem of St. Mary’s Glacier, the spooky and weirdly preserved main street of the former mining town of Leadville, the surprisingly cozy, cottage-lined streets of downtown Aspen. I could scarcely believe so many beau-

tiful, distinctly different places were all within a day’s drive of my urban perch. Since then I’ve been all over Colorado, from overnight car camping in the otherworldly splendor of Great Sand Dunes National Park to hike-in camping trips on the shores of remote, high-altitude lakes. And although I’ve road-tripped in surrounding states and camped in national parks from the Great Smoky Mountains to Yellowstone, no place offered the all-encompassing grandeur and accessibility of Colorado. Colorado road trips unfold in stark contrast to Midwestern road trips. From Dayton, my family could visit any number of places in a day’s drive — Philadelphia, Chicago, New York, Nashville, Detroit. The places we actually did visit, like St. Louis and Atlanta, involved allday drives to stay with aunts and uncles. The destinations never looked or felt much different than the place we started. (Being jammed in the backseat with my brother and sister for eight hours didn’t help, either.)

In Colorado, I can wake up in the plains and be on the Continental Divide before lunch. I can live a fully urban lifestyle along the Front Range and lose myself in Rocky Mountain National Park for an afternoon. I’ll never stop feeling lucky to have access to such gorgeous, diverse geography. The frontier myth is alive and well for a reason in Colorado: It’s real. People here, inspired by the striking, everchanging geography, remake themselves to suit their moods and situations. And road trips follow suit, offering a sense of progression and achievement, as opposed to numbing hours of cornfields and interchangeable exits that seem to run on an endless loop. Colorado’s population growth presents unique challenges, lest we transplants erase the very reasons we moved here in the first place. There is work to be done in preserving and intelligently planning Colorado’s outdoor future. But I’m always struck by a singular thought when I hit the road in Colorado: When I was growing up, road trips sketched a route from one populated place to another. In Colorado, the relative isolation and Technicolor vistas make me feel like I’m on a planet unto itself, or a distant moon. A Middle-earth. Another dimension. The frontier is wherever you point your car.

John Wenzel: 303-954-1642, jwenzel@denverpost.com or twitter.com/johnwenzel

A car drives down Michigan Creek Road in South Park. Dean Krakel, The Denver Post

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The Details

Thinkstock by Getty Images

Car maintenance: What to check before you hit the road Check your tires. “Tire failure is the No. 1 thing I see in vehicles towed into me,” said Mike Torres, owner of Dakota Ridge Complete Automotive in Littleton. “Inflation is the most important thing on the planet.” Make sure tires are inflated to manufacturer specifications. Also, check for uneven wear — a possible sign of suspension problems — and tread depth. You’ll want at least 3/32inch of tread — skip the penny test and buy a $5 tread-depth gauge for best results.

Check your spare. A spare tire won’t do you any good if it’s deflated or riddled with dry rot. While you’re at it, make sure you’ve got a jack and tire wrench in the trunk, too. “It’s baffling the number of AAA calls where if they just had a jack or a tire wrench, they could have handled it,” Torres said.

Check your fluids. Look for proper fluid levels, as well as proper condition (color, smell, etc.). That includes engine oil, coolant, powersteering, transmission and brake fluids, Torres said. Low fluid levels can be an indication of larger problems that won’t be solved by just topping off, he said.

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Check your battery. Car batteries can fail abruptly in hot weather, said Wave Dreher, spokeswoman for AAA Colorado. Ensure that cables are securely attached and the terminals are free of corrosion. If your battery is nearing the end of its life cycle — typically three to five years — have it professionally tested.

Get that “check engine light” checked out. You may think you know what the problem is, but it could be escalating — without any additional warning lights coming on, said Andy Emery, owner of Antero Automotive in Greenwood Village. “If you’ve got any kind of warning light on at all, it’s definitely wise to get it in and get it scanned to see if it’s multiple problems, or the problem you’ve been living with for a month or a year,” he said.

On a road trip, the last thing you want is for your car to call it quits before you do. To reduce your chances of getting stranded, here are some easy things any driver can do before hitting the road. Sign up for roadside assistance. If your car stalls on the highway, you’re going to need a tow, no matter how much you know about cars. “Even me — I’m a master certified technician — if I broke down in the middle of Wyoming, there’s nothing I can do,” Emery said.

Pack an emergency kit. Stock it with a flashlight with extra batteries; flares or reflective triangles; jumper cables; cellphone car charger; first-aid kit; warm clothes for driver and passengers; a gallon of water; non-perishable food for human and pet passengers; and window-washer solvent, according to AAA Colorado. — Emilie Rusch, The Denver Post


Good eats on the go

O≠line road-trip apps

Road-trip food is ideally three things: yummy, tidy and, if not nutritious, way better than what you can buy when you stop to gas up the wagon. It doesn’t hurt if it’s also rehydrating on a long, hot or dusty drive. Road food worthy of the cooler or the snack bag is also space-efficient and fun — just a little bit special and out of the ordinary. Here are some unusual, packable treats to try on your next voyage.

On a recent road trip that I knew would take us onto mobile-service-challenged territory, I prepared my smartphone by going retro. It seemed appropriate. Ten years ago, there was no iPhone. Mobile data service was expanding, but most people didn’t rely on their phone for e-mail, Internet or watching videos. And on the roads less traveled today, you’ll still be lucky to make a voice call on a mobile phone. I rediscovered podcasts! I downloaded audiobooks. And I tried out a few apps that worked even without Internet service. If you’re about to go on a road trip (or travel internationally or even face a commute with challenging mobile service), here are a few apps to try out:

Sekanjebin

Salad on a roll

This drink concentrate, made with a simple sugar syrup, dates back to the medieval Middle East and is a sweet, sour, minty-fresh cure for dusty or sandy hikes, not to mention that on adult campouts, it might inspire a mixologist. If you’re facing a suddenly cold high-altitude night, it’s also great heated.

Well, there’s more than salad here. These healthy mini taquitos can even be thrown together on a dashboard or car seat. You can make these perfect picnic bites paleo-friendly by substituting ham or turkey for the tortilla and honey mustard, spreadable cheese or olive tapenade for the hummus.

Ingredients

Ingredients

4 cups sugar 1 cup apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar (not balsamic) 1 cup whole fresh mint (any variety) or lemon balm leaves

At least 8 small, fresh tortillas 2 cups or 1 box fresh arugula, salad greens or baby spinach Hummus

Directions

Spread the tortillas out on the counter. Spread each with an equal amount of hummus. Pile a handful of salad greens on each. Roll each tortilla as tightly as possible. Place the taquitos in a waterproof container, in their paper towels, and keep in a cooler (it’s more essential to keep them chilled if the wrapper is a slice of lunch meat). One tub of hummus and one package of salad greens should make about 8 taquitos.

In a large saucepan, pour the sugar into 2 cups water. Simmer until dissolved. Add the vinegar; remove from heat. Stir in the mint leaves and allow to steep for a half hour; strain. To drink, add several tablespoons to 8 ounces of still or sparkling water over ice; make stronger or weaker to your taste.

Mini Cornbread Puffs Avoiding gluten or dairy? You can still make these; just pick a cornbread mix that avoids them, too. You can also use almond or hazelnut milk instead of the dairy for your mix. These are small — one- or two-bite size — to cut down on crumbs in the car. Craving protein? Add crumbled bacon or slices of chicken-apple sausage. Makes about 2 dozen.

Ingredients 1 package cornbread mix, plus eggs, oil and dairy (or non-dairy) as specified on the package N cup additional flour (use rice or sorghum flour if you’re gluten-free) 1 small can Hatch green chiles, chopped and drained 1 cup grated sharp cheddar or gouda cheese, optional (substitute the same amount of chopped green or black olives, if desired) Smoked salt, paprika or chile flakes to taste

Directions Make the cornbread batter as specified on the package. Add the additional flour to stiffen the mix, and blend well. Stir in the chiles and cheese or olives. Using two spoons or a small cookiedough scoop, drop the batter in rounded lumps the size of golf balls onto a large cookie sheet. They won’t spread, so you can crowd them. Sprinkle the puffs with smoked salt, paprika or chile flakes. Bake as directed on the package or until firm and just brown around the edges.

Directions

Other great kicked-up road snacks: B B B B

Neufchatel-stuffed dates Jicama sticks Tamari-roasted pumpkin seeds Almond butter and marmalade sandwiches made with toast and cut into quarters B Pickle roll-ups: Whole dill pickles, wrapped in cream cheese and ham slices, then sliced into thick chunks B Jalapeño-stuffed olives B Oaty brownie blasts: Make your favorite brownie mix as a drop cookie. Stuff the batter with a cup of rolled oats, a cup of chopped walnuts or pecans and a cup of flaked, unsweetened coconut (if the mix makes only an 8-by-8-inch pan of brownies, halve those amounts). — Susan Clotfelter, The Denver Post

This American Life. Podcasts are great for road trips. But if you’re not a regular subscriber, some podcasts won’t let you download old episodes, like “This American Life.” For $3, you can listen to every episode if you have Internet and download up to five at a time to listen offline. thisamericanlife.org/ podcast

Pocket. A quick way to grab stories you want to read later is the Pocket app, which saves entire articles for viewing off-line (it saves videos, too, but you can’t view those offline). While several apps do the same thing, Pocket integrates with 500 other apps, including Flipboard, Pulse and Twitter. Yes, you can save Tweets to read later (some app tweaks may be necessary). getpocket.com

Maps.me. Having a paper map as a backup would be the most retro, but Maps.me can also help you out in a dead spot. The app lets you download maps for major land masses, including Greenland. And then it offers a nifty routing tool that works even when you have no cell service. You’ll have to let it know where you are and where you want to go. The route then shows up right on the map. maps.me

Triposo. If your road trip takes you through unfamiliar territory and Yelp just won’t load, try Triposo. It’s like a slick travel guide that fits perfectly on a phone. Download cities or whole states ahead of time, and Triposo gives you offline access to top attractions, places to eat and sleep, and even the local time and weather. Places to eat include tags like “kid friendly” or “outdoor seating.” I’d say it’s a useful app even with data service. triposo.com

Avenza. Another handy offline-map app gives you access to what appears to be scanned-in maps of national parks, hiking trails, transit routes and oddball maps like the 2014 Shryocks Corn Maze map. Some are free, others you can buy right in the app. avenza.com

OverDrive. One of my go-to apps, OverDrive helps many of us check out ebooks and audio books from the local library. With a kid in tow, most of the books we listened to were classics and were readily available. If you can’t wait for a book to be available, there’s also Audible, the audiobook seller owned by Amazon. overdrive.com, audible.com. — Tamara Chuang, The Denver Post

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3 DAYS Aspen sprawls below a mountain overlook. Barrett Friel, Aspen Visitors Bureau

World-class culture against a high-country backdrop 08 :: THE DENVER POST SUMMER GETAWAYS 2015

Can’t decide between a high-altitude getaway in the mountains and a high-art adventure in the city? Aspen may be the place for you. It’s one of the few destinations where you can hike towering peaks in the day and hear orchestras play at night. The art galleries and dance concerts are as worldclass as the mountain scenery. Of course, you have to get past the pass first ...


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3. High Thrills Up the mountain

The drive’s the thing when going to Aspen, so make the most of it. From Copper Mountain, head south through Leadville to Colorado 82, known well (and feared wisely) as the twisting, climbing road to Independence Pass, at 12,096 feet. The scenic overlook at the crest is a good chance to get out and smell the wildflowers.

The best way to get acquainted with Aspen is with a view from above, and a ride up Aspen Mountain on the Silver Queen Gondola ($20 round-trip, runs weekends May 23-Oct. 4; daily June 20-Sept. 7) puts the whole town in perspective. It’s a steep, 15-minute lift, and there’s plenty to do once you reach the top: easy hikes, art exhibits, guided nature walks, snacks, even yoga classes. There are 1 p.m. classical music concerts on the sundeck every Saturday from July through August, and noon bluegrass concerts every Sunday from June until August.

2. Drop in Mile 166 The road down from the pass takes you right into town, and you’ll need a place to unpack. Because the swank Hotel Jerome charges $600-plus on a hot summer night, we’ll steer you to the cozy Aspen Mountain Lodge (311 W. Main St.) at about a third of the price. The downtown hotel has roomy rooms, a solid breakfast and a staff to point you in the right direction. If that’s booked, the St. Moritz Lodge (334 W. Hyman Ave.) has a similar rustic vibe.

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4. Stop and shop In town Aspen is famously weird as a hangout for both hippies and movie stars. Get to know the crowd, and acclimate to the 8,000foot elevation, by spending an afternoon wandering the business district. There are plenty of places to buy pricey cowboy boots (like deluxe Kemo Sabe; 434 E. Cooper Ave.) or trendy housewares (the funky Koto gift shop; 409 E. Hyman Ave). Snack anywhere and maybe check out the happy hour at Jimmy’s Bodega (307 S. Mill St.), a seafood favorite with good bartenders and great drink specials.

A rock climber gets a good view of Independence Pass near Aspen. Provided by Aspen Visitors Bureau

5. Cultural tourism In town

Conductor David Zinman leads the premiere of a suite from the opera “The Great Gatsby” at the 2008 Aspen Music Festival. Provided by Aspen Music Festival

Aspen is full of fine art in the summer, and you’ll have your pick. One best bet: The Aspen Music Festival, which runs July 2–Aug. 23 and offers a whopping 300 events. That means every day, from morning to evening, you can drop into one of its concerts, many featuring world-class talents on the classical music scene. The opera master classes, at the Wheeler Opera House downtown (320 E. Hyman Ave.), are wildly popular and always full of new talent.

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The view of Maroon Bells from Crater Lake is one of the most photographed vistas in Colorado. Jeremy Swanson, Provided by Aspen Visitors Bureau

Day 2: Around Aspen In and around town 1. Eat first In town

3. Art adventures In town

Aspen is all about old-school architecture and new-world cuisine. Breakfast at the Main Street Bakery (201 E. Main St.) gives a taste of both. There’s a counter with killer baked goods and a sit-down menu with updated takes on breakfast and lunch standards.

Aspen has a way of winging visitors back and forth between fun hikes and fine art, and following up Maroon Bells with a visit to the Aspen Art Museum (637 E. Hyman Ave.) is a great way to enjoy the extremes. The museum opened a new $45 million building in 2014, and it’s a world-class piece of architecture filled with challenging, changing exhibits. This summer’s big promise is a retrospective from artist Chris Ofili, titled “Night and Day.”

2. Great outdoors Highlands Village

The Silver Queen Gondola offers access to the summit of Ajax. Thinkstock by Getty Images

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Ten miles west of town in the White River National Forest, the Maroon Bells nature area just might hold the best hike in all of Colorado, with plenty of ways to enjoy the flora, fauna and fabulous views. Need to know: From mid-June through Labor Day, Maroon Bells can only be accessed by public bus from 8 a.m.- 5 p.m. Catch the ride at Aspen Highlands Village (76 Prospector Road, Aspen, $6.). The 3.25 mile-long Maroon Creek Trail, scenic and relatively easy, is a trek of choice for newcomers.


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Rock climbers above Aspen. Provided by Aspen Visitors Bureau

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4. Eat more In town Squeeze in a little lunch or supper. Perhaps on the art museum’s sprawling rooftop deck with the best view of the mountain from downtown. Or maybe at Pyramid Bistro (221 E. Main St.), which has its own sweet outdoor deck, plus a variety of affordable offerings, vegetarian and not.

The Aspen Art Museum, designed by architect Shigeru Ban, opened to the public last summer. Kathryn Scott Osler, Denver Post file

5. Dance, dance In town and up the road Nighttime is culture time in Aspen. On the casual side, you could catch a band at Belly Up (450 S. Galena St.), the town’s storied nightclub. Or you can check out the summer season of the Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, which runs July 8-Aug. 22 and combines performances by the hometown company with visiting troupes from across the globe.

6. Drink slowly In town If you are gonna splurge somewhere in Aspen, and you should, we say do it over a drink at the Little Nell (675 E. Durant Ave.). The hotel, at the base of the mountain, has excellent restaurants including Element 47, where they will make cocktails tableside while you eat. But you can always sit at the bar and grab one for kicks. Let us recommend an Ultima Palabra, a mix of tequila, lime and green chartreuse. Actually, we recommend two.

Diners step out and sit down for an evening meal in Aspen. Provided by the Aspen Visitors Bureau

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A mountain biker rides the Rio Grande trail near Glenwood Springs. The trail goes all the way to Aspen. Provided by Glenwood Springs Visitors Bureau

Day 3: Aspen to Denver Approximately 218 miles 1. Morning pedal In town Lots of cities have bike share programs, but Aspen was an early adopter. Its streets are just right for the two-wheel adventures its We-cycle systems makes possible. Some of the most pleasant urban bike paths in the country shoot off from downtown. Try the Rio Grande Trail, which whizzes by John Denver Sanctuary, or the Ajax Trail, which skirts the mountain and beyond.

Grand Tasting Pavilion at the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen. Denver Post file

2. One more stop Mile 30

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One of the best things about a trip to Aspen is that there are two good routes between the mountain hamlet and Denver. Take the other one, equally scenic, on the return trip. Just head west out Colorado 82, which takes you through the towns of Carbondale and Glenwood Springs. Stop in Carbondale at the Powers Art Center, opened in 2014, another quality attraction to the area. It’s an unusual place, a privately run gallery tucked off of Colorado 82. The museum is a memorial to businessman John G. Powers, who had a penchant for Jasper Johns, and it is packed full of the artist’s prints. Best of all it’s free. Drive slow when you hit Carbondale; this place (13110 Colorado 82) is easy to miss.

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3. Canyon drive Miles 43-55 After reaching Glenwood Springs, turn east on Interstate 70 as it travels through Glenwood Canyon, and marvel at one of the most impressive stretches of highway in the world. The route, which cuts through rock and runs along the stunning Colorado River, was completed in 1992 at a cost of $490 million. That’s more than $40 million a mile. Ray Mark Rinaldi: 303-954-1540, rrinaldi@denverpost.com or twitter.com/rayrinaldi

12 :: THE DENVER POST SUMMER GETAWAYS 2015


The sun peeks through the trees during a beautiful sunset in Aspen. Provided by Aspen Visitors Bureau

Flowers bloom and bikers zoom in Aspen. Provided by Aspen Visitors Bureau

Crowds of people get in tune with the annual Aspen Music Festival. Provided by the Aspen Visitors Bureau

The moon, framed early one morning by the Shadow Mountain chairlift in Aspen, drops into the rising tree line. RJ Sangosti, Denver Post file

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Spectators look at a line of antique tractors on display at the Yesteryear Farm Show at the Dougherty Museum. Matthew Jonas, Times-Call file

A cell at the Museum of Colorado Prisons features mannequins. The building, at 201 First St. in Cañon City, is east of the Colorado Territorial Correctional Facility on U.S. 50. The building opened in 1935 as a women’s prison. Associated Press file

Colorado’s niche museums: Dig deep into mining, transportation, spiders and skiing By William Porter The Denver Post

Our state’s showcase museums offer a trove of riches: the Denver Art Museum with works including French Impressionists and Plains Indian craftsmen, the kid-friendly dinosaur bone room at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, and the Colorado History Museum, with its fascinating profiles of a time not that long past. They are great places to show out-of-towners that cattle generally don’t roam our streets, except during the National Western Stock Show parade. But the Centennial State has a trove of small, sometimes offbeat museums. Whether you wish to view a pioneer wagon, a vintage John Deere tractor, a massive steam locomotive or a Cold War-era B-1 bomber, there is a museum for you.

1. May Natural History Museum

2. Colorado Railroad Museum

You’ll be buggin’ out at this museum dedicated to all things creepy and crawly. It is one of the world’s largest collections of tropical insects: butterflies, arachnids and the like. Operates daily May 1-Sept. 30, making it a great summer day trip for parents and kids.

All aboard! This Golden museum showcases some Industrial Age marvels: More than 100 locomotives, coaches and cabooses are displayed. Railroads were critical to Colorado’s development. Narrow-gauge trains served high-country mines. Passenger trains and freighters brought in people and shipped out goods from cattle to crops. Visitors can watch train restoration projects from the roundhouse viewing area. There is also a cool museum gift shop.

710 Rock Creek Canyon Road, Colorado Springs. 719-5760450. maynaturalhistory museum.blogspot.com Admission: $3-$6

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17155 W. 44th Ave., Golden. Check hours at 303-279-4591. coloradorailroadmuseum.org Admission: $5-$10

3. Colorado Ski Museum Sitting in upstairs quarters in the Vail Transportation Center, this museum traces schussing’s history in our mountains. Sepia-tone photos from 19th-century mining camps show how the locals entertained themselves with skis the length of sailboat masts. And the industry’s roots in Camp Hale, the 10th Mountain Division’s World War II training camp, also are explored. It’s a look at how ski technology has evolved, for skiers and snowboarders alike. Open daily in summer, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. 231 S. Frontage Road East, Vail. 970-476-1876. skimuseum.net Free, donations appreciated.

4. The Dougherty Museum Nestled in an unassuming warehouse-like building fronting U.S. 287 south of Longmont, the Dougherty Museum showcases farm machinery and cars from the past century. Highlights include a 1910 Cadillac, a 1914 Stanley Steamer and a 1915 Case tractor. All this thanks to Ray Dougherty, a Boulder County farmer. The museum is open June 1-Aug. 30, Fridays-Sundays 11 a.m.-5 p.m, and by appointment only the rest of the year. 8306 U.S. 287, south of Longmont. 303-776-2520. bouldercounty.org/os/ culture/pages/dougherty museum.aspx Admission: $3-$5


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5. The National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum Head to Leadville and visit this museum. At tour’s end, you’ll retreat to your vehicle and thank the paycheck gods you don’t have to earn your living the way hardrock miners did in the 19th century. The industry’s history is displayed in what might be the world’s loftiest museum, given this former silver boomtown’s 10,162-foot elevation. Equipment, historic photos and dioramas offer insight into what it was like to pull ore from unforgiving stone.

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6. Museum of Colorado Prisons This museum includes cells filled with exhibits and mannequins, the hemp noose that slipped around the neck of the last man executed by hanging in Colorado, confiscated weapons, a gas chamber (non-working!) and old photos of life behind bars. Open daily during summer (10 a.m. to 6 p.m.), so if your kid’s misbehaving, this should work wonders. 201 N. First St., Cañon City. 719-269-3015. prisonmuseum.org Admission $5-$7

Visitors to the Wings Over The Rockies Air and Space Museum, at the former Lowry Air Force Base in Denver, walk past the museum’s B-1A Lancer bomber. The aircraft is the only one outside of the Strategic Air & Space Museum in Ashland, Neb. Denver Post file

7. Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum A massive hangar at the former Lowry Air Force Base harbors an array of historic aircraft. Standouts include a B-1A Lancer bomber from the 1980s and a Korean War-era North American Aviation F-86 Sabre fighter jet. Friendly guides, many of them veterans with firsthand knowledge of the planes, are happy to chat. 7711 E. Academy Blvd., Denver. 303-360-5360. wingsmuseum.org Admission: $6-$11

8. Denver Firefighters Museum

9. Forney Museum of Transportation

An insider’s look at 150 years of Denver firefighting. Ranging from the days when water wagons were pulled by horses to today’s sophisticated engines, breathing apparatus and dispatch systems, this museum has it all. Housed in an old two-story firehouse in downtown Denver, the museum is a firefighting buff’s dream. An interactive exhibit for kids is also fun.

With more than 600 items dedicated to wheeled transportation, this museum is a fascinating trip down internal-combustion engine lane. Railroad buffs will be agog at the 4-8-8-4 Big Boy locomotive, plus all manner of vintage cars in mint condition.

1326 Tremont Place, Denver. 303-892-1436. denverfire fightersmuseum.org Admission: $4-$6

4303 Brighton Blvd., Denver. 303-297-1113. forneymuseum.org Admission: $5-$9.75

William Porter: 303-954-1877, wporter@denverpost.com or twitter.com/ williamporterdp

120 W. Ninth St., Leadville. 719-486-1229. mininghall offame.org Admission: $6-$10

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Head for the Hills on stage at the Mishawaka Amphitheatre along the Poudre River. Courtesy of the Mishawaka

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Mishawaka – and much more Make a trip to the amphitheater a full experience with a chance to scope out shops and microbreweries before hearing music under the stars By Matt Miller The Denver Post

Take a winding, pine-tree-lined mountain road through Poudre Canyon for about 24 miles northwest from Fort Collins and you’ll find one of the most secluded and scenic music venues in the state, the Mishawaka Amphitheatre. A river runs alongside the stage, and the foothills frame the entire amphitheater. Plus, there are restaurants and options for camping nearby — all a perfect complement to the music. This year’s lineup boasts Chris Robinson Brotherhood on May 17, Fruition & Grant Farm on May 24, Robert Randolph & the Family Band on June 26, EOTO on July 10 and more. Though concerts typically start around 7 p.m., you’ll want to begin your trip from Denver early in the day — you’ll want time to stop at breweries and get something to eat.

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Day 1: Denver to the Mishawaka Approximately 176 miles round trip 1. Stay Mile 86 Start by prepping your camping gear if you plan to stay overnight near the Mish (there are options at Bellaire Campground, Pingree Park, Dowdy Lake Campground and Ansel Watrous — which is just before the amphitheater). Then take Interstate 25 north toward Fort Collins.

2. Brews Mile 65 If you don’t plan to pitch a tent, it’s a straight, hour-long shot of highway traveling from Denver to Fort Collins until you hit exit 269 B West onto Colorado 14 or Mulberry Street. Leave early enough and

you’ll have an entire afternoon worth of Northern Colorado restaurants, shopping and microbreweries to hit before heading into the foothills. This is Fort Collins, so you’ll have some of the state’s best microbreweries within walking distance of one another. While it’s always busy, Odell Brewing Co. (800 E Lincoln Ave., 970-498-9070, odellbrewing.com) typically doesn’t get the insane crowds of its famous neighbor, New Belgium (500 Linden St., 970221-0524, newbelgium.com). You can grab a taster of beer, hang out on the new patio or catch a tour (reserve your spot online).


Nathaniel Rateliff performs at the Mishawaka Amphitheatre, one of Colorado’s most secluded and scenic music venues. Ryan Johnson, Special to The Denver Post

Visitors walk through the Cache La Poudre River outside of Fort Collins. Denver Post file

Dowdy Lake Campground

3. Eat In Fort Collins If you’re getting hungry, walk east a few blocks to Fort Collins Brewery (1020 Lincoln Ave., 970-682-2260, fortcollinsbrewery.com), where the tours include a free beer sample and end in the brewery’s tavern. There, you can enjoy beer and tapas ranging from Cuban sliders to beer-braised sirloin tacos.

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After you’ve been drinking, eating, hiking and (possibly) seeing ghosts all day, you’ll be ready to head to the Mishawaka (13714 Poudre Canyon Highway, 970-482-4420, themishawaka.com) to see your show. Colorado 14 west takes you on a beautiful winding route through the mountains until you see the Mishawaka, like a little musiNew Belgium E. Vine Dr. Brewing cal outpost in the woods, tucked off Fort Collins Company the right side of the road. The Buckingham St. 2 Mishawaka has a full-service Ri restaurant that serves burgers, ve Fort Collins rs id Odell Brewery steaks, snacks, sandwiches and e 287 Av Brewing & Tavern more. Enjoy the fresh mountain E. e . Company Lin co air, the scenery and the show. ln 3 Av e. themishawaka.com Cache la Poudre River Matt Miller: 303-954-1785, mrmiller@denverpost.com

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You’ll be spending your whole night in the mountains, so why not stop at a little locals-only hiking spot in the foothills before getting to the Mishawaka? Just south of the Cache la Poudre River is Bingham Hill Park. It’s not the most rugged or secluded hiking spot, but you can pull right off the road and trek up Bingham Hill. From the top you get a sweeping view of the foothills, Pleasant Valley and the town of Bellvue. (Also of note: Bingham Hill Cemetery is known for its ghost sightings.)

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Ansel Watrous Campground

5 Customers gather around one a table for tastings inside the New Belgium Brewing Co.’s “Liquid Center” in Fort Collins. The area is home to many of the state’s top microbreweries. Kathryn Scott Osler, Denver Post file

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2 DAYS The Denver skyline as seen from the Cherry Creek Dam Road. Helen H. Richardson, The Denver Post

Backyard tourist 18 :: THE DENVER POST SUMMER GETAWAYS 2015

Sometimes you need to get away without actually going anywhere. Here’s one idea: Spend a Saturday and Sunday exploring the Mile High City. You may have heard of it. Plus, you can sleep in your own bed — can any hotel compare?


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Walk back to your car at History Colorado, then drive to The Big Wonderful (2600 Lawrence St., thebigwonderful.com) for lunch and more. This empty lot-turned-sustainable outdoor market/festival runs from noon to 7:30 p.m. Saturdays — there’s craft beer, unique food vendors, live music, local artisans, kid-friendly lawn games, sand volleyball, a dog park and more.

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Buy a Denver souvenir you actually want. Take a quick stroll down the 16th Street Mall to the second floor of the Denver Pavilions and the I Heart Denver Store (500 16th St., iheartdenverstore.com). The owner curates a vibrant collection of Colorado-made goods — clothes, art prints, jewelry, home goods, stationery — with 70 percent of sales going back to the artists.

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2. Shop 0.6 mile walk

Start your day out at the History Colorado Center ($8-$12, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily, 1200 Broadway, historycoloradocenter.org). Housed in an impressive building that opened in 2012, the museum is serious fun (and seriously educational, too) whether you’re a longtime Coloradan or a transplant. The interactive exhibits on Colorado history shine, and how could you go wrong with this summer’s special exhibit, an ode to the toys of the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s? Game on.

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The upscale taqueria Comida, located in The Source, a former 19th-century foundry. Cyrus McCrimmon, Denver Post file

Photo op If you’re going to take a selfie, make sure it’s got The Big Wonderful’s signature sign in the background. Nothing says “Denver summer humblebrag” quite like the sign’s yellow letters against a bright-blue Colorado sky.

When you’ve had enough sun, wander over to The Source (3350 Brighton Blvd., thesourcedenver.com), an old foundry reborn as an artisan food market. Whether you choose Acorn (New American cuisine, denveracorn.com) or Comida (Mexican street food, eatcomida.com), you’re in good hands. Afterward, stop by a nearby brewery for a nightcap. Crooked Stave (inside The Source, crookedstave.com), Epic Brewing (3001 Walnut St., epicbrewing.com), River North Brewery (2401 Blake St., rivernorthbrewery.com) and Great Divide Brewery (2201 Arapahoe St., greatdivide.com) are all nearby.

A woman and her English bulldog relax at The Big Wonderful, 2600 Lawrence St., a 3-acre outdoor food and beer market that celebrates local entrepreneurs. Seth McConnell, Denver Post file

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Day 2: Capitol Hill to Uptown Approximately 2.1 miles 1. Garden walk Mile 0 Get moving before it gets too hot and head to the Denver Botanic Gardens ($9-$12.50, 9 a.m.-9 p.m., last admission at 8 p.m., 1007 York St., botanicgardens.org). Bring a picnic lunch — pack one at home or buy something fun on the way at Tony’s Market (950 Broadway, tonysmarket.com) or Marczyk Fine Foods (770 E. 17th Ave., marczykfinefoods.com); outside food and non-alcoholic beverages are allowed. Find a bench in a scenic spot and enjoy the serenity the gardens have to offer.

2. Explore Mile 0.4 Not ready to head indoors quite yet? Walk to Cheesman Park, just west of the gardens, and take a stroll. Bonus points if you can find one of “very, very distinctive” sunken plots that unofficial city historian Phil Goodstein says hint at the park’s previous tenant. (Answer: a cemetery.)

20 :: THE DENVER POST SUMMER GETAWAYS 2015

Photo op Every petal is worth a photo in the Botanic Gardens — where else are you going to see so many different kinds of flowers in one place? Nature? Don’t forget to check out the new Chihuly sculpture, a gift from local donors after the wildly successful 2014 exhibit.

3. Treat Mile 0.7

5. Eat Mile 2.1

If you’re hot after your walk in the park, head to Liks Ice Cream (2039 E. 13th Ave., liksicecream.com) for a scoop.

Options abound when you cross East Colfax and head north toward Uptown’s foodie heart, East 17th Avenue. Grab a latte at one of the corridor’s eclectic coffeehouses — some serve beer, too — and when it’s time for dinner, it’s hard to go wrong here. If you enjoy seafood, first stop is Humboldt (1700 Humboldt St., humboldtrestaurant.com). Farther along East 17th, our restaurant critic’s top picks also include: Beast and Bottle (719 E. 17th Ave., beastandbottle.com), Argyll (1035 E. 17th Ave., argylldenver.com) and Avenue Grill (630 E. 17th Ave., avenuegrill.com).

4. Shop Mile 1.2 Take a break from the great outdoors and walk to the Tattered Cover Book Store and Twist & Shout Records (2508-2526 E. Colfax Ave., tatteredcover.com, twistandshout.com). At Tattered Cover, browse the stacks in a beautiful converted historic theater and then cross the walkway to Twist & Shout and dig through the extensive vinyl and CD collection. For movie lovers, the Sie Film Center (2510 E. Colfax Ave., denverfilm.org), next door, shows arthouse films.

Emilie Rusch: 303-954-2457, erusch@denverpost.com or twitter.com/emilierusch


Gladiolus saundersii in the South African plants section at the Denver Botanic Gardens. Cyrus McCrimmon, Denver Post file

A customer shops at the I Heart Denver Store in the Denver Pavilions on the 16th Street Mall. Craig F. Walker, Denver Post file

Grilled short ribs with roasted baby carrots, cheddar polenta and ancho chile at the restaurant Acorn, located at The Source. Cyrus McCrimmon, Denver Post file

A visitor takes a long, lingering smell of some lilac bushes in the Lilac Garden at the Denver Botanic Gardens. Cyrus McCrimmon, Denver Post file

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5 DAYS In Durango and southwest Colorado, outdoor fun is at your fingertips. Provided by the Colorado Vistors Center

Southwest state of mind 22 :: THE DENVER POST SUMMER GETAWAYS 2015

Durango’s a drive, to be sure, but there’s so much to do down this way that it’s worth a big trip. With the chill vibe and the Southwestern flavors embedded in every restaurant menu and art gallery, it’s easy to settle in here and wish you had a few more days to enjoy southwest Colorado.


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Day 1: Denver to Durango Approximately 335 miles Depart Denver via U.S. 285 south to U.S. 160 west. 1. Pie break Mile 121 Stop in Buena Vista’s Brown Dog Coffee Co. (713 U.S. 24) for a snack with a view of the fourteeners in the Collegiate Peaks, just to the west of town. Try the homemade pie, grab a coffee and go — you have a long drive ahead.

2. Diversion Mile 225 Great Sand Dunes National Park ($3 per adult, kids get free entry) is an outof-the-way wonder, and it’ll take you about 60 miles out of your way on this road trip. But it’s worth it. Sand blows across the San Luis Valley to pile up against the fourteeners on the far side. The dunes top out at 700 feet, but even climbing a shorter one to sand-sled down (rent waxed-for-sand boards and sleds at Great Sand Dunes Oasis just outside the park entrance for $20 a day) makes for a peak travel experience.

3. Suds & slices Mile 280

5. Stay Mile 411

For a respite from the road, pause at Del Norte’s Three Barrel Brewing (475 Grand Ave., 719-657-0681, threebarrelbrewing.com). The brewery sources ingredients from the San Luis Valley for a solid lineup of standard brews plus seasonals. But for something special, try the sour ales. Servers in the taproom happily pour tasters and make suggestions while your personal-size pizza is baking in the wood-fired oven.

For a historical hotel experience, settle into Durango’s Strater Hotel (699 Main Ave., 970-247-4431, strater.com). The elegant brick hotel was built in the late 1800s and still boasts a showy Victorian interior but has plenty of modern amenities — real modern amenities, not the “three-story privy” proprietors advertised when the hotel opened. If a retro-historical twist is your style, check out the Rochester Hotel and Leland House (726 E. Second Ave., 970-385-1920, rochesterhotel.com). Both the Rochester and Leland House, across the street, occupy older buildings downtown. The Leland House’s suites have been lovingly restored with plenty of period charm (the building went up in 1927), and the Rochester (built in 1892) maintains hints from the 19th century alongside mid-20th century touches (noir film posters decorate the office). Somehow it works — feel free to contemplate that over housemade scones in the sunny breakfast room or with an afternoon glass of wine in the Rochester’s Secret Garden. In summer, the hotel hosts outdoor concerts there.

4. Chimney Rock Mile 361 Spotting the column of rust-hued rock on the horizon from U.S. 160 might spur memories of Arizona’s Monument Valley right here in Colorado. Chimney Rock is one of our newer national monuments (2012). Stop for a tour of the grounds, if you have time (last access to the ancient structures on site is at 3 p.m. in summer; tours $12 for adults, $5 for kids). Tours do not climb the tower. (3179 Colorado 151, Chimney Rock, 970-883-5359, chimneyrockco.org)

Photo ops Between Buena Vista and Poncha Springs, pull over for photos of Mount Princeton and Mount Antero — big mountains that dominate the view to the west on this stretch of highway. An hour (or less) later, in Saguache, turn onto the town’s main street for the dusty Old West feel of the historic buildings against the canyonlike backdrop.

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A rainbow lends even more color to Durango. Provided by Colorado Visitors Center

The Durango-Silverton train. Provided by Colorado Visitors Center

Day 2: Durango In town and up the track

This is your car’s rest day: The Durango-Silverton Narrow Gauge (adults $85, children 4-11, $51, 479 Main Ave., 970-247-2733, durangotrain.org) heads north into the San Juans and goes places your car can’t. Heading out of Durango, you’ll be glued to your window (or standing out on your car’s platform) to see the canyons and valleys the Animas River carved into the mountains — and the engineering feats required to build the narrow-gauge tracks into this rugged landscape. Riding the train all the way to Silverton shows off the biggest views, but it’s also an all-day affair.

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4. Eat In town Seasons (764 Main Ave., 970-3829790, seasonsofdurango.com) will delight with its fine menu of contemporary American fare and thoughtful wine selection. Locals still seem to be smarting about the fire that took out the restaurant in 2008 — they tell the story in a “thank God it’s still here” kind of way, between sigh-inducing bites of locally grown veggies and the fresh catch of the day. The menu is, you guessed it, seasonal, and the staff is knowledgeable. So if you can’t decide, ask. With so much that looks good, ordering isn’t an easy task.

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On your way to dinner downtown, stop in Sorrel Sky Gallery (828 Main Ave., 970-247-3555, sorrelsky.com) for an art fix. The two-story gallery is spacious and inviting — there are even couches set out, encouraging you to stop, relax and contemplate the latest work on display. Also check out Toh-Atin Gallery (145 W. Ninth St., 970247-8277, toh-atin.com), a Durango arts-scene institution specializing in Native American and Southwestern art.

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Drop into Durango Bagel (106 E. Fifth St., 970-385-7297) for a treat before you climb aboard the train. Luckily, it’s right next to the station. But proximity isn’t what’s bringing you here — the diverse selection of bagels the size of your head (almost) and variety of flavored cream cheeses will make it hard to choose just one pairing. The train’s bumpy, so nosh here, or in the plaza in front of the station.

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Rafting company Mild to Wild takes tourists for a ride through the famous Smelter Rapids on the Animas River in Durango. Denver Post file

Mesa Verde National Park has 600 cliff dwellings. Provided by Colorado Visitors Center

Day 3: Durango and Mesa Verde Approximately 70 miles round trip + a drive through the park

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Wrap it up, and get back to downtown. Pop into Maria’s Bookshop (960 Main Ave., 970-247-1438, mariasbookshop.com), a gem for book lovers. In addition to the well-curated collection of contemporary fiction, the store has plenty to offer in local nature and outdoors guides, as well as some Western flair — be sure to check out the sections on Western women and “Outlaws/ Mountain Men.”

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4. Eat, drink, be merry In town Carver Brewing (1022 Main Ave., 970259-2545, carverbrewing.com) is on the next block. It’s a laid-back, non-fussy place (toss still-messy SUP hair under ballcap, and you’ll fit in fine) to grab some solid pub grub, carefully paired with one of their housemade brews, of course. With such a relaxed atmosphere, some of the menu items could surprise, like the sagamity, a vegetarian red chili with hominy and garbanzos that (no surprise) pairs nicely with pretty much any beer on tap.

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Time to cool off on the Animas River, which runs down from the San Juans through the heart of Durango. Rent a standup paddleboard (SUP) from 4 Corners Riversports (360 S. Camino Del Rio, Durango, 970259-3893, riversports.com) and head about two miles north of downtown, above 32nd Street, where there’s public access to the river. The business rents a variety of SUPs ($35 per day for one to two days), including fitness and yoga boards, which are easy to bal-

3. Shop In town

Carver Brewing Maria’s Bookshop

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ance on, even for beginners. They’ll also tie them to your car for you. In the same building, 4 Corners Whitewater (888-723-8925, raftingdurango.com) rents tubes in the summer, if that’s more your speed ($10 per tube, $15 per person for shuttle, if needed).

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The entrance to Mesa Verde National Park ($15 entry good for seven days, nps.gov/meve) is just a half-hour west of Durango, and hugging the road’s canyon-country curves as you weave deeper into the park feels like winding back through time. About 4,500 archaeological sites lie within the park’s borders, 600 of which are cliff dwellings. You won’t see all of them, of course, but the Chapin Mesa drive — which has two driving loops with overlooks onto cliff dwellings, plus stops to see pit houses and kivas — offers a taste of the ancestral Pueblo life here 1,500 years ago. For a closer look, book a ranger-guided tour of Cliff Palace or Balcony House and Long House for $4; tickets must be purchased in person.

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Day 4: Durango to Ouray Approximately 70 miles Take U.S. 550 north to Ouray

1. Drive the scenic byway 70 miles total The San Juan Skyway, a loop from Durango to Cortez, Telluride and Ridgway (total round trip is 242 miles), is a Colorado Scenic Byway worth taking on in its entirety. But you can’t put a price on the views along the Million Dollar Highway, the 70-mile stretch between Durango and Ouray. The road crosses three big passes, skirts drop-offs and dives under rock and avalanche sheds. Keep an eye out for safe places to pull over for photos of the funky rock formations in the San Juans and that iconic rust-red rock against summer’s fresh green slopes.

2. High hike Mile 42 Stop and stretch your legs — at around 11,000 feet. Four-tenths of a mile north of Molas Pass, turn west onto Little Molas Lake Road to park at a lot for the Colorado Trail. Head northwest on the trail, toward the Lime Creek drainage, for broad above-treeline views (hike here bright and early to avoid afternoon thunderstorms) of the pass and surrounding mountains, like the notable monolith of Engineer Peak. Hike as far as you like, but it’s about three miles from the trailhead to a saddle between Bear and North Lime creeks. (Details at hikingwalking.com.) Hikers walk toward Engineer Peak. Provided by Colorado Visitors Center

3. Low hike Mile 68 Here’s an alternate hike at a lower elevation: the Bear Creek National Recreation Trail (details at hikingwalking.com), just outside of Ouray, which starts at around 8,400 feet. Follow an old miner’s route up Bear ay Creek Canyon’s sheer cliffs, scenic in their own right, 62 past waterfalls up to views of Mount Sneffels and, at the 4mile mark, Yellow C O L O R A D O Jacket Mine.

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Day 5: Ouray to Denver Approximately 299 miles

Still have time? Head to Telluride for a few days to ride the gondola, take in the festival scene, dine in style — just follow our guide, which starts on Page 70. Even if this is your day to head back to the Front Range, don’t worry, the trip’s not really over. Not yet. Head north out of Ouray to Montrose, then head east on U.S. 50.

1. Black Canyon Mile 50 Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park ($15 per vehicle, nps.gov/blca) deserves more than a few hours of your time, but if that’s all you have, go for it: the canyon’s striking 2,000-foot walls won’t disappoint. Precambrian black rock, streaked with bolts of lighter rock called pegmatite, towers over the Gunnison River here, forming a formidable landscape. Drive the South Rim Road, and be sure to stop at the Painted Wall overlook to see the highest cliff face in Colorado.

Henn’s Overlook, which sits just below the Old Twin Peaks trail intersection with Silvershield, offers a nice view of Ouray. Provided by Mark Johnson, Ouray Chamber Resort Association

4. Sweet Treat In Ouray Mouse’s Chocolates (520 Main St., Ouray, 970-325-7258, mouseschocolates.com) is the place to go if you have a sweet tooth after all this hiking. While waffling over the array of truffles (try the blackberry!), recover some electrolytes lost hiking with a dark chocolate salted caramel (sure, you can talk yourself into that nutritional justification). Mouse’s has ice cream, too, as well as coffee and its famed Scrap Cookies — dough mixed with the day’s confectionery scraps, from lemon to cherry to chocolate to nuts. It’s all good when it’s mixed into a Scrap Cookie.

5. Eat In town

7. Stay and soak In town

Jenn Fields: 303-954-1599, jfields@denverpost.com or twitter.com/jennfields

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The Box Canyon Lodge (45 Third Ave., 970-325-4981, boxcanyonouray.com) has moderately priced rooms off the main drag, where you can get some peace and quiet after your shenanigans at the Ourayle House. It also has its own hot spring pool, right there on the property. Ouray has other options for a good soak after a long day of play. The Ouray Hot Springs Pool (open 10 a.m-10 p.m. Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day, $8-$12, 1230 Main St., 970-325-7073, ourayhotsprings.com) is a big, familyfriendly pool on the northern end of town. Orvis Hot Springs (9 a.m.-10 p.m., $12-$16 adult admission; 1585 County Road 3, Ridgway, 970-626-5324, orvishotsprings.com), just outside of nearby Ridgway, offers lodging in addition to cozier pools in a natural setting. The pools are clothing-optional.

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The Outlaw is happy to accommodate a longer evening at the bar, but if you feel like moseying along, head over to the Ourayle House (703 Main St., 970-903-1824, ouraylehouse.com), now on Main, for an experience that might be unlike any other taproom in Colorado. This is a one-man operation, and that one man has some quirks: Or-

Do you have time for one more stop at a brewery? Of course you do, especially if it’s Elevation Beer Company (115 Pahlone Parkway, Poncha Springs, 719-539-5258, elevationbeerco.com). Duck in for a pint (8 Second Kolsch is a good choice for a warm day) or a flight, then sun yourself on Elevation’s patio.

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Ouray’s Buen Tiempo (515 Main St., 970-325-4544, buentiemporestaurant.com) is a mainstay for margaritas and Mexican fare. But if the Buen is packed — it often is — head down the street to The Outlaw (610 Main St., 970-325-4366, outlawrestaurant.com) for steaks and a little bit of Wild West grit.

der a water, and you’re handed a sippy cup. A glass for your brew (made within feet of where you’re sitting) comes in two sizes: His (larger) and Hers (smaller). If you’re feeling irksome about any of this, it’s unlikely that the proprietor, who dubbed the beer-making operation “Mr. Grumpy Pants Brewing,” cares. There’s no food, but you’re welcome to bring your own and even use Mr. Grumpy’s grill. Cash only; entering with your wits fully intact highly recommended as Mr. Grumpy sees fools coming a mile away.

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Iron City Cemetery is in an aspen grove two miles east of St. Elmo behind the Iron City campground. Mahala Gaylord, Denver Post file

Scare yourself silly with these 5 historic haunts By Matt Miller The Denver Post

The spirit of a woman is said to walk the streets of Capitol Hill at night. Strange noises have been reported in the abandoned buildings of St. Elmo. The presence of doomed miners scares off visitors of Leadville. In Colorado, the past haunts the present — a history of the Wild West, of mining and railroads, of wealthy socialites and outlaws. The spirit of Colorado lingers in the ghost towns, graveyards, mansions and mines across the state. To truly experience the thrill and the sometimes unpleasant history of the state, you must be brave enough to set foot on some of the most haunted spots in the Rocky Mountains. Coloradans are already familiar with the Stanley Hotel’s haunted past and its influence on Stephen King’s “The Shining.” So we’ve put together a trip for you brave souls looking to see some of Colorado’s more obscure haunts.

1. Denver’s Peabody-Whitehead Mansion

2. Central City Masonic Cemetery

If you’re starting out your trip of terror in the city, you might as well catch some of the haunted spots in your own backyard. Built in 1889, the Peabody-Whitehead Mansion, 1128 Grant St., was once inhabited by wartime surgeon Gov. James Peabody. Former residents and neighbors have reported seeing a woman wander the property — possibly the ghost of a bride who committed suicide in the basement of the red-brick building. The basement even gave the “Ghost Adventures” crew the chills when it filmed there for an episode that aired in 2012.

High above Central City, after walking up a trail and passing through a creaky gate, you find a series of gravestones scattered in a field. This is the Masonic Cemetery in Central City. A YouTube search of the name will bring up a series of night-vision videos of adventurers trying to contact the spirits lingering in the the graveyard. One of the most common stories is that a woman dressed in black will visit the grave of John Cameron and leave flowers. To get there from Interstate 70, exit at Central City Parkway, then take a left at the sign that says Nevadaville and your next right at an unnamed road. The cemetery is at the top of the hill about three minutes from I-70.

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The elements have taken their toll on some of the graves at Iron City Cemetery near St. Elmo. Mahala Gaylord, Denver Post file

At the National Mining Museum in Leadville, a dummy dressed as a miner stands inside a miner’s cage.

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4. St. Elmo

There’s something inherently terrifying about mines — the many tragic deaths in the dark and claustrophobic underground. Located above timberline, run-down, pointed, wooden buildings dot the treeless landscape around Leadville. They’re monuments to the town’s mining boom, which peaked in the 1880s before the big silver bust of 1893. Beginning on Monroe Street, the Route of the Silver Kings takes you to 13 stops in a 20-mile loop where there were battles between strikers and mine guards, murders, accidents and more scenes of horror.

Located 25 miles southwest of Buena Vista, St. Elmo is considered one of the most well-preserved ghost towns in the country. Dozens of wooden, empty buildings line the streets of the now-abandoned town. At its peak when thriving from mining, it boasted a population of 2,000. The train stopped running to the town in 1922, and the Mary Murphy Mine closed in 1936. By the mid-20th century, St. Elmo was deserted, save for reports of strange noises, cold spots, mysterious figures appearing in windows, and doors opening and closing on their own.

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5. Onaledge Bed and Breakfast, Manitou Springs They call them permanent guests: a little boy, a man smoking a pipe, a woman in a Victorian dress. These are the entities that have never left the Onaledge Bed and Breakfast in Manitou Springs. Considered one of the most haunted places in the country, Onaledge was built in 1912 and is still maintained today as a working bed and breakfast — for those brave enough to stay there. Onaledge is on El Paso Boulevard just off U.S. 24. Matt Miller: 303-954-1785, mrmiller@denverpost.com

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Visitors soak at the Indian Hot Springs Healing Waters Spa in Idaho Springs. Lyn Alweis, Denver Post file

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Colorado is known for its thrilling vistas — undulating mountain ranges and sprawling plains alike — but our state is also home to some lovely immersive experiences, too. Namely, our hot springs that bubble up into soothing pools that can heal body and spirit alike. “The springs offer something for everyone,” says Deborah Frazier, who literally wrote the book on the subject: “Colorado’s Hot Springs,” (Westwinds Press, 2014) which recently went into its third edition. “If you want to bring your kids, there’s that. Clothing optional, that too. Drive up or hike in.” Among her favorites are the springs at Mount Princeton, the trio in Pagosa Springs and one near the Great Sand Dunes. “People always ask me what’s my favorite hot spring,” Frazier says with a laugh. “And I always say, ‘The next one I’m going to.’ ” Here’s a brief roundup of worthwhile destinations when you are pining for a good hot soak in the great outdoors, minus the rubber duckie.

1. Mt. Princeton Hot Springs Resort & Spa

2. Yampah Spa and Hot Springs Vapor Caves

This public resort sits just a few miles from Salida and is one of the jewels among Colorado’s hot springs. The bathhouse dates to 1865, and more than 20 thermal pools line the creek. The old spa was sold a decade ago and upgraded into a place for destination soaking. You can traverse the pools, finding the Goldilocks version that is just right for you. Two large mineral-water pools anchor things, with a connecting deck with lounge chairs. During the summertime there is a kids pool with a water slide.

There is something almost otherworldly about the Yampah vapor caves in the heart of Glenwood Springs. Wreathed in mist and glowing light, the easy-to-navigate caverns are magical in a vaguely spooky, do-you-think-there-mightbe-orcs kind of way. These are said to be the only known vapor caves in North America. The chambers have marble slabs to sit on that date to the late 19th century. You’ll want to splash yourself now and again with cold water so you don’t overheat, but this hot spot is a worthwhile stop.

15870 County Road 162, Nathrop. 719-395-2447. mtprinceton.com

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709 E. Sixth St., Glenwood Springs. 970-945-0667. yampahspa.com

3. Indian Hot Springs Call it Club Mud. This Idaho Springs enclave offers a “mud room” where you can cover yourself in mud, and when it dries via the heat blowers, you find yourself a well-dusted person indeed. And yes, there is plenty of water to wash it off in the subterranean tunnels. Idaho Springs boasts plenty of history, much of it linked to its goldmining background, with famous visitors including poet Walt Whitman and actress Sarah Bernhardt. 302 Soda Creek Road, Idaho Springs. 303-989-6666. indianhotsprings.com


A man enjoys a book while soaking at Mt. Princeton Hot Springs Resort. Hyoung Chang, Denver Post file

4. Sand Dunes Swimming Pool

5. Valley View Hot Springs

6. The Springs Resort and Spa

7. Juniper Hot Springs

This hot spring sits in the San Luis Valley between Salida and Alamosa. This is a family spot, open all year. The main pool runs about 98 degrees, and there is also a 107-degree therapy pool. Originally known as the Hooper Pool, the spot has an interesting history. Workers drilled for oil here in the 1930s, sinking a well 5,000 feet into the Earth. Oil didn’t bubble up, but hot water did, and there you go.

Five gravel-bottomed soaking pools dot this scenic spot at 8,700 feet on the edge of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Along with a swimming pool fed by a hot spring, there’s a children’s wading pool and two stone hot tubs. No chemicals are used in the water, and the ponds are connected by an easy hiking trail. This is one of the prettier hotsprings settings in Colorado, for along with the Sangre de Cristos, you also get soaring views of the La Garita mountains. Note: While folks in bathing suits are welcome, most visitors opt to go without them.

This is one of a trio of springs in the Pagosa Springs area. Along with 23 hot mineral pools — ranging from 83 degrees to 114 degrees in the “Lobster Pot” — there is also a cool San Juan River pool large enough to swim laps in. This spa underwent a makeover about 10 years ago, and word of mouth has made it a popular spot to visit. While it’s family-friendly, there are also five “VIP” pools dedicated to visitors age 18 and over. Lodging is available.

This spot near Craig is old-school, with sandy-bottomed concrete pools, a bathhouse with three soaking tubs. The springs sit along the Yampa River in Moffat County, and sharp-eyed visitors might see deer and antelope playing, and the occasional fox or coyote ambling by. There is a $5 honor box at the springs. Call ahead if you want to camp.

1991 County Road 63, Hooper. 719378-2807. sanddunespool.com

165 Hot Springs Blvd., Pagosa Springs. 800-225-0934. pagosahotsprings.com

8090 Moffat County Road 53, Lay. 970-326-6566. juniperhotsprings.com

William Porter: 303-954-1877, wporter@denverpost.com or twitter.com/williamporterdp

64393 County Road GG, Villa Grove. 719-256-4315. olt.org/vvhs

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This trip takes you through the high plains of east-central Colorado, a mix of grasslands studded with ranching and farming communities. But there is plenty of history here, too — some of it horrific. The first stop of note is the site of the infamous Sand Creek Massacre in November 1864.


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A monument marker sits on an overlook that greets visitors of the Sand Creek Massacre National Historic site in Kiowa County near Eads. Andy Cross, Denver Post file

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Bent’s Old Fort, which was reconstructed in its original location, is operated by the National Park Service. Loveland Reporter-Herald file

Day 2: Lamar to Denver Approximately 251 miles The drive This high-plains loop is doable as a long day trip with most of the time in the saddle. To absorb the sites, make it an overnighter. Lamar and Las Animas make logical break points for this tour.

4. Bird-watching Mile 284

6. Historic site Mile 318

From Lamar, drive west on U.S. 50 toward Las Animas. You’ll soon pass by John Martin Reservoir, which is fed by the Arkansas River. ($7, 719-829-1801, cpw.state.co.us) It’s a sprawling recreation area with fishing and prime birding during much of the year. More than 400 avian species can be found in the area, including bald eagles and piping plovers.

Old West buffs will enjoy a stop at Bent’s Old Fort National Historic Site ($3 adults, $2 kids 6-12, 5 and under free, 719-383-5010, nps.gov/beol) about 15 miles west of Las Animas near Hadley. It’s a reconstructed 1840s adobe fur trading post on the Santa Fe Trail. Back in the day, trappers, traders, travelers from back East and Indian tribes came to camp and barter. Today, re-enactors offer demonstrations of period crafts and skills.

5. Historic site Mile 303 Las Animas is home to the John Rawlings Heritage Center (560 Bent Ave., 719-456-6066), housed in a handsome stone building that was once a lodge for the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. You’ll see historic displays and artifacts, including some associated with Kit Carson, the famed 19th-century scout and guide.

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7. museum Mile 326 A few minutes west of Bent’s is La Junta. The town houses the Koshare Indian Museum and Kiva ($3-$5, 115 W 18th St., 719-384-4411, kosharehistory.org), which has a fine collection of tribal art and artifacts.

More than 400 avian species — from bald eagles, above, to piping plovers — can be found around the John Martin Reservoir. Associated Press file


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Re-enactors fire cannons at Bent’s Old Fort as part of an Independence Day celebration on the Fourth of July. Lamar Ledger file

8. farm stands Mile 337 La Junta sits in Otero County, referred to as the “melon capital of the world.” Farther west on U.S. 50 sits the town of Rocky Ford, where local farmers grow renowned cantaloupes, honeydews and watermelons. In August, Rocky Ford hosts the Arkansas Valley Fair and its melon festival. From there, time to return home. If you’re heading to Denver, turn north off U.S. 50 onto Colorado 71, which takes you 90 miles up to Limon. There head west on I-70 to Denver.

Women and a child gather in the Granada Relocation Center in Amache on a Sunday afternoon in 1942. The furniture, bookshelves, flower pot and print mats were made by the female occupants using scrap lumber and scrap pieces of wall board. Denver Post Historical Collection

William Porter: 303-954-1877, wporter@denverpost.com or twitter.com/williamporterdp

The Amache Preservation Society continues ongoing renovations to Camp Amache and to the Amache Museum, above, in downtown Granada. John Contreras, Lamar Ledger

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A Shambhava Yoga class at the Shoshoni Yoga Retreat in Nederland. Helen H. Richardson, The Denver Post

Sacred spaces, inner peace By Colleen O’Connor and Susan Clotfelter The Denver Post

At the end of summer, the longing to get away acquires a few more words: “from the crowds.” You’re craving peace, quiet, solitude, reflection and perhaps a limited number of other people who either want the same things or have made those qualities the center of their day-to-day lives. Here’s where to go and how to get there physically. The inner journey’s up to you.

1. Shambhala Mountain Center and the Great Stupa of Dharmakaya 106 miles from Denver This Buddhist retreat center and its stunning stupa — a traditional shrine meant to serve as place of enlightenment — create a sense of distance from the frenzied attachments of summer and the looming commitments of fall. Set on 600 acres of rolling, forested land, the center holds multiday retreats on topics such as meditation, yoga and shamanism, plus explorations of photography, calligraphy, poetry and nature. Open houses, held the first Sunday of most months, include a stupa tour, a meditation talk and time to just relax and breathe. The program is free, though a $10 donation is requested for lunch. Lodging options range from seasonal dormitory and tent dormitory spaces starting at $79 per person, to junior suites for $263 — with three meals a day included in the cost. Just visiting for a day? On the way to the stupa (it’s a 20-minute stroll), wander the meadows, an aspen grove and bridges over a trickling creek, paying attention to the season, the landforms, the plants, insects and changing sky. Circle the stupa, leaving a symbolic offering at one of the designated places. If you wish, continue your hike to Marpa Point and a memorial to poet Allen Ginsberg. 151 Shambhala Way, Red Feather Lakes, 970-881-2184, shambhalamountain.org; no pets; no smoking; kids welcomed.

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2. Abbey of St. Walburga 99 miles from Denver At the abbey, among low rock cliffs west of Virginia Dale, the church is open for anyone who wishes to pray, a gift shop is open morning and afternoon and parts of the 250 acres are open for walks and hikes, including a “Way of the Cross” walk. But the abbey’s most distinctive feature is its anchor in a living religious community. “Many other conference centers can offer comfortable rooms and tasty food,” Sister Hildegard said via e-mail. “The Liturgy of the Hours, sung in choir several times each day, is more unusual.” Retreat programs are often faith-focused, but also include such topics as painting, mosaics, Gregorian chant and nature hikes. You can schedule a personal retreat Wednesdays through Sundays when space is available. The suggested donation for overnight self-directed retreat lodging is $65 and includes three meals in the guest dining room — “plain and hearty would be a fair description,” Sister Hildegard said. Nondairy or gluten-free dishes can usually be provided with advance notice. The suggested day-use donation fee is $20; reservations are requested. 1029 Benedictine Way, Virginia Dale, aswretreats@gmail.com or 970-472-0612, walburga.org; no pets or smoking. Modest dress requested: no shorts, low-cut shirts, skirts above the knee, but jeans and T-shirts are fine.

3. Crestone 192 miles from Denver Nestled on the edge of the San Luis Valley, at the foot of the stunning 14,000-foot Sangre de Cristos lies a town with a serious spiritual bent — and more than 20 retreat centers. The small town of Crestone is home to ashrams, stupas, retreat centers and monasteries for Christians to Buddhists to Sufis. It draws monks and nuns, yogis and seekers and healers of all stripes. Stop in the Haidakhandi Universal Ashram (2349 Camino Baca Grande, 719-256-4108, babajiashram.org) any time during daylight hours to meditate or pray in the temple. Visitors are welcome to join in a daily meal (which follows Vedic traditions — no garlic or onions) at 12:30 p.m. (donations or “karma yoga,” service, are appreciated). At the Carmelite Nada Hermitage (on Carmelite Way, 719-256-4778, spirituallifeinstitute.org/Nada.html), the chapel is always open to visitors for prayer, and Sunday services are at 9 a.m.

4. Shoshoni Yoga Retreat 47 miles from Denver Cradled away in the mountains near Nederland, Shoshoni is a destination that’s easy to drop in on for a temple tour (Saturdays and Sundays 1 to 4 p.m.) or an overnight stay. Their “anytime” overnight retreats include 24 hours of yoga, meditation, chanting and meals, plus an option to head out for a hike in the mountains. 1400 Shoshoni Camp Road, Rollinsville, 303-642-0116, shoshoni.org.


The Great Stupa of Dharmakaya, a shrine meant to serve as a place of enlightenment. Denver Post file

Tara Mandala, a Tibetan Buddhist sanctuary, is surrounded by 700 acres of rolling hills and forest land bordered by the San Juan National Forest and Southern Ute Tribal Land. Provided by Tara Mandala

Found in the lower Roaring Fork Valley on a vast meadow dotted with cattle, this Trappist monastery exudes a sense of deep peace. Mount Sopris, rising to 12,953 feet, is a perfect point of contemplation, drawing the eye to its towering grandeur. This is home to Father Thomas Keating, who started the contemplative centering-prayer movement and helped pioneer interfaith spirituality, inviting Islamic, Buddhist, Jewish, Hindu, American Indian and Christian leaders to a meditation retreat at the monastery. Today, the monastery welcomes people seeking silence and solitude, meditation and prayer. Retreats can be made at the main retreat house, or at eight individual hermitages equipped with complete kitchens and full baths. The minimum stay is two nights; the maximum is 10 days. There’s a wellequipped interfaith bookstore, and gift items like Snowmass Monastery Cookies and wares from other monasteries including jelly, jam, chocolates, honey and cheese. The monastery is busy, so make reservations early (retreat@rof.net or 970927-1162). But day trips to pray with the monks are possible at any of the three liturgies each day: Vigils at 4:30 a.m., Lauds/Mass at 7:30 a.m. and Vespers at 7 p.m. (No Vespers on Sunday; Thursday Mass is at 7 p.m.) 1012 Monastery Road, Snowmass. 970279-4400. snowmass.org

6. Benet Hill Monastery 68 miles from Denver Located on 44 acres of ponderosa pine in Colorado’s Black Forest, this rustic retreat is open to people of all faith traditions who want to deepen their spiritual connection. A variety of unique prayer sites with interconnecting meditative paths are scattered along a wood-chipped path through the forest, including Zen gardens, a Ute prayer tree and Stations of the Cross, plus a labyrinth built on the forest floor that’s patterned on the classic medieval labyrinth in Chartres Cathedral in France. Retreats are self-directed by default, but spiritual direction with one of the nuns is available by request. This sacred spot in nature is run by the Benedictine Sister of the Benet Hill Monastery, who invite guests to participate in their simple monastic rhythm of Liturgy of the Hours. This sacred space is open to day guests, or those who want to stay overnight in rustic cabins. To reserve a space, call 719633-0655 x132 or e-mail bpinescs@benethillmonastery.org. 3190 Benet Ln., Colorado Springs, benethillmonastery.org.

7. Tara Mandala 290 miles from Denver Lama Tsultrim Allione, author of “Women of Wisdom” and “Feeding Your Demons,” heads up this Tibetan Buddhist 2 sanctuary, 700 acres of rolling hills and W YO M I N G forest land bordered by the San Juan 1 National Forest and Southern Ute Abbey of St. Walburga Tribal Land. Shambhala The three-story mandalaMountain shaped temple is adorned Center Fo rt with exquisite art in the Co llins Tibetan Buddhist tradition, 34 and there’s also a stupa 4 with precious relics. The residence hall, Shoshoni Yoga Retreat where window lintels are painted with tradi70 e tional Tibetan flower 5 nv imagery, has 16 rooms De with stunning views of St. Benedict’s the San Juan mountains Monastery, en p s A Snowmass to the east and Ekajati 6 Co lo Peak to the west. There are ra d o Spr also four private retreat ings Benet Hill cabins and dorm-style yurt Monastery housing. You can also camp out under the stars. 50 25 For more information 3 COLORADO about booking a retreat, call 970-731-3711 or e-mail Cr esto info@taramandala.org. ne 4000 USFS Road 649, 4 0 M I LES Pagosa Springs, 160 taramandala.org. sa 7 mo g a l n A i pr sa S o g a P Tara

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At the confluence of two mighty rivers in western Colorado, Glenwood Springs teams action-packed adventure with the serenity of a long, hot soak. Once a mountain haven for Chicago gangsters like Al Capone, Glenwood Springs is now a resort town rich in history and hot springs.


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By Colleen O’Connor The Denver Post

Day 1: Denver to Glenwood Springs Approximately 157 miles 1. Alpine gardens Mile 97 After departing Denver, pause in Vail to check out the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens (free, 530 S. Frontage Road, 970-476-0103, bettyfordalpinegardens.org). One of the highest-elevation botanical gardens in the world, it’s a stunning collection of alpine and mountain plants. Peak wildflower season is June to August, and these gardens bloom with more than 500 varieties.

2. Explore and play Mile 157 Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park (starting at $9-$14, 51000 Two Rivers Plaza Road, glenwoodcaverns.com) has lots of rides, like the Cliffhanger Rollercoaster, and is a spelunker’s paradise. Don’t miss the Historic Fairy Caves Tour, a wonderland of stalagmites, stalactites, sodastraw formations and cave bacon.

Photo op Just past the town of Dotsero, you’ll enter the majestic Glenwood Canyon, the gateway to Glenwood Springs from the east. It’s a narrow gorge carved out by the Colorado River over a period of 3 million years, with rock cliffs that tower 1,800 feet overhead — among the most scenic views on any U.S. interstate highway.

4. Stay In town The deluxe Hotel Colorado (526 Pine St., 970-945-6511, hotelcolorado.com) was among the first grand hotels in the Rockies and hosted such famous guests as President Theodore Roosevelt. The Hotel Denver (402 Seventh St., 970-945-6565, thehoteldenver.com) offers a convenient downtown location and is just seven blocks from the tombstone of the legendary gunfighter Doc Holliday, who arrived in Glenwood Springs in 1887.

3. Relax In town Be among the first to visit Iron Mountain Hot Springs (scheduled to open in early summer; Iron Mountain Hot Springs, 281 Centennial St., ironmountainhotsprings.com). Take a dip in the family pool, or try the eight smaller mineral water pools for soaking. Scenic views vary from pool to pool, including the Colorado River as it winds through the valley and the twin peaks of Mount Sopris to the south.

The Glenwood Canyon Flyer whips guests 1,300 feet above the Colorado River at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park. Provided by Kelly Cox

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Day 2: Around Glenwood Springs Hike, paddle and bike as far as you want 5. Hike East of town Head for the entrance to the Glenwood Canyon Recreational Trail, an easy paved trail that runs the entire length of Glenwood Canyon along the winding course of the Colorado River. (Entrance right next to the Yampah Spa and Vapor Caves, 709 E. Sixth St.) There’s abundant wildlife, including bighorn sheep, and lots of scenic spots to picnic. Or, on your way out of town, stop at Hanging Lake, which is listed as a National Natural Landmark. It’s a difficult climb, rocky and steep, but the turquoise lake is a gem that draws many adventuresome hikers. Avoid the crowds by going early in the morning or on a weekday.

Colorado whitewater rafting near Glenwood Springs. Thinkstock by Getty Images

6. Raft Down the river If you’d rather spend time on the water, you can choose from two rivers, a whitewater park, and many rafting companies. There are scenic float trips for the entire family and adventures in navigating the rapids for more experienced paddlers. Reservations are recommended; try Glenwood Canyon Rafting (2610 Gilstrap Court, raftingglenwoodsprings.com).

Hanging Lake, near Glenwood Springs. Provided by Glenwood Springs Visitors Bureau

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7. Bike From Aspen The Rio Grande Trail is a popular outing. You can rent bikes at local outfitters then jump on the RFTA Bike Express, a customized bus that drops you off in the heart of Aspen, where you can easily connect with the Rio Grande Trail for 44 miles of scenic — and mostly downhill — coasting along the Roaring Fork River all the way back to Glenwood Springs.

8. Chill In town Glenwood Hot Springs Pool ($10.75-$21, 401 N. River St., 970947-2955, hotspringspool.com) was built in 1888, but the Utes were coming to the area long before that to spend sacred time soaking in the hot mineral springs. Today, soak in the therapy pool, or swim laps in the large pool. There’s also lots of space for kids, plus all-ages fun, like a body slide and a tube-slide nearly 370 feet long. It’s open until 10 p.m. — and the pools are particularly pretty at night. Colleen O’Connor: 303-954-1083, coconnor@denverpost.com or twitter.com/coconnordp

The scenic Glenwood Canyon Recreational Trail is an out-andback, which means kids of all ages can do parts of it with no problem.

Taking the plunge into the Glenwood Hot Springs Pool. RJ Sangosti, Denver Post file

Denver Post file

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COLORADO’S MOUNTAIN WONDERLAND

Wildflowers at sunset in the San Juan Mountains. Glen Barber, The Denver Post

Flowers flourish in the Indian Peaks Wilderness area. Glen Barber, The Denver Post

Sunrise at Indian Peaks Wilderness area. Glen Barber, The Denver Post

View from Monarch Crest Trail, near Fooses Creek, on Monarch Pass. Dean Krakel, The Denver Post

A pair of mountain goat kids on Mount Evans. Glen Barber, The Denver Post

Columbines along the Monarch Crest Trail. Dean Krakel, The Denver Post

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Elk cows and calves walk across a meadow. Dean Krakel, The Denver Post

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Balloons soar over Steamboat Springs, a regular sight in early morning. Photo provided by the Steamboat Springs Visitors Bureau

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It might be known for producing more winter Olympic athletes than anywhere else in the country and having legendary (and copyrighted) “Champagne Powder,” but those who like a variety of sports, entertainment and food options find Steamboat Springs more fun when the town’s slopes are green rather than white. It’s a great place to spend a long weekend exploring all Routt County and the surrounding area have to offer.


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By Suzanne S. Brown The Denver Post

Day 1: Denver to Steamboat Springs Approximately 156 miles 1. Shop Mile 156

2. Soak In and outside town

3. Eat In town

Once you’ve settled into your hotel, condo or camping spot, it’s time to knock around town a bit. Stroll Lincoln Avenue to get a feel for what’s going on. Lyon Drug Store (840 Lincoln Ave.) has an oldfashioned soda fountain so grab a stool and order a chocolate milkshake, egg cream, sundae or burger. Next door (830 Lincoln Ave.) is F.M. Light and Sons, where Frank Light founded his men’s clothing store in 1905. It continues to be run by the family (now the fifth generation), and is a great place to find everything cowboy — and girl — from hats and boots to jeans and Western shirts. Be sure to get a photo with Lightning, the store’s horse, standing out front.

French trappers in the area in the early 1800s heard a chugging sound that they thought was from a steamboat coming down the Yampa River. But they soon learned the noise was from a natural hot spring that shot geysers in the air. The geysers are gone, but the area has many hot springs that call for a dip. The most convenient and all-encompassing way to enjoy this gift from nature is by visiting Old Town Hot Springs ($10.50-$17.50, more for slides, 136 Lincoln Ave., oldtownhotsprings.org), which has hot soaking pools, a large lap pool, an aquatic climbing wall, water slides, a fitness center, tennis courts and more. Be sure to spend time in the Heart Spring, which is 102 degrees and all-natural mineral water. For a more organic experience, head a few miles outside of town to Strawberry Park Hot Springs (44200 County Road 36, strawberryhotsprings.com), where six pools with sandy bottoms are bordered by stones and steps. Go for a few hours or stay the weekend: lodging is available in campsites, cabins, a train caboose or covered wagon. Massages, changing areas and restrooms are available. After dark, clothing is optional and guests must be 18 or older.

The Steamboat restaurant scene has grown in the past couple of years, with farm-to-table eateries coming into the limelight, like Laundry in the historic Soda Creek building (127 11th St.), which was home to the Steamboat Laundry from 1910 to 1977. Shared plates, seasonal and locally grown produce and craft cocktails are specialties. Restaurants alongside the Yampa River make summer dining a meal with a view. Check out E3 Chophouse (701 Yampa Ave.), named for the owners’ E3 Ranch in Kansas, which raises Black Angus cattle free of hormones, steroids and antibiotics. Colorado lamb and pork are also on the menu, as are vegetarian and fish options. One block over is Aurum (811 Yampa Ave.), which features new American cuisine and has an extensive wine list that includes selections from its own, Sutcliffe Vineyards in Cortez.

4. Stay In town Accommodations range from the funky Rabbit Ears Motel (201 Lincoln Ave.) to amenity-rich hotels like the Sheraton (2200 Village Inn Court). Consider renting a condo if you are visiting with a group. Check out steamboat.com for lodging options.

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Great scenery and hiking lure visitors to Rabbit Ears Pass. Denver Post file

Day 2: Around Steamboat Springs Up to 72 miles 1. Breakfast South of downtown

2. Hike Outside town

Start the morning with a hearty meal at Rex’s American Grill and Bar (maybe a “Yolko Ono” omelette for vegetarians, “Chicken Fried Chicken ’N Eggs” for the carnivores), located in the Holiday Inn on U.S. 40 (3190 S. Lincoln Ave.), even though the restaurant’s website doesn’t tell you that. Portions are plentiful and the food is reasonably priced.

Once fueled, hop in the car and drive to Rabbit Ears Pass for a 6-mile round-trip, wildflower-rich hike to the “ears.” Want more of a challenge? Head to the Flat Tops Wilderness 136 miles to the southwest. Traversing the Devil’s Causeway “land bridge” near Stillwater Reservoir is on many an adventurist’s bucket list, but it has been known to reduce people to tears or cause them to drop to their knees when they confront the cliffs on either side of the trail, which is only three feet wide in places and features sheer dropoffs of hundreds of feet.

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A fly-fisherman casts in the Yampa River near Steamboat Springs on a July evening as deer wander past. Helen H. Richardson, Denver Post file

A mountain biker rips down the expert downhill course at the Steamboat ski area. Jason Blevins, Denver Post file

3. Hit the hill In and around town

4. Rodeo In town

Steamboat’s in-town slopes that are great for skiing and snowboarding in winter are fun summer workout spots for hikers and mountain bikers. If everyone in your group wants to do something different, go to Howelsen Hill, which offers trails for cyclists, hikers and horseback riders, an alpine slide and once each summer, a Nordic ski-jumping competition — this year July 3-4. Cycling is also a great way to the see the area, whether you’re a serious mountain biker who wants to take on to the 50 miles of trails in the Steamboat Bike Park, or you just want just ride a cruiser from the mountain village to town. Cycling enthusiasts, take note: the USA Pro Cycling Challenge starts its seven-day tour in Steamboat on Aug. 17.

Unlike some mountain resort areas that can feel faux-Western, Steamboat has a long ranching background, which lends authenticity to its weekly summer Pro Rodeo Series (steamboatprorodeo.com). A full schedule of events is held Friday and Saturday nights throughout the summer, and there’s a barbecue dinner beforehand at the rodeo grounds a couple of blocks from downtown.

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Fish Creek Falls roars near Steamboat Springs. Thinkstock by Getty Images

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This Steamboat Springs pavilion hosts the Strings in the Mountains Music Festival. Provided by Strings Music Festival

Day 3: Around Steamboat Springs Approximately 44-60 miles 1. Water world Outside town Colorado might be landlocked, but water plays a big role in Steamboat recreation. You can bob in an inner tube down the Yampa River through town, boat or fish on numerous lakes and enjoy waterfalls. Those with motorboats will head out of town to Steamboat Lake, which is big enough to accommodate water skiing and wakeboarding. Be sure to visit Fish Creek Falls, which features a nearly 300-foot waterfall that’s visible a short walk from the parking area, accessible to everyone in your party. Go early — it gets crowded. If you’re in the mood for a low-key

outdoor experience, head to peaceful Pearl Lake State Park to fish with lures or flies, ply the water in canoes and stand-up paddleboards or simply hike. Campsites are available, and two yurts that can be rented.

2. Pit stop Outside town On the way to either Steamboat Lake or Pearl Lake, be sure to visit the Clark Store, 17 miles north of town. A general store, diner, post office, liquor store and market, it also has a free library. And back to town, check out the Butcherknife Brewing Co. taproom, which has tastings daily (closed on most holidays).

3. Zip East of town A new zip line on Rabbit Ears pass is scheduled to open in June, operated by Steamboat Zip Line Tours.

4. Singing Strings In and around town This is the 28th year for Strings in the Mountains (stringsmusicfestival.com), June 20 to Aug. 13. The series offers classicaland popular-music concerts as well as family and youth events, most held at its pavilion near the ski mountain. There are also free daytime concerts weekly at the Yampa River Botanic Park (bring a picnic lunch and the kids). Suzanne S. Brown: 303-954-1697, sbrown@denverpost.com or twitter.com/suzannebro

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Thinkstock by Getty Images

Keep road-trip spirits high with these games By Claire Martin The Denver Post

It’s easy to craft a great beginning for your road trip, but an hour or so into the drive is when the spirit of adventure starts to flag. Still, it’s possible to keep the passengers — and the driver — in good cheer: road games. Before you groan and think of Chevy Chase as Clark Griswold, think about the alternatives. These games are an excellent way to fend off the “Are we there yet?” passengers. And they introduce an aspect of creativity left fallow by the constant presence of smartphones and tablets, both of which are disabled by interference from mountains and dead zones, anyway.

Two Truths and a Lie

Who Am I?

One at a time, each person in the car tells the others three “personal facts,” but only two are true. The third is fiction. The storyteller’s challenge is to create three anecdotes that sound equally plausible. The trick is to make the truths sound fictional, and the lie utterly plausible. Here’s an example: (1) I used to live in New York City, and listened to Woody Allen play the saxophone at a club. (2) Ringling Brothers’ star animal trainer, Gunther Gebel-Williams, helped me climb onto one of the circus elephants one time. (3) Dame Edna Everage invited me to tea during the intermission of her 2006 “Back With a Vengeance!” show. The others each can ask three questions about the facts, aiming to winnow out the lie. What was the name of the club in New York? Was it a tenor or alto sax? What does riding an elephant feel like? Where were you when you were riding it? Dame Edna invited you to tea? What did she criticize about you, in the nicest possible way? The cool thing about this game is learning things you probably never knew about your travel companions. The game may digress into other stories, and when those begin to falter, someone can remember it’s his or her turn again.

This is a version of 20 Questions. One person thinks of someone that everyone in the car knows — a relative, friend, neighbor, celebrity or celebrated historical figure. The rest of the players ask questions — yes or no questions only! — to discern gender, age, size, residence, distinguishing characteristics, etc. The goal is to guess the answer in 20 questions or fewer. For the sake of peace, especially if the car passengers’ politics differ, rule out politicians and activists as possible answers. Some helpful identifying questions: “Is this person in the car?” “Is this person a generation older/younger than you?” “Has this person ever won an Oscar?” “Does this person really, really love ‘Doctor Who’?” Customize according to your audience’s cultural tastes.

Fortunately/Unfortunately In this game, one person makes a statement about something unfortunate, and the next person counters with a positive outcome. Author Neil Gaiman’s “Fortunately, the Milk” is a brilliant example of this game, and a book that would be excellent to bring for young passengers. Fortunately/Unfortunately offers limitless opportunities for creativity. Some examples:

“Unfortunately, we will get stuck in an interstate traffic jam in five miles.” “Fortunately, we’ll see the lines of cars and take an exit just before the lines begin, and take a couple of hours to go for a walk instead of waiting in traffic.” “Unfortunately, we will be attacked by a cougar during our walk.” “Fortunately, the cougar will be a tiny, ittybitty cub.” “Unfortunately, the mother cougar is very possessive.” And so on.

Da-doo-ron-ron This rhyming game relies on the popular song by The Crystals as a backbone for a song in an A, A, B, B, B format. If you skipped musicology class, here’s an example: Player One: “Got in this car to go for a drive.” Everyone: “Da-doo-ron-ron-ron, da-doo-ron-ron.” Player Two: “Hope I make it to Dillon alive” (Everyone: “Dadoo-ron-ron, da-doo-ron-ron”) Player Three: “But we’re going so slow,” Player Four “We’re at the speed of a glacier flow,” Player One: “Because I need a cuppa joe,” (Everyone: Da-doo-ron-ron,” etc.). Continue until hilarity ensues, or until death threats are made.

Claire Martin: 303-954-1477, cmartin@denverpost.com

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The Fritz restaurant in Salida is a popular place to hang out and enjoy food and drink. Helen H. Richardson, Denver Post file

Bingo! A nice burger joint in Pueblo. Provided by Bingo Burger

Roadside stops that o≠er a meal you won’t soon forget 1. Pumphouse Brewery L ongmont

2. Big Horn Restaurant Estes Park

3. Dave’s Route 34 Diner Fort Morgan

It may be a brewpub, but this is still a family-friendly place that is a worthwhile stop if you are on your way to or from Rocky Mountain National Park, which is northwest of Longmont. Excellent sandwiches and salads, plus sturdier roadhouse fare such as ribeye steaks, burritos and a Jamaican pork tenderloin. Kids menu, too.

This convenient stop in Estes Park should rename itself Big Belly Restaurant. Tourists and locals alike flock to this room at the west end of town for pastas, charbroiled steaks, burgers and a salad bar. It’s also known for its pancakes and breakfast burritos.

Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, Dave’s is a classic diner with one of those massive menus offering something for everyone. The omelets are good, but there is also an impeccable patty melt. A half-dozen hot dogs are there for young and old alike. After you eat, you’ll be fortified to zip straight up Colorado 51 to Pawnee National Grassland.

540 Main St., Longmont. 303-702-0881. pumphouse brewery.com

401 W. Elkhorn Ave. Estes Park. 970-586-2792. estesparkbighorn .com

20359 U.S. 34, Fort Morgan. 970-867-2223.

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By William Porter The Denver Post

An army marches on its stomach, it is said, and that goes for travelers, too. Road trips mean road food, whether you are touring small-town museums or making a long drive to a high-country trailhead. What makes for good road food? A touch of familiarity on the menu helps. But it’s also nice to find a place that will introduce you to a new dish, or a perfect version of an old one. Speedy service is also a plus, especially if you have miles to go before you sleep. With that in mind, we have come up with some worthwhile stops for refueling yourself when you are touring Colorado. The list is by no means complete, and is generally limited to the main highway corridors running north and south, east and west through the Centennial State. Not that we have anything against chain restaurants, but we have tried to limit our selection to privately owned, mom-and-pop establishments — families serving families.

4. Edelweiss German Restaurant Colorado Springs Along with Garden of the Gods and the U.S. Air Force Academy, the Edelweiss is a destination in itself. The food’s that good. So on the kids’ summer vacation, why not introduce them to schnitzel? There are salads and sandwiches for lighter appetites. Open daily for lunch and dinner. 34 E. Ramona Ave., Colorado Springs. 719-633-2220. edelweissrest.com

5. Bingo Burger Pueblo

6. Beau Jo’s Pizza Idaho Springs

Handcrafted burgers make this a steeltown favorite. The house specialty is the Bingo, one-third pound Colorado beef with green chile. Chicken, lamb and veggie burgers, plus snazzy toppings such as pimiento cheese, rosemary mushrooms and balsamic onions.

Whether you are heading to the hills or coming from them, this I-70 staple offers “Colorado Mountain Pies.” That means deepdish pizza so massive you wonder if the salad bar is just for show. Sandwiches include an excellent meatball sub. Kids love this spot.

101 Central Plaza, Pueblo. 719-225-8363. bingoburger.com

1517 Miner St., Idaho Springs. 303-5674376. beaujos.com

7. Mountain Lyon Cafe Silverthorne A popular spot just off I-70, the Mountain Lyon serves classic diner fare for breakfast and lunch, from omelets to tacos. Lots of folks come for the chicken-fried steak, a big slab of protein smothered in rich white gravy. You’ll need a day on the mountain to work it off, but you won’t be running out of steam whatever your sport. 381 Blue River Parkway, Silverthorne 970-262-6229.


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8. Moose Cafe Kremmling

9. The Fritz Salida

A good stopping place on the way to Steamboat Springs, Moose Cafe sits on the main drag of this farming and ranching town. The omelets get raves, especially the green-chile version. For diners needing to load up before hitting the Continental Divide Trail, order the biscuits and gravy.

Bright, creative food in a self-billed gastropub, The Fritz has something for everyone at lunch and dinner. The kids can indulge in burgers while parents can nosh on a sandwich of prosciutto, manchego and sliced pears. Entrees are served, but small plates are emphasized: braised pork with sautéed onions, mac-andcheese with bacon, kale salad with caramelized pears. Try the mini-steak with horseradish cream — just the thing after a day on the Arkansas.

115 W Park Ave., Kremmling. 970-724-9987.

113 E. Sackett Ave., Salida. 719-539-0364. thefritzsalida.com

10. Calvillo’s Mexican Restaurant Alamosa Family spot with inexpensive food and for the starving masses, an all-day buffet. Friendly staffers can help gringo relatives from Out East navigate the menu, which is chockful of the usual enchiladas, tacos and burritos. Ice-cold beer. A good pit stop if you are heading to New Mexico, or driving west to Durango. 400 Main St., Alamosa. 719-587-5500.

11. Ted Nelson’s Steakhouse Montrose This is a good stopping place when you’re traveling between Durango and Grand Junction. It’s a steak house best suited for dinner, but since it opens at 4 p.m., you can still make other destinations before the summer light plays out. The restaurant prides itself on Angus beef, but there are also chicken, salmon and pasta dishes. There is a kids menu if Tommy and Tammy don’t want the sirloin. Open Monday-Saturday. 103 Rose Lane, Montrose. 970-252-0262. montrosesteak house.com

12. T’s Smokehouse & Grill Durango

13. Fiesta Restaurant Rocky Ford

This restaurant is popular for a reason: terrific barbecue and a welcoming atmosphere. Located in an unassuming woodframe building, T’s is open for lunch and dinner every day except Monday. Try the barbecue nachos if you must, but save room for a brisket sandwich or pulled-pork platter. Sides? Gotta have the Cajun cole slaw or sweet potato logs.

Lunch and dinner, Mexican-style, in an adobe building. Lots of locals here — the cowboy hat quotient is always high — and they come for platefuls of wellprepared food. They are known for their soft tacos, but if you seek something different, try a potato burrito. 400 N. 11th St., Rocky Ford. 719-254-2451.

3 Depot Place, Durango. 970-259-6000. tssmokehouse.com.

William Porter: 303-954-1877, wporter@ denverpost.com or twitter.com/ williamporterdp

14. Tequila’s Family Mexican Restaurant Trinidad The last town on I-25 South before you climb Raton Pass and descend into New Mexico, Trinidad has a number of dining spots. Tequila’s is a popular one, catering to families despite its name. (No reason Mom and Dad can’t indulge in a margarita.) Lots of familiar fare for lunch and dinner: tacos, enchiladas, burritos and such. Salads, too, including a tasty mango-avocado version. Best bet for the hungry is a combo plate. 9900 Santa Fe Trail, Trinidad. 719846-3514. tequilastrinidad.com

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John Wayne starred as one-eyed U.S. Marshal Rooster Cogburn in “True Grit.” Filming locations included Ouray, Ridgway and Montrose. Getty Images file

Estes Park’s Stanley Hotel appeared in “Dumb and Dumber.” Estes Park Trail-Gazette file

Check out these iconic Colorado sites that had brushes with fame on the big screen By John Wenzel The Denver Post

Colorado’s history in film and on television is mostly one of representation: Plenty of stories are set here but few have been wholly produced here. Iconic movies like 1956’s “The Searchers” have legit Colorado connections, while TV series such as “Dynasty” and “Mork and Mindy,” or Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 adaptation of “The Shining” (all set, but not filmed here) are far more tenuous. While we wait for Quentin Tarantino’s “The Hateful Eight,” which began shooting outside of Telluride a few months ago, let’s look at a few iconic spots you actually can visit that show off Colorado’s visual splendor. 1. “True Grit”

2. “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid”

3. “Sleeper”

This 1969 Western starring John Wayne was mostly filmed in and around Ouray, Ridgway and Montrose. Relive the “Sleeping Rock” scene at the summit of Owl Creek Pass, the hanging scene in Ridgway Town Park, at the corner of Highway 62 and Lena Street, and stroll through the still-stately Ouray County Courthouse at 541 Fourth St. (The 2010 Cohen Brothers remake was, unfortunately, shot in New Mexico and Texas.)

It’s fitting that some of this 1969 classic was shot in Silverton, Durango and Telluride, since the real-life Cassidy robbed his first bank in Telluride. Remember the scene in which Robert Redford and Paul Newman’s characters take a cringeinducing leap off a cliff? That’s the Animas River in Durango, located off U.S. 550 near the real-life jump spot of Baker’s Bridge, about 15 miles north of Durango. The train explosion scene was also shot on the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad line — along with significant parts of 20 other films dating back to the 1940s.

Anyone who’s seen Woody Allen’s 1973 sci-fi comedy will recognize the UFO-like “Sleeper House,” originally built as the Sculptured House and designed by architect Charles Deacon. It’s visible from Interstate 70 on Genesee Mountain near Genesee Park. But there’s plenty of Colorado modern architecture in the film, including Denver Botanic Gardens’ main building and distinctive concrete lamps (1007 York St.), as well as the Mile Hi Church in Lakewood that was turned into — we kid you not — a futuristic McDonald’s (9077 W. Alameda Ave.), and I.M. Pei’s iconic National Center for Atmospheric Research along the Flatirons in Boulder (1850 Table Mesa Drive).

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Some of the high-speed scenes in the action sequel “Furious 7,” starring Paul Walker, were filmed on Pikes Peak’s notoriously winding road. Provided by Universal Pictures

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4. “Dumb and Dumber” The interior and exterior of Estes Park’s Stanley Hotel (333 E. Wonderview Ave.) — which itself was featured in a 1997 TV remake of “The Shining” — got some brief screen time doubling for Aspen’s fictional Hotel Danbury in 1994’s “Dumb and Dumber.” We don’t recommend dressing up in ridiculous cowboy garb and descending the main staircase, like Jim Carrey’s character did. But you can still grab a cold one in the handsome hotel bar, drive up in a cherry-red sports car and otherwise live the tourist-fool fantasy to its fullest.

5. “Things to Do in Denver When You’re Dead”

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The dozens of Tarantino imitators that followed the success of “Pulp Fiction” were mostly terrible, and this darkly comic 1995 crime thriller starring Andy Garcia and Christopher Walken is no exception. But few films have shown off Denver’s best angles as this one does, including the Mile High City’s only truly iconic bridge on Speer Boulevard over the Platte River. There are also pretty exterior shots of Union Station (1701 Wynkoop St.), the intersection of streets that give the Five Points neighborhood its name (where Welton Street meets 26th Avenue), and the nowhopping Bluebird Theater (3317 E. Colfax Ave.).

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If you’ve never driven to the top of Pikes Peak, just outside of Colorado Springs, and happen to be a fan of the blockbuster “The Fast and the Furious” series, take note: Huge chunks of the gravity-defying chase scene in the latest installment were filmed on Pikes Peak Highway (admission: $4-$12 per person, or $35 per car), as well as at Monarch Mountain ski area, about 20 miles west of Salida. John Wenzel: 303-954-1642, jwenzel@denverpost.com or twitter.com/johnwenzel

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4 DAYS Brown’s Canyon on the Arkansas River near Salida. Chaffee County Visitors Bureau

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In Chaffee County, Colorado’s finest is at your doorstep. The Arkansas River’s raging-to-mellow whitewater thrills. Scenic byways. Railroad and mining lore. Ghost towns. Lonely hikes in the shadow of the densest stretch of fourteeners on the continent. Top-notch restaurants. Boutiques, art galleries and an unusually large collection of second-hand shops. It’s easy to see how Chaffee County’s cheerleaders chose their marketing tagline: “Now this is Colorado.”


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Day 1: Denver to Buena Vista Approximately 122 miles From Denver, take U.S. 285 through Pine Junction, Bailey, Jefferson and Fairplay into Buena Vista. 1. Early lunch Mile 46 The Coney Island Colorado hot dog stand, a 1950s diner shaped like a bunwrapped hot dog on the banks of the North Fork of the South Platte just past Bailey, thrills the little ones, but the burgers and fries are better at Pine Junction’s Cruz-In on the way into Bailey.

2. Hike Mile 65 Grab your grub to go and take a quick hike on the Colorado Trail atop Kenosha Pass. The trail on the east side of the pass is dense with aspen, delivering a shimmering stroll. On the descent, marvel at the true South Park, which is nothing like the cartoon. Kenosha Pass cleaves the state’s lower third, and the change of scenery elevates the separation.

3. Eat some more Mile 85 If you need food, Fairplay’s Dorothy’s Homemade Tamales and South Park Bowl Bar & Grill are top-notch. Watch your speed on 285, Colorado State Patrol loves that stretch of road.

4. Stay Mile 122

7. Dinner In town

Kick off your Chaffee County holiday in Buena Vista. Use your phone to check in and open your door at the new Surf Chateau (1028 Wave St., surfchateau.com), the county’s coolest lodging. Built by former pro kayaker Jed Selby and his wife, Kennley — the new-urbanist developers behind the South Main community that has revitalized Buena Vista’s riverfront — the Surf Chateau is unlike anything in central Colorado. Walled with local river stones, the 20-room boutique hotel overlooks the Arkansas River, and its open courtyard is often filled with surfboards and kayaks.

The nearby Eddyline Restaurant serves wood-fired pizza and a deep selection of handcrafted brews. The Asian Palate Thai & Sushi Restaurant (theasianpalate.com, 328 E Main) is one of BV’s best eateries.

8. Nightcap In town Stroll downtown to visit Deerhammer Distilling Co. (deerhammer.com, 321 E. Main St.) and ask Lenny — he’ll be the guy manning the copper still — for a nip of his single-malt DownTime whiskey.

5. Kayak In town Head up to Colorado Kayak Supply (coloradokayak.com, 327 E. Main St.) to rent a boat or board and rinse off the drive with a few half-mile laps down the town’s perfectly engineered whitewater park. In the summer, the Buena Vista River Park is one of the busiest spots in town, with boaters and stand-up paddlers spinning and surfing through five features.

6. Dance In town The warm-weather months often see live music at South Main’s The Beach venue, where locals and visitors frolic on the riverside sand dance floor.

A hiker on Cottonwood Pass. Dean Krakel, The Denver Post

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Day 2: Buena Vista to Salida Approximately 25 miles 1. Cup of joe In Buena Vista Standing kayaks and colorful murals can be found on buildings throughout the mountain town of Salida. Helen H. Richardson, Denver Post file

Grab the bike when you rouse and pedal into town for coffee at the Buena Vista Roastery (bvroastery.com, 409 E Main St.). Try the beer-barrel aged brew.

2. Pedal Across the Arkansas River in Buena Vista Once you are sufficiently amped, pedal across the river and explore the Fourmile Recreation Area, a vast complex of trails that range from beginner jeep trails to expert singletrack. Then load it up and head south to Salida. Again, watch your speed on 285. The 25mile stretch between Buena Vista and Salida is dense with radar-equipped police.

3. Stay Mile 25 The lodging options in Salida are plentiful, with an array of motels on U.S. 50 ranging from tired yet super-affordable to the newer Hampton Inn. Downtown, the meticulously renovated Palace Hotel (salidapalacehotel.com, 204 N F St.) is a treasure. Salida also offers a large collection of private homes rented to vacationers through websites like VRBO.com. There’s quick and easy camping at the Salida East campground a couple miles east of town on U.S. 50.

4. Shop In town Just about every lodge is a short walk or bike ride into Salida’s historic downtown, which has a medley of colorful art galleries, shops, restaurants and bars. Ready to take it easy? Stroll downtown and visit the galleries, where artists welcome visitors. Stephen Smalzel takes breaks from painting by playing his banjo in front of his gallery on F Street. The sculptors at the Bungled Jungle (132 W. First St.) draw a crowd when they are in the flow of creation. Salida has a trove of secondhand stores that can absorb hours of a day.

5. Bike East of town

A section of the Colorado Trail weaves through the aspens. Dean Krakel, The Denver Post

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Want a little more than shopping? Grab the bike and head east. The deep network of trails surrounding S Mountain offers hours of pedaling only minutes from downtown. Those trails — most built in 2010 — appeal to newbies (Frontside, Rattler) as well as knobby-tired veterans (Uncle Nazty, Prospector). Drop by Absolute Bikes (320 W. Sackett Ave., absolutebikes.com.) for the latest on trail conditions.


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An evening view of downtown Salida with S Mountain in the distance. Helen H. Richardson, The Denver Post

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6. Eat In town For a taste of Salida, get the window a table at The Fritz (thefritzsalida.com, 130 E Sackett Ave.) for dinner. Make sure to listen well when the server rattles off the daily specials. While the steak and burger are delicious, a bounty of the smaller plates thrills every palate. Don’t miss the baconwrapped dates.

7. Spirits In town Grab a nightcap at Wood’s High Mountain Distillery (woodsdistillery.com, 144 W 1st St.). Try distiller PT Wood’s new rye whiskey and savor the chocolately tone.

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Whitewater rafters splash down the Arkansas River in Salida. Provided by Chaffee County Visitors Bureau

A customer enjoys some ice cream at Mama D’s Deli on F Street in downtown Salida. Helen H. Richardson, Denver Post file

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Opting for a pedal? While the trails right out of Salida are sweet, the Monarch Crest Trail from the top of nearby Monarch Pass ranks as one of Colorado’s best. This is a 14-mile ride or 35mile epic that should be given a day, simply to enjoy the spectacular views from the trail. The folks at Absolute Bikes can help advise with shuttle and route recommendations. Bring a map, extra tubes, water and food.

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The Arkansas River is the most rafted river in the U.S. You really can’t go wrong choosing a rafting outfitter in the valley. Bill Dvorak’s Rafting and Kayak Expeditions in Narthrop (dvorakexpeditions.com) is an institution on the river, as is Wilderness Aware Rafting in Buena Vista (inaraft.com). Those outfits can place you on a perfect stretch of water, whether it’s the scary Pine Creek stretch, the less scary Numbers or the more casual but still splashy Brown’s Canyon or Bighorn Sheep Canyon. For a truly deepin-the-canyon feel, try the Royal Gorge into Cañon City.

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Tourists explore the ghost town of St. Elmo in Chaffee County, including the Stark Brothers Store and Post Office. The town, sitting at 9,961 feet, was founded in 1880 and once had a population of 2,000 when gold and silver mining was booming. Denver Post file

Day 4: North of Salida and then home Approximately 185 miles 1. Ghost town Up the road

2. Hike Past St. Elmo

Hopefully you’re beat from going big the previous day. Take a rest and put your car to work. The Upper Arkansas Valley is rich with history. From American Indian camps to early explorer cabins, mining remnants and railroad structures, every corner of the valley offers intriguing glimpses into the past. A favorite route to absorb the area’s colorful mining history is up Chalk Creek on County Road 162, west from Nathrop. The road is graded for the first 18 miles, up to St. Elmo. Shortly after miners hit gold in St. Elmo in 1875, the nearby Mary Murphy Mine was one of the valley’s top producers. In 1881, there were more than 2,000 people living in St. Elmo. Today it’s considered one of Colorado’s best preserved ghost towns, with a handful of residents and a general store that rents four-wheelers. Four miles past St. Elmo is Romley, which was connected by aerial tram to the Mary Murphy Mine on the hillside above town.

Further up the road, which now gets bumpy following the old railroad grade, is Hancock, a former suburb of St. Elmo. There’s an upside down structure defiantly clinging to the hillside — in M.C. Escher style — on the road to Hancock. The road ends at the Alpine Tunnel Trailhead, a six-mile, round-trip hike to the entrance of the first-ever tunnel to pass through the Continental Divide.

3. Soak Heading back to Nathrop Stop at Mt. Princeton Hot Springs ($12-$27, mtprinceton.com) for a soak on the way back to Salida. Round trip from 285 is about 45 miles.

4. Eat In town Back in Salida, hit Amicas (amicassalida.com, 136 E 2nd St.) for wood-fired pizza and handmade brews. Dine in or grab dinner and a growler of Headwaters IPA to celebrate Salida back at your place and relish a long weekend in central Colorado’s playground.

Bathers take a dip at the Mt. Princeton Hot Springs Resort near Buena Vista. Provided by Chaffee County Visitors Bureau

Head back to Denver through Buena Vista, Fairplay, Jefferson, Bailey and Pine Junction. Jason Blevins: 303-954-1374, jblevins@denverpost.com or twitter.com/jasonblevins

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3 easy day trips from Denver Sometimes it’s hard to get away for a weekend or more, but there are plenty of hot spots to catch if you have just a single day to get out of town. By Colleen O’Connor The Denver Post

North: Denver to Estes Park Approximately 155 miles round trip It’s hard to believe that the scenic beauty of the Peak to Peak Highway is just 45 minutes north of Denver. Once you hit Lyons, you already feel urban life relegated to the rear-view mirror. Start by taking Colorado 7 south out of Lyons, then west to the Peak to Peak, and enjoy the scenery until you see the sign for Allenspark.

1. Explore Mile 68 The tiny mountain village of Allenspark is like taking a giant step back into history — before developers and strip malls, anyway. Funky cabins adorned with racks of antlers line the road that leads past the rustic Allenspark Lodge. You can browse antique shops and grab a meal at the Meadow Mountain Cafe (441 Business Colorado 7) that’s beloved by locals, and has a lovely outdoor deck that’s perfect for summer. (It closes at 2 p.m., so plan on breakfast or lunch.)

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2. Wildflower hike Mile 70 The hike to Calypso Cascades starts at the Wild Basin Trailhead just past Allenspark. There are lots of Colorado wildflowers along the path, including the elegant pink calypso orchid, for which the trail is named. They’re a rare but spectacular sight — people cluster along the trail to stare and snap photos. Their season is late May and June.

3. Cabin tour and lunch Mile 84

Cabin fever. Getting back on Colorado

7, you’ll pass Longs Peak on the left, and if you call ahead, you can also get a private tour of the 1885 cabin of Enos Mills, known as the father of Rocky Mountain National Park. The unconventional cabin (6760 Colorado 7, Estes Park) was put on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973. (To book a tour in advance, call 970-586-4706.)

Eat. One of the most memorable

meals in Estes Park is at the Cascades restaurant in the historic Stanley Hotel. Diners rave about the Colorado Game Meatloaf, a blend of elk, buffalo and pork wrapped in bacon and served with a purée of Yukon Gold potatoes.

4. Live tunes and brews Mile 105 Head back down to the Front Range via Lyons, where you can wrap up your day with blues and beer at the original Oskar Blues (303 Main St., 303-823-6685). If you skipped the Stanley, order from the NOLAmeets-CO menu to soak up those suds before settling into the live-music venue downstairs, which hosts bluegrass, rock and blues acts to revive your weary travelin’ soul.


The sun breaks through the clouds to highlight the summit of Pikes Peak as seen from the Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs. Associated Press file

South: Denver to Manitou Springs Approximately 144 miles round trip

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Take in the stunning view of Pikes Peak towering over Garden of the Gods. It’s about 67 miles outside Denver, just inside the entrance to Garden of the Gods Park.

1. Hike and learn Mile 68 To get the most of this adventure, stop at the Garden of the Gods Visitor and Nature Center to learn about the origins of these giant spires and monoliths of red sandstone, which formed millions of years ago. (The cost is $5 for adults and $3 for children, and the movie runs every 20 minutes.) Then spend some time amidst the geologic marvels that soar high overhead. You can hike the trails at your own pace, join the free nature walks (at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.) or just drive straight through. Make sure not to miss Balanced Rock, a massive chunk of sandstone perched in gravity-defying majesty.

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is U.S. 24, which will lead you to downtown Manitou Springs, a National Historic District. This town started as a health resort in the late 19th century and still has many of its Queen Anne Victorian structures — like the historic Cliff House at Pikes Peak, once visited by people like Theodore Roosevelt and Thomas Edison. In the 1960s, Manitou Springs became a magnet for the counterculture, and the bohemian vibe remains strong with shops like the Crystal Wizard (130 Canon Ave.), which features an enormous mural of fairies in a forest and sells wands, stones and tie-dye fashions. Accessible art. Manitou is also an art-

ist’s haven and has the galleries to prove it. Don’t miss the Commonweal Artists Co-op (102 Canon Ave.), which only sells work by Colorado artists. The group’s 41st annual arts festival will be held Labor Day weekend at Memorial Park in Manitou Springs.

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Eat & drink. Dining on the veranda at the historic Cliff House (306 Canon Ave.) is hard to beat. There’s also the Manitou Brewing Company (725 Manitou Ave.), which offers its own brews, plus a wide selection of craft beers from around the world, and The Mona Lisa Fondue Restaurant (733 Manitou Ave.) for those wanting to dip into the cheese or chocolate goodness. Reservations recommended.

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A Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep looks into the window of a car along the Mount Evans Road that winds up the 14,265-foot Colorado peak. Denver Post file

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A pack of young mountain bikers take a group ride in Evergreen. Anya Semenoff, Denver Post file

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West: Denver to Mount Evans Approximately 124 miles round trip For a really quick trip to catch some mountain vibe, head to Evergreen, which is just about 45 minutes from downtown Denver. 1. Evergreen

Hike and bird. Check out Alderfer/

Three Sisters Park, which has an abundance of hiking trails among the sweeping vistas, ponderosa pines and unusual rock formations. In early summer, wildflowers fill the meadows, and there are lots of birds to spot, from turkey vultures to mountain bluebirds and red-shafted flickers. The east trailhead is located at 30299 Buffalo Park Road in Evergreen, and the west trailhead is nearby at 31677 Buffalo Park Road.

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Shop. Once you’ve got your fill of wild-

life and panoramic beauty, you can head back into the heart of Evergreen, and browse its artsy, bohemian downtown scene. There are lots of galleries on Main Street, and this year the Evergreen Arts Festival is Aug. 22 and 23.

2. Drive a fourteener Continue on to Idaho Springs to pick up the paved road that heads up Mount Evans, which is only open during the summer. After passing sweeping vistas of forested valleys and mountain lakes above treeline, the road tops out just shy of Mount Evans’ 14,265-foot summit, where mountain goats often deftly scurry up and down the trailside cliffs on summer days. Throw the car into low gear on the drive back down and hug those curves in the road over steep dropoffs — you want to stay firmly on this road.

3. Mountain pies, or joe If you’ve worked up an appetite on this long day in the hills, stop at Beau Jo’s Pizza (1517 Miner St., 303-567-4376) in hopping downtown Idaho Springs for a hearty, thick slice of mountain pie (the salad bar is mountain-sized, too). Or just pick up a cup of joe at Java Mountain Roasters (1510 Miner St.), where you can get a solid cuppa and a cookie. If you’re lucky, someone might be strumming a guitar at Java Mountain, which won’t get you back home to Denver any sooner, but sure will be a lovely end to a day west of the city. Colleen O'Connor: 303-954-1083, coconnor@denverpost.com or twitter.com/coconnordp


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The new gondola at the Royal Gorge Bridge & Park takes riders 2,400 feet across the gorge, and 1,200 feet above the Arkansas River. Peggy

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New ways to see the depths at Royal Gorge By Carie Canterbury Canon City Daily Record

There are two new ways to see the Royal Gorge this summer: A high-speed zipline that traverses the gorge should please adventurous types, while those who want more leisurely but still panoramic views can get them from inside a new gondola. Royal Gorge Park reopened to the public in August 2014 after the Royal Gorge Fire swept through and destroyed 90 percent of its structures and attractions on June 11, 2013. The bridge itself, however, was unscathed. Opening in time for this year’s tourist season, the Zip Rider is being billed as the highest zipline in North America. It takes riders 2,400 feet across the gorge and 1,200 feet above the Arkansas River, reaching speeds of up to 40 miles per hour. The ride across the gorge takes between 45 and 50 seconds. “I’ve been on it several times,” said Mike Bandera, general manager of the Royal Gorge Bridge & Park. “It is a beautiful ride — it’s smooth and it allows time to look

around the gorge.” The cost to ride the Zip Rider is $40 per person, and riders must weigh between 100 and 255 pounds and be between 48 and 82 inches tall. The gondola ride, which is included in the park’s general admission price, replaces the aerial tram that was destroyed in the fire. Each gondola seats eight people and is encased in glass to allow a full panoramic view. Six cars cross over the bridge at one time. The ride is handicap accessible. Also new is the Royal Rush Skycoaster, in which riders soar through the air more than 1,200 feet above the Arkansas River. One to three harnessed people may ride at a time, and riders must be at least 46 inches tall. Riders can reach up to speeds of 50 miles per hour. The cost is $25 for one rider; $45 for two riders; and $60 for three riders. Attractions included in the general admission price are the miniature train, the Plaza Theater & Historical Expo, Cafe 1230, a new visitor center, the water clock, the new chil-

dren’s play land and the bridge. Magician Christian Augustine and aerial performer April Vollm also will offer free shows in the Plaza Theater from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend.

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5 favorite spots to take the family – and a tent By Joshua Berman Special to The Denver Post

It all begins with that moment when your tires crunch to a stop at your campsite, you turn off the engine and step into the silence of your open-air home for the night. Set up the tent, kitchen and chairs, get a campfire going, then kick back and smile at the excitement in your children’s eyes. There are hundreds of perfectly peaceful campgrounds in Colorado to find that moment and more. But here are five favorites: 1. Pawnee Campground Brainard Lake National Recreation Area, 54 miles from Denver

Summer camping offers the perfect opportunity for the whole family to enjoy the outdoors. Above, a group roasts marshmallows on their open fire at their campsite in the Reverend’s Ridge campground of Golden Gate Canyon State Park. Helen H. Richardson, Denver Post file

It’s easy to escape to the high country if you camp at Brainard Lake, where you’ll park your car at more than 10,000 feet above sea level. If your kids are small for tackling Pawnee Pass and camping in the backcountry, take one of the shorter, flatter hikes around the lake and stay at Pawnee Campground, which opens only after the snow melts — often in July! 47 sites, $19/night, reservations at recreation.gov or 877-444-6777, fs.usda.gov/recarea/arp/ recarea/?recid=28314

2. Stove Prairie Landing Bellvue, 91 miles At one of the best escapes from the Front Range without having to drive on I-70, there are plentiful campgrounds and picnic areas along the entire Cache la Poudre River Canyon, which is flanked by super-Scenic Byway Colorado 14. Sure, Stove Prairie Landing is a small and rustic campground with few services, and it’s right on the road, but it’s also right on a deep, lovely horseshoe bend in the river where I watched my kids throw sticks and rocks for over an hour one morning. It’s close, too — only 15 miles up the canyon from Fort Collins. Five vehicle sites (plus four walk-in); $19/night; reservations recreation.gov or 877-444-6777, fs.usda.gov/recarea/arp/ recreation/recarea/?recid=36719

3. Town Park Campground Telluride, 362 miles Open all summer, Town Park Campground is practically in “downtown” Telluride, but it also has sites along the San Miguel River and access to trailheads up the steep slopes in all directions. Town Park Campground is a little wonderland for families, with a swimming pool, playground, kids fishing pond and shower facilities. 28 vehicle sites ($23), five walk-ins ($17); no reservations (except during the big festivals), first come first served; open May 8-Oct. 18; 970-728-2173, telluride-co.gov/index.aspx?NID=181

Summer Events Calendar May 22-Sept. 7 JUNE

Here are a handful of festivals, rodeos, concerts, tours and more for summertime family entertainment.

MAY May 23-24: Indian Arts & Culture Festival. Pottery, textiles, beadwork, jewelry, baskets and clothing is featured in the Indian Art Market along with music, dances, storytelling, food and a Navajo Rug Auction. Cortez Cultural Center, 25 N. Market St., Cortez, cortezculturalcenter.org May 23-25: Create Cañon City Balloon Classic. The second annual festival features balloons from all over the United States and Canada. Daily launches at 6 a.m.; a balloon glow begins at 8 p.m. May 23. Festivities also include live music, vendors, a 5K, bike races, wine tastings, arts and crafts and demonstrations. Holy Cross Abbey, Cañon City, createcanoncity.org

May 25-Sept. 7: Hidden History Tours. The Frontier Historical Society presents Hidden History Tours of historic downtown Glenwood Springs at 7 p.m. every Friday. Topics include robbers, reprobates and the red light district with stories of illegal gambling, bank robberies, jail escapes and more. Meet at 6:45 p.m. in front of the Visitor’s Center at 802 Grand Ave. in Glenwood Springs. $15 per person. 970945-4448, e-mail history@rof.net, glenwoodhistory.com/events.htm May 28-31: Grand Junction OffRoad and Downtown Art and Music Festival. The four-day, four-stage festival offers live music with Shakey Graves, Ethyl & the Regulars, the Bobby Walker Band, Ruby Horsethief and others as well as juried art and craft vendors, a Beer & Wine Garden and more for the 27th year. The Grand Junction Off-Road Mountain Bike Event, with amateur and professional riders, is also part of the festivities,

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along with a Bike Expo with vendors from the mountain biking industry. Grand Junction, downtowngj.org

Provided by Telluride Blues & Brews E May 29-30: Durango Blues Train.

Dan Treanor’s Afrosippi Band with Erica Brown and MJ, Dragondeer, Grant Sabin and Cary Morin are some of the big names performing during the 3.5 hour train ride. Durango, durangotrain.com

June 2-Sept. 24: Chautauqua Summer Concert Series. The 2015 Summer Concert Series has an impressive lineup with The Weepies, Indigo Girls, Robert Cray Band, Boz Scaggs, Ziggy Marley, Melissa Etheridge, Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz, Michael McDonald and more. Chautauqua Auditorium, 900 Baseline Road, Boulder, 303-442-3282, chautauqua.com June 6: Manitou Springs Colorado Wine Festival. More than two dozen Colorado wineries are featured along with food booths, music and entertainment. Memorial Park, Manitou Springs, 719-685-5089, manitousprings.org June 6: Dolores River Festival. The 12th annual festival offers raft rides, live music, children’s activities, contests, kayak demonstrations, food and beverages. Joe Rowell Park, Dolores, 970-882-4018, doloresriverfestival.com

June 12-13: Greeley Blues Jam. Delbert McClinton, Boogie Boys, Elvin Bishop and Josh Hoyer and the Shawdowboxers are just some of the many live music acts included in the two-day festival. Also on offer: vendors, children’s activities, food and drink. Island Grove Arena, 501 N. 14th Ave., Greeley, 970-3523566, greeleybluesjam.com June 12-14: Golden Music Festival. The annual bluegrass festival is a fundraiser for Golden History Museums and offers live music, food and refreshments,. Clear Creek History Park, Golden, 303-278-3557, goldenmusicfestival.org June 12-14: Snowmass Mammoth Fest. Third annual summer festival offers live music with Greensky Bluegrass, The Lone Bellow, Jamestown Revival and several others along with food, a chili competition and beer tastings. Snowmass Village, 877-987-6487, snowmassmammothfest.com


Car-camping gear

4. Pearl Lake State Park Steamboat, 182 miles Steamboat Lake is a popular state park in the Yampa River Valley, but nearby Pearl Lake at the base of Hahn’s Peak is more private and quiet, making it a perfect car-camping escape. Named for the wife of a pioneer sheep rancher, Pearl Lake is close enough to town or Strawberry Park Hot Springs for side trips. Or just stay put and let the kids settle in to the site and play in the surrounding forest. They also have a couple of wellequipped yurts (with beds, heat, and power) for $70/night. 40 sites; $18/night; reservations recommended, sites can be reserved beginning May 24; 970879-3922, cpw. state.co.us/placestogo/parks/PearlLake

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June 13: Winter Park Chocolate Festival. More than 20 vendors will offer samples, sell chocolates, sweets and gift items, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Contests, demonstrations and live music also included. Free admission, Taste Tickets available for purchase. The Village at Winter Park Resort, chocolate-festival.org/winter-park/

E June 13-Aug. 2: Colorado Renais-

sance Festival. The annual 16th century celebration promises “More Music, Magic, and Merriment than Ever Before” with continuous entertainment for all ages. Each weekend has a different theme and couples can even get married in the Canterbury Chapel. 650 W. Perry Park Ave., Larkspur, 303-688-6010, coloradorenaissance.com

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Joshua Berman is a Spanish teacher and occasional outdoor educator at Shining Mountain Waldorf School in Boulder; he is also a travel writer. JoshuaBerman.net and @tranquilotravel.

First: Obey all fire restrictions — these can truly be a matter of life and death. As early as late March, fire risk was high in all of eastern Colorado. Find links to fire restrictions on county, state and federal park and forest land at coemergency.com. Second: Don’t move firewood. It’s illegal to move hardwood firewood out of Boulder County, the town of Erie and a patch of Jefferson County because they’re within the emerald ash borer quarantine line. But that’s not the only pest that hitchhikes in firewood — so does the insect that transmits Thousand Cankers Disease. Firewood is for sale at many campgrounds, including all campgrounds in Rocky Mountain National Park. It’s best to buy where you are. An excellent, state-by-state guide to firewood restrictions is available at dontmovefirewood.org — Susan Clotfelter, The Denver Post

June 18-21: FIBArk Festival. The 67th annual whitewater festival offers competitions, live music, a parade and children’s activities. Arkansas River, downtown Salida, fibark.com

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Stove Prairie Landing

Glenwood Canyon Resort

5. Glenwood Canyon Resort Offering a wide range of accommodations — from tent sites and rustic cabins to catered group sites and luxury suites — is a tourism trend around the state. Glenwood Canyon Resort offers its own spin on “glamping” on a gorgeous bend of the Colorado River. Sites and suites fill up, so reserve soon. If lazing around your fire pit and listening to the river isn’t exciting enough for you, the resort books a number of activities right on the property, including rafting, biking, hiking and a zipline. As a bonus, Glenwood Hot Springs is only three miles down the road, so plan for a long soak after each adventure you choose for your family. Tent sites $28, RV sites from $54, 800-958-6737, glenwoodcanyonresort.com

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Before hitting the road, store your tent, packs, and gear on the roof: Yakima’s SkyBox Carbonite ($519 for 18 cubic feet) or their $99 cargo bag, which can ride on a roof without a rack. For coolers and camp stoves, Coleman (based in Golden) is still king; this spring the company released a puncture-resistant DuraRest car camping mattress, inflatable via car charger ($40-110, depending on thickness). The Steamboat-based company Big Agnes makes mtnGLO tents with built-in LED lighting; or buy a separate light kit ($39.95) to deck out your own tent. For darkness and bugs, place a Thermacell “repellent camp lantern” ($60) in the middle of your site—its 300-lumen light can be combined with a mosquito repellent with a 15-foot range.

June 18-21: Rocky Mountain Irish Festival. Estes Park’s Irish culture and history festival offers dance, music, competitions, storytellers, exhibits, lectures and children’s activities. Stanley Park Fairgrounds, 1209 Manford Ave., Estes Park, 970-305-3138, rockymountainirishfestival.com June 19-21: Strawberry Days. “Glenwood Rocks!” is the theme of the 118th annual family tradition offering live entertainment, a carnival, arts and crafts, a parade, food and beverages. Sayre (Strawberry) Park, 1702 Grand Ave., Glenwood Springs, strawberrydaysfestival.ning.com

June 20: Glenn Miller Swing Fest. Festivities honor Fort Morgan’s hometown hero Glenn Miller with the World Famous Glenn Miller Orchestra, a fly-in at the local airport, a dinner and swing dance. Fort Morgan, 970-768-6106, glennmillerswingfest.com

June 25-Aug. 9: Crested Butte Music Festival. The 19th season offers seven weeks of music, dance and opera with more than 150 award-winning artists, mini-festivals, concerts, family programs and more. Crested Butte, 970-3490619, crestedbuttemusicfestival.org

June 25-July 5: Greeley Stampede. Festivities include concerts with Kenny Rogers, Gary Allen, The Band Perry and others, rodeos, daily parades, carnival, Western art show, demolition derby and more. Greeley, 970-356-SPUR (356-7787), greeleystampede.org

June 26-27: Leadville BBQ and Brew Festival. The Leadville/Lake County Chamber of Commerce presents the festival featuring more than 36 teams competing in three categories: beef brisket, chicken and ribs. Microbrews, live music and a Family Fun Zone is also included. Leadville, leadvillebbqandbrewfest.com

June 25-July 30: Foote Lagoon Concert Series. Loveland Museum/ Gallery’s annual free concert series features Cool Shooz June 25, Hazel Miller July 2, Creole Stomp July 9, Mary Louise Lee Band July 16, Quemando Salsa July 23 and 101st Army Dixieland Band July 30. City of Loveland Civic Center, 500 E. Third Ave., Loveland, 970-962-2410, lovelandmuseumgallery.org

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Get a bird’s-eye view of Colorado on a zipline By Jason Blevins The Denver Post

Ziplining is a relative newcomer in Colorado’s playground. Zooming through forests on cables stretched across canyons, over rivers and down mountains is the hot new pursuit in the state’s ever-diversifying stable of fun. Rafting outfitters and ski resorts have developed vast webs of sturdy cables in mountainside canopies. It’s hard to find a place in Colorado’s high country that doesn’t have a zipline attraction. For those seeking the thrill of whipping through trees — without the risk of crashing on skis or bikes — ziplining is the answer. Colorado Adventure Center’s zipline near I-70 in Idaho Springs. AAron Ontiveroz, Denver Post file

1. Soaring Tree The Soaring Tree Top Adventures outside of Durango bills itself as the longest zipline course in the world, with 27 ziplines connected to 36 tree stands. Cables cross the Animas River ferry highspeed zipliners ( zippers?) through ponderosa and aspen groves. Soaring Tree says its ziplines and trained rangers are so safe, visitors don’t need to wear gloves or helmets. When Soaring Tree opened in 2004, it was one of Colorado’s first zipline outfits and one of the first zipline courses in the country. It sits on a remote 180-acre parcel that is accessible only by the Durango & Silverton Railroad. Guests ride to the property in a private train car, and full-day trips include a gourmet meal and eco-tour. While not the cheapest by any stretch at $499 per person, the Soaring Tree adventure continually ranks as one of the best zipline tours in the country. soaringtreetopadventures.com, 970-769-2357

JULY July 3-12: Cattlemen’s Days. The “Granddaddy of Colorado Rodeos” is an annual showcase, started in 1900, of competitors from around the country along with a parade, demonstrations of riding, racing and roping, livestock show, concerts and a county fair. Gunnison, cattlemensdays.com July 10-12: Denver’s Biergarten Festival. Lederhosen and Dirndls are encouraged for Morrison’s 19th annual beer garden offering German food, live music, dance groups, entertainment and children’s activities including games. TEV Edelweiss, 17832 Highway 8, Morrison, biergartenfest.com July 10-12: Lavender Festival. The Lavender Association of Western Colorado presents the fifth annual festival with demonstrations, farm tours, speakers, seminars, booths, demonstrations and food. Palisade, coloradolavender.org

July 13-19: Crested Butte WildFlower Festival. Designated the wildflower capital of Colorado since 1990, the festival offers more than 200 events such as garden and Jeep tours, walks, hikes, workshops and more. Crested Butte, gunnisoncrestedbutte.com/event/ crested-butte-wildflower-festival July 16-19: Wagon Wheel OHV Rendezvous. The fourth annual riding celebration presented by the Meeker Chamber of Commerce and the Wagon Wheel OHV (Off Highway Vehicles) Club uses 250 miles of designated trails with connecting loops in the White River National Forest. An expo with vendor booths, live music and food is also included. Meeker, 970-878-5510, meekerchamber.com July 18: Cherry Pie Celebration. The “Annual Sweet Summer Tradition” offers pie, ice cream, vendor booths, live music, children’s activities and a pie contest. Peters Park and Fifth Street by the Loveland Museum/Gallery, Loveland, lovelandmuseumgallery.org/ cherry-pie-celebration/

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July 18-19: Festival in the Clouds. The 18th outdoor art and music festival in Alma offers more than two dozen bands, works by more than 40 artists, children’s activities, a beer garden and food. Proceeds benefit the Alma Foundation. A Volunteer Firefighters Pancake Breakfast is 8-10 a.m. July 19. Town Park, Alma, 719-836-2712, almafoundation.com/events/ FestivalClouds.html

July 18-19: Winter Park Jazz Festival. The festival features Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds and Morris Day & The Time as headliners along with Tower of Power, Norman Brown, Dostero and several others. Hideaway Park, downtown Winter Park, playwinterpark.com/ jazz_festival.html

July 18-19: Keystone Wine and Jazz Festival. The two-day festival offers performances by Chris Strandring, Dotsero, Elan Trotman and others, more than 300 varieties of wine with seminars, tastings and more. Keystone Resort, keystonefestivals.com July 18-19: Summerfest. The outdoor two-day festival in Evergreen features more than 100 artists along with live music, entertainment, children’s activities and food. Summerfest kicks off Arts Alive Evergreen, a 10-day performing and visual arts showcase. The Center for the Arts Evergreen, 32003B Ellingwood Trail, Evergreen, evergreenarts.org/summerfest.php

tournament, a car show and vendors. Golden, 303-278-9898, buffalobilldays.com July 24-25: Breckenridge Wine Festival. Tastings from more than 50 wineries are included at the festival July 25. Additional events include a winemaker’s dinner, champagne tasting and vintner’s dinner. Breckenridge, breckenridgewinefestival.com July 25: Ducky Derby. Buy a single duck or a whole flock of them and cheer them to victory as they are dumped into Henson Creek and float down to Memorial Park in this benefit for the Lake City Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center. Silver Street, Lake City, 970-944-2527, lakecity.com

Anya Semenoff, Denver Post file E July 22-26: Buffalo Bill Days. The

three-day celebration of the Wild West in Golden features Muttin’ Bustin’, Cody’s Wild West, the Best of the West parade, live music, golf

July 27-Aug. 10: Vail International Dance Festival. The festival opens with Tony Award-winner Savion Glover & The Otherz and continues with the Colorado Ballet, Dance House, National Ballet of Mexico and several others. Performances in Vail and Beaver Creek, vvf.org/arts/ vail-international-dance-festival


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3. Captain Zipline There’s no place quite like Monty Holmes’ Captain Zipline Aerial Adventure Park outside Salida. A pioneer of the Colorado zipline scene — he’s been running zipline tours on his sagebrushed canyonland property on the banks of the Arkansas River since 2005 — Holmes is pretty sure the next trend will be aerial parks. And he’s betting big, with a year-round aerial adventure park of

July 31-Aug. 1: San Luis Valley Beat the Heat BBQ. Kansas City Barbecue Society and Rocky Mountain Barbecue Association State Championship sanctioned event features competitions in ribs, chicken, brisket and pork along with the Anything But and dessert categories. Booths, children’s activities, games and live music also included. Cole Park, Alamosa, slvbeattheheat.com

AUGUST Aug. 1: Bronc Day Festival. Activities in the 77th annual festival include a pancake breakfast, parade, arts and crafts booths, family games, gunfighter show, air slide and competitions for all ages. Gazebo Park and Lake, Green Mountain Falls, broncdayco.org Aug. 1: Olathe Sweet Corn Festival. Corn, corn and more corn is featured along with dozens of vendor booths, live music and children’s activities, 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Tickets ($10 adults, $5 children under age 12) sold at the gate. Olathe, olathesweetcornfest.com

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swinging logs, balance beams, tunnels and ca25 24 bles suspended 60 feet above rock. Designed and built by Swiss engineers, the 3 2 complex demands more skill than simple on ziplining. Guests work through a network Cañ a lid of beginner and intermediate routes 50 a before attempting the advanced 550 features, which, quite frankly, apCOLORADO pear more frightening than fun. Employing a backup system that eliminates the chance a climber 1 160 4 0 M I LES ng can ever be unclipped from a ra Du safety cable, aerial park visitors navigate a dizzying sequence of dangling obstacles, all intertwined with 60-foot telephone poles that sway under tension. Jason Blevins: 303-954-1374, jblevins@denverpost.com or Holmes’ remote canyon above the Arkansas twitter.com/jasonblevins River delivers sweeping views for the topmost climbers. Make sure to ask Monty about the challenges of burying telephone poles in the remote, rocky gorge. A two-and-a-half hour tour runs $69. S

Royal Gorge Zipline Tours in Cañon City is another top-ranked outfit in Colorado, with an “extreme” course that promises 55 mph speeds and a free fall (with safety rope) from a seven-story tower. A tamer “classic” tour offers nine ziplines spanning a mile with speeds hitting 45 mph. The side-byside ziplines at Royal Gorge Zipline Tours are popular, with guests able to race each other. Prices range from $89 to $149 per person. (More on the latest attractions at Royal Gorge on page 63.)

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Aug. 1-2: Colorado Scottish Festival. The St. Andrew’s Society presents the 52nd annual festival in Snowmall Village with live music, games, competitions, dog festivities including daily parades and a British car show. Town Park, Snowmass Village, scottishgames.org Aug. 7-9: Leadville Boom Days. Mining competitions, live music, a craft fair, motorcycles races, a road and gun show are among the festivities of the three-day festival celebrating the local mining heritage. The popular 21-mile Leadville Boom days International Park Burro Race, the second leg of the Pack Burro Racing’s Triple Crown, is also on the schedule. Leadville, leadville.com Aug. 13-16: Palisade Peach Festival. A four-day celebration of Palisade’s peaches offers pies, salsas, ice cream, preserves and more along with entertainment, contests, live music, tours and a parade. Palisade, palisadepeachfest.com

Aug. 14-16: Folks Festival. The 25th annual Rocky Mountain Folks Festival gets underway with the Folks Songwriter Showcase and continues with a lineup featuring Sufjan Stevens, Richard Thompson, Jason Isbell, Kasey Chambers and The Wood Brothers. Three-day passes and camping is available. Lyons, 800-624-2422, bluegrass.com/folks/ Aug. 15-16: The Golden Fine Arts Festival. The 25th annual juried show with ceramics, jewelry, mixed media, painting, photography and glass by more than 130 artists. An Artreach Kids Art Zone is also included along with horsedrawn carriage rides and music. Downtown Golden, goldenfineartsfestival.org Aug. 21-23: Gunnison Car Show & High Octane Arts & Crafts Festival. This year’s 28th annual car show theme is “Cool Cars & Cool Mountains” and features an open car show, street dance on Main Street and more. Head to the park for an art show with “artistic chainsaw maestros” from around

the country who transform huge logs into art. Gunnison, gunnisoncrestedbutte.com/event/ gunnison-car-show-weekend-highoctane-arts-crafts-festival Aug. 28-Sept. 7: Colorado State Fair & Rodeo. The 140-plus-year family tradition offers parades, live music, rodeos, a carnival, contests, monster trucks, livestock shows, food and children’s activities. 1001 Beulah Ave., Pueblo, 800-876-4567, coloradostatefair.com Aug. 29: Colorado Cider & Beer Circus. A craft beer celebration of local cideries and breweries with samples, circus-style entertainment with jugglers, clowns and mimes, children’s activities, demonstrations and live music. Copper Mountain Resort, cidercircus.com

SEPTEMBER Sept. 4-6: Four Corners Folk Festival. The lineup for the festival in Pagosa Springs already boasts Hot Rize with Red Knuckles & the Trailblazers, The Black Lillies, The Railsplitters, Ages and Ages and others. Vendors and children’s activities also included. Reservoir Hill Park, Pagosa Springs, folkwest.com Sept. 5-6: Beaver Creek Oktoberfest. Bavarian festivities of the 16th annual celebration include music, children’s activities, demonstrations, food and beer. Beaver Creek Resort, beavercreek.com Sept. 5-6: Wild West Air Fest & Labor Day Celebration. The 11th annual show in Steamboat offers a display of vintage and warbird static aircraft, an aerobatic show, children’s activities and a car show. Steamboat Airport and other locations in Steamboat Springs, steamboatchamber.com/signature-events/labor-day-weekend/wild-west-air-fest Compiled by Vickie Heath, The Denver Post

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Rafters float the Gunnison River just below the boundary of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. Nancy Lofholm, Denver Post file

Rocky Mountain National Park’s Chasm Lake is surrounded by cliff faces. Glen Barber, The Denver Post

Make your national park visit count By Emilie Rusch The Denver Post

Towering peaks, ancient cliff dwellings, expansive sand dunes, steep canyons — Colorado’s four national parks are all road-trip-worthy. We asked the experts — the park employees who get to spend their 9-to-5 at Rocky Mountain, Black Canyon of the Gunnison, Great Sand Dunes and Mesa Verde — to share their tips on getting the most from your visit.

1. Rocky Mountain

2. Black Canyon of the Gunnison

When to go: Avoid the biggest crowds by visiting Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday early in the morning or late in the afternoon. “That 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. period, expect that hundreds if not thousands of your closest friends will also be coming,” says park spokeswoman Kyle Patterson.

When to go: The most “magical” time to see Black Canyon is very early in the morning or right around sunset, says park ranger Nick Myers. “The way light plays through the canyon that time of day is just spectacular.”

What to do: The “top-of-the-world views” along Trail Ridge Road are not be missed. Get out of the car, too, and explore the alpine tundra on foot — try the Tundra Communities Trail, a half-mile roundtrip hike near Rock Cut. Also, Old Fall River Road (the original dirt road through the park), which has been closed since the 2013 floods, is slated to reopen this year by Fourth of July weekend. What to know: Use park resources to your advantage: the visitor centers, website (nps.gov/romo) or staffed information line (970-586-1206). “Many people will start off at the trailhead and they haven’t really planned ahead as far as what’s in their pack or what the weather forecast is,” Patterson said.

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What to do: The Painted Wall overlook is “our famous Old Faithful,” Myers says. “It’s the spot that everyone has to go to see why Black Canyon was established. You can see the river, you can see the vertical nature (of the canyon). It’s the largest vertical cliff face in Colorado.” What to know: There’s no bridge across the canyon. “To get from the South Rim to the North Rim is a 2- to 2V-hour drive,” Myers says. “If you haven’t done your homework, you might be disappointed.”


Tours at Mesa Verde’s cliff homes go door-todoor and window-to-window. Denver Post file

Mountains provide the backdrop for Great Sand Dunes National Park. Anne Herbst, The Denver Post

3. Mesa Verde

4. Great Sand Dunes

When to go: For smaller crowds, the weekend is a good option. “Our busiest days are Tuesday and Wednesday,” says park spokeswoman Betty Lieurance. It’s counterintuitive, but Lieurance speculated that it’s because Mesa Verde visitors are stopping there after spending weekends elsewhere.

When to go: July-October is best for highcountry exploration and sleeping under the stars. “Early morning and around sunset are spectacular times to view wildlife and have more solitude,” says Kathy Faz, chief of interpretation and visitor services.

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What to know: Wearing proper footwear, eyewear and clothing is key to an enjoyable, comfortable visit. You’ll be climbing on a giant pile of (often very hot) sand, after all.

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What to know: “Water — drink plenty and bring plenty — and remember what altitude you’re at (7,000-8,500 feet).”

Rocky Mountain National Park

What to do: Don’t miss the surge flow in Medano Creek, a seasonal phenomenon that creates waves in the water near the dunes parking area or Castle Creek picnic area. Check the park’s webcam — nps.gov/ 2 grsa — to see if and where the creek is flowing. (Peak flow is in June.)

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What to do: Cliff Palace, the dwelling featured on 95 percent of park materials, is a no-brainer, but the sites on Wetherill Mesa aren’t to be skipped, either. “A lot of people don’t do (Wetherill), because it’s a 12-mile drive that takes you 45 minutes,” Lieurance says. “They miss out a lot by not going to see Long House. It’s different — they all have unique features.”(Open Memorial Day to Labor Day only.)

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3 DAYS Visitors ride the gondola from town to Mountain Village in Telluride. Ryan Bonneau, provided by Telluride Ski Resort

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Nestled in a box canyon beneath the mineral-rich, humbling San Juans, the town of Telluride offers plenty of reasons to make a pilgrimage. Among them: Mountainfilm (May 22-25), Bluegrass fest (June 18-21) and Jazz fest (July 31-Aug. 2). My reason? Labor Day’s Telluride Film Festival (Sept. 4-7).


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Vicco’s Charcoalburger DriveIn. First stop: old-school road food at this beautiful throwback. It’s no Park Burger medium-rare gem, but the burgers are de-lish. So is the veggie version — or so I hear. There’s also elk, buffalo and turkey. The fries are ace. Malts. Milkshakes. If loving you is wrong, I don’t want to be right. 51659 Colorado 6, Glenwood Springs, 970-945-6652, charcoalburger.com.

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The Daily Bread Bakery & Cafe. I’m partial to the huevos rancheros with homemade green chili served at this institution. But then again it takes skill to order wrong here. Grab a loaf of cinnamon bread on your way up the road, why don’tcha? 346 E. Main St., Montrose. 970-249-8444.

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A climber in Telluride ascends the box canyon’s steep walls as Colorado’s highest free-falling waterfall, Bridal Veil Falls, furnishes the backdrop.

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Provided by Telluride Ski Resort

The Peaks Resort and Spa. Situated in Mountain Village, this big, inviting hotel provides a nice way to get those gondola rides in. Head down to town for the food, the shopping and more. Head up to your temporary digs for the spectacular views. Renovated a couple years back, the hotel delivers lean luxury — and boasts some reasonable summer specials. I like walking into a place and being annoyed I left my swim suit at home; there’s a 25-meter lap pool and treadmills with a view. I also like walking into a place and remembering we could have brought Gus, our substandard — but oh so dear — poodle; $75 pooch fee. 136 Country Club Drive, 970-728-6800, thepeaksresort.com Also, Hotel Telluride. Mid-priced, quieter accommodation just off the hub of activity but nonetheless within walking distance of the gondola station and plenty of great restaurants. The underground garage for your road-weary car comes in handy in a town with packed streets. 199 Cornet Lane, 970-369-1188, thehoteltelluride.com.

A Labor Day weekend gathering of movie fans and filmmakers. Pamela Gentile, provided by Telluride Film Festival

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A visitor listens to the live music of the Telluride Bluegrass Festival while reading on the banks of the San Miguel River. Denver Post file photos

Day 2: Telluride Around town 1. To market In town The Telluride Farmers Market. Within earshot of the comforting grinding of pulleys and wheels of the gondola, this seasonal market is a fine way to stuff a mini fridge or a picnic basket with local, oft organic pleasures. The varieties of cherry tomatoes later in the season become my un-junk movie screening food. Who needs popcorn? Of course, if you do there’s kettle corn available. And, yes, even it tastes better in the clear mountain air. South Oak Street. Opens June 5.

Free! Telluride’s “The Free Box,” located just off Colorado Avenue on North Pine Street, is a half-block treasure chest of wooden cubbies — along with a larger area for skis, shoes and houseware items — where locals put unwanted clothes and other items they would rather give away than throw away.

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2. Shop In town

4. Drink In town

Scarpe. Bought the most beautiful shoes I’ve ever owned from this boutique. Twice. Turns out I’m too rugged for the soft leather of Paul Green loafers. This shop has lovely shoes, bags and more. 250 E. Pacific Ave., 970-728-1513, shopscarpe.com.

New Sheridan Hotel. It’s not all about eating. There’s drinking, too. Try the rooftop bar at this historic hotel next to the beautiful Sheridan Opera House. It’s a pretty intimate space with spectacular views of those rather mystical mountains. 231 W. Colorado Ave., 970-728-4351, lacocinatelluride.com.

3. Taco time In town La Cocina de Luz. Foodies dig owner Lucas Price’s approach to tacos, enchiladas and salads. It’s fresh, often sustainably raised, tasty and worth standing in line for. 123 E. Colorado Ave., 970-728-9355, lacocinatelluride.com.


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The San Miguel River, which flows by Telluride, features stunning sandstone and red rock walls alternating with forest and views of Mount Wilson. A band plays at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival. Provided by Planet Bluegrass

Provided by Colorado River Outfitters Association

Day 3: Telluride Around town 1. Breakfast In town

3. Shop, then java Back in town

The Butcher & Baker Cafe. Breakfast and lunch and dinner, oh my. Owner Megan Ossola used to ply her gifts as a private chef in town. Now her intimate, sunlit space serves up sit-down meals or carry-out treats for us all. And a tiny portion of the world’s made better for it. 201 E. Colorado Ave., 970-728-2899, butcherandbakercafe.com.

Between the Covers Bookstore. Never left town without a volume from this thoughtfully stocked shop. They even have curated collections that give a nod to the town’s bookend film fests (Labor Day’s Telluride Film Fest and Memorial Day’s Mountainfilm) but also the decadesold Mushroom fest. The High Alpine Coffee Bar in the back has fine pastries and rich locally roasted coffee. 224 W. Colorado Ave., 970-728-4504, between-the-covers.com.

2. Ride Up to Mountain Village The Gondola. Whether you hop these cable cars in the spectacular daylight or hushed nighttime, it’s an essential ride. Take it from town to Mountain Village. Or get waylaid at the San Sophia Station. Bikers, hikers head left. Martini imbibers and lovers of exquisite views, exit right for Allred’s. Hooray happy hour. Summer service May 21-Oct. 18. 970-728-7474, telluride.com/gondola.

The fourth day OK, it’s really a four-day trip. You’ve got to drive home, right? Head east from Montrose on U.S. 50, driving past Blue Mesa Reservoir, which is Colorado’s largest body of water, then head north on U.S. 285 back to Denver — about 330 miles total.

4. Eat, drink, transcend In town Rustico Ristorante. If you’re looking for a bar friendly enough to order a meal? They’re quite congenial at Rustico Ristoronte, where I had a transcendent and reasonable — OK, but it was sublime — Montepulciano. 114 Colorado Ave., 970-728-4046, rusticoristorante.com. Lisa Kennedy: 303-954-1567, lkennedy@denverpost.com or twitter.com/bylisakennedy

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TIME TO RECAPTURE THE VINTAGE MAGIC OF THE ROAD By Joanne Ostrow The Denver Post

“ROAD TRIP!”

The words conjured an escape, not just an exciting family adventure, but a voyage out of time. Dad’s 1960 Oldsmobile Eighty-Eight was a place suspended, away from normal routine, conditioned against weather, a proud family crest following the highway. As witnessed from the backseat, the road trip was a time devoted to miles of telephone wire, cow, corn and horse sightings (we were city kids), long stretches between bathroom stops, occasional sibling fights and off-key attempts at show tunes. “Oklahoma,” “South Pacific” and “My Fair Lady,” mostly. As a kid, we didn’t clock hours so much as meals. As in, we’ll be there in time for dinner. Or, HoJo’s is just the other side of the bridge. Or, it’ll be two hours after Stuckey’s. There was magic in being away, alone together. When we weren’t singing or fighting, road tripping in the past was a meditative practice, an internal journey to a personal space to find the kind of quiet that people pay thousands of dollars to experience on modern spa vacations. Moving as a unit through scenery, time and moods, road trips meant a different kind of togetherness.

Full tank, adults firmly in charge in the front seat, seat belts fastened. After a while the steady hum of the motor lent itself to grown-up storytelling. Where did they find adventure as kids, how did they learn to swim, what was their first date and how far did the streetcar go? Today, car-time adventures come pre-packaged, expertly crafted by Disney for consumption on various devices in back seats. Just hit play, and the professionals take over. Traveling distraction, what used to be called adventure, can now be downloaded. Convenience has taken the place of imagination; technology has disrupted daydreaming. Peer into vans on modern highways and find the latest animated heroes singing on screens mounted on seat-backs. Even for someone who endorses meaningful screen time at home, it’s apparent these young passengers are being deprived. They may know the clever lyrics to dozens of animated musicals, but they’re missing the window view. We are a culture “Amusing Ourselves to Death,” per the title of Neil Postman’s classic on “public discourse in the age of show business.” At least on the road we should revert to certain conventions of our elders. Technology was part of the old highway

trips, too, but in a less enveloping way: Radio stations faded in and out as you traveled, reflecting regional tastes and dialects. Distance took on a different meaning when the local announcers sounded like they inhabited a specific place. The modern, uniformly formatted sound of conglomerate radio doesn’t allow for such quaint and staticfilled interruptions. Satellite radio, CDs and iPods have taken over the dashboard. Similarly, modern cellphone addiction has supplanted the old license plate or word games we used to play (“20 Questions” was our standard — much more social than Minecraft). Maybe it’s worth unfurling the wrinkled maps rather than relying on GPS, really thinking about the process of hurtling down the road and being involved in the process of an old-school road trip. Some part of the mesmerizing quiet ought to be recaptured, if only at intervals. Maybe at the peak of Trail Ridge Road or at the sight of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison, one of the grown-ups might suggest a break from the gadgets and a respectful gaze out the window. Joanne Ostrow: 303-954-1830, jostrow@denverpost.com or twitter.com/ostrowdp

Convenience has taken the place of imagination; technology has disrupted daydreaming.

Photo-illustration by Jeff Neumann, The Denver Post; photos: Denver Post Historical Collection, Library of Congress, Thinkstock by Getty Images

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parting shot

Sunrise on Eureka Mountain in the Sangre de Cristo Range. Glen Barber, The Denver Post

credits: Travel editor: Jenn Fields, jfields@denverpost.com. | Designer: Jeff Neumann, jneumann@denverpost.com. | Senior features editor: Suzanne Brown, sbrown@denverpost.com. | Photo editor: Dean Krakel, dkrakel@denverpost.com. | Editorial assistant: Vickie Heath, vheath@denverpost.com. | Managing editor for presentation and design: J. Damon Cain,

dcain@denverpost.com. | Copy editors: Lori Smith, Rochelle Smolinski | Cover/Contents page: Model Erica of Maximum Talent wears a shirt and hat from Rockmount Ranch Wear.

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The Denver Post: Summer Getaways  
The Denver Post: Summer Getaways  
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