West of 105 magazine issue 1, autumn 2018

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Spotlight On


Wineries MOUNTAIN BIKING guide













ELCOME to the first issue of West of 105, Colorado’s newest magazine that will bring the best of the west to the rest of the world. West of 105 refers to the line of longitude that cuts right through the center of Denver’s beautifully-restored Union Station, and as our name suggests, we’re going to cover everything west of that. Make no mistake, we love Denver - it is easily one of the best cities in the nation, but one of the best things about it is its proximity to what truly makes Colorado great: the Rocky Mountains. From Creede to Crested Butte, Montrose to Mancos and Steamboat to Silverton, West of 105 is where Colorado really comes to life. We have the rafting, the hiking, the biking, the camping, the fishing, we have via ferrate, wineries, national parks, ski resorts, festivals, award-winning restaurants, amazing communities of artists and artisans and scenery to die for. In this first issue you’ll find the best mountain biking spots, delectable fall menus, where to enjoy a glass of Colorado wine, and scenic byways to enjoy the fall foliage. We also share details of our recent trip to Durango; talk to director Bobby Kennedy III about his new movie and preview our favorite fall festivals.








CONTACT WESTOF105.COM (970) 209 2290





We hope you enjoy this first issue,


The West of 105 team @WESTOF105 | #CrosstheMeridian


CONTENTS In Every Issue

03 02 07 94 106

Letter from the Publishers


Meet West of 105 and the team behind it

Get Social

Follow us on social media and use #CrosstheMeridian to be featured

Bucket List

Top 20 autumn activities, from scenic rail journeys to seasonal drives


We head east to sample the best the Mile High City has to offer

Parting Words

A picture is worth a thousand words and we’ve captured the season in one single shot



DISCOVER DENVER FIVE WAYS Photos (top): Katie Schneider with AVA Rafting & Zipline; (bottom) Rich Grant / Visit Denver









Mountain Biking Best of the Rest Scenic Byways

37 57


Durango 24 Hours in Telluride National Parks

Drinking & Dining Colorado Wine Spirits Trail Fall Fine Dining

73 85


Fall Fashion Haven & Beauty Top 10: Yoga Studios



Culture & Events

Interview Culture Corridor Spotlight Events



ESCAPE TO GATEWAY CANYONS THIS AUTUMN Photos (clockwise from top left): Matthew Inden / Miles; Aaron-Ingrao; Liam Doran / Breckenridge Creative Arts; John Hendricks / Gateway Canyons; Scott D W Smith









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Leaf Chasing

Taking in the foliage via a scenic byway is one of our favorite fall pastimes. Luckily for us, there are 23 designated scenic byways West of 105. We’ve rounded up the top seven. Page 30 Photo: Neil Hastings / Telluride

@WESTOF105 | #CrosstheMeridian






Say Om


Taste the Season

Colorado is known around the world for its outstanding natural beauty, but thanks to millions of acres of farmland it also has some of the best produce around. We spoke to the chefs at some of the best restaurants West of 105 about how they incorporate the seasonal bounty into their menus. Page 70


Go to a Festival

The end of summer doesn’t mean the end of festival season. From fantastic wine at Colorado Mountain Winefest to Telluride Blues and Brews, there are plenty to choose from. See our favorites on page 96

Find your inner yogi this autumn at the state’s top yoga studios. From secluded mountain retreats to quaint downtown spaces, we’ve hunted down 10 of the best. Page 82

Find Your Park

All four of Colorado’s National Parks are West of 105, and autumn is arguably the best time to explore and enjoy them as visitor numbers are lower and day time temperatures are more tolerable. Page 52


Saddle Up

Your mountain bike, that is. Colorado has some of the best scenery in the nation and autumn is the best time of year to explore, and while we love the scenic byways, there is nothing quite like exploring on two wheels. From alpine terrain to high desert, there is no shortage of mountain bike trails West of 105. Page 14 8

Photos (clockwise from topWESTOF105.COM left): Rob McGovern/ Period Comms; Meigan Canfield Photography; Telluride Horror Show

Dine with Wine

The cool, dry autumn days West of 105 are just begging to be enjoyed with a glass of wine in hand. Read about everything that’s on offer from the wineries this side of the state. Page 58

All Aboard

Denver’s Union Station sits squarely on the 105th parallel, and we can’t think of a better way to get out of Denver than by boarding the California Zephyr and heading West. Page 108

17 9

Get Sky High

Telluride is home to Colorado’s only free gondola, and the best time to ride it is when the fall foliage is peaking. Grab your overnight bag and plan on spending 24 hours in this picturesque mountain town. Page 46

Celebrate ‘Elktober’ Not only is Rocky Mountain National Park stunning in the autumn, but your chances of spotting elk during this period are much better. Grab your binoculars and don’t forget to keep your distance. Page 54

12 15 18 Surf’s Up

Head over to the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve and go surfing, Colorado style. All you need is a board and some sand dunes - thankfully we have the highest in North America. Page 53

Check in

Autumn is a great time to explore West of 105 for lots of reasons (see the rest of this list!). Need an additional incentive? Gorgeous resorts like Gateway Canyons, are perfect for a seasonal getaway. Page 78

Follow the Iron Path

Via Ferrate are not for the faint of heart, but the jaw-dropping views from the sides of cliffs and mountains make strapping in and defying gravity more than worth it. Check out the offerings West of 105. Page 28

10 13 16 19 The Wild Southwest A true year-round town, Durango is oozing with charm and worth visiting any time of year, but when the busy summer season tails off and autumn sets in, it is always near the top of our travel list. Page 38

Get Creative

The brand new Colorado Creative Corridor spans five vibrant Colorado communities, all of which are hubs of innovation and artistry. Explore what each of them have to offer. Page 90

11 14 Fall Fancy

With the changing season comes a changing wardrobe. Stay Colorado chic with some of our top autumn picks. Page 76

Cast a Line

With thousands of miles of trout streams (and all 322 miles of Gold Medal waters), West of 105 is a fisher’s paradise. We showcase three of the best places to cast your line this autumn. Page 26

Go East

Colorado is quite possibly the beer capital of the US. Maybe that’s why the Mile High City is home to the Great American Beer Festival. And that’s just one of the many reasons to venture east. Page 102

Get in the Spirit

Discover Colorado’s burgeoning craft distillery scene with a dozen of the best places to savor locallyproduced spirits. Page 66 9 Photos (top): Neil Hastings; (bottom): © Brewers Association


Look to the Stars Bundle up, grab your telescope, camera or just a blanket and get lost in the night sky. The only designated Dark Sky Community in the state, the jointly designated towns of Westcliffe and Silver Cliff are among the best places to gaze at the stars. Page 24 Photo: Mike Pach




12 Mountain Biking & Gear

Autumn-appropriate rides for thrill seekers and adrenaline junkies along with the season’s top gear

24 Outdoor Pursuits

Other amazing activities to get into this fall: star gazing, fly fishing and via ferrate

30 Scenic Byways

Seven of the most spectacular drives in the state to spot the changing foliage Photo: Matthew Inden / Miles

@WESTOF105 | #CrosstheMeridian





1. BollĂŠ | Trackdown with MIPS This all-weather helmet offers winter vent caps, an adjustable visor and our favorite BollĂŠ helmet feature the sunglasses garage $169

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FOR HER 2. Bell | Sixer Joy Ride Helmet This MIPS helmet is great for all kinds of trail riding and includes, integrated camera mount and a goggle strap gripper $150





3. Zoic | Ether Shorts Allows for a great range of motion, and we love the adjustable waistband and the integrated air flow mesh ventilation $65 4. Pearl Izumi | Summit Winter Pants Great MTB pants that offer insulation and protection from wind and precipitation. Features include reflective elements and zip pockets $150 5. Pearl Izumi | Versa Softshell Hoodie This softshell provides warmth for the chillier autumn days while a drop-tail hem and reflective elements keep you covered, warm and visible when riding $175 FOR HER



6. Zoic | Navaeh Shorts Pockets big enough to hold a larger phone, locking zippers and stitch-less leg hems for zero irritation and rubbing $70


7. Kari Traa | Tikse Base Layer A base layer for all seasons, 100 percent merino wool for breathability and moisture control and a four-way stretch for comfy riding $75 8. Liv | Energize off-road rain jacket A lightweight, water-repellent rain jacket with a hood that fits over our helmet with ease $150 12

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9. Bollé | Kayman A sturdy frame design, thermogrip temples and nose pads keep sunglasses in place while cruising over obstacles $79 10. 100% | Blake On top of being stylish enough to wear around town, we love features like the scratch-resistant lens coating and contrastboosting lenses $150 11. Smith | Rebound Sunglasses We love the brand’s ChromaPop™ lens technology which allows you to take in that stunning Colorado scenery. The hydroleophobic lens coating repels water, dirt and grease $139


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18. Shimano | XC5 If you’re ready to go clipless try these mixed terrain shoes. They are lightweight and have a rigid carbon fiber reinforced midsole along with a spike mount for really extreme conditions $150


FOR HER 19. Shimano | XC5 Same great features as the men’s XC5 but in a womenspecific fit which means they’re more natural and comfortable. They’re offered in a trendy color combo to boot $150


FOR HIM 12. Fox | Ranger Gloves Silicone-grip fingertips and touch screen capability make them a handy choice $24.95


17. Shimano | AM7 For downhill and enduro, the all-mountain offers a harder sole and our favorite feature: the ankle gaiter which helps keep debris out. $130

20. Shimano | GR7 Brand new for 2018 the GR7 offers a more sneaker-like aesthetic with a mesh upper that delivers great heat management $130


FOR HER 13. Liv | Energize Gloves Breathable full-finger gloves that offer a soft micro panel for runny noses and sweaty brows $35



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14. Garmin | Edge 1030 Never stray off track with this top-ofthe-range GPS bike computer which also monitors your performance and workout $599.99 15. Dakine | Hot Laps 5L Hydration Pack This top-selling lumbar pack comes with a 2L reservoir and plenty of space for a patch kit and pump $70


16. Shimano | M8040 Flat Pedal Excellent grip thanks to the 10 pins (long or short) on both sides $79.95

@WESTOF105 | #CrosstheMeridian


Trail B Photo: Matthew Inden / Miles






HERE can be no debate that West of 105 is jaw-droppingly beautiful year round: snowcapped peaks in winter, lush greenery in spring, and wildflowers in summer, but it is autumn, when the temperature drops and the leaves begin to change, that Colorado comes into its own. And there is no better way to get out and enjoy autumn than from the seat of a mountain bike.

@WESTOF105 | #CrosstheMeridian



September is the month when deciduous trees in the high mountains go through their annual metamorphosis and blanket the landscape with a patchwork of yellows, reds, and oranges - meaning it’s the best month for mountain biking in the area, and not just for the spectacular scenery but also because the intensity of summer has waned making it much more comfortable. CRESTED BUTTE A perfect example of a classic Colorado mountain town, Crested Butte played a pivotal role in creating the entire sport of mountain biking, and with 700 miles of singletrack, including trails


for every skill level, there may not be a better place to mountain bike … anywhere. The Crested Butte Mountain Bike Association, the authority on trails in the area, differentiate trails from rides, the latter being a collection of trails that make for a good day in the saddle. The Dyke Trail is just 5.5 miles long, but it is one of the more advanced trails in Crested Butte. The quintessential autumn trail, there are tough climbs, at least one tough descent and stream crossings that combine to make a ride that is as tough as it is beautiful. Amazing views of Ruby Peak and Mt. Owen as well as a trail littered with aspens

makes this a must-ride trail. If you are only in Crested Butte for one ride during the fall color change, make it the Dyke.

country rides that connect to some of the legendary rides in and around the area. crestedbuttemountainbike. com

Somewhat easier is the Strand Hill Trail, a Crested Butte classic. Another trail that is perfect for autumn thanks to the aspen forest it passes through, it also contains amazing views of Teocalli Mountain. And if you are after something brand new, the six-mile Baxter Gulch Trail is the newest in the region. For those just starting out, Crested Butte Mountain Resort’s Evolution Bike Park has a network of over 30 miles of singletrack trails that include lift-served downhill trails and cross-



The yin to Crested Butte’s yang, Gunnison is just 30 miles south of Crested Butte and they’re linked by a free bus. Trails here range from the 1.2-mile Luge Trail, a fast and fun ride that is great for beginners, to the The Hartman Rocks Big Loop, a 30-mile loop with an ascent (and a descent) of 3,514 feet. This autumn you can join the good people at Gunnison

WEST OF 105 | OUTDOORS Trails, the go-to experts on mountain biking in the area, at High Alpine Brewing Company in Gunnison for Ales for Trails (DATE), an event that celebrates everyone who participated in maintaining the local trails over the past season. gunnisontrails.org VAIL, BRECKENRIDGE, AND THE COPPER TRIANGLE Colorado’s other celebrity ski haunt, Vail, has plenty of on-mountain trails that can be conveniently accessed by gondolas as well as plenty more in the Vail Valley’s White River National Forest. A short drive east down I-70 you will find hundreds more miles of trails in and around Frisco, Keystone and Breckenridge. ASPEN AND SNOWMASS Needing no introduction, one of the top ski areas adds hundreds of beautiful miles to the region’s trails. When it comes to sheer natural beauty, this area is hard to beat. And while the ski resorts here are world famous, there may be basis for a claim that some of the state’s finest mountain biking trails are also here. With just under 300 miles of trails, hardcore riders come from far and wide to tackle the Aspen Snowmass Mega Loop - 60 miles of almost entirely singletrack with a monster 9,000 feet of elevation gain (don’t worry you descend for the same amount as you climb). As with many other ski areas, Snowmass turns many of its ski runs into mountain biking trails for the cycling season. Winding from the top of the Elk Camp Chairlift all the way to Snowmass Base Village,

the Snowmass Bike Park offers something for everyone, including the three V trails: Viking, Vapor, and Valhalla. STEAMBOAT SPRINGS Sitting immediately west of the 2.2-million-acre Medicine Bow – Routt National Forest in the northwest Rockies, the world-class trails at Steamboat reach into that vast acreage of public land and offer some amazing riding opportunities while being surrounded by aspens, scrub oaks, pines, and rocky terrain. Although this area has a small selection of difficult trails, there are plenty of easy and intermediate ones, making Steamboat perfect for those just starting out on a mountain bike. The Emerald Mountain Flow Fest Trail is just over 10 miles of 100 percent singletrack that has a gentle ascent followed by a similar descent. And it starts and ends right downtown. For a more curated experience, Steamboat Bike Park has a 50-mile trail network that includes lift-assisted downhill flow and tech trails. There are also multi-directional trails if you want to make it more of a workout. And that’s really just scraping the surface of high alpine mountain biking. Virtually every mountain town in Colorado offers amazing mountain biking, including Durango (read more on page 38) and Telluride (read more on page 46), both of which are arguably among the best in the state. Check individual resorts / locations for closing dates and other useful info.

Photos: (opposite page) Dave Kozlowski/CBMR; this page (top) Matthew Inden/ Miles; (below) Scott DW Smith/Purgatory Resort



The western part of Western Colorado, that is to say the area along the Utah border and in the Uncompahgre Valley, is a whole different animal from the lush alpine forests of Crested Butte et al. With the intense summer heat gone, October is a great time to visit these areas, particularly as winter, or at least the beginnings of it, will likely have arrived at higher altitudes. The high mountain desert gives riders something different to tackle and, arguably, better scenery the red rock canyons of old western movies chief among them. With trails stretching pretty much the length of the state, there is something for everyone. And for the most part, you will have mile-uponmile of trail to yourself. RIO BLANCO COUNTY It’s fair to say that Rio Blanco County and the general area north of I-70 doesn’t get as much attention as other parts of the state. But there is a lot to do and some good mountain biking to be had.

butte behind Meeker and down the other side - a big climb that is rewarded with spectacular views. Autumn is a great time to ride here thanks to the relatively moist weather that keeps the trails tacky and compact; lower temperatures make longer trails more tolerable without the need to bring gallons of water. The local recreation department and the BLM have been working together to build additional trails and expand the network to entice riders to the area. Called the Meeker Trail System 2018 expansion project, it will hopefully be competed by the end of the season. Keep an eye on Meeker as an upand-coming MTB destination West of 105. NORWOOD, NUCLA, NATURITA, URAVAN, PARADOX, GATEWAY The area known to mountain bikers as the West End is large, extending from Norwood in San Miguel county all the way to

The Phillip and Dorcas Jensen Park trail system is packed with features and smooth, well-built mountain bike trails. Accessible from downtown Meeker, the Meeker Flow Trail section of the system is a specifically-built downhill trail for intermediate riders. It may be just half a mile long, but it is a fun and fast trail that incorporates wooden features like drops, walls and table-top jumps. The Meadow Loop and Pinion Trail offer low gradients and fast, fun riding through heavy cedar tree canopy, while the upper part of the China Wall Trail goes up and over the 18


WEST OF 105 | OUTDOORS Gateway in Mesa County and includes the towns of Nucla, Naturita and Paradox. The area has hundreds of miles of old doubletrack and offers something for every kind of rider. Perhaps the most well-known single track trail in the area is the Y-11 Trail near the old townsite of Uravan. An intermediate to advanced trail thanks to some technical parts, there is at least one instance where the trail comes perilously close to the edge of the canyon. At 4.2 miles it isn’t too long, but you can always turn around and ride back. For those specifically seeking the autumn foliage, Thunder Trails, a 20-mile trail with an almost 1,000foot ascent near Norwood, is a great choice. It is 100 percent single track and takes riders through ponderosa pine, pinyon pine, and aspens. If you’re after a challenge, the Paradox Trail might be just what you’re looking for. Nearly 120 miles long, the trail, which was a collective effort between several groups, lies entirely on doubletrack surfaces and has at least five “hike-abike” sections that demand a dismount. With amazing views of cliffs and the La Sal Mountains to the west and the San Juans to the southeast, this is a spectacular ride.

MONTROSE There are hundreds of miles of trails in and around Montrose County, and while there aren’t too many that are accessible from downtown Montrose, there is one. The Montrose Big Loop features over 1,000 vertical feet of downhill singletrack over 10 miles in its 30-mile loop. With great views and a route that lands you back in town and not far from a brewery, this is not a bad way to spend a Sunday.

be finished by a good rider in around two hours. There are a few small climbs and a small hike. This trail is particularly good in autumn thanks to the upper end of the trail passing through a grove of aspen trees that will be doing their annual color change as they quake in the breeze. LOMA, FRUITA, GRAND JUNCTION This area of Colorado is very well-known to mountain bikers, and this time of the year is the best time to visit.

Sidewinder Trail starts close to Delta and winds it way south, parallel to Highway 50, towards Montrose but finishes close to the spiritual home of Colorado corn, Olathe. The trail is much more of a technical challenge than the Big Loop as it has almost 20 miles of desert singletrack and plenty of slickrock sections to keep riders on their toes. Access is great, too, which means you can get on and off the trail in several places.

The Kokopelli Loops area offers about 40 miles of trails in a compact, easilynavigable network. Among those forty miles, however, is everything from fast and flowy trails that are not particularly technical to several areas that are the opposite - outrageously so. The 4.6-mile Moore Fun Trail is the most technical and the most physically demanding. Just mix and match based on your ability.

Perhaps the best-known trail in Montrose is the Whole Uncolada Trail. A nod to Moab’s Whole Enchilada Trail, the 3,000-foot decent overall means this ride can

The most family-friendly area is 18 Road. It has a good range of trails which makes it suitable for all skill levels with nothing that would be considered

too challenging for an experienced rider. The system allows for multiple laps to get beginners used to trail riding. The most technical trails in the area can be found at the Lunch Loops. Just outside Grand Junction and on the way to the incredible Colorado National Monument, there are still plenty of trails for beginners and intermediate riders, but for those who want a real challenge, the 2.7-mile Holy Cross Trail might be for you. The technical ride has been known to catch even experienced riders by surprise and leave them feeling exhausted. For another technical ride, the Palisade Rim Trail, just over twenty miles away in Colorado’s wine country, Palisade, is 8.5 miles of mostly single track that offers amazing views and, as the name suggests, takes you close to the edge on a number of occasions! A great resource for riding in these areas are local bike shops who can get you acquainted with all the local trails and hook you up with all the gear you could every need.

A great resource for this region is the West End Trails Alliance (westendtrails.org). They offer all kinds of advice and tips and they also publish their own maps, which is handy because many of the trails in the West End are unmarked.

Photos (opposite page, top) Rob McGovern / Period Comms (below): Chris Latham Photography; (this page): Matthew Inden / Miles

@WESTOF105 | #CrosstheMeridian



The Arkansas and San Luis Valleys are hot spots for recreation thanks to the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve near Alamosa, the Sangre De Cristo Mountains, and the Collegiate Range which has the highest concentration of 14ers in the country (read more about taking in the splendor of the mountains in our scenic byway feature on page 30). Then there is Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area, one of the most popular places for rafting in the entire US. But the area is perhaps most appealing to mountain bikers as the area has trails galore. DEL NORTE AND SURROUNDS Directly west of Alamosa and not far from Monte Vista, Cat Creek is the longest trail in the region at just over 14 miles. A loop trail, it starts with a steady climb for just over seven miles before turning into a well-deserved descent back to the start. Designated for intermediate to advanced riders only, this trail promises spectacular fall foliage thanks to the glut of aspens in the area. Expect to spend at least half a day including traveling to and from the trailhead.


Nearby is the Middle Frisco Trail at just over 12 miles long. The best alpine trail in the region, it is a hiking trail in the Rio Grande National Forest that is open to mountain bikers. The first six miles and 2,500 feet is a pretty solid climb, first through beautiful aspen groves and then through open meadows and eventually spruce and fir forest before arriving back at Frisco Lake. There are a few sections where you will need to walk with or carry your bike, but the lake and the fun descent make it worth it. The Stone Quarry Trail System is managed by the BLM and is less than five miles east of Del Norte. The purpose-built trails have plenty of large boulders to act as fun obstacles. As scenic as it is interesting, the trails here are technically challenging. Pronghorn Loop is one of the most popular trails in the Stone Quarry system and the region. A relatively recent addition, it is within pedaling distance of Del Norte (so no need for the car). The almost nine-mile loop is 100 percent singletrack and was purpose built for bikes. It meanders through beautiful rock

formations before climbing into meadows where you can see across the valley to the Sangre de Cristo Mountain Range. Testing for beginners, the trail is fun for more experienced riders. North of Del Norte is Penitente Canyon, an area with a special place in the hearts of endurance mountain bikers in the region. Another BLM-managed system, there are lots of trails here with something for everyone. A total of 21 miles, there are over a dozen short trails that are classed as easy and are therefore great for beginners. Rock Drops Trail is just a mile long but as the name suggests it isn‘t for the faint of heart. If you want something a little longer, Rock Drops is part of the larger, and fantastically named, Sunshine Kitty - Rock Drops Loop, an eight-mile loop that can be started right from the Penitente Canyon Campground. The area is also an internationally recognized rock climbing area with more than 300 incredible climbing routes. South-facing routes can be climbed year round. Visit fs.usda.gov for more info on camping and climbing.


Delnortetrails.org is a great resource for mountain biking in the San Luis Valley. SALIDA Moving north into the Arkansas Valley, Salida has over 50 miles of trails. Sitting at the entrance (or exit) to the Arkansas Valley and on the Arkansas River, Salida is an awesome town. There are two trail systems in Salida, the Arkansas Hills Trail System (aka Tenderfoot Trails - a stacked loop design with more challenging trails higher in altitude and farther out from the trailheads) and the Methodist Mountain Trail System which contains the Little Rainbow beginner trail, as well as the Rainbow Trail. The Arkansas Hills trails are the closest to downtown and are on the warm side of the valley so many of them stay relatively warm and therefore snow-free during the winter. For those who want a long day in the saddle, the Cottonwood Tour at 23 miles is the longest. With a good amount of climbing (just under 9,000 feet) and several kinds of terrain, this trail can take experienced riders over four


EVENTS Ready to saddle up, clip in and join the masses on some of the fall’s best rides? Read on. Banana Belt | Saturday, September 15 Part of Salida Bike Fest, this 26-mile cross-country course involves a dirt road climb and six miles of single track on the Rainbow Trail before returning to Salida. Races start from 11 am; food will follow at Riverside Park. salidabikefest.com/bananabelt

hours, assuming you stop occasionally to take in the views, that is.

adjoining the city of Salida, have a great website with interactive maps.

At the other end of the temporal spectrum, the Sand Dunes Trail is one of the shortest at 1.5 miles but it is one of the most difficult. With a descent of over 700 feet over the short course and some sections that require your full attention, Sand Dunes is a work out.


The good people at Salida Mountain Trails, an allvolunteer organization committed to building and maintaining sustainable, non-motorized, multiuser trails on public lands

Mountain to Desert | Saturday, September 22 The single fundraising event for the Just For Kids Foundation, this course will take riders from the beautiful mountains of Telluride to the incredible desert landscape

of Gateway. Choose from 72, 101, 104 or 132 miles. Raise $500 or more by race day and get your race entry credited back to you. justforkidsfoundation.org 12 hours of Penitente | Saturday October 13 Now in its fourth year, this endurance ride challenges riders to complete as many circuits of the 17-mile course in Penitente Canyon near Del Norte as they can in 12 Hours. Entertainment, food and drinks make it a perfect all-day event for riders and their families. Proceeds benefit local youth cycling and outdoor recreation initiatives in the San Luis Valley. 12hoursofpenitence.com

FINALLY... Much of the area covered in this mountain biking section is wilderness. That means riders need to be personally responsible. Bear and elk sightings are not uncommon and you may hear coyotes. Mountain lions are also common, so use extra caution on the trail. Wear blaze orange during rifle season. Know your abilities, and remember - it looks like wilderness because it is wilderness.

Photos: Ben Knight (top), Kristi Mountain Sports (right and below)

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MSR | Hubba Tour Tent A good quality, waterproof backpacking tent is recommended to keep you away from the elements. We love the hubba tour tent from MSR. Complete with a spacious covered vestibule, the tent is lightweight, easy to set up and available in 1- 2- or 3-person models. $749.95

The RimRocker Trail is 160 miles of 4WD, OHV and bicycle accessible road from Montrose, Colorado to Moab, Utah. Winding across Montrose County and crossing the state line into Utah, the route traverses some of the West’s most stunning scenery including red rock canyons, rivers, desert vistas and alpine forests. Phil Bredfeldt from Durango completed the mammoth ride earlier this year and offers some advice for those thinking of attempting it. “The trip took me about three-and-a-half days. Some of it was very easy on graded dirt road (like Montrose to Nucla), while some parts were steep rocky jeep trails. I had four days worth of food with me, so it worked out great. “I would say anyone who bikes regularly could do it. There isn’t anything technical if you take it slow, aside from some big rocks in some areas. There is very little cell coverage throughout


the trip, so being prepared for any mechanical issues would be smart. Going in a group would be even smarter,” he says. Hydration was Bredfeldt’s primary concern. “Depending on the time of year, water supplies may be tough to find. I carried four bottles of water plus a CamelBak and did OK in early May.” If you are interested in doing the trail in autumn, err on the side of caution when it comes to water sources, some of which may have dried up. Be cautious too when filtering water as cattle may have contaminated some water sources. And the best time to do it? “I would think autumn would be good, but you would need to balance between it being not too hot in the lower elevations and not being caught in the first snow falls in the Uncompahgre and La Sal mountains. It might be amazing with the leaves changing,” Bredfeldt says. rimrockertrail.org

If you love the idea of taking on an unsupported ride, there are four Epic Rides in Colorado as designated by the International Mountain Biking Association (IMBA). Pencil them in for summer 2019. The Colorado Trail | This monster ride traverses the 300 plus miles of single track trail that makes up the bikeable segments of the Colorado Trail. Buffalo Creek Big Loop | With plenty of long climbs and descents, this trail is great for those who are progressing towards becoming intermediate riders.

MSR | PocketRocket 2 Mini Stove Kit Weighing in at less than 10 ounces, the ultra-compact stove is virtually unnoticeable in your pack. Great for boiling water on the trail or for that cup of coffee on an chilly autumn morning. $59.95

Aspen Snowmass Mega Loop | Expect 60+ miles of fast descents, incredible mountain views and easy access with a start and end in Aspen. Monarch Crest | Combining the Continental Divide Trail, The Monarch Crest Trail and Silver Creek Trail, this ride brings all kinds of track and stunning views together in one monster ride. imba.com


KATADYN | Hiker Pro Microfilter Lightweight and easy to use, the water filter nets one liter per minute and is suitable for cloudy, extremely dirty water and is effective against microorganisms $ 84.95

Photos: (this page) Rob McGovern / Period Comms; (opposite page): Chris Latham Photography


@WESTOF105 | #CrosstheMeridian








Recently expanded thanks to the purchase of almost 2,500 acres, the Black Canyon is a spectacular place any time of day and any time of the year. But at the Black Canyon they want that name to mean something, so they go the extra mile to ensure the dark skies are the darkest they can be. Artificial lighting is used only where necessary for safety, motion detectors limit the light used in restrooms and other areas and all outdoor lighting devices use lowenergy, low-impact bulbs with shields that direct light to the ground.

Apart from the cool name and the 149-million-year-old fossils, Dinosaur National Monument also happens to be one of the darkest places in the country. Although the monument has a designated spot near Split Mountain Campground where night sky programs are held, most of the monument is good for viewing the night sky with either the naked eye or with telescopes and binoculars.

The park is always open to stargaze on your own, but from May through to the end of September, rangers and local astronomers present evening talks every Wednesday and Friday night.

Dinosaur National Monument offers all kinds of events are offered throughout the year, but of particular interest to those with a penchant for dark skies are the naked eye constellation tours. The tours are followed by viewing planets, nebulae, star clusters and other deep sky objects through telescopes at Split Mountain Campground. Remaining dates for 2018 are September 5th and 8th at 8:45 pm.





Silver Cliff and Westcliffe, two sparsely populated towns in the Wet Mountain Valley, earned a joint certification as a Dark Sky Community (as opposed to the Black Canyon’s designation as a park) from the International Dark-Sky Association back in 2015. It was the first such community in the state, the second in the nation, and the ninth in the world.

Those who want to gaze up at the incredible tapestry of pin pricks on the Bible black sky need do no more than find a dark place and look up (it is worth remembering that the core of the Milky Way isn’t particularly visible during winter in the northern hemisphere). For a closer view, the Black Canyon, Westcliff and Silver Cliff have astronomy groups that meet regularly to peer into the cosmos through very powerful telescopes. These groups are very welcoming and love to share their passion with newcomers. Visit darksky.org for more info.

Because of these exceptional skies and the astronomy education programs on offer, the Black Canyon was designated an International Dark Sky Park in September 2015.

The Smokey Jack Observatory in Westcliffe has one of the largest and most state of the art telescopes in the state of Colorado. Maintained by Dark Skies of the Wet Mountain Valley, the group also hosts free public “star parties” where you can mingle and stargaze. The parties are scheduled from May to October based on current astronomical events. The observatory is open year around and visitors can throw their own private star party, hosted by a trained guide, throughout the year. Amazingly these private events are free but reservations are crucial. Visit darkskiescolorado.org for more info.

If you want to take home a memento, you might want to think about joining an astrophotography workshop. Capturing the Milky Way in all of its nebulous splendor is not easy and requires a few bits of equipment as well as some specialist knowledge. Mike Pach runs night sky photography workshops in the Westcliffe/Silvercliff area. Visit 3peaksphoto.com for more information.

Photos: Mike Pach; (main image), Sangre Photography, LLC / sangrephotography.com (bottom three images)







The Gunnison River has 27 miles of Gold Medal waters, running from 200 yards downstream of the Crystal Reservoir Dam to the confluence with the Smith Fork. The Gold Medal waters are contained within Gunnison Gorge National Conservation Area and Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park which means there are great places to camp and plenty of other recreation opportunities. Pleasure Park provides exceptional trout fishing but there are also good opportunities all the way to Gunnison ranging from open river to the depths of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison at the East Portal and Blue Mesa Reservoir. The latter is also popular for ice fishing in winter. Within the Gold Medal waters all rainbow trout must be returned to the water immediately upon catch.

Much of the Gold Medal waters of the South Platte River are located in the beautiful Pike National Forest. Split into three different parts, there is a total of 37 miles of trout-filled water to choose where to cast a line. The longest section is a 20-mile stretch from the bridge on Colorado Highway 9 over Blue River downstream to Spinney Mountain Reservoir; the second section is about four miles long and runs from below Spinney Mountain to the inlet of Eleven Miles Reservoir; and the final section starts at the Wigwam Club and heads downstream a dozen miles or so to Scraggy View Picnic Ground. This last section is particularly good as there is easy access to the river and decent wildlife populations relatively close to town.

Just north of Minturn is Gore Creek. A tributary to the Eagle River, this is the smallest section of Gold Medal waters in Colorado at just about four miles long, but don’t let that fool you, this is a great spot to fish, but you will likely have a little bit of company. It starts at Dowd’s Junction where I-70 meets Top of the Rockies Scenic Byway and ends just before Vail. This stretch is particularly good as many locations are easily accessible from the highway; it is especially known for brown trout. Just along the Eagle River in Avon is Harry A. Nottingham Park where the lake has four kinds of trout: Brown, Cutthroat, Rainbow and Snake River Cutthroat. And a little further up the river in Edwards is another recommended spot just north of Berry Creek.

Dragonfly Anglers, Montrose Angler, Western Anglers are recommended.

Flies and Lies in Deckers and Blue Quill in Evergreen are recommended outfitters.

Vail Valley Anglers and Minturn Anglers are recommended outfitters.

WESTOF105.COM Photos: Matthew Inden / Miles


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GRANITE VIA FERRATA, BUENA VISTA Arkansas Valley Adventures originally started running commercial whitewater rafting trips in Colorado 20 years ago. Expansion into ziplining, fly fishing and guided hiking eventually led to via

ferrate. The Granite Via Ferrata just north of Buena Vista is the company’s most recent expansion (trips started just this past summer) and is the company’s second via ferrata. Set at the base of the Collegiate Range (the highest concentration of 14ers in the country) and with views of the

Arkansas River, Mosquito Range and the Sawatch Range, the three-hour course includes crossing multiple suspended bridges, a rappelling section, and even incorporates ziplining in addition to the actual via ferrata. Climbers must be at least 12 years old. coloradoviaferrata.com

MOUNT EVANS VIA FERRATA, IDAHO SPRINGS Just 40 minutes west of Denver, AVA’s first via ferrata course is the Mount Evans Via Ferrata. With incredible views of the Continental Divide and overlooking Chicago Creek, this course features a 50-foot free fall, suspended bridges, and a 70-foot rappel in addition to the via ferrata. Built in 2017, the trip is also around three hours and also has an age restriction of twelve years old. coloradoviaferrata.com

THE KROGERATA, TELLURIDE Finally, there is the Telluride via ferrata. Free and open to the public, installation began in 2006 under somewhat dubious legal circumstances by local explorer and climber Chuck Kroger. A fierce advocate when it came to access to local wilderness and peaks, Kroger first discovered via ferrate in Europe back in 1967. When he settled in Telluride, he decided to build one there. An accomplished climber, Kroger fabricated the holds and then ascended the sheer rock faces to install them. The Krogerata, as it is affectionately called, is 1.5 miles long and will take an experienced climber around three hours to complete. While you don’t have to be an expert climber to enjoy via ferrate, it is always better to have a guide or someone who knows what they’re doing to assist you. The good people at Telluride Mountain Club are more than happy to help with tips and advice, but they also know the best people in the area to go to if you want a guide. Three companies come highly recommended by Telluride Mountain Club: Mountain Trip, San Juan Outdoor Adventures, and Telluride Mountain Guides. telluridemountainclub.org

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Photos (opposite page) Granite Via Ferrata, credit: Katie Schneider with AVA Rafting & Zipline; (this page, all): Mount Evans Via Ferrata, credit: Katie Schneider with AVA Rafting & Zipline














Colorado has something for everyone, so even if you can’t get out on a bike this autumn, the enviable collection of Scenic Byways West of 105 means a leisurely drive can be elevated into a beautiful road trip.


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1 PEAK TO PEAK Length: 55 Miles Driving time: 80 Minutes The oldest of Colorado’s Scenic Byways, the 55-mile Peak to Peak Scenic Byway was designated way back in 1918. It runs from Central City / Black Hawk, through Roosevelt National Forest and parallel to Rocky Mountain National Park (one of the country’s most-visited) before ending at Estes Park (or vice versa). There are plenty of interesting places to stop along the way including Golden Gate Canyon State Park, the Indian Peaks Wilderness Area, the ghost towns of Hesse and Apex and the historic mining town of Nederland. In addition to the herds of elk that roam downtown Estes Park, you can also stop in at the Stanley Hotel, the inspiration for Stephen King’s “The Shining” - better yet, stay for the night.

2 WEST ELK LOOP Length: 205 Miles Driving time: 6-8 Hours The West Elk Loop is a long one, but with so many great towns along the way, it makes sense to stop for a night or two. A short drive from I- 70, Carbondale is a popular place to start and end this loop, plus that way you get to have the twin peaks of the majestic Mount Sopris almost fill your windshield as you drive south. The route continues towards the interesting and charming hamlet of Redstone, into wine country at Paonia and on towards the North Rim of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. An eastward turn takes you along the Gunnison River and toward Curecanti National Recreation Area which includes Blue Mesa Reservoir. The loop then passes by Gunnison and the ski town of Crested Butte, both of which are magnets for mountain bike enthusiasts during the warmer months (page xx). End your journey by heading back towards Carbondale over Kebler Pass and McClure Pass.


Photo: (this page, clockwise from top): James Frank; Rob McGovern / Period Comms; Glenn Smith



4 COLLEGIATE PEAKS Length: 57 Miles Driving time: 90 Minutes As the name of this scenic byway suggests, several of the peaks in this collection of giants are named for prominent universities. In fact, nine in this collection are over 14,000 feet and together make up the largest concentration of 14ers in the US as well as being part of the Continental Divide. The spectacular drive is as short as it is amazing and will take you through one of the state’s most beautiful areas that is both rich in history and also offers a bounty of recreational opportunities. Start at the foot of the Sawatch Range in Salida. After you’ve wandered around the town’s historic district - the largest in the state - you can either drive west to Poncha Springs or follow the Arkansas River (the most commercially rafted river in the entire country) north, returning to your start point using the other route. Alternating between distant mountain peaks and the banks of the Arkansas, the route offers plenty to see and do, including long-abandoned mining towns and excellent beer at Elevation Beer Company in Poncha Springs and Eddyline Brewery in Buena Vista. Weary travelers might want to consider stopping for a few hours (or a night) near Mount Princeton. With several hot springs and places to spend the night (including the beautiful Mount Princeton Hot Springs Resort and Deer Valley Ranch), it is worth considering before heading to the quaint community of Buena Vista the following morning.

3 FLAT TOPS TRAIL Length: 82 Miles Driving time: 2 Hours This area is perhaps the most historically important of all the byways. It is credited as being one the places that inspired the very concept of preservation in the Old West as well as being the birthplace of the idea that public lands could, and should, be left as wilderness. This tradition of preservation makes for incredibly pristine scenery. Starting in Yampa, the drive heads west past Trappers Lake (it was from the shores here that the Forest Service landscape architect Arthur Carhart realized how beautiful the area was and pushed for its preservation) and on to Buford before finishing in the town of Meeker. It is here that the region’s history takes a tragic turn. The Meeker Massacre was a conflict between Ute Indians and ultimately the US government that led to the forced removal of the White River Utes and the Uncompahgre Utes from Colorado. The White River Museum at the western end of the byway in the town of Meeker tells the full story. Be sure to pay attention to road closures between mile marker 31 and Dunckley Pass towards mid-November when the road tends to close every year for winter sports usage. Photo: (this page, clockwise from above left) Matthew Inden / Miles; Toni N Francis; Ron Willey


5 SAN JUAN SKYWAY Length: 236 Miles Driving time: 6 Hours Like the West Elk Loop, this byway is long, but there is so much natural splendor on offer and so many great mountain towns to see along the way that you simply won’t care. A tour of the Old West if ever there was one, the San Juan Skyway is a loop that connects Durango with Telluride and Ridgway before heading back down towards Mesa Verde National Park, winding through the mountains en route. Plan on arriving in Durango a day or two early to enjoy one of Colorado’s best kept secrets; consider taking the old narrow gauge train through the mountains to Silverton (you can either take it back or have someone meet you in Silverton to continue your journey). The road from Silverton to Ouray (the town is known as “the Switzerland of America”) is called the “Million Dollar Highway” and is a true Colorado experience. Then there is quaint Ridgway where John Wayne and company came to film key scenes from the movie “True Grit” (the majority of the movie was filmed in and around this area), and picturesque Telluride which is renowned for world-class skiing and its enviable summer festival lineup. The final stretch takes you south towards Dolores and Cortez. Up-and-coming towns for sure, the real gem of this corner of the state is Mesa Verde National Park, home to one of the densest collections of prehistoric ruins in the U.S. and five million acres of undisturbed national forest. Photo (above and below): 34 Matthew Inden / Miles



Length: 129 Miles Driving time: 3 Hours While the San Juan Skyway is considered by some to be the most beautiful drive in the country, Los Caminos Antiguos may be the most historic. Straddling the border with New Mexico, this area is the center of Hispanic culture in Colorado and offers the chance to follow in the footsteps, so to speak, of the Spanish explorers and early settlers. The area is also home to several notable places, including the tallest sand dunes in North America at Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve; San Luis, which was established in 1851 and therefore the oldest surviving community in Colorado; Our Lady of Guadalupe, in Conejos, the oldest parish in the state; and Fort Garland, one of the first military posts in Colorado. Also nearby is Manassa, the birthplace of former world heavyweight boxing champion boxer Jack Dempsey, and Zapata Falls near Great Sand Dunes National Park, which is worth a visit (read more about the Great Sand Dunes National Park on page 53).

7 SILVER THREAD Length: 117 Miles Driving time: 3 Hours The colorful old mining camps of the Silver Thread Scenic Byway offer a fantastic combination of history, scenic beauty, and authenticity. The rugged mountains around Creede and Lake City are strewn with abandoned mines, most of which are accessible thanks to a network of backcountry roads even if they are a bit rugged. The road between the two follows the Rio Grande River, at least partly, and offers some truly spectacular scenery including North Clear Creek Falls, the shark-like fin of Uncompahgre Peak, and the unique Slumgullion Earthflow National Natural Landmark. Formed about 700 years ago thanks to a mammoth rock slide, the huge mass blocked the Lake Fork of the Gunnison River and created Lake San Cristobal. Incredibly, a second earthflow began about 300 years ago and is still active today. Look for trees growing at odd angles. These mountains are also the site of one of Colorado’s grisliest tales, that of Alferd Packer who cannibalized his companions during an ill-fated winter expedition.

Photo (top left) Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area ; (top right): Rob McGovern / Period Comms; Denise Chambers / Miles

The byway was recently extended on the north end from Lake City to Blue Mesa Reservoir which means you can connect with the West Elk Loop Scenic Byway. @WESTOF105 | #CrosstheMeridian


ALL ABOARD! For a different, but equally scenic, ride jump aboard the California Zephyr at Denver’s Union Station and head West of 105 - literally. Once dubbed “the most talked about train in America," the California Zephyr is one of the most beautiful train trips in the country, and the Colorado portion of the journey is the best part. As the train heaves out of Denver and starts its journey west, the landscape quickly changes as you begin to climb into the Colorado Rockies. Just under three hours after departing from Denver, the train arrives in Winter Park, the so-called “icebox of America.” Skiers use the train in winter to get straight to Winter Park Ski Resort from downtown Denver. The resort is also the portal for the 6.2-mile Moffat Tunnel which cut the distance between Denver and the Pacific coast by 176 miles when it opened in 1928. Next is South Boulder Canyon which sees the Zephyr pass through 29 tunnels before eventually meeting and following Fraser River through the remote Fraser Canyon. There is a brief stop at Granby which is followed by Gore Canyon. Its steep walls ascend 1,000 feet on each side over the river, which has Class V whitewater, so look out for kayakers and rafters. You will probably get plenty of waves (you may see more than that as rafters have been known to bare their backsides to the train). The train carries on to Dotsero, the midpoint of the journey. Glenwood Canyon is perhaps the most beautiful part of the journey. Rugged and scenic, the 12.5-mile gorge on the Colorado River is the largest canyon on the upper Colorado River. The high cliffs are dotted with aspen and evergreen trees.

Glenwood Springs is next and is a great place to stop. Located at the confluence of the Roaring Fork and Colorado Rivers, the area is very popular with lovers of the great outdoors. There are also six world-class ski resorts within a 60-mile radius of the town, mile-upon-mile of mountain bike trails, whitewater rafting, backpacking trails and Glenwood Caverns. Wild West legend Doc Holliday spent the final months of his life here. Palisade and De Beque take those enjoying the Colorado portion of the train towards the end of the line. Palisade is known for its peaches and vineyards (read more about wine on page 58), while De Beque is a center for projects to protect the remaining wild horses and burros in the area, which includes construction of a public corral for care of injured and sick mustangs awaiting adoption. Finally, the train pulls in to Grand Junction. Colorado National Monument, a series of canyons and mesas similar to the Grand Canyon, watches over the city and is a must see if you have time. Powderhorn ski resort is nearby, too, as is Grand Mesa, one of the world’s largest flat top mountains. As an added bonus, the California Zephyr operates the Trails & Rails program between Denver and Grand Junction. The program is a partnership between the National Park Service and Amtrak and offers passengers that chance to listen to and ask questions of the ranger that travels on the train. The entire route of the Zephyr takes passengers between Chicago and the San Francisco Bay Area, but for us it begins in Denver and ends in Grand Junction - or vice versa. The train leaves Denver every day at 8.05 am and is scheduled to arrive in Grand Junction at 4.10 pm. The return journey leaves Grand Junction at 10.23 am and arrives in Denver that evening at around 7.10 pm. amtrak.com

Photo: Bryan Bechtold




38 Spotlight On Durango

An in-depth look at what the idyllic southwestern Colorado town has to offer

46 Telluride: 24 Hours

The historic mining town has so much to do, the hardest part will be what to save for your next visit

52. National Parks

With all of Colorado’s National Parks West of 105, we share the best of autumn in all four

Photo: Mike Alcott

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Nestled down in the southwest corner of Colorado, far from the madding crowd of Denver, Durango is a charming and thoughtfully curated mix of old and new. Steam trains and saloon shootouts sit side-by-side with fantastic farm-to table dining options, delicious beer, creative cocktails and outdoor activities in a landscape so beautiful it will make you weep. 38

Photo: Cole Davis





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LETTING OFF STEAM Durango is probably the most “western” town in Colorado. It looks and feels like an old west town, you can wander the same streets where shootouts (quite possibly at high noon) literally took place, and you can stay in hotels that look like they would have back in the early 1900s when they were built (less the TVs and air conditioning, of course). And when it comes to size, Durango is a sort of Goldilocks town - not too big, not too small. In fact, Durango is just right. Built by the Denver & Rio Grande Railway and officially incorporated in 1881 to serve as a supply depot for the millions of tons of silver and gold ore that were mined from the San Juan Mountains, Durango remains connected to the appropriately named Silverton by the historic Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad - as it has for well over a century. These days, the vintage steam-powered locomotive carries thousands of passengers a year as it meanders for two and a half hours through the stunning alpine landscapes of the San Juan National Forest and along the Animas River, gaining almost 3,000 feet in elevation, before arriving at its long-term terminus. (Read on to find out about quaint little Silverton and what to do there when you arrive.) In addition to its main journey to Silverton, the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad has several themed journeys throughout the year including the Great Pumpkin Patch Express, a Peanuts-themed adventure for kids, and the Annual Fall Photographer’s Special, among others (visit durangotrain.com for full details). The train also seems to have a peculiar effect on adults, making some of them giddy with excitement, particularly when the trains whistle blast or it rounds a bend and the front becomes visible from the back. Acclaimed travel writer Paul Theroux said in his book “The Great Railway Bazaar” that he had seldom heard a train go by and not wished he was on it. Well, the D&SNGRR may not compare to the journeys in his book in terms of length, but when it comes to history and scenery, the little train that could, certainly does - we think Theroux would agree.

BLENDING PAST AND PRESENT While the Narrow Gauge is a Durango icon that brings people from across the state, country and the world to the southwest corner of Colorado, it doesn’t define the town. In fact, Durango has effortlessly blended the region’s western history and beautiful natural landscape with a modern and sophisticated southwest vibe giving rise to a unique place that gives all kinds of people all kinds of opportunities to craft their own Durango experience. At the heart of Durango, both literally and figuratively, is the Main Avenue Historic District, a 34-acre area that has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1980. It is here where you can stand on a street corner and see what makes Durango special and how past and present have come together: Stand on the corner of Main Avenue and College Drive and you will see a historic hotel founded by a Civil War 40

When it comes to size, Durango is a sort of Goldilocks town - not too big, not too small. In fact, Durango is just right.

General opposite a mobile creperie started by a classicallytrained French chef. For those who do travel here for a taste of the old west, the Diamond Belle Saloon on Main Avenue is a fun place for a quick bite or a drink thanks to the ragtime piano player and the old west shootout reenactments. And that period entertainment couldn’t be in a more appropriate place.

Opening just seven years after the town itself was founded, the Strater Hotel cost Cleveland pharmacist Henry Strater the princely sum of $70,000. The historic building has undergone several renovations of varying degrees but each one has remained true to the spirit of the old west. Wander around the self-styled living history museum to see the trinkets and bits of old west memorabilia.



If you do decide to stay in one of the grand rooms you will be in good company as the hotel has hosted some notable names over the years including Paul Newman, Robert Redford, The Grateful Dead, Marilyn Monroe, and then-Senator John F. Kennedy when he was on the campaign trail in 1960. One block south on Main Avenue is the other grand property in town: the General Palmer. The co-founder of the Durango and Silverton Railway, William Jackson Palmer was a Brigadier General in the Civil War (he was also awarded the Medal of Honor) as well as a noted industrialist and philanthropist. Rooms at the AAA Four-Diamond Hotel in the heart of the town’s historic district are perhaps a little more modern than the Strater, but the hotel is no less grand. Rooms overlooking Main Avenue offer a great opportunity for people watching. At the end of the block is the narrow gauge station and beyond that is the D&SNG Railroad Museum. Ostensibly a museum about the narrow gauge, the 12,000-square-foot homage to the region’s history has antique trucks, tractors, a covered wagon, an Indian motorcycle, full-size steam locomotives, vintage coaches and an 800-square-foot model railroad that depicts the 1950s operations of the Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad. There is also an immigrant car, so called because they were designed to provide inexpensive transport for immigrants (they were also sometimes called colonist cars). Be sure to ask curator Jeff Ellingson about the immigrant car and its spectral inhabitant, Kate. Better still, join him on the Haunted Durango Train Museum Experience. Fees apply for guided tours but otherwise entrance to the museum is free. Photos (this page top): DATO; (this page center and bottom) Brandon Hull / General Palmer Hotel; (opposite page): Rob McGovern/ Period Comms


DINING Colorado is blessed with an abundance of fantastic produce (Palisade peaches and Olathe corn to name but two), and the veritable bounty of eating establishments of all shapes and sizes in Durango, from humble street food to fine dining - and everything in between - put it all to good use. In fact, a few years ago, Durango was said to have overtaken San Francisco as having the most restaurants per capita. There are options here for everyone, but it is the impressive number of places that go above and beyond by offering locals and visitors everything from farm-to-table dining and inventive cocktails that wouldn’t be out of place in Napa or Manhattan. In short, gastronomes will find themselves spoiled for choice. CARVER BREWING For a great pre-hike breakfast, Carver Brewing is a good choice. Comforting staples done well and served in generous portions. Anything that comes with a hash of some kind is going to satisfy even the greediest in your party. EL MORO SPIRITS AND TAVERN A reincarnation of the original El Moro Saloon, it was here that on a frosty day in January 1906 a confrontation between Sheriff William Thompson and Marshall Jesse Stansel over the enforcement of gambling laws in front of the saloon ended with Sheriff Thompson dead. Today El Moro is a great place for a cocktail or a glass of wine before dinner as well as being a great place for dinner itself. The menu is not vast, but it is carefully curated and offers a range of dishes, some that nod towards the history of Durango (the scotch egg and root vegetable shepherd’s pie), others that are locally made (the fermented lamb summer sausage), and others that are simply the best products available including cheeses and cured meats from Europe. SEASONS OF DURANGO Just down Main Avenue is Seasons of Durango, another welcoming restaurant that serves excellent food. The farmto-table menu uses as many local products as possible, many of which are then cooked on a grill or on a spit fueled by local oak. As the name suggests, the core of the Seasons menu changes every season. Dishes to try include spit-roasted free range half chicken with garlic mashed potatoes and vegetable succotash and the grilled pork loin chop with fingerling potatoes. ORE HOUSE The Ore House is a sort of wolf in sheep’s clothing, so to speak, but in the best possible way. From the street, the Ore House looks unassuming, quaint and very appropriate for a town like Durango. Even inside it is modest with a warm, family-friendly vibe, but when you open the menu you’ll find there is something of a happy incongruity. That isn’t to say the decor and vibe isn’t welcome, it very much is, it’s just that the menu has been designed (and, as it turns out, is executed) by people who really know their onions, so to speak. The steaks are why people come here, and for good reason, but the sides - the brussels sprouts, the crab mac and cheese with hatch green chili, and the asparagus with bearnaise - turn a meal into a feast. And don’t forget drinks. The Ore House has great cocktails and a wine list that is, at the time of writing, 16 pages long. 42

11TH STREET STATION Casual eats are the order of the day at 11th Street Station, a collection of seven food trucks that come together around Ernie’s Bar, a converted service station that stood for more than four decades from the 1920s. Drinks and food range from craft beer, coffee, tacos, pizza, sushi and even Indonesian cuisine. MICHEL’S CORNER Well-known to locals, Michel’s Corner is run by Frenchman Michel Poumay. The creperie would be described these days as a food truck, and it is, but as it predates the food truck movement, it would be fair to describe it as a pioneer of sorts. Crepes have a reputation as a somewhat bland vehicle for whipped cream and strawberries, but Michel’s crepes are a revelation and his Mennonite-built mobile creperie is a bona fide dining hot spot. The pulled pork and pan-fried goat cheese crepe expertly combines the sweet and tangy flavors of the main ingredients while the caramel apple and walnut crepe is perfectly sweet. The corner itself is a lovely place to spend an hour or so thanks to the cascading flowers that fill the square in summer; from mid-October Michel adds French onion soup to the menu which is surely going to be magnifique. CREAM BEAN BERRY If ice cream is more your thing when it comes to desserts, look no further than Cream Bean Berry. The scent of housemade waffle cones fill the air at this artisan ice creamery. The salted caramel is superb.


Photos (this page above): El Moro Spirits and Tavern; (below): Steamworks Brewing Co / DATO.; (opposite page above left): The Bookcase and Barber; (opposite page above right and below): SKA Brewing / DATO


tracks, their beer is good and they offer the old mining classic, pasties. DURANGO BREWING COMPANY One of Colorado’s founding breweries, the brew pub and kitchen offers an ever-changing selection of small batch ales and lagers. THE BOOKCASE AND BARBER For those that want a little more theater with their libations, look no further than The Bookcase and Barber. This fully functioning barber shop hides a delicious secret behind the bookcase. Find the password to be granted access to the secret flapper-cum-Gatsby bar beyond the bookcase where you’ll find some of Durango’s (and no doubt the state’s) finest cocktails, too - a mix of reinvented classics and original creations. The prohibition era is in full swing at this really fun local haunt. For a Bookcase original, head over to page 68.


DURANGO CRAFT SPIRITS AND HONEY HOUSE There are also two distilleries in town - Durango Craft Spirits and Honeyville House Distillery, the latter of which offers Colorado Honey Whiskey (read more about both of these distilleries and on page 66).

As for what to drink, well, it’s Colorado, so you can be sure that your beer mug will runneth over with some of the finest beer anywhere. SKA BREWING Ska Brewing was founded in 1995 and is one of the largest in the state by output (although you wouldn’t believe it by the size of the facility - go on a free tour and see for yourself). The tap room has almost two dozen beers, including small batch creations from the experimental Mod Project. Environmentalists will also love this place. The company’s efforts to go green include a rooftop covered with solar panels, bar top and tables made from recycled bowling alley lanes and walls insulated with recycled denim jeans. STEAMWORKS BREWING CO. Steamworks Brewing is one of the oldest brewpubs in the state having been founded in 1996, and it’s a very popular spot for groups and families. They have a drink special every day including Pint Night on Thursdays - $3 a pint all day. If you’re looking for something familiar and different at the same time try the Prescribed Burn, a light German ale conditioned with habañero, poblano and hatch green chiles. ANIMAS BREWING COMPANY From the old to the new, Animas Brewing Company is the newest brewery in town. Located right next to the train 43

STAY ACTIVE After all that wandering around downtown indulging in all manner of gastronomic and cultural delights, you may feel like it is time to enjoy the rest of Durango which means hiking, biking, SUP-boarding, and alpine coasting. There are literally hundreds of miles of hiking and mountain biking trails that are a short drive from downtown, and autumn is the best time to get out thanks to cooler weather and the changing foliage. Overend Mountain Park is just one mile from downtown. With 300 acres that will appeal to mountain bikers, hikers and trail runners, it is easily accessible and great for getting your heart rate up. Try Hogsback Ridge, it’s a local classic. All of Durango’s trails are built and maintained by local nonprofit group, Trails 2000, which hosts an interactive trail map, trail descriptions and trail condition reports at Trails2000.org. During the warmer months Purgatory Ski Resort transforms into an adventure playground with all kinds of activities including an alpine slide, a bungee trampoline, the Purgatory Bike Park, scenic chair lifts, SUP boarding and kayaking on Twilight Lake, and Purgatory’s latest addition, the Inferno Mountain Coaster, an almost one-mile long roller coaster with nine switchbacks, a 360 degree loop, 300 feet of vertical drop and reaching speeds up to 25 mph.



44 Photo: Purgatory Resort

For those who want to get out and really earn that beer or cocktail, there are lots of mountain bike trails of varying lengths and levels of difficulty nearby. The Squawker Trail is an easy-moderate trail that is just under three miles long. With a modest 151 foot ascent and accessible from downtown, this is nice gentle ride. For something a little more challenging, the Animas Mountain Trail is just under six miles (three miles up and three miles down) and is considered to be moderate-difficult with an ascent of just under 1,500 feet. This also starts and ends right in town. For other trails visit the excellent mtbproject.com. Back in town, those looking for a more sedate Durango experience might want to browse or even peruse the boutiques and art galleries that are dotted around town. For local arts and crafts there over a dozen art galleries, museums and cultural attractions. Swing by the Durango Arts Center, or the Powerhouse Science Center if you have kids in tow. Durango is a Coloradoan gem hidden in plain sight. Many people know it yet have never been, but it is easily accessible from the whole of western Colorado and Durango-La Plata County Airport has multiple daily flights to Denver as well as daily flights to Phoenix and Dallas. Durango.org




Don’t miss: Snowdown - A five-day festival celebrating all things winter, Snowdown is one of Durango’s biggest celebrations | January

Don’t miss: The Iron Horse Bicycle Classic - roadies saddle up and race the train as it heads from Durango to Silverton | May

Don’t miss: San Juan Brewfest - The biggest beer tasting festival in the Four Corners with over 100 beers to sample | August

Winter brings plenty of skiers and snowboarders to Purgatory Mountain where great runs are enhanced with some pretty amazing scenery. There is also the quaint Hesperus Ski Area west of town which offers wallet-friendly prices and night-time skiing. From learners to the pros, ice climbers have plenty of options around Durango and Silverton, while those looking for less adrenalineinducing activities there are plenty of options for snowshoeing and Nordic skiing. There are great trails for fat-tire biking and the recently-opened Mountain Coaster at Purgatory Resort is sure to please.

As the snow melts and waterways fill up, skis and snowboards are sidelined in favor of kayaks and SUP boards. Menus change to reflect the season, too, as does the output from the breweries and bars. The cycling community dusts off their bikes and clip-in to enjoy some of the most scenic roadways in the country. In fact, the town prides itself on offering over 2,000 miles of bike trails and hundreds of miles for road cycling. Spring is also a great time to explore the area on two feet before the weather really heats up. The Animas River trail, which winds its way through the town following the famed river, is a great start.


The newly-opened Lake Nighthorse is only a short drive from downtown and is a nice respite from the hot, dry summers. Further afield is Vallecito Lake. Kayaking, tubing and rafting down the Animas River are always firm favorites (there are plenty of outfitters to take care of your gear needs right in town). Up for hiking? Just a few miles from town is the start of the 486-mile Colorado Trail or closer to town there is Hogsback Ridge and the Smelter Mountain Trail which offers stunning views of town. Purgatory Mountain also offers a whole host of summertime activities and events including the annual Muck and Mire race.



As fantastic as Durango is, there are some other interesting and amazing places and towns nearby. If you have enough time, consider spending a day or so traveling to see some nearby attractions.

CORTEZ Many people visit Cortez because of its proximity to Mesa Verde National Park (Read more about the park on page 55), but also nearby is the 176,000-acre Canyons of the Ancients National Monument. With the highest known archaeological site density in the United States, it is just 10 miles west of Cortez and is a real undiscovered gem. As for Cortez itself, there are of course places to get a good beer (WildEdge Brewing Collective; J. Fargo’s Family Dining & Micro Brewery; and Main Street Brewery & Restaurant), as well as plenty of options for coffee and casual dining on Main Street About 15 miles west of town is Sutcliffe Vineyards. With multiple 90 point reviews, Sutcliffe has been named one of the top 500 producers in the U.S. The tasting room is a great place to visit for a few hours of serenity in a beautiful setting. Open year round between 12 pm – 5 pm daily, a four-wine tasting costs $10 per person. There are two golf courses in the area and Notah-Dineh, a trading company that works closely with Native American artists to offer unique pieces including handmade Navajo rugs, kachinas, sandpaintings, cradle boards and moccasins. Driving around Cortez is particularly beautiful. Consider driving on the Trail of the Ancients National Scenic Byway and the San Juan Skyway Scenic Byway if you can (page 30). If you aren’t staying at Far View Lodge inside Mesa Verde or camping there, or at the Canyons of the Ancients, the Retro Inn at Mesa Verde on Main Street is a quirky option.

Photo: Matthew Inden / Miles

SILVERTON The Danny DeVito to Durango’s Arnold Schwarzenegger, Silverton is a fantastic little mountain town and sits, very conveniently, at the end of the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad. It’s pretty small too with an area of less than one square mile and a population of around 600. It is also one of the highest towns in the United States at 9,318 feet. Silverton is also a National Historic Landmark - the whole town, that is - and part of the amazing San Juan Skyway Scenic Byway (for more info on Scenic Byways, see page 30). It is also a popular jumping off point for recreational activities, including rafting, backcountry touring, jeeping, ATV and OHV riding as well as fishing, hiking, biking, rafting, horseback riding and camping. When you finally dismount your steed, whatever it may be, you will need to be fed and watered. Handlebars is a no frills Western-themed eatery with elk and buffalo on the menu, and there are two breweries in town (Avalanche and Golden Block) to help you quench your thirst. There are also three soaking pools at Shangri-La Soaking Pools (located inside Smedley’s Suites). As for where to stay, Silverton has more than 30 lodging options. If you take trip from Durango during your visit, make it Silverton and make sure to at least arrive or leave by train. 45

Photo: NPS

46 Photo: Brett Schreckengost Telluride Ski Resort /




Hours IN

TELLURIDE Nestled in the heart of the San Juan Mountains, Telluride is a beautiful and historic mining town. Founded initially as a camp for miners, that camp eventually became a bona fide town that was incorporated three years after the first gold-mining claim was made in 1875.



OCATED in a box canyon, Telluride is surrounded by pristine natural beauty that turned out to be the perfect location for a ski resort. A year round destination, Telluride boasts an enviable combination of history, nature and festivals and some fantastic places to eat and drink. While 24 hours isn’t even close to enough to fully experience this magical mountain town, it’s a start!


7 am Autumn mornings are crisp and chilly at almost 9,000 feet, so get up and out and enjoy the morning air. The Butcher and Baker, a well-liked local bakery, opens at 7am Monday-Saturday and at 8am on Sunday. They have house-made pastries and bread, bagels and English muffins as well as more substantial fare. If you haven’t tried the Mexican breakfast dish of chilaquiles, you are in for a treat. Farm fresh eggs, tortilla chips, beans, cheese, cream, avocado, radish and green chilies come together in alchemistic style for an unbeatable breakfast. They also have an eclectic collection of sandwiches, salads and other things for lunch and dinner as well as cocktails and drinks.

8 am For coffee, try the Phoenix Bean, a one-minute walk down Colorado Avenue. Part of the New Sheridan group, the Phoenix Bean underwent a 12-month renovation project to restore what time had ravaged and is now a local favorite. Like the Butcher and Baker, it also serves lunch and dinner with cocktails, wine and beer.

8:30 am Get your coffee to go and head out into the wilderness. Telluride may have one of the best ski resorts in North America, but it offers as much, if not more, during the rest of the year, particularly summer and autumn. With the changing of the leaves, autumn begs you to get outside and enjoy this spectacle of nature.

Whether you want a gentle hike, to hurtle down the mountain on a bike, feel the raw power of a horse between your thighs or just relax while a guide takes you literally off the beaten path on a 4x4 jeep tour, Telluride can facilitate. There are hundreds of miles of hiking trails in the area including ones that lead you to the summit of a 14er (that’s Colorado speak for a peak over 14,000 feet). Two great resources for hiking are hikingproject.com and the Telluride Hiking Guide. Mountain biking is also a great option in early autumn. There are trails that are accessible straight off the (free) gondola at San Sophia Station. The longest trail at Mountain Village Bike Park (where you have to be a relatively experienced rider and sign a waiver) is the 1.5-mile No-Brainer Trail that features moderate slopes on a curvy trail. Away from the bike park, there are plenty of other challenging trails that take you on old mining roads and up above the box canyon, check out MTBproject.com for info on other trails in the area. Road cyclists might want to consider a jaunt on the very scenic San Juan Skyway (read more on page 30). It isn’t easy going, but the amazing views are more than worth it. For something more hands on try the very unique via ferrata. The iron rungs bolted right into the side of the south-facing canyon wall below Ajax Peak give those brave and fit enough the chance to traverse the 1.5-mile course. It takes an experienced climber around three hours, so be sure to know your limits. Read more about this and the two other via ferrate West of 105 on page 28. There is also Telluride Golf Club at the Peaks Resort & Spa. At over 9,000 feet, it is one of the world’s highest; it closes for winter on October 14.

Photos (left): Kristofer Noel / Telluride Ski Resort; (right): Matthew Inden / Miles




1 pm However you decide to spend your morning, you will probably be ready for lunch around now. The New Sheridan Chop House is inside the New Sheridan Hotel and is a classic American steakhouse. Uncluttered with simple white linens and unfussy decor, the Chop House is a Telluride favorite. The menu is relatively small and the dishes don’t stray too far from the classics - but then classics are classics for a reason. An absolute must for chilly autumn days, the French onion soup is a great way to start a feast if your hungry (if you aren’t, one between two is a good idea). The Colorado trout salad with sherry and bacon vinaigrette and the Reuben made with house-corned beef are both as delicious as they are filling - which is to say very on both counts. Unless you have hiked the aforementioned 14er, you may not have space for dessert. If you’re feeling a little tired after your exertions earlier in the day, get yourself a New Sheridan Flatliner Martini. A Chop House signature cocktail made with Telluride vodka, Bailey’s Irish Cream, Kahlua and cold-brewed espresso, the caffeine kick will wake you from your slumber.

2:30 pm Walk off what will undoubtedly be a gigantic portion from the Chop House with a stroll around town. There are self-guided art and historical walking tours and Telluride is also a statecertified Creative District, read more on page 90. Before heading back to your accommodation to get ready for dinner and perhaps a night on the town, a drink is in order. Telluride is not short of watering holes, but at this time of day, a local beer should hit the spot. Smuggler’s Brewpub on South Pine Street is a laid back pub with all the features of a good pub - good beer, sports on TV and classic pub food should you need more to eat. Get a pint of something local.

Photos (clockwise from top right): New Sheridan Chop House; New Sheridan Hotel; Vaudeville Event Telluride Arts / Telluride Transfer Warehouse; Rob McGovern / Period Comms


7 pm

Telluride has a lot of good places to eat and there is something for everyone. If you didn’t go to the Chop House for lunch, dinner is a good bet there with steaks being the order of the day. There is also Brown Dog Pizza on East Colorado Avenue. With award-winning dough flingers (Brown Dog Pizza finished first at the Pizza World Championships 2015 in Parma, Italy), you can be assured of a good slice of pizza. You can also be assured of a strange slice, too, unless you’re from Detroit. Detroit-style pizza has a twice baked crust - once without sauce and again with - that really locks in that crunch. If Detroit isn’t exotic enough for you, maybe the Village Table will do it. Like the pizza, this place in Mountain Village offers something a little different but at the same time familiar. The name may conjure images of a quaint place with perhaps unfinished wooden tables, exposed beams and a roaring fire, but the Village Table is actually a very authentic Spanish tapas restaurant. Flagstone floors and brushed steel table tops give the restaurant a very informal feel, as does the service - friendly and knowledgeable without being overly deferential - but as soon as you take a bite of something you realize that chef and owner Johnny Gerona takes his tapas seriously, at least to the point where he knows they are as authentic as you will get anywhere in the world - including Spain. Originally from New York, Gerona has lived in Telluride for more than 30 years.

His father was from Spain and so as a kid he would visit the land of his father every other summer, so when he says he is confident that any Spaniard would be right at home with his food, there is no reason to doubt him. The menu includes more than a dozen types of tapas as well as some seafood entrées and a couple of types of paella. The squid steak is fantastic - tender yet flavorful thanks to the griddle that adds distinctive marks and a smoky flavor. Be sure to squeeze the accompanying charred lemon wedge over it. The salt cod croquettes are perfectly salty, the pan de tomatoe looks simple but the crunchy bread and rich topping combine perfectly, and the Spanish tortilla is hearty yet subtle. The paella, available for one or two, is perfect for autumn and winter - the spoonfuls of saffron rice are soft and warming as they go down. The chicken and chorizo is a very good combination, but a seafood version is also available. As for dessert, be sure to try the chocolate mousse. It is honestly as satisfying as any dish on the menu. Not too light and airy, the mousse is less bitter and more creamy than most yet Gerona has replaced some of the dairy with olive oil that somehow results in a treat that will convert anyone on the fence about chocolate desserts. On warmer days a jug of sangria is a good choice; after sundown perhaps a glass of wine would be better.

Photo: XXX



Photos (this page): Telluride Ski Resort; (opposite page, above left): Telluride Ski Resort / Ben Eng; (opposite page, center and below) Neil Hastings / Telluride Mountain Lodge


9 pm

Beyond 24 Hours

To walk off dinner and make sure you are well and truly tired out, go for a post-dinner stroll back down the mountain in Telluride. Simply wander aimlessly and take in the splendor of a beautiful mountain town on a cool autumn evening (a selfguided tour is a great idea if you haven’t already done it).

Be sure to check what is on at the Sheridan Opera House. Located behind the Sheridan Hotel, the historic theater hosts all kinds of performances through the year.

For a nightcap and to get out of the cold, make your way to There… on West Pacific Avenue. A down-to-earth bar that doesn’t take itself too seriously, There… has almost a dozen original cocktail creations, so you’re sure to find something.

A Telluride icon, Allred’s restaurant is located at the San Sophia gondola stop at 10,535 feet which means the views are quite possibly unrivaled anywhere. The food is contemporary American and regularly receives rave reviews. If you don’t want to dine, enjoy a drink at the bar, it’s worth it for the view alone.

Shoulder Season As a true mountain town, Telluride virtually shuts down for a small period every autumn as the town gears up for the coming onslaught of winter tourism. While some restaurants and hotels do stay open throughout this period (Telluride Mountain Lodge is one of them) be prepared for a few days of solitude if you visit between mid-October and Thanksgiving - this includes the gondola that shuttles people between Telluride and Mountain Village, although there is a complimentary bus from Mountain Village down to Telluride during this period. If you are, however looking for a bit of peace and quiet, this is the perfect time to visit. Book a suite with a kitchenette, stock up on groceries and wine and enjoy having the place to yourself!

11 pm Telluride has plenty of options when it comes where to rest what should be a weary body, both in town and up in Mountain Village, especially in autumn when the town is about to start gearing up for winter but isn’t quite there yet. Up in Mountain Village, Telluride Mountain Lodge is up at the end of the gondola. Think chunky light oak furnishings with fireplaces. Some also have kitchenettes for coffee and quick breakfasts before heading out on a hike, on a bike or in winter to the slopes. The best part of the lodge is its location - quite literally in the thick of the forest, the autumn foliage is quite unbeatable when taken in from the outdoor hot tub or from The View, the resort’s restaurant and bar (which closes briefly during shoulder season), which couldn’t be more aptly named. There are great options in town, too, including the New Sheridan. It is conveniently located on Colorado Avenue, next door to the Chop House (very convenient if you do need a post-lunch nap after going into hibernation mode after a monster lunch). The hotel featured in the 1969 Academy Award-winning film “Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid” starring Paul Newman and Robert Redford, too. 51

COLORADO has four incredible and unique national parks, all of which happen to be West of 105. For autumn, the temperature drops and all four open themselves up to slightly different experiences than in the summer. Leaf peepers will be happy to be able to see a whole spectrum of colors while wildlife enthusiasts will flock to the parks to try to catch, among other things, the mating call of the bull elk.

Photos (this page): Matthew Inden / Miles; (opposite page): Rob McGovern / Period Comms






One of the youngest national parks in the system having been established in 2004 (although it was originally designated as a National Monument back in 1932), Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve is one of the most unique parks in the entire country thanks to its 30 square miles of sand dunes, including the highest dunes in North America. Formed by deposits from the ancient Rio Grande River in the San Luis Valley, the park attracts a tenth of the number of visitors as Rocky Mountain National Park (with numbers dropping from around 50,000 in September to just over 10,000 in November). It is also fairly modest in terms

of size at 107,341.87 acres (ranking 38th out of 60 parks; the preserve protects an additional 41,686 acres). Eagle-eyed readers will have noticed that the dune field makes up less than one fifth of the park and preserve. So what takes up the rest? Grasslands, wetlands, conifer and aspen forests, alpine lakes, and six 13,000foot mountains, that’s what. It is the dunes, however, that attract a great many people to the park to see, climb and sled down them. For a real workout (and a beautiful payoff), wake before dawn and head for High Dune on the first ridge. A round trip hike is around 2.5 miles. For a longer and more thorough examination of your cardiovascular system, head for Star Dune, the tallest in the dunefield at 755 feet. It will absolutely take it out of you but leave

There is a phrase that aims to bring attention to the other face of the park - Half the Park is after Dark. And it’s true. Hiking the dunes at night, particularly with a full moon, is an experience you are unlikely to experience anywhere else in the country.

While the park and preserve are always open, Piñon Flats Campground inside the park closes at the end of October. Backpackers, however, have the run of the dunefield as camping is permitted anywhere (outside of the day use area). There is a limit of 20 parties in the dunefield per night; permits are free and are issued on a firstcome-first-served basis. Free ranger-led programs are offered through October.

In fact, the park, which is in the process of becoming Night Skies certified, often hosts events to celebrate the park after dark including amateur astronomy nights.


you with a fantastic feeling of accomplishment. Oh, and don’t forget your sled to make the return journey much faster!

Another autumn spectacle at Sand Dunes is the sandhill crane migration. One of 250 bird species found in the park and preserve, 20,000 of them spend part of autumn in the valley.

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One campground; camping permitted in dunefields

MORE INFO nps.gov/grsa




The fourth most visited National Park in the country with almost four and a half million visitors in 2017, Rocky Mountain National Park is also Colorado’s biggest (it’s about 40 percent bigger than Great Sand Dunes National Park). Established in 1915 with the Rocky Mountain National Park Act, the park was recognized by UNESCO in 1976 by designating it as one of the first World Biosphere Reserves - a designation that demonstrates a balanced relationship between people and nature. Autumn is a good time to visit, particularly late autumn. Visitor numbers peak in July with a staggering

Photos (this page): Matthew Inden / Miles; (opposite page): Cole 54 Davis

885,478 visitors and start to tail off as the temperature and the leaves drop. September last year saw almost 700,000 visitors but that was cut almost in half in October and half again in November with just over 140,000 visitors. As for autumn specifically, the park has several various types of terrain at altitude, so wearing several layers of warm clothing is highly recommended - a light waterproof jacket might not be a bad idea either. Temperatures in midSeptember at the park’s lower elevations (around 8,000 feet) have been known to range from freezing to 80 degrees Fahrenheit, which can produce everything from hail and snow to beautiful autumn days. At the Alpine Visitor Center, at almost 12,000 feet, it isn’t

uncommon to see snow and hail in autumn - it is worth remembering that roads can be closed for safety purposes if snow and or hail is significant. Be sure to bring your camera, as autumn here is spectacular with the landscape turning into a patchwork of yellows, golds, and browns as the aspens change. The sight of the nowchanged aspens “quaking” in the wind is something to behold. You may also see elk as they herd, with the bull calling to entice cows, and migratory birds as they flock in preparation for their journey south. RMNP has plenty of camping (five campgrounds and over 500 sites), but the three that can be reserved in advance usually are, however there is still some availability for autumn at the time of writing


- visit recreation.gov to check and book. The park also has two first-come-first-served campgrounds. Longs Peak Campground and Timber Creek Campground are open until September 10 and October 1 respectively. As for what to do, there are 355 miles of hiking trails, scenic drives, 50 lakes and many streams for fishing, ranger-led programs, and horseback riding at Moraine Park Stables until September 24.



Five campgrounds with 500+ sites

MORE INFO nps.gov/romo




Another fantastically unique national park West of 105, Mesa Verde National Park was established in 1906 to preserve and interpret the archaeological heritage of the Ancestral Pueblo people who made it their home for over 700 years, from 600 to 1300 CE. The 52,485-acre park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is home to nearly 5,000 sites of archaeological interest including 600 incredible cliff dwellings. Spruce Tree House, the third largest and best preserved cliff dwelling in the park, is unfortunately closed to the public for the foreseeable future after a 2015 rock fall, but it can still

be enjoyed from an overlook near the museum. Balcony House, a mediumsized cliff dwelling with 40 rooms and a 32-foot entrance ladder, can be seen on by ranger-guided tours only. Tickets for the one-hour tour are available at the Mesa Verde Visitor and Research Center until October 21. Elsewhere is Cliff Palace. Said to have contained 150 rooms and 23 kivas with a population of around 100 people, Cliff Palace is a exceptionally large dwelling that is thought to have been a social and administrative site that was probably used for special ceremonies. There is camping inside the park at Morefield Campground. The campground has 267 sites and rarely fills. A nice bonus is that several of the park’s

best hikes leave from Morefield. Morefield also has a full service “village” that has a café, a gas station, an RV dumping station, coin-operated laundry, complimentary showers, a gift shop, and a grocery store. The campground and village are fully open until October 17, while limited off-season camping is available from October 18 to November 2. For slightly more upmarket lodging there is Far View Lodge. Rooms offer amazing and unobstructed views of the park and are perfect for wildlife watching and stargazing. Far View Lodge closes on October 24. Activities inside the park include observing wildlife - deer, coyotes, cottontail rabbits, and jackrabbits (your chances of spotting these animals are higher

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between Far View and the headquarters area. If you do get lucky enough to spot a mountain lion or bear be sure to fill out a wildlife sighting card. Minimal light pollution in the area allows for virtually unobstructed viewing of the night skies. The locations recommended for stargazing in the park include Far View Lodge, Morefield Campground and Montezuma or Mancos Overlooks. (See page 24 for more on stargazing West of 105.)



One site with over 250 spaces

MORE INFO nps.gov/meve




and downstream into Gunnison Gorge National Conservation Area - both wonderful areas in their own right.

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park is, relatively speaking, practically unvisited, with just over 300,000 visitors in 2017. However, it is worth remembering that at just 30,780.76 acres, it is also one of the smallest parks in the system (there are just six smaller), so it may not feel as quiet as the numbers suggest. It is also a relatively young park having been redesignated from a national monument (first established in 1933) to a national park in 1999.

Aside from just staring in awe, there are over 200 archaeological sites to explore in the park, many of which show evidence of Ute Native American presence. The park also attracts rock climbers and kayakers, but both the climbs and the rapids are difficult and are best left to those with the technical savvy to make it in and out safely. On top of the South Rim, however, there’s a small bouldering playground called Marmot Rocks.

The park, so named because the steep canyon walls allow, in parts, a scant amount of sunlight in, contains the deepest and most dramatic section of the canyon, but it continues upstream into Curecanti National Recreation Area

National parks preserve some of the darkest skies in the country, but the Black Canyon isn’t most parks. Designated, nay ordained, as an International Dark Sky Park in September 2015, the park does everything possible to make it is dark as

Photos (this page): Brittany Panter / Period Comms; (opposite page): Skyline Drone Ser-

56 vices LLC / Mesa Park Vineyards

possible including using only artificial lighting necessary for safety, using motion detectors to limit the light needed within restrooms and other areas, and ensuring all outdoor lighting devices use low-energy, low-impact bulbs with shields that direct light to the ground. The designation means it offers unrivaled night sky viewing opportunities (see page 24 for more details on stargazing West of 105). Open to visitors year round, summer has historically been the most popular time to visit but cooler temperatures make early autumn the best time of year to visit. When making plans to visit the park, you’ll need to decide which side you would like to see as the park has two entrances which are not connected to each other. The North Rim (closest to the town of Crawford) appeals to those looking for smaller crowds, however the


South Rim (closest to the town of Montrose), sees the most visitors (and for good reason) and this is where the visitor center is located. The paved road leading from Highway 50 to the South Rim entrance to the park is widely popular among road cyclists and now is the perfect time to take on the five-mile ride to the top (be prepared for a tough time as you gain almost 1,000 feet in those five miles). Once you make it to the entrance it’s a relatively easy ride to High Point - the terminus of Rim Drive Road.



Two campgrounds; one in the South Rim one in the North Rim

MORE INFO nps.gov/ blca


58 Colorado Vines

Check out Colorado’s wine industry and see why a local glass of wine is worth a trip

66 Follow the Spirit Trail

Craft distilleries are making waves West of 105 - meet some of the producers

70 Fall Fine Dining

From pumpkins to beets, find out what chefs have in store for your palate this season

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IF YOU LIKE: Convenience and bike-riding opportunities HEAD TO: Palisade DON’T MISS Mesa Park Vineyards


IF YOU LIKE: History with your wine HEAD TO: Cañon City DON’T MISS Holy Cross Abbey

IF YOU LIKE: Wine paired along side excellent food HEAD TO: West Elks DON’T MISS Leroux Creek


IF YOU LIKE: Rolling hills, tranquility and no crowds HEAD TO: Olathe DON’T MISS Garrett Estate


Colorado is synonymous with mountains. So much so that the mountains are the economic driver in the state. People come year round to see, walk, ride, run and just be in them and communities survive or thrive based on them. In addition to the biking trails, the ski runs, the scenic byways and the numerous beautiful towns nestled among their peaks, the mountains give Colorado something else - wine. And not just any wine, but good wine, award winning even. Colorado’s vineyards range in elevation from 4,000 to 7,000 feet making them

Photo: Colorado Mountain Winefest

some of the highest in the world. In conjunction with around 300 days of sunshine every year, Colorado has ideal growing conditions for many grape varieties. Then there is the soil. It is generally more alkaline which makes it more similar to Europe than the more acidic soils of California. This means that Colorado merlot tastes more like it does in Bordeaux than in California. Similarly, syrahs are more like Rhone Valley reds than Australian shiraz. The relative lack of humidity is another factor as the dry climate keeps problems like pests and diseases to a minimum which in turn

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means pesticides and other chemicals are used much less frequently. That isn’t to say that wine grapes can be grown everywhere, far from it. In fact, the perfect storm of conditions come together in two main areas, both of which have been designated American Viticulture Areas (AVAs) by the US government - The Grand Valley and the West Elks. Together, these two AVAs produce upwards of 90 percent of the wine grapes grown in Colorado. The rest are grown in several pockets that have their own unique climates and conditions.




LTHOUGH only designated an AVA in 1991, Grand Valley is where the Colorado wine industry can trace its origins - all the way back to the 1880s. With weather similar to Napa Valley, Tuscany and Bordeaux, it is no surprise that this area produces some great wines. Home to almost two dozen wineries, the eastern point of the AVA begins where the Colorado River flows out of De Beque Canyon and into the lush valley floor at Palisade. The river flows west in the formidable shadow of Grand Mesa, the largest flattop mountain in the world, and the AVA follows, up onto East Orchard Mesa and Orchard Mesa, along the south bank of the river, and right to the foot of Colorado National Monument west of Grand Junction. The elevation varies between 4,000 and 4,500 feet. Breezes from the canyon and the river cool the valley in summer and warm it in winter, while the beautiful south-facing Bookcliff Mountains radiate heat to the valley floor, culminating in ideal growing conditions, particularly for syrah, viognier and other Rhone varietals. Cabernet franc and others do well on the slightly higher and cooler Orchard Mesa. Due to the similarity of climate with the

foothills of the Pyrenees Mountains in Spain, tempranillo also is proving to be well suited to this region MOUNTAIN WINEFEST The annual Colorado Mountain Winefest is held every September and is one of the best wine events in the state, and, according to some, the nation. Tickets are sold out for this year’s event, but keep your eyes peeled for the 2019 celebration when tickets go on sale in November. coloradowinefest.com

WHERE TO GO MESA PARK VINEYARDS Mesa Park sits on just 10 acres with a 7.5 acre vineyard which was planted in 1995. Varietals on offer include cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, merlot, riesling, sauvignon blanc, viognier and a merlot rosè. Mesa Park’s best seller is their Barn Owl Red, a blend of petit verdot, merlot and cabernet sauvignon. The cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc and merlot have won numerous awards including the Best of Wine Fest and awards at the Mesa County Fair. The tasting room, located in the big red barn onsite, is definitely worth a visit. Bringing your own picnic is encouraged and well-behaved pets on leashes are also invited to enjoy the outdoor patio.

Open year round mesaparkvineyards.com

Events AAA Colorado Wine Train Tour, September 22-24 and October 6-8 Whitewater Hill Spring Fling November 10-11


Open year round whitewaterhill.com

Whitewater Hill Vineyards produces 11 different grape varieties on 23 acres, grown both for other wineries and for their own small lot production. They produce 19 different wines ranging from full-bodied and elegant dry wines to fun and fruity semi-sweet and dessert wines including riesling, chardonnay, viognier, merlot, cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, gewurztraminer, moscato, and a riesling icewine. Whitewater Hill has also won a lot of awards including several at the Governor’s Cup.


Events Behind the Barn Bash, Sunday September 16th

Established in 1999, the family-owned and -operated winery is on 15 acres of land five miles from the magnificent Colorado National Monument. Producing up to 14,000 cases per year of chardonnay, merlot, syrah, cabernet sauvignon, riesling as well as a vintner’s blend, a rosé, and a rubystyle port, Two Rivers has won over 60 international awards from East and West Coast competitions, and the Colorado Governor’s Cup.

Photo: Skyline Drone Services LLC / Mesa Park Vineyards

60 Photo: Colorado Mountain Winefest

Photo: Skyline Drone Services LLC / Mesa Park Vineyards


Photo: Roger Miller /Two Rivers Winery

Events Music in the Grapevines, September 11 Grand Junction Symphony Concerts, October 26 & November 16-17 Open year round tworiverswinery.com

MEADERY OF THE ROCKIES Colorado is also home to several meaderies that take advantage of the natural splendor of the region to produce fantastic meads. Meadery of the Rockies was established in 1995 and currently produces a range of traditional honey wines and melomels (a wine made with honey and fruit) made with apricot, blackberry, cherry, peach, raspberry and strawberry. They also produce a range of dessert wines made with chocolate. The wines have won numerous awards and for the last two years the strawberry honey

Photo: Whitewater Hill Vineyards

COLORADO’S GRAPE VARIETIES wine has been included in the Governor’s Case - a selection of 12 wines that represent the Colorado wine industry throughout the world. Meadery of the Rockies is part of a three winery group that includes Talon Winery and St. Kathryn Cellars, owned by Talon Wine Brands. Open year round www.talonwinebrands.com

2017 Colorado State University grape-grower survey

Unknown / Other 33.24% Pinot Gris 1.48% Gewurztraminer 3.26% Viognier 3.45% Chardonnay 5.54% Riesling 9.35%

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Cabernet Sauvignon 9.18% Merlot 12.81% Cabernet Franc 9.18% Syrah 5.61% Pinot Noir 1.94% 61



OLLOWING the North Fork of the Gunnison River from the old mining town of Bowie, the West Elks AVA continues on through Paonia and Hotchkiss until it reaches the Adobe Badlands Wilderness Study Area, an otherworldly place of sloping hills dissected by rugged, serpentine canyons, isolated mesas and a maze of deeplycarved canyons, washes and ravines just outside of Delta. As the elevation here ranges from about 5400 feet up to 7000 feet, the growing season starts about two weeks later and has 30 percent fewer days between the last spring frost and the first fall frost than the Grand Valley. As a result, riesling, pinot gris and pinot noir grow particularly well here. With some of the highest vineyards in North America, the area is considered to be a somewhat unusual place to grow wine grapes, however,

the result is fantastic wine that is roundly considered to be some of the best in the state. The high elevation and low humidity works in conjunction with cool nights to retain a high degree of acidity as the grapes ripen which is particularly good for riesling and gewurztraminer. pinot gris and chardonnay also grow well here. As for red wines, pinot noir has turned out to be quite at home in the West Elks.

WHERE TO GO AZURA CELLARS A boutique winery, Azura was established in 2007 by artists Ty and Helen Gillespie, so it should come as no surprise that the tasting room doubles as their gallery. With fantastic views overlooking the North Fork Valley, Azura also boasts 2016’s Colorado Winemaker of the year, Brett Neal, as their winemaker. As a boutique winery, Azura only

sells from their tasting room where tastings are complimentary. Offerings change every year, and this year they have a pinot gris, a riesling, pinot noir, malbec, merlot and a sweet wine appropriately named “Sweetie Pie” as well as their Yacht Club Red (the 2016 vintage is a blend of Grand Valley merlot and is so named to celebrate their love of sailing). Events Micro Magic Radio Controlled Sailing Regatta, October 6 & 7 Tasting and holiday shopping,November 3

Photos (this page): Azura Cellars

Leroux Creek has won many accolades in Colorado but they have also received recognition from competitions in Sonoma and in the Finger Lakes. Events Paella dinner and concert, September 14 and October 12

Open every day from May 1st through the first week in November AzuraCellars.com

Open daily from May and August and weekends in September and October lerouxcreekinn.com



A small winery run by Frenchman Yvon Gros and his wife Joanna, Leroux Creek produces two grape varieties a French hybrid red chambourcin and the


American cayuga across four acres of their 54acre farm. Originally from the French Alps and NYC respectively, the pair have been in Colorado for 30 years where they love to share this passion and love for wine and winemaking with their guests.

Taking its name from the century-old bridge that spans the North Fork of the Gunnison River that borders the farm, Lee and Kathy Bradley first planted their wine grapes in 1997 and were soon hooked.

WEST OF 105 | DRINKING & DINING Situated at 5,800 feet, with 13 inches of precipitation annually, 150 frost-free days, a three percent slope and agua fria stony loam, Black Bridge is ideally located to grow several of the classic varieties including chardonnay, riesling and merlot. They also grow the notoriously fickle pinot noir which they have won awards for in the past. The pinot along with chardonnay and riesling have also received awards at the Colorado Governor’s Cup. Producing a limited quantity of classic reds, whites, blends and a pinot noir rosé which sells out quickly. They also have fruit wines made from fruit grown on their own orchards, Orchard Valley Farms. Open from Memorial Day weekend through October orchardvalleyfarms.com

MESA WINDS FARM & WINERY Mesa Winds is another small winery in the West Elks with just six acres of certified organic vines (as well as 14 acres of peaches and apples) which are monitored and kept trimmed by a flock of Babydoll Southdown sheep. The estate’s first vintage was back in 2011 and on average they turn out around 400 cases a year of pinot gris, pinot meunier, pinot noir, rose, chambourcin, and peach wine. Every autumn volunteers are invited to share in the “Glory Work” of picking grapes. Pickers are rewarded with dinner and wine. Open Memorial Day weekend through October www.mesawindsfarm.com

Photo: Leroux Creek Inn & Vineyards

Photo: Black Bridge Winery


FLYER RED BLEND Buckel Family Wine Fresh cherries, juicy plums; cabernet sauvignon, merlot, syrah, petit verdot, cabernet franc blend

BLACKBERRY HONEY WINE Meadery of the Rockies Blackberry character with fermented and natural honey flavors

2015 VINTNER’S BLEND Two Rivers Winery Complex and well-balanced, flavors of berries and spice; syrah and cabernet sauvignon blend

BARN OWL RED Mesa Park Vineyards Firm tannin structure and smooth dark chocolate finish; petit verdot, merlot, cabernet sauvignon blend

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WINGSPAN ROSÉ Talon Winery Delicate, dry, bright and balanced; cabernet franc, cabernet sauvignon and merlot blend




HILE Colorado has just two AVAs, wine grapes are grown in a few other areas West of 105 including Montezuma County in the Four Corners region, Fremont and Poncha Springs in the Arkansas Valley, and Delta and Montrose counties. Just like the two federally recognized AVAs, each of these areas has its own unique combination of geography, soil and elevation that leads to unique and interesting wines. Here are a few wineries that are known to turn out great bottles.

WHERE TO GO BUCKEL FAMILY WINES The family-owned and -operated winery started making wine in 2015 with sales starting in January of this year, however Joe Buckel started making wine in Sonoma County, California in 2004 before moving to Colorado a decade ago. If Joe’s accolades are anything to go by - a 94 point wine and three 90 point ratings from Wine Enthusiast as well as Gold medals in the Colorado's Governor's Cup

- wine lovers in Colorado will have new wines to add to their collections. As for varietals, they currently produce chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, cabernet sauvignon, merlot, syrah, petit verdot, cabernet franc, pinot noir, and cinsault. The winery is currently working on a new production facility and tasting room in Crested Butte which it is hoped will be ready in time for next summer.

HOLY CROSS ABBEY The Winery at Holy Cross Abbey is a boutique winery located on the historic grounds of Holy Cross Abbey in Cañon City. Larry Oddo, the CEO of Holy Cross, spent 22 years in public accounting on the East Coast before trading that career in for entrepreneurship in Colorado. Oddo says that they try hard to remember the mission of the monks when they make wine as well as being thoughtful when it


comes to the community. Oddo says that employees share in the success of the winery through incentive compensation and benefit programs and are, as a result, invested in the success of the winery which shows in the final product. That is borne out by the plethora of awards the winery has received, particularly in the last three years, including having several wines rated 88 or better by Wine Enthusiast. The 2015 Colorado Revelation will receive a 90 in the November 2018 issue. Opening in June 2002, the winery produced 3,800 cases in its first year, but will more than double that this year with around 9,000 cases. Events Winemaker’s Dinner, September 29 Annual Harvest Fest, September 28-30 Open year round abbeywinery.com


GARRETT ESTATE Located in Olathe, Garrett Estate has been around since 2003 but the nexus of the winery goes back several years before that when the mother of current owner, Mitch Garrett, suggested the idea of starting a winery. Today, Garrett Estate has 35 acres and grows seven varieties: pinot gris, chardonnay, cabernet sauvignon, merlot,

pinot noir, gewurztraminer, and riesling. The latter two often give people a surprise (and have also won praise) because their are dry and therefore different to many gewurztraminers and rieslings. In fact, Garrett Estate only produces dry wines. Garrett also tried to be as sustainable as possible and hand-picks all of their grapes, does not use

pesticides of any kind and are a geothermal winery. The Garrett Estate unoaked chardonnay and Pheasant Run red blend are their flagship wines. Garrett Estate wines have received awards and recognition in wine competitions in Colorado, the Southwest, California and internationally. Events Wine Tasting, September 16 Wine, chocolate and cheese pairing, October 13 10th Annual Holiday Wine Tasting, November 24 The winery is open by appointment year round garrettestatecellarscolorado. com

VINO SALIDA Located in Poncha Springs in the Arkansas River Valley, Vino Salida opened in 2009 but moved to it current location in 2016. Currently, owner Steve Flynn produces around 2,500 cases a year of the state’s finest varietals including chardonnay, viognier, riesling, zinfandel, cabernet sauvignon, merlot, chambourcin and arandell. Vino Salida has won awards at the Colorado Governor’s Cup, the Colorado State Fair, the Mesa County Fair, the Mazer Cup International Mead Competition, and the Flavor of Pueblo. The tasting room, in addition to offering the full range of wines for purchase, also offers a full dining menu Events Tenderfoot Stomp, September 22 - 23 Open year round vinosalida.com

TASTING NOTES Kyle Schlachter, a Certified Specialist of Wine and named one of America's Top 40 Under 40 Tastemakers by Wine Enthusiast, walks us through the steps of wine tasting

STEP 1 Look at the wine. Check out the color. Is it bright or dark? Is it transparent or is it opaque? Color can provide clues on what you might taste.

STEP 2 Smell the wine. Swirl it around gently in the glass to help release the aromas. Think general to specific. Do you smell fruit or flowers? Then you can try to identify scents that remind you of specific fruit or flowers or spices.

STEP 3 Taste the wine. Move the wine around in your mouth. Is the wine sweet or bitter? Does the wine have tannins that make your mouth feel fuzzy (think about eating a banana peel)? Does the wine make your mouth water (this might indicate more acidity in the wine)?

STEP 4 Think about the wine. Do you like it? Is it balanced (too acidic, too tannic, or too alcoholic)? Does it make any food you may be eating taste better? Do you want more?

Photos (this page): Vino Salida (opposite page above): Garrett Estate; (opposite page below): The Winery at Holy Cross Abbey

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SPIRITs TRAIL The Colorado Distillers Guild has created the Spirits Trail, a guide to some of Colorado’s best distilleries. Here is a selection of those West of 105 so you can traipse around and taste all manner of alcoholic tipples and concoctions

















Wood’s High, or at least the idea of it, was born in the Grand Canyon when PT Wood’s rafting companion brought more than two dozen whiskeys for them to try. Like every craft distiller, PT wants to make great spirits, but he also wants spirits that are distinctly Wood’s High products. PT says he respects tradition but he wants to learn, not copy. Currently producing eight (or so) spirits, the Mountain Hopped Gin is an interesting one. Using fresh cascade hops, it is both an homage to Colorado’s brewing history and a new take on a old classic. Another unique spirit is the fleur de sureau, an elderflower liqueur made with Colorado grapes and infused with local elderflower and sweetened with local honey. A San Luis Potato Vodka and a single barrel Sawatch Whiskey are on the horizon. Currently producing just 1,800 cases annually, current upgrades mean that the distillery will start churning out up to 15,000 cases annually in the near future.




Back in 2010, K J Wood was already an experienced home-brewer and winemaker but he thought the time was right to turn this hobby into a business. A couple of years of research and development followed, and when the time was perfect he took the plunge and opened his distillery in beautiful Ouray. The payoff was immediate with his Jinn Gin winning a Gold Medal at the 2013 NY World Wine and Spirits competition. KJ Wood has since gone from strength to strength. Currently, the company produces four brands: Berthoud Blue Vodka, Jinn Gin, Dead Drift Whiskey (a blue corn bourbon), and Ourye Whiskey (a 100 percent Colorado rye whiskey). For the past two years KJ Wood has been producing around 2,000 gallons of spirit total, but there is a plan in the works to increase that to around 6,000 gallons across the brands in the next five years.




Owner and master distiller Jeff Ruhle first got involved with spirits in the same way as many other distillers, by brewing beer at home, expect in Ruhle’s case it was college and it was because he couldn’t legally buy beer. The decision to start a brewery eventually materialized but after getting some work experience at a friend’s brewery he realized it took as much business acumen as beery alchemy to run a successful business and so attended business school. In the interim, a friend introduced him to moonshine and Ruhle realized that it was a better fit for him and a better opportunity - and Idlewild was born. Idlewild currently produces vodka, a few kinds of gin, a couple of rums, white whiskey, bourbon, rye, single malt, a coffee liquor and grappa. And you can be sure that Idlewild will continue creating, after all, Ruhle says, that’s his favorite part.




In the early 2000s, Bill Graham, Dave Thibodeau and Rory Donovan (the first two being the founders of Durango’s Ska Brewing in 1995) built a still and began distilling out beer, beer-lees and cider at home for fun. In 2004 they purchased a Christian Carl Brandy Still and secured a location in Palisade - “the greatest fruit growing region of the world,” Graham says with more than a hint of seriousness. They opened the doors to Peach Street in September of 2005. At Peach Street they only use products that come from the valley, including juniper berries from surrounding mesas, sweet corn, and peaches “that are so fresh they’ve never seen the inside of a cooler.” Currently Peach Street produces just over 4,000 cases made up of 25 different products available to the public - they also make several that are only for the tasting room. Graham is most proud of their Colorado Straight Bourbon. Photos: (clockwise from top left) Deerhammer; Wood’s High Distillery; KJ Wood Distillers; Idlewild Spirits Distillery; Peach Street Distillers; Aaron Ingrao / Montanya



Started in 2010 by Amy and Lenny Eckstein, Deerhammer was inspired by the ambition of the settlers who ended up in Buena Vista. The Ecksteins describe Deerhammer as a grain-to-glass distillery, meaning they are laser focused on the process and over the years have experimented with every step to better understand the effects of subtle choices on their final product. While the original distillery was built with Lenny’s own hands, the Scottish-style directfire 140-gallon copper pot still was custom made - it is the distillery’s prized possession and one of the reasons they feel their spirit is superior. Deerhammer Single Malt Whiskey is, they say, the company’s cornerstone contribution to the field of American craft spirits. Starting its life as a porterstyle 100 percent malted barley mash, it’s further shaped by open-air fermentation before passing through the stills and maturing in charred virgin white oak.



Montanya owner Karen Hoskin has a slightly more exotic and exact story than most about her distilling epiphany: she fell in love with rum in India in 1988. Even more specifically, she says it was while walking down the frozen Zanskar River in Ladakh, India, fueled by yak butter and Old Monk Rum, the noble spirit, as she describes it. Twenty years later, in 2008, after brand building for other companies through her own design company, she thought it was time to make some rum. Her philosophy is simple: pure, raw ingredients that are grown by farmers without pesticides or genetic modification. In April 2018, Montanya released a limited 10th anniversary rum called Aniversaria that had been aged in three different Colorado barrels. Currently Montanya produces four rums and 12 different rum-based cocktail butters.

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Ryan Thompson and his 10th Mountain co-founder Christian Avignon have both had a long-standing appreciation for spirits that exemplify their class and type. They have both always been entrepreneurial, too. After monitoring the craft distillery industry, the pair eventually decided the time was right to jump in. They attended the first ever class of Moonshine University in Louisville, KY, returned to Vail, wrote a business plan and started the business. Using tried and tested techniques, they have a pretty simple aim: to produce the best products they can. Currently they produce five products: 10th Mountain Bourbon, 10th Mountain Rye, Colorado Clear Mountain Moonshine (a non-aged corn whiskey), 10th Mountain Potato Vodka, and Alpenglow Cordials (sage, peach, and vanilla). Their best seller is their bourbon while their most awarded product is their rye.





Bryan Nolt was a busy doctor and had no plans to enter into a new career, but his passion for whiskey eventually condensed into a single, eureka moment after a day fishing with a friend, an ER doctor that spent much of the day complaining about medicine. Nolt is all about quality, as all craft distillers are, and he doesn’t have time for yarns or sob stories about the process. Instead, he says, if I can’t win you over with our product, it shouldn’t be in our portfolio. Currently the company produces over two dozen spirits, some of which are only available at the distillery. Ranging from flavored vodkas to award-winning whiskeys, Breckenridge Bourbon is one of the most awarded craft bourbons around, winning the 2018 Icons of Whisky award for Brand Innovator of the Year, among others. On September 17 the company’s latest product, the Sauternes Finish Whiskey, will be released.

Michael McCardell remembers clearly when he had his spiritual epiphany. Back in the early 2000s he was introduced to craft spirits in a blind tasting and was blown away by the flavors. He thought that just as craft beer is superior to the large beer producers, craft spirits would go the same way. There wasn’t a distillery in Durango at the time and he thought the timing was perfect to start one. So he did. As for his philosophy, he is passionate about tying his products to where they are made by only using regional grains, mashing, distilling, aging, and bottling in house and then tying them to stories of Durango’s rich history. DCS currently produces approximately 2,500 cases per year (that’s expected to double in 2019) across three products: Soiled Doves Vodka, Mayday Moonshine, and Cinder Dick, their award-winning, Colorado straight bourbon whiskey.







A conversation over dinner back in 2012 about the emerging craft distilling industry eventually led to the creation of Honey House Distillery. The parent company, Honeyville, has been producing small batch, handcrafted honey products since 1918 and so it seemed kismet that the idea would blend, literally, with Honeyville Wildflower Honey. Honey is used in each of the five mainstay spirits, although they occasionally also produce limited editions. The five are: Colorado Honey Whiskey; Cinnamon Honey Whiskey; Hex Vodka, which is distilled from house-made mead; Red Cliffs Spiced Rum, a spiced rum with caramelized honey; and a cold brew coffee liqueur. Forgotten Barrel Rum, which actually got lost for a time among the other barrels, is a honey rum that was aged in a used whiskey barrel. It is limited to just 200 bottles. Honey House currently produces around 10,000 bottles and uses around 4,500 pounds of honey every year. 68




Owner Connie Baker likes to tell people she went from drugs to booze when they ask about how she got started with distilling (she previously worked in the pharmaceutical industry). With a love for vodka and a fascination with the fact you can make it out from seemingly anything, she signed up to a distilling school and the rest, as they say, is history. At MDC they focus on sustainability which includes sourcing local ingredients and water and heat reclamation through the first-of-its kind Water and Energy Thermal System (WETS). Even their grain is grown just half a mile away (spent mash is sent back there to be utilized on the farm). The Sierra Club named MDC as one of five distilleries in the world to drink at if you want to save the planet. As for best products, Baker has a tough time deciding (“they’re all my babies”) but settles eventually on Gingercello and Reserve Gingercello.



With a passion for fine spirits, Spirit Hound uses local ingredients like freshly-picked juniper berries to create spirits that evoke a sense of place. Then there is the desire to be original, perhaps that’s why the team built much of the distillation equipment themselves and why the recipes they have, while based on classic production techniques, are unique to them. The a desire to create an original and unrivaled straight Colorado malt whiskey gave birth to Spirit Hound. In addition to whiskey, Spirit Hound also produces gin, vodka, moonshine, and, somewhat unusually, sambuca. They also realized that their custom-built still could also produce an outstanding rum. So they made Mountain Bum Rum. Made with Caribbean molasses and cane sugar, it is twice distilled. Some is then bottled to make their Silver Rum and some is aged in spent whiskey barrels.


Photos: (clockwise from top left) Marble Distilling CO; Kel Thompson at Americas Production Company; Jessie Unruh; Durango Craft Spirits; Honey House Distillery; Spirit Hound Distillery;


SHAKE IT UP Ready to play bartender? The folks over at Durango’s trendy speakeasy The Bookcase and Barber shared a delectable recipe that fuses some locally-produced vodka with lime and egg white to give a frothy, delicious party in your mouth. We also have the prohibition classic, the Aspen Crud. Grab your shaker and get to it. LIFE OF PI Bookcase Original by Mera Debenham



Marble Vodka, vanilla simple, lime, coconut milk, egg white TOOLS: Metal Mixing Tin Boston Shaker Hawthorne or Julep Strainer Large Coupe Glass INGREDIENTS: Marble Vodka Vanilla Simple Lime Juice Coconut Milk Egg Whites

2 1\2oz 1oz 1oz 1/2 oz 1 oz

GARNISH: Lime Slice METHOD: Dry shake egg whites with lime. Add the rest of ingredients. Shake with ice and double strain into large coup. Garnish with lime slice on edge of coupe. Be sure to check out our Durango Destination feature to read more about The Bookcase and Barber.



THE ASPEN CRUD J Bar at Hotel Jerome, Aspen Vanilla ice cream (use locally-produced if possible - we like Cream Bean Berry in Durango and Paradise Bakery and Cafe in Aspen), Colorado bourbon TOOLS: Blender INGREDIENTS: Bourbon Ice cream Ice Milk

2 oz 3 scoops 12 cubes 2 oz

METHOD: Blend ingredients until smooth. Serve in a tall glass. During prohibition J Bar was turned into a soda fountain and when adults ordered the Aspen Crud a shot of bourbon would find its way into their shake.

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FINE FALL FEASTS With half of Colorado’s 66 million acres dedicated to farming and ranching, you can be sure of a bounty of crops of all kinds year round - autumn just happens to the most bountiful. We asked the executive chefs of several top restaurants West of 105 how they planned to utilize the season’s harvest 70

A quick glance at a crop calendar shows that autumn, particularly the early part, is the most productive season in Colorado’s agricultural calendar. At various points in the next three months you can expect to see dozens of varieties of apple, a few kinds of melon, carrots, cabbages and cauliflowers, squash, spinach and strawberries as well as fall favorites such as pumpkins and winter squash.

ASPEN Aspen is well-known around the world as a well-to-do mountain town where the glitterati vacation, as such it has some exceptionally good restaurants. While some restaurants work closely with local farmers to ensure they get the very best produce every season, others take it one step further. An Aspen staple since it opened in 1987, Cache Cache has long focused on local and seasonal ingredients, but to ensure a steady supply and to perhaps be able to have a hand in what is grown, the restaurant recently invested in Dog Patch Farm in Paonia. “We work with many local purveyors from the Roaring Fork Valley and the Western Slope as well as throughout eastern and southern Colorado,” said Nathan King, executive chef at Cache Cache on Aspen’s Mill Street. “We were definitely in the leading group of restaurants to really embrace this philosophy. We took groups made up of our chefs and other restaurants’ chefs over to Paonia on farm trips to meet the farmers, see the plants and touch the earth.”


Photos: (this page above): Bosq; (this page below): Prime; (opposite page): C2 Photography Chris Council and Emily Chaplin;

WEST OF 105 | DRINKING & DINING A five minute walk away is one of Aspen’s best-known hotels, The Little Nell. Executive Chef Matt Zubrod of The Little Nell’s Element 47 also utilizes as many local ingredients as possible from a range of farms including Rock Bottom Ranch, Ela Family Farms, Eagle Springs Organic, and Austin Family Farms, among others. Zubrod is emphatic when it comes to the philosophy of the restaurant: “Hospitality,” he says. “Our food is sourced to the highest quality standards and cooked to perfection utilizing local and seasonal ingredients as much as possible.” And when it comes to the season at hand? “[Autumn probably comes] second to spring when we get ramps and morels,” he says. “Fall has a bountiful harvest in western Colorado with stone fruit, corn and squash.” And many of these ingredients will find their way onto the menu at Element 47 in dishes such as squash bisque with autumn spices, foie gras with peach jam, and chicken with corn stuffing. And as autumn is technically the off season in Aspen, Zubrod says the restaurant will also preserve many autumn ingredients to use throughout the winter season. Also in Aspen is Bosq. Executive Chef Barclay Dodge describes the restaurant as an ode to nature where foraged and local farmed products that are primarily biodynamic and organic come to the plate. When it comes to autumn, Dodge says he loves the earthy flavors that the season brings. “Mushrooms, moss, dying leaves on the trees, ripe fleshy pumpkins, sugars that have developed in fruits after the first frosts… the sweet and earthy tastes of decay.”

Dodge will also start fermenting, preserving and pickling the products that come his way as the farms go into their last harvest. Dodge can’t be sure what specific dishes will appear on the menu this autumn as that depends on what comes into the kitchen, but he is sure that pumpkin, delicata squash (a personal favorite of his), apples and pears (including many heritage varieties courtesy of the Central Rocky Mountain Permaculture Institute), and foraged mushrooms like chanterelles, porcinis and hawk’s wing will feature. The team will also start pickling colorful fall leaves for salads and garnishes. Dodge works closely with Carbondale’s Sustainable Settings for the restaurant’s beef and lamb as well as roots and herbs from the medicinal garden.

CRESTED BUTTE Not far away in the upper East River Valley in the Elk Mountains, Crested Butte might have a little less name recognition than Aspen, but there are several innovative chefs that are making the town a legitimate foodie destination. Chief among them is Elk Avenue Prime. Run by Julie and Curtis Higgins since 2014, the family-owned restaurant has made mouths water and tongues wag in the “surf town in the mountains” for four years. Curtis, who is also the executive chef, outlines his philosophy. “The bottom line is to get better every day; don’t rest until you have built the best product possible,” he says. That includes sourcing. “We have taken four years to properly source all of our products. Everything on the menu has a notation of where it is sourced from.” As for the menu, Elk Avenue is a steakhouse, with all of the classic cuts you would expect as well as a few slightly anachronistic yet traditional additions like the jumbo shrimp cocktail. There are also inventive side dishes like the tempura fried brussels sprouts and indulgent takes on classic steakhouse sides such as the truffled creamed sweet corn with bacon. As for local ingredients, there is the Colorado elk tenderloin, Colorado lamb, and Colorado trout. Local mushrooms feature, too. When it comes to autumn, Curtis couldn’t be happier that summer is departing, for both personal and professional 71

reasons. “Fall is by far my favorite season. Smaller crowds, pretty trees, and the best weather - it doesn’t get any better than that period between the middle of September through to October.” When it comes to eating, Curtis can’t see past roasted local sweet corn and chilis as his personal favorites. While the menu at Elk Avenue typically doesn’t change too much, dishes made with local products will be offered alongside the regular menu. What does that mean for Elk Avenue? “We will be adding Colorado yak from Salida as they have already harvested their fall stock. We will also be featuring cheese from Buena Vista’s Jumping Good Goat Dairy and a Palisade peach salad,” he says. “We will also be adding local coffee-cured heirloom beet salad with coconut lemon foam.”

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS Much like Crested Butte, Steamboat Springs doesn’t have the name recognition of some of its seemingly more illustrious fellow ski towns, but also like Crested Butte there are chefs raising the bar for everyone else, both in the town and in the state. Patrick Ayres, executive chef and co-owner of Cloverdale has racked up accolades and adulation since opening last year. Taking the philosophy of Cache Cache to a new level, Cloverdale is a fine dining restaurant and a small, multi-use farm, to the extent that they produce as much of what they need as they can and source the rest from as close by as they can. And they need quite a few ingredients, both because the tasting menu typically comprises between 11-14 courses and it changes not just seasonally, but microseasonally to reflect whatever high-quality produce is available at that time. As for autumn, Ayres says it might be his favorite. “The products that are available have so much nostalgia and comfort associated with them. People’s connection with autumn flavors, whether it’s Thanksgiving dishes or baking spices, is extremely profound in my experience,” he says. “As a chef, the most impactful thing you can do is to remind someone of a taste or of an aroma that they experienced as a child and our odds of achieving that increase ten-fold in the fall months.”

One of the benefits of growing what you cook is the ability to experiment, first in the garden and then in the kitchen. “Over the last few years I’ve been getting more and more interested in the many varieties of winter squash. There are always pumpkins but the last two seasons we’ve been planting more unique types such as buttercup and kabocha and all of the subspecies that have been derived from them,” he says. “Nothing brings on the previously mentioned nostalgia quite like pumpkins, but I still like experimenting with the flavors and textures of new varieties of squash.” On to fruit. “Another one of my favorite fall ingredients would definitely have to be pears. I’ve always liked taking traditional apple recipes and subbing the apples out for pears.” When it comes to seasonality, it is very easy for consumers to get caught up in when seasons start and finish as defined by a calendar, but, as Ayres points out, while the climate of different regions of the country affects seasonality, it can also affect the seasonality of towns in the same state, so much so that what grows and when can be a little surprising. “Being in a high Rocky climate, our seasons are quite different than the ones that you may typically expect in other areas of the country or even other parts of Colorado. The products we grow at our farm are usually about a month behind the rest of the state, so sometimes our spring, summer, and fall ingredients are slightly different than other restaurants might be,” he says. “This is something I actually enjoy because it’s so specific to where we are. Tomatoes end up being an early fall ingredient instead of the summer fruit that people expect; Summer squash (zucchini, yellow squash, etc.) also bears fruit towards the very end of summer, becoming more of a fall squash; and sunchokes come out of the ground towards the end of fall.” Even so, Ayres says, the autumn menu at Cloverdale is the first step in moving towards more earthy, acidic flavors and away from the freshness and green-focused summer menu. Just as Element 47 preserves autumn ingredients for winter, Ayres and the Cloverdale team do a lot of preservation in early fall which then makes its way on to the menu later in the season. As for specifics, Ayres says with certainty that rutabaga, parsnips, celery root, pumpkins, kabocha squash, cabbage, potatoes, and fresh onions will be harvested from the farm and find their way onto the menu. Apples and pears from Hotchkiss and Paonia will also feature. He also says a favorite from last year may make a comeback. “Last fall we had a rutabaga tagliatelle with Colorado trout and smoked butter on the menu. Not sure how that would work? Ayres explains. “The rutabaga itself was sheeted and cut into long ‘pasta.’ It was then adorned with the smoked butter, flaked trout, and trout roe.”

Photos: (this page): Cloverfield; (opposite page above and below): Aaron Colussi / Ski Top Lodge



KEYSTONE Back down south on the I-70 corridor, Ski Tip Lodge at Keystone Resort promises to transport diners back in time in a good way. A stagecoach stop in the 1800’s and the home of Keystone’s founder, today it’s a quaint bed and breakfast and a very highly-rated restaurant with accolades from OpenTable and Wine Spectator. Last year it was rated as the best restaurant in Summit County. Executive Chef Jeff Qualls, who took over in June of 2018, calls it sophisticated comfort. “The staff works together like a family would in welcoming someone into their own home,” he says. “It’s the combined effort of hundreds of little details performed by the team as a whole which makes the Ski Tip the experience of a lifetime.” With a four-course meal that changes every week, autumn brings new ingredients for Qualls and his team to play with - and he couldn’t be happier for the change in produce and in the cooking methods that come with autumn. “Lighter, healthier fare is replaced by something a little more substantial. Grilled vegetables are replaced by hearty stews and slow one-pot braises. Ingredients shift from the lighter greens, tomatoes, peaches, and peas of summer to cool tolerant roots like beets, potatoes, and rutabagas as well as hearty squashes and apples.” Personally, Qualls looks forward to using winter squash, brussels sprouts, leek, carrot, cabbage, cider, allspice, nutmeg, green peppercorn, bay, and smoke. As for what exactly will be on the upcoming menu, he sums it up as dishes “that ‘stick to your ribs’ on a cold fall night.” And by that he means dishes like osso bucco, bouillabaisse, braised short ribs and cheeks, along with halibut, pickles, jams and preserves from summer. Qualls has one other thing he will add, chili: and the Texan is emphatic about calling it real chili which means no beans. 73

abundance of game meats as hunting season draws near, root vegetables, and the art of slow cooking using techniques such as roasting and braising all take me to my happy place,” he says. Diners at Flame this autumn can expect to see and taste Colorado-sourced game and root vegetables from small farms around the valley on the menu, specifically braised 7x short ribs and grilled elk tenderloin.

TELLURIDE Over in the San Juan Mountains, Tunnel in Telluride takes a slightly different approach to the restaurant concept. “A dinner club with a speakeasy feel,” Tunnel offers a six-course dinner with wine pairing option. The menu changes every month and diners, a dozen at a time, sit at a communal table to take them back to a time when Telluride had speakeasies that were frequented by miners. The password can be found in the local newspaper. Executive Chef Mark Krasic prepares all courses with organic products that fit with the themed menus. “We have been waiting all season for local squashes, hatch chilies, pumpkins and root vegetables,” he says of autumn. Those ingredients will transform the menu towards heartier dishes that are cooked low and slow to heat you from the inside which will be perfect for chilly autumn nights in the mountains. Butternut squash risotto is one of those warming dishes visitors to Tunnel can expect to see this autumn. The current theme can be found on the Tunnel entry on OpenTable.


VAIL Continuing west down I-70, Vail is another household name as much for its celebrity status as its world-class skiing, and it too has some excellent dining options, including the Four Seasons Vail. Synonymous with luxury, the Vail outpost of Four Seasons is home to Flame Restaurant, the company’s homage to the classic American steakhouse. Executive Chef Marcus Stewart has created a restaurant that is undoubtedly fine dining, but with creative side dishes such as crispy brussel sprout kimchi and Rocky Mountain elk “corn dogs,” there is a playful element, too. As for produce, Flame’s wagyu beef comes from closer than most of the guests - the 7x Cattle Company in Hotchkiss which raises 100 percent pure Japanese cattle. The team at Flame also dry-age beef in house which is all part of Stewart’s culinary philosophy: to let good quality ingredients speak for themselves. “Simple, fresh flavors and an obsessive attention to detail in preparation define us as chefs here at Flame,” Stewart says. As for autumn, Stewart says he loves the warm and hearty flavors of the season. “The last harvest of corn, the


Photos: (this page above): Flame; (this page below): Don Riddle / Flame; (opposite page): Gateway Canyons

If you want to find all of this produce for yourself to cook at home, the Colorado Farm Fresh Directory lists more than 200 farms, roadside stands, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs, U-picks, restaurants and farmers’ markets in the state. colorado.gov/agmarkets


76 Fall Fashion

Our top apparel and accessory picks for him and her this season

78 Haven

We check out Gateway Canyons to see what the luxury resort has to offer for autumn

82 Top 10

Looking for the best places to practice your downward dog? We round up 10 great yoga studios West of 105

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What we love: It’s made from recycled materials and not itchy wool

What we love: The lightweight insulation is perfect for autumn days and the color is perfect What we love: Holds its shape and keeps you toasty on Dorfman Pacific| Allcooler days Season Crushable Hat $45

Patagonia | Zemer Bomber Jacket $179 Patagonia | Off Country Hoody $119 Kavu | Lopez Pullover $75

What we love: Soft material, reverse sleeve cuffs, and high neck line for chilly autumn days

What we love: Comfortable and versatile enough for everyday use or for trekking in the woods

Kodiak Botos | Surrey II $175


What we love: It’s waterproof, offers a ton of storage, and has a chest strap and theftproof zippers

What we love: Light, durable and fast-drying

Western Rise | AT Slim Rivet Pants $129


Peak Design | Everyday Backpack 20L $259.95



FOR HIM What we love: Autumn-appropriate colors and just the right amount of insulation

What we love: It’s fair trade certified and very cozy

What we love: The soft touch and neutral color

Cirque Mountain Apparel | Men’s Daily Pine Beanie $29

Faherty | Men’s Western Vest $228

Patagonia | Men’s Fair Trade Woolyester Fleece Jacket $159

Patagonia | Men’s Long-Sleeved Recycled Wool Shirt $129

What we love: Comfortable and environmentally friendly What we love: Made in the USA, Rugged and durable

Frye | Men’s Harness 12R Boot $328

What we love: The center zip allows for easy access, and it has plenty of pockets

What we love: Designed in Telluride and made in Europe, what’s not to love about that?

Western Rise | Men’s Alloy Chinos $139

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Gregory | Unisex Baffin Backpack $99.95



78 Photo: Gateway Canyons




@WESTOF105 | #CrosstheMeridian


Photos (all): Gateway Canyons 80

WEST OF 105 | LIFESTYLE OPENED by Discovery Channel founder John Hendricks in 2005, Gateway Canyons is set in the stunning Unaweep Canyon in western Colorado and is surrounded by the somewhat unearthly geological formations that make this area so special.

Kiva Cafe has coffee, breakfast and items to go; while the poolside Cantina offers cocktails and small bites. If you do want something a little different, journey into town for a meal at Duesey’s Diner, a food truck next to the gas station that offers good old fashioned food truck fare.

Lying in the shadow of sweeping buttes and amongst a sprawling old west setting comprised of 6,000 acres of natural wonder, Gateway Canyons has 58 guest rooms and 14 adobe-style casitas, the latter of which are fantastic onebedroom suites that offer upgraded amenities and facilities including a private deck with a fire pit, and outdoor showers (the Stargazer Casita is the ultimate haven with an upper deck that offers amazing night time viewing). While relaxation can be order of the day if you so choose (the resort offers a full-service spa), it’s the exhaustive list of available activities that makes the resort a true gem.

Autumn is one of the best times to visit the resort as temperatures drop and outdoor activities are much more enjoyable. gatewaycanyons.com

The resort offers everything from guided trail rides to scenic air tours. The concierge is also able to arrange virtually any excursion you can think of. Car lovers can get an eyeful of nearly 60 pristine cars on view at the Gateway Canyons Auto Museum while wine aficionados can go on a guided tour of the nearby wine country (read more about the state’s amazing wine offerings on page 58). And when it comes to dining, Gateway Canyons has several options: upscale restaurant Entrada is open mornings and evenings and offers outdoor and indoor seating and dishes such as rainbow trout and venison; Paradox Grille offers Southwestern and Continental cuisine for lunch and dinner;

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Image: 82 Meigan Canfield Photography




2 3 4 5 WEST OF 105 | LIFESTYLE


MOUNTAIN SOUL YOGA Edwards mountainsoulyoga.com

Meta Yoga Studios takes advantage of its amazing alpine location in Breckenridge to give locals and visitors the opportunity to pose and stretch in some of the town’s most interesting spots including stretch and sip at Breckenridge Distillery. Established in 2010, Meta Yoga was the first dedicated yoga studio in town and is located right in the heart of the Breckenridge art district (read more about that on page 90). On top of their regular class schedule they also offer private classes to individuals and groups as well as biannual yoga teacher trainings.

The two-year old yoga studio aims to cultivate unique aspects of mountain living including strength, courage, curiosity, and discernment. Founder Julie Clarke has a master’s degree in ayurveda and offers ayurvedic wellness consultations alongside regular yoga classes that primarily focus on integrated vinyasa. There are three types of class: Root (slow flow), Ignite (energizing) and Elevate (advanced). Students are treated to an amazing view of the mountains through floor-to-ceiling windows and teachers are highly qualified - Ellen Miller, the restorative yoga teacher, was the first American woman to summit Mt. Everest from both sides.

Breckenridge metayogastudios.com

PROVIDENCE APOTHECARY Glenwood Springs providenceapothecary.com

Providence Apothecary offers a wide range of health-inducing tinctures and salves, but they also offer a range of services such as massage and yoga to compliment the apothecary. Yoga classes tend to focus on all-level flow which combines hatha and vinyasa and occasionally kundalini. The studio offers a sense of intimacy, and instructors aim to allow students the freedom to stray from forced and unnatural alignment while still staying true to the principles of yoga. The regular use of essential oils in classes and the various teas offered at the end of a class is a nice touch that makes Providence Apothecary stand out.



Telluride tellurideyoga.com

Aspen o2aspen.com

Established in 1999, Telluride Yoga Center offers a wide variety of classes including prana flow vinyasa, alignment-based yoga, pilates, qigong, slow flow yoga, and silent meditation, among others. Half-priced community vinyasa classes are also offered. The center has hosted the Telluride Yoga Festival as well as various workshops and also plays host to traveling DJs and musicians. Keep an eye out for the quarterly donation-based event “Project: OM Unity” which shares special aspects of the yogic lifestyle with attendees.

Aspen native Brittany Van Domelen began working at O2 as a manager, but when the business was put up for sale in 2015, she jumped at the opportunity. Since then, the yoga studio (which also offers pilates and has a spa, a boutique and other health-inducing offerings) has moved to a new a three-level space in the heart of downtown Aspen. The studio spaces at O2 are bright and airy, and just walking into one makes you feel calm and relaxed.



Montrose coloradoyogahouse.com


Located in downtown Montrose, Yoga House was opened by professional skydiver Melissa Lowe just this past June. Offering several styles of yoga including Iyengar, vinyasa flow, power, and sport power, gentle and hatha, the instructors at Yoga House are focused on making the practice accessible to all and creating a sense of community in Montrose. Each instructor also incorporates their own teaching style into the classes. Lowe also plans on bringing various events and workshops to the town starting with the 30-day yoga challenge throughout September and SUP yoga at the local recreation center this October.

RIDGWAY YOGA SHALA Ridgway ridgwayyogashala.com

Tucked away in the San Juan mountains, Ridgway Yoga Shala (which means home in Sanskrit) offers daily yoga classes than can be complemented with a range of medicinal teas which are designed to enhance students’ yoga practice. Classes offered include vinyasa, yin, kauit, ashtanga and alignment-based yoga as well as meditation, so everyone will be able to find a class that suits their needs. A large part of their mission is to illustrate the medicinal power of food. Ridgway Yoga Shala strives to teach the benefits of integrating what we eat into the overall health of our bodies.

7 8 9 THE YOGA TONIC Salida theyogatonic.com

Located in arguably the most adorable historic downtown in the state, Annie Jacob opened Yoga Tonic in Salida back in 2006. With a desire to create a community-based yoga studio, Jacob has seen her desire blossom into a thriving business that sees a team of skilled teachers offer daily classes, themed series, workshops, retreats, and teacher training. Whether your a local or are in Salida on a trip, it’s worth checking out the regular events at the studio. The Yoga Tonic isn’t just about yoga either, upcoming workshops include a fall equinox ceremony that will be all about mediation and self reflection.

YOGA V STUDIO Grand Junction


Owner Tessa McInnis opened the first yoga studio in Grand Valley a decade ago. While Yoga V Studio isn’t the only yoga studio anymore, it remains the largest in the area. Attendees will be spoiled for choice when it comes to which class to choose thanks to the wide range on offer which includes: heated power flow, deep stretch, kid’s yoga and veteran’s yoga. The studio also offers bimonthly discover classes, monthly nidra classes and monthly “gong baths” in which attendees are bathed in the soothing sound of the gong. The studio also has a boutique, guest instructors,workshops and fun events like yoga at a local winery.

Owner Eaden Shantay established True Nature Healing Arts over 10 years ago. Offering a variety of styles of yoga, from yin and restorative to hatha and flow, Shantay places an emphasis on the ancient roots of yoga. With the intention of making True Nature Healing Arts an inspirational sanctuary for connection and selfdiscovery, True Nature also has a luxury spa, organic cafe, boutique and garden with reflexology path and labyrinth in addition to daily yoga classes. The beautiful spaces are an ideal location for relaxation and a great way to spend a weekend in Carbondale (read more about creative Carbondale on page 90).



Carbondale truenaturehealingarts.com


10 Photo: Shawn O’Connor / True Nature Healing Arts

GEAR Aurorae | Natural PRO Cork and Rubber Yoga Mat A slip free, non-toxic and eco-friendly yoga mat that is extra long $69.95

Prana | Momento Bra A cozy bra with removable pads - one of the best we’ve come across recently $59

Lulu Lemon | Speed Up Tight While aimed at runners, these pants feature fourway stretch and are sweat wicking - we love them for hot yoga classes $108



OR an indulgent afternoon, the 90-minute Sanctuary of the Mountains body treatment is the way to go. The appropriately-named treatment is a full-body massage combined with a hand and foot exfoliation. An exfoliant of oatmeal, cornmeal and clay purifies hands and feet before a healing balm of arnica, white willow and calendula is applied. This is followed by a soothing massage using Terra evergreen oil, which is applied in long, light strokes which calms the mind and is said to promote deep rest. While ski season will get going towards the end of autumn, the soothing treatment is perfect for a chilly afternoon. And after you are suitably relaxed head up to J-Bar for a cocktail. We recommend the Aspen Crud, a local legend (read more on page 69). If you are looking for a more geographicallyappropriate treatment, the menu will soon include a CBD massage to effectively deal with aches and pains. The spa also includes a small but well-stocked boutique and a relaxation room (with a selection of wines available for purchase). hoteljerome.aubergeresorts.com/spa

Photos (this page): Hotel Jerome; 86 (opposite page): Telluride Blues & Brews Festival



88 Q&A: Bobby Kennedy III We sat down in Silverton for a chat with the director of “Freak Power”

90 Creative Colorado An in-depth look at the creativity that lies West of 105

96 Event Spotlight

We profile a festival or an event for every month of the season

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BOBBY K E N N E DY III MORE FREAK POWER IN THE ROCKY M O U N TA I N S Hunter S. Thompson remains, more than a dozen years after his death, a larger than life cult figure. Known for his unique journalistic style as much as his affection for discharging firearms in his home, Thompson is remembered by many through his work and works created from them, chief among them Terry Gilliam’s adaptation of Thompson’s book “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.” The Thompson-derived body of work is about to get a new addition. Directorial debutant Bobby Kennedy III is currently in Silverton finalizing pre-production on “Freak Power,” a movie about Thompson’s run for sheriff of Pitkin County, Colorado in 1970. We spoke to Kennedy about the film, who’s in it (and who definitely isn’t), what prompted him to make the movie and why the timing is right. 88

“I’m passionate about starting a third party in America,” Kennedy says as a lead up to explaining why he is making this movie at all. “I just really think that the two party system is broken.” “One of the best chances we ever had, at least in modern American history, to create a third party was Hunter and the Freak Power movement in Aspen. He tried to break the two party system and I think that’s the story I’m trying to tell. Hunter Thompson is almost like the bait on the hook, reeling people in to the more important story.” For those who have only heard about Thompson’s run for sheriff tangentially, it is a seemingly madcap attempt at political office that will come as no surprise to anyone who knows, or at least thinks they know, Thompson. (His manifesto included renaming Aspen Fat City to deter investors and ripping up the city streets with jackhammers and replacing them with sod.) Kennedy says Thompson knew all along what he was doing. “I think he was a very savvy political operator. It’s just like Trump. Sometimes you have to say some ridiculous stuff to get attention, but you know, [Thompson’s] platform was perfectly sensible in the end, it’s just the way he worded it was designed to get attention - both negative and positive.” In that election,Thompson won Aspen (the county seat of Pitkin County), but lost overall in the county “because the Democrats and Republicans teamed up and voted against him which showed you how [they] really are once you get past the superficial shouting at each other.” This isn’t a movie strictly about Hunter S. Thompson, but, Kennedy says, “we have some good outrageous stuff. I mean, Hunter Thompson is there but it is also grounded in a political thought piece,” he says. “But we’re going to go full Hunter for sure. I think we have more ridiculous stuff than Fear and Loathing, but not the whole time. When we go, we go hard.” So it isn’t a biopic. “It’s just about three months of his life. If you wanna make a story about a human you gotta limit the time frame because people are not the same every day. I think this was probably the moment in Hunter’s life that shows the most about his character.” As Thompson remains such a massive cult figure, Kennedy knows he might upset a few people, but he isn’t overly concerned. “Everybody has their Hunter story and everybody is protective over what they thought about him,” he says. “I’m not going to make everybody happy, I know that. People feel personal and feel ownership over his life in some ways. “[But] I’m not trying to make everybody happy, I’m just trying to make something that I think is important for today. So I’ve taken some liberties to make things more relevant for the current day. But I think if Hunter watched it, he would think that this is the best movie made about him.” As for research, Kennedy had an insider but for the most part he is creating his own story. “My dad and him exchanged




Photo: Jay Bulger will portray Hunter S. Thompson in Bobby Kennedy’s film “Freak Power”

a bunch of letters so I have those, but for the most part I went based on the facts of the story to try to create my own narrative. There has been so much written about Hunter… I read all the books then just threw them away.” As for bring the production to Colorado, there were a number of factors that led to Silverton being cast in a supporting role. One of them was the very practical concern of financing, but the other was all Colorado. Aspen has changed immeasurably in the almost 50 years since the “Battle of Aspen” and so it couldn’t possibly pass for Thompson’s Aspen, but small budget aside, Kennedy sums up choosing Silverton by saying: “You just can’t fake Colorado.” He goes on. “Because of what [Silverton] has here, it has allowed us to make the film how we want to make it. If we had to make it anywhere else it would probably be a $5 million to $10 million dollar movie, but we’re making it for $250,000 and it’s going to look like a $5 million dollar movie.” Kennedy had been trying to get the movie made for a while, and at one point it looked as if Sony was on board. “What happened, for the record, is we had a Sony deal,” he says. “[But] it wasn’t working out. The studio was having a little trouble [as] they had to justify everything to their business affairs department. They wanted us to cast James Franco as Hunter, but you don’t need a famous actor to play Hunter. Hunter is more famous than any actor that you’re going to get. Just put somebody into the role who will melt into [it].” That ended up being Jay Bulger. “He kinda is, in many ways, the new Hunter S. Thompson,” Kennedy says. Bulger won the Grand Jury Prize for Best Documentary at 2012’s SXSW for Beware of Mr. Baker, a documentary about rock drummer Ginger Baker which was based on his article “The Devil and


Ginger Baker” for Rolling Stone that saw Bulger live with Baker in South Africa in much the same way as Thompson lived with the Hell’s Angels. “And he actually got punched in the face by Baker just like Hunter got beat up by Hell’s Angels,” Kennedy says. “They were kind of in the same place in their careers. They look identical, too,” he says. “I think Jay is going to be a big star as an actor.” Bulger may be a household name of the future, but a name that everyone will know is Cheryl Hines. Perhaps best known as Cheryl David in Curb Your Enthusiasm, Hines will bring her acting prowess to the film as well as her star power. Also appearing in the movie will be Emily Burke. It has been almost half a century since Thompson’s run and more than a dozen years since his death, but there is another reason Kennedy thinks the timing right. “It’s been 50 years since my grandfather (junior Senator from New York and presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy) was assassinated,” he says. “Nineteen Sixty Eight was probably the most pivotal year in modern American history and the time when we really got off track as a country. I think 50 years later we’re really dealing with the repercussions of what happened then and it’s a time to take a stand,” he says. “I think the events of ‘68, including Hunter getting beaten up by the national guard at the democratic convention is what drove him into politics. With everything going on right now, I think Hunter, a gun-toting liberal, is for some strange reason a uniting figure. “The two party system is broken and right now is the time to take a stand. It’s time for something new.”

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90 Colorado Creative Corridor Poster:



Curating Creativity Colorado West of 105 is home to nine state-certified Creative Districts. Five of them have banded together to become the Colorado Creative Corridor

Bringing together five rural destinations that are nestled right in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, the Colorado Creative Corridor was launched this past summer. The 331-mile trail links Carbondale, Paonia, Crested Butte, Ridgway, and Salida and ties them together with a creative thread offering visitors the opportunity to experience the region from an artistic perspective. Designed to highlight creativity in all of its forms, each town has unique itineraries that highlight art and cultural experiences that range from art walks, gallery tours, theater, music and film festivals, as well as events unique to each place. And experiencing life in the mountains doesn’t stop with arts and crafts. These creative districts also include chefs, festival organizers, mixologists, and producers of all kinds. And of course, there is Mother Nature’s creative handiwork that acts as a backdrop to life West of 105.


CARBONDALE It was here that the initiative was taken to get the creative corridor off the drawing board. Sitting at the confluence of the Crystal and Roaring Fork Rivers and at the foot of the mighty Mt Sopris, Carbondale is home to more than 200 creative organizations, businesses, artists and artisans. A long agricultural heritage and a splash of Bohemian imagination from the intimate yet prolific art community combines to give Carbondale a unique culture that hosts a wealth of events throughout the year. Carbondale was once the potato capital of the United States and that heritage is celebrated with a community parade and a barbecue. The 109th Annual Potato Day Parade and Celebration will take place on October 6th. Health and wellness is big in Carbondale and that goes hand in hand with utilizing locally-produced food in a number of creative ways. Creative Corridor highlights include: True Nature Healing Arts (read more about TNHA on page 85), the Rio Grande ARTway, and Marble Distillery Inn, where visitors can “Sleep with the Stills” in one of five luxury suites housed within the working distillery (to read more about the distillery see page 66). The center of Carbondale’s Creative District is the Third Street Center (TSC), a renovated elementary school that is now an affordable space for community and regional nonprofit organizations. TSC houses several art galleries as well as dance and performing arts venues.

92 (above): True Nature Healing Arts / Shawn O'Connor; (center): Photos Marble Distillery Inn; (bottom): True Nature Healing Arts



PAONIA The North Fork Valley is home to a thriving collection of creative colonies. Paonia, Hotchkiss and Crawford come together to form the North Fork Valley Creative Coalition. Surrounded by the stunning natural beauty of the West Elk Wilderness, the area is also home to the largest number of natural and organic farms per capita in the state. Downtown Paonia is home to a growing collection of galleries and artist studios, many of which are housed inside beautiful buildings from the early 20th century. Among them is Elsewhere Studios, a residency program that brings creative people from around the world to town. Also in Paonia you can get handcrafted fly-fishing rods at Gnomish Rod Works and upcycled clothing and accessories at Refinery. There are also glass blowers in Crawford (North Rim Glass Studio), a creamery-turned-artisans’ cooperative in Hotchkiss (Creamery Arts Center), and the Williams Cellars wine and cider tasting room, The Apple Shed, in Cedaredge. The bucolic Paonia countryside is home to contemporary art and sculptures and good wine at Azura Cellars & Gallery (read more about Azura on page 62), and there is often classical music at the Blue Sage Center for the Arts among many other classes and events.

CRESTED BUTTE A classic mountain town, Crested Butte is as beautiful as it is vibrant. Surrounded by millions of acres of public land, it has long been a mecca for lovers of the great outdoors (read more about mountain biking in CB on page 16). But there is also an artistic and creative side to Crested Butte, making it one of the most varied and dynamic places in the entire state. The Crested Butte Creative District is centered on Elk Avenue and is home to galleries of all kinds - from landscape photography and glass work at RedLine Gallery to Midnight Gallery’s nature-inspired pottery and Oh Be Joyful Gallery’s fine-art plein air painters. Crested Butte also has a good number of local producers of all kinds of goods from body care products at Rooted Apothecary and Colorado Real Soap Company to the ever resourceful people at Paradise Ski Chairs who turn old skis into new furniture. On a frosty autumn afternoon, a nip of something local might be just the tonic. Montanya Distillers offers free tastings of its rum to get you in the mood for something a little more substantial (read more about Montanya on page 67) . The heartbeat of the creative community in CB can be found at the Center for the Arts. A one-stop shop for creativity, not only does it contain several galleries, it also offers the opportunity to paint your own pottery, take a cooking class or attend a concert or a talk.

Photos (above): Lydia Stern, LStern Media; (center): Azura Cellars; (bottom): Paonia West Elks Wine Trail Dinner


RIDGWAY Snug in the Uncompahgre Valley and surrounded by the beautiful Cimarron and San Juan Mountains, Ridgway has a thriving arts community with almost 100 people identifying themselves as an artist of some kind. Galleries and workshops abound, including Kane Scheidegger Fine Art Photography and ceramics, metalwork, photography and mixed-media work at Mountain Girl Gallery. Then there is the working glass forge at Cimarron Art Glass and custommade guitars at Cimarron Guitars. The Sherbino Theater is a center for the arts in Ridgway and regularly hosts all kinds of events throughout the year including talks from members of the community, and film screenings among other things. Tiny Ridgway also has an inextricable link to some of the world most famous recording artists. The Grammy awards that sit on the mantles of everyone from Carlos Santana to Chance the Rapper are handmade in Ridgway by John Billings. There are plenty of places to satisfy your appetite and sate your thirst. Try the burgers at the True Grit Cafe and the beer at Colorado Boy. Kate’s Place is also great for breakfast and Taco Del Gnar has been a huge hit - so much so there are now two other outposts West of 105.

SALIDA Sitting pretty at the exit to the Arkansas Valley (hence the name), Salida is the start (or end) point for the Collegiate Peaks Scenic Byway (read more on page 30). Salida was one of the first Certified Creative Districts in the state, and for good reason. The creative community here plays a major role in making Salida what it is. Downtown has galleries and studios that offer pieces from lots off disciplines including ceramics, pottery, fine furniture, painting, photography, sculpture, and clothing, all of which can be found at one time or another at Gallery 150. Cultureclash Gallery offers homewares and jewelry, while Brodeur Studio Gallery is the gallery of Paulette Brodeur. Always colorful, Brodeur spans several genres. She will also bring her style to bear on your pet by immortalizing Fido or Spot on canvas! You can even get involved by stopping in at The Maverick Potter on a Tuesday night when you can thrown your own pot. Then there is the Steamplant Event Center where on any given night you might be able to see a concert, a play, or a film screening. With 500 public and private events a year, you will likely find something to your taste eventually.


Break up your time in Salida with some outdoor activity. A gem for lovers of white water rafting thanks to the 152mile stretch of the Arkansas River that forms part of the Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area, there are large rapids and serene stretches of water where you can relax. The area is also home to the largest concentration of peaks over 14,000 feet in the county - “bag” one if you have time. There are also hot springs, a distillery (pop in and say hello to the owner who also happens to be the mayor), breweries and great restaurants of all kinds. Photos (clockwise from top right): Salida, Scott Peterson; Salida, Scott Peterson; Ridgway cattle drive, Classic Visions; Ridgway valley


As for the other four creative districts, well they are all equally charming places with lots to offer visitors.

BRECKENRIDGE CREATIVE ARTS Downtown Breckenridge is what a mountain town looks like in the imagination of an optimist - candy-box quaint with mountain views to die for. The town’s arts district includes venerable institutions such as the Breckenridge Backstage Theatre and the National Repertory Orchestra, historic landmarks, public art, as well as dozens of galleries, studios and creative spaces. At the heart of all of this is an arts campus that hosts workshops, exhibits, tours, and artists-in-residence among other things.

Photo: Liam Doran / Breckenridge Creative Arts

MANCOS CREATIVE ART DISTRICT Between the La Plata Mountains and Mesa Verde, Mancos is home to lots of creative people - artists, inventors, craftsmen, foodies and more. The Mancos Creative District spans several blocks downtown and is packed with creativity. There are eight galleries, artisan cooperatives, a thriving common press, craftsmen, artists, musicians, brewers, chefs, an amazing collection of buildings from the late 1800’s and the town’s historic opera house, the Palace Theatre which opened on September 2, 1926. And it is still in use, welcoming more than 73,000 patrons at 100+ events each year. Photo: © Dodson Creative Agency, 2018

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS A ski town with a wild west heritage, Steamboat Springs has a unique mix of sun, spurs and ski slopes. The laid-back atmosphere and an appetite and appreciation for the arts has given rise to a robust arts district in Steamboat. Designed to bring out the artist in everyone, Steamboat Springs’ creative district, called Steamboat Creates, welcomes every kind of creative, from composers and cooks to bakers and brewers - and everyone in between. The district itself is made up of more than 17 art galleries; the Steamboat Art Museum; the Depot Art Center; the Perry-Mansfield Performing Arts School & Camp, which is the nation’s oldest operating performing arts camp; as well as festivals of all kinds throughout the year.

Photo: Jordan Matter

TELLURIDE Equally known for skiing and its impressive summer festival lineup, Telluride has long appealed to all kinds of creative people. Telluride Arts, the non-profit organization established way back in 1971 as the Telluride Council of the Arts and Humanities to organize and incubate an arts culture has done an extraordinary job, so much so that it was among the first Certified Creative Districts in the state. Home to artists, galleries and creative spaces of all kinds, Telluride already has a thriving arts scene. And it’s about to get better. The Telluride Transfer Warehouse is currently being transformed into a world-class home for the arts in the heart of Telluride. When complete, the new space will host museum quality exhibitions, have a screening room/performing arts/lecture hall, as well as gathering spaces for events of all kinds. Read more on Telluride on page 46.

Photo: Austin Halpern

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September 14 - 16, 2018

Blues and Brews Festival TELLURIDE

If there is a more beautiful and perfect setting for a music festival, we haven’t seen it (and frankly we’re not even sure one exists). Practically as famous for its summer and autumn festivals as it is for its world-class skiing, Telluride is at the heart of the Colorado Rockies way up at 8,750 feet. Contrary to the name, this three-day festival is a celebration of all music, so you can expect to hear plenty of blues but also funk, jam bands, indie, rock, gospel and soul including Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters, Ben Harper and Charlie Musselwhite, Gov’t Mule, and Booker T’s Stax Revue among many others.

The festival, but the festival will also feature the 2018 House of Brews, a canvas-covered temple to beer (and cider) that will see Sierra Nevada joined by some local beer purveyors to pour all weekend long. In the middle of the festival is the 2018 Grand Tasting. A three-hour hop-fueled session that will see 56 craft breweries bring over 170 beers for your tasting pleasure. There will also be food and craft vendors, children’s activities and latenight shows among much more. tellurideblues.com

Photo: Telluride Blues and Brews




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October 12 - 14, 2018

Telluride Horror Show TELLURIDE

This fun-filled festival of phantasmagoria, frivolity and fear promises three days of the latest horror, fantasy, and sci-fi films in the amazing and historic Sheridan Opera House, the Nugget Theatre, and the Palm Theatre in beautiful Telluride. This festival marks its ninth year of what Moviemaker magazine called one of the “20 Coolest Film Festivals,� - and they should know. Attracting the best and latest genre films from around the world, attendees can expect an eclectic mix of

horror, suspense, thriller, dark fantasy, sci-fi and dark comedy, with many of the films showing for the first time in the US. Screening around 20 feature films and dozens of short films, there will also be special programs, special guests, and all kinds of events. The final schedule for the festival will be announced a week or two before the action begins. telluridehorrorshow.com

Photo: Telluride Horror Fest

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Photo: 100 Visit Denver


Create the perfect city getaway by mixing and matching our five different itineraries







Le Meridien. The recently opened property is very stylish and is conveniently located downtown. Dark wood paneling adds a luxurious touch to otherwise airy rooms. In-house restaurant Corrine serves elevated American classics.

Watch wine being made in the heart of the city at Infinite Monkey Theorem, Denver’s first urban winery. Public tours last one hour and include tastings of five bottled, kegged and canned wines.

Denver Beer Fest, Sept 14–22. With more than 100 beer-related events, this is a home run for beer lovers. Not in town? Take the Denver Beer Trail to explore some of the 100 brewpubs, breweries and taprooms in the metro area.

For fans of history, the Oxford Hotel is as historic as it comes in Denver. Opening its doors in 1891, it has hosted everyone from Theodore Roosevelt to the Dalai Lama.

Watch an in independent or foreign-language film at the historic Mayan Theatre. Built in 1930, it was nearly torn down in the mid-1980s, but for the efforts of a local preservationist group it still stands.

Denver Art Week, Nov. 2-10, has more than 300 events located in Denver’s galleries, theaters, museums and performing arts venues. Alternatively, the Denver Performing Arts Complex will likely have something to tickle your fancy.





Visit Broken Shovels farm. A 20-minute drive from downtown Denver, the former cruelty-free dairy is now a fully fledged farm animal sanctuary offering tours.

Moxy, in Cherry Creek has large rooms convenient for the botanic gardens and zoo. Ask for a larger room so you can unpack everything you might need to bring with space to spare. And you aren’t in the center of Denver, which might be a good thing.

The Denver Museum of Nature & Science has been around for more than a century. Kids and curious adults will love the planetarium and the IMAX theater.

Taking inspiration from a 17th century French Salon, the Ramble is as cool as it sounds. With beautiful rooms, old school keys and Death and Co. in the lobby, boutique hotels don’t get much better.

Take a two-hour stroll around RiNo with Denver Graffiti Tour where you will see and discuss see street art, murals and graffiti. Tours end at Denver Central Market.

Take an e-tuk and head to RiNo, where Denver’s coolest creatives hang out. Walk down Brighton Blvd and be sure to pop over to The Source which is undergoing a massive expansion.

Enjoy the crisp autumn air at the Denver Botanic Gardens. Just north of Cherry Creek, the gardens have flora and fauna from all over the world. Borrow a bike from Kimpton and cycle there.

Explore downtown on a B-cycle, the Denver rideshare. The South Platte River Trail is great for a car-free ride. Stop in at REI, too, for some new gear.







If you’re in the habit of attending yoga every morning, Kimpton has you covered with in-room yoga mats. They also have a few bikes for guest use and included in your room rate is entry to the Colorado Athletic Club.




9 Photos (clockwise from top left); Le Meridien; Ellen Jaskol / Visit Denver; Evan Simon / Visit Denver; Denver Art Museum, Photography Department; Hotel Moxy; Evan Simons / Visit Denver; Ramble; Kimpton Hotel Born; Scott Dressler-Martin / Visit Denver








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Fancy meets casual at The Bindery in Highlands. Experimental but not too formal, the barbecued octopus with aqua chili negra, blistered avocado, heart of palm, and celery leaves was tender and tasty. The pan-roasted hen with apricot stone 1 mole was excellent.

A distillery in Highland, The Family Jones Spirit House offers tours, tastings and perfectly-executed cocktails to match. The beautiful space features vaulted ceilings, and contemporary decor alongside tasty cocktails.

Marczyk Fine Foods is one of Denver’s best specialty food shops. Take home a hunk of something from Haystack Mountain or a tub of sheep’s milk ricotta from Fruition Farms Dairy in Larkspur.

Ophelia’s Electric Soapbox is a self-described gastro brothel, culinary emporium and musical haberdashery. Food is good and indulgent (everything was good; the brothel fried chicken and the plantains were memorable) and the vibe is eclectic. 2

Opening the day after Prohibition was repealed in 1933, the Oxford Hotel’s Cruise Room bar is one of Denver’s must-visit watering holes. Modeled after a bar on the Queen Mary and shaped like a wine bottle, it’s noted for its martinis.

Denver’s antique row, while not exclusively antique shops, has a range of outlets, so whether you’re looking for rare Victorian furniture (Bruhns Auction Gallery) or Bakelite jewelry (MK Designs) you can find it here.

For larger families with fussy eaters, the Denver Milk Market (denvermilkmarket.com) inside the Dairy Block has something for everyone including Lou’s Hot Naked (good chicken), S&G Salumeria (the Frankie sandwich will satisfy two).

Both Cherry Cricket outposts in Denver are great for kids. Adults can have a local beer, glass of wine or a cocktail while the kids run wild in the arcade playing foosball and pinball.

The gift shop at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science has a wide range of educational gift ideas for kids including plenty of space- and dinosaur-themed options!

El Five is funky eatery in Highland that offers Spanish and Mediterranean tapas, both old and new school. Brunch is particularly good (the semi-buffet offers several tapasstyle dishes that you can revisit). Try one of the five paellas. 5

Death and Co. for drinks. With a cool vibe and a great cocktail menu, this New York transplant is good for both starting and ending the night. The Highwayman and the Fortunella are both recommended.

Mile High Flea Market. With everything from collectibles to vegetables, this monster 80-acre flea market will have something for everyone to take home whether you want a hammer or homemade hot sauce.

Hearth and Dram offers a stunning interior with some indulgent dishes, but there are plenty of healthy options too. We loved the yellowtail and watermelon ceviche; fresh fennel salad and whole-roasted Colorado bass.

If you’re looking for a healthy alternative turn to American Cultures, a kombucha taproom in Highland. Offering up the fizzy, fermented drink by the growler and glass, you can also indulge in a kombucha floats.




MOVE YOUR BODY Photos (clockwise from top left); Lucy Beaugard / The Bindery; Ophelia’s; Visit Denver; Milk Market, El Five; El Five; The Ramble; Hearth & Dram; Hearth & Dram

6 Colorado company Topo Designs offers a wide range of apparel and accessories but it’s the packs we really love. Great for hiking or just slinging over your shoulder as you zip around town on a bike.


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Photo: Bryan Bechtold 106




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